Hey how’s it going Parker Walbeck here
with full-time filemaker.com and today I’m gonna be sharing with you my top 10
things to look for when buying an on-camera monitor and I’ll be giving you
the pros and cons between different monitors that I recommend in different
price ranges and specifically we’ll be looking at four different brands in both
a 7-inch and five-inch options for each a small HD Focus 7 and Focus 5 the
Atomos Ninja Inferno 7 and ninja 5 the Andycine r 7 and the a6 plus and the
Desview r 7 and the Desview Mavo p5 and just FYI none of these brands are
sponsoring this video I don’t have any bias just sharing my honest opinions on
the best monitors in different categories and I’ll be giving you my
overall thoughts at the end on which ones I buy for what but first let me
answer the question of why would you need to buy camera monitor in the first
place or can you just go without one the main reasons you buy one is for external
recording or for enhanced visual tools to be able to nail focus and exposure
more accurately most camera screens are too small and too dim so it’s hard to
tell if your subject is in focus and correctly exposed so if you find
yourself struggling to nail focus or exposure correctly in camera or need to
record externally then getting an external monitor might be a good
solution for you but there’s hundreds of options out there so the next biggest
question I get is which one of the many should I buy so let’s now dive in and
talk about the 10 things that I look for when shopping for an on-camera monitor
the first thing to look for obviously is price the prices of external monitors
can vary anywhere from a hundred to three thousand dollars and just like
with anything generally speaking you get what you pay for
on the higher budget and the two main monitor brands that rule the market are
the small HD and Atomos both are great reliable brands the ones that we
have here range from 300 to 800 dollars but they do have even higher end ones
that will cost you two to three thousand dollars however most of you with your
setups would it need or be able to take advantage of the features that the
really high-end options have to offer and then on the lower end you have great
options like desview and andycine and feel world all pretty similar in price
and features the ones we have here range from a hundred to three hundred dollars
and we didn’t include fill world in this comparison because in our opinion they
aren’t as nice as andycine and not as cheap as desview but they are a good
option in between the two but these are our favorite brands we’ve tested and the
prices that each of these come at and will now show you what features each has
so you can determine which ones worth the extra dollars but once you’ve
decided on budget the next thing to look for is size and weight most monitors
come in two sizes a five inch and a seven inch the five inch monitors
definitely a great step up from most camera screens but in our opinion can
still be too small at times to see focus and exposure well having used both five
and seven inch monitors that extra two inches actually makes a pretty big
difference in our opinion so if your budget allows we highly recommend going
with a 7 inch the drawback to a 7 inch however is that it will be bulkier it
will be heavier and it will be more expensive and this will impact which
gimbals you can use it on if you’re just using the monitor in a studio on a
tripod like I am now then definitely you want to go with a 7 inch but when I’m on
a glidecam or a motorized gimbal the monitor can quickly add a lot of weight
to an already heavy setup making it difficult to shoot with comfortably for
long periods of time with a glide cam it’s gonna be harder to do a big 7-inch
monitor as it will start to get really top-heavy but with the Ronin s we prefer
putting a dual handle accessory on there and with that a 7 inch monitor is very
manageable and we’ll put in the description links to all the accessories
we use when putting monitors on our gimbals but in general if weight is
going to be an issue for you a lighter 5 inch might make more sense I will say I
first bought a 5 inch monitor for my red camera and after a year I got annoyed
with how hard it was to see focus and eventually upgraded to the 7 inch and it
made a world of a difference and was worth the added weight and price so I
wish I would have saved the money of buying the 5 inch and just gone straight
to the 7 inch as far as weight goes obviously the lighter the better for
ease of shooting and as you can see by the numbers on screen Atomos monitors are almost 2 times heavier than their competitors and we’ll talk about why
later but that’s a big drawback to be aware of if you choose Atomos the
rest seem to be relatively similar in weight with the 5 inch monitors being
around 6 ounces and the 7 inch monitors being around 13 ounces moving on out of
the third thing to look for is screen brightness every external monitor has
brightness measured in nits the higher the nits count the brighter the screen
can get which is important if you film in direct sunlight as it can be hard to
see the screen if it doesn’t get bright enough the dimmest monitors I’ve seen
hit about 300 nits and the brightest I’ve seen get up to around 2000 is my 7
inch red monitor has an it count of only 350 and it still gotten the job done
