Is a HD monitor really needed? at

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The View: Video Display Hardware and Software
Video Monitors and Media Players for field or studio use (all display technologies).

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Old June 21st, 2010, 10:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Jenkinsburg,GA.
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Is a HD monitor really needed?

Hi Everyone!

I have a Panny HMC 40. I'm looking for a field monitor to assist with focus and shot framing. My question is, exactly how vital is it that the monitor be HD? Are the LCD viewfinders/monitors usually HD, or is the resolution much lower?

Thanks for any help as usual!
Marc S. Brown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:04 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Mesa, AZ
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having extensive experience with the HMC150 and HMC40 and also having used the 170 and 200, I can reliably say Panny LCD's are horrible. The resolution is poor and color is WAY off. The saving grace is the focus assist but I don't really like the way it works as you have to push a button on the camera. If you're shooting and need to do critical focus, the push shows up as a jiggle in the footage. Early on I got a SmallHD DP1 for critical focus and I trust it without question. And there are plenty of other great HD monitors out there too. If you want to do critical focus, get a good HD monitor. I also use a varizoom focus/iris/zoom controller so I don't have to touch the camera to make adjustments.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 05:30 AM   #3
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An HD monitor is nice, but IMO even an SD monitor with a signicantly larger screen size than your camera offers can be helpful in composing and focusing. It's our eyesite that is the weak link in many cases, epscially as our reading vision deteriorates after age 40.
Paul Cascio
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Old June 24th, 2010, 04:59 PM   #4
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It all depends upon how critical you need. If you are doing closeup shots with shallow DOF then it is quite easy to spot what is in focus or not.

If you are shooting a wider shot with a little more DOF then it gets more difficult and the HD monitors really kick in. I also agree, the HMC-150 LCD is an embarassment on an "HD" camera.
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Old June 30th, 2010, 01:05 AM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Reading, PA USA and Athens, Greece
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Ill give my 2 cents briefly.

I personally use 2 Canon XH A1 units. the displays are dismal; my eyesight is rather formidable; i can easily resolve each pixel at 2 feet plus distance from the built-in displays. The display, even with zoom, peaking, and or zebras on, is worthless in manual focusing, ESPECIALLY with a 35mm adapter.

My business uses some HVX200A's; those too i can resolve the pixels at the same distance. Even without using a 35mm adapter, the focusing is still rather sketchy with the built in LCD, even though they are much better than the canon LCD's.

We dont use the EVF's at all, and i especially avoid them; we use the built in LCD's only for information display and framing. the EFV's are literally turned off and taped off; they are THAT bad.

In the past i have used a disemboweled dvd player display, which was slightly greater than SD, i think 6" diagonal, for focusing, as well as a pioneer dvd/navigation in-dash unit (literally mounted in the dash of my own car) for focusing, i believe both were 600x800 displays, 6" diagonal, with better results than the built-in units, via single component video in, with pretty good results.

we typically use either a Panasonic 32" CRT HDTV or a Sony Bravia LCD 32" HDTV for focusing in the studio, and in the field we use manhattan lcd 8.9" units, at i believe 1024x600 resolution, while not 720P or 1080P, they have the ability to zoom to 1:1 ratio, which is what we use to nail zoom, with great success. i could not get the same results out of an SD model, but an SD model of similar size should produce decent results. Frankly i only use the manhattan lcd's at 1:1 ratio exclusively. since my vision is rather exceptional, i prefer to use the 1:1 ratio on the manhattans, versus the hacked DVD player/in-dash units, and compared to the studio full HD units, i find the manhattan semi-HD units at 1:1 zoom very capable, and also for framing.

if you deliver in SD, then get an SD monitor, if you deliver in HD, either get something capable of 1:1 zoom for focusing (we use 35mm adapters so its very critical for us to nail focus) otherwise an SD solution is fine.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 11:41 AM   #6
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Location: Henderson, NV
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ikan and SmallHD

I just purchased the ikan VX7 7" for my shoulder rig and the SmallHD DP1x 8.9" for tripod use. $1,000 apiece is quite a lot of money, but worth it if I could shoot with some confidence.

If anyone has experience with these monitors, please share. I may be using them both on a shoot this weekend.

I also considered the Manhattan LCD HD071A-C 7.1" and a Marshall 7" V-LCD70XP-HDMI-CM

Last edited by Alex DeJesus; August 2nd, 2010 at 11:46 AM. Reason: addition
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Old July 17th, 2011, 01:05 AM   #7
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Location: Philadelphia, United States
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Re: Is a HD monitor really needed?

I'm about to buy an HD monitor for my HMC-150. After reading reviews online, I'd settled on the SmallHD DP6. That said, I was considering the exact other options mentioned in the previous post: the Marshall and the Manhattan. I'm wondering if people here want to give their two cents on their experiences and/or those monitors.
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