great for me over the years of shooting with the indoors and outdoors but it’s
definitely not ideal and is hard to see sometimes in direct sunlight I’ve
that around a thousand ‘its is about where you want to be to be able to see
well on sunlight and here’s a look at these monitors with their respective nit
counts so you can see what you get for the money as you can see the Des View
five-inch has the demo screen at 4:15 it’s and the Andycine ultra bright
7-inch has the brightest screen at 2200 nits and you can see how those compare
next to each other and they give you a reference point the iPhone 11 has 811
nits at full brightness and I can personally always see my phone screen
just fine in sunlight so I do think mm Nets is a little bit overkill sure it
will be nice to have but not at the expense of draining the battery twice as
fast which is our next category to look for which is battery life pretty much
every external monitor will have to run off of its own battery and generally the
five inch monitor can only take one battery while the seven inch monitors
can usually take two all of these and most monitors take Sony NP batteries and
after letting each of these monitors run on the same big Sony battery here are
the respective battery lives for each as you can see the seven inch monitors
generally ran out faster so something to consider when choosing between five and
seven inch but the small HD 7-inch surprisingly outlast has some of the
five inch competitors and out of the five inches small HD was well ahead of
the pack and the Atomos five inch died out faster than its competing
seven-inch monitors so for battery life big point goes to small HD and it’s a
big con for auto most not to mention Atomos also has a fan that you can hear
which can be annoying it’s not super loud but I was surprised to hear a buzz
the first time I turned it on also something to keep in mind
none of these get very hot to the touch except for the 2000 nit Andycine
because it’s twice as bright as the rest it gets a lot hotter to the touch so hot
in fact that it actually hurt my hand a little so definitely a trade-off to be
aware of at that 2,000 nits range moving on to the fifth thing to look for is
external recording ability out of these monitors were testing out the only brand
that can record externally is Atomos so for example if you have a camera like
an EOSR or Nikon z6 if you want to record into an external recorder instead
of into your SD card you can access better camera specs like shooting in
10-bit color depth instead of only eight and oftentimes if your camera has
30-minute recording limit an external recorder will light record as long as
the battery and the SD card lasts for us since we use mostly 1Dx mark 2’s
that doesn’t really have any spec bumps by recording X
sternly so this isn’t a big deal breaker for us but for some of you it may be a
big deal breaker keep in mind if you do plan recording externally you’ll also
need to buy a separate SSD like the angel bird Adam X which is what I have
that cost me around two hundred bucks for five hundred gigs plus you’ll need
to buy a $10 cable to dump the footage onto your computer so if you plan on
recording externally Atomos is going to be your best option on the
market but of course being able to record does come with its drawbacks of
being heavier louder worse battery life and so on so if you don’t need to record
externally I personally wouldn’t recommend Atomos. moving on to number
six on the list is resolution most of these screens are 1080p resolution the
only one that is 720p is a small HD 5 inch so drawback to be aware of there
and no 4k isn’t necessary even though your camera shoots 4k because these
screens are also small you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between
1080p and 4k resolution on a 5 or a 7 inch screen but you can notice the
difference between 720p and 1080p so I recommend at least getting 1080p moving
on to number 7 on the list is tools and features this is one of the main reasons
you get an external monitor is for the assistant tools that the monitor gives
you that your DSLR may not like focus peaking zebras false colors waveforms
RGB parades letterbox overlays LUT previews audio meters horizon indicators
etc Atomos and small HDR going to give you the most features and will give
you the best most accurate color and image quality and the Cine has a decent
amount of features as well but Desview particularly this 5 inch only has
the basics so this is definitely an area where you can see why it’s a lot cheaper
now we won’t go into every feature and who has what just the side which
features are most important to you and make sure the one you’re buying has
those ones that you want but they will all have the basics like focus peaking
and exposure assist moving on to number eight on the list is build quality this
is another area where you can see what you’re getting for the money
Atomos builds tanks, too “tanky” in fact in my opinion as it causes them to be
twice the weights but they definitely are gonna be your most stirdy small HD I
feel like is a perfect hybrid between high quality feel while still using
light materials so that’s not heavy Andycine comes in third being a little bit
cheaper than small HD and Desview once again feels the cheapest but that’s
expected at a low price and then moving on to number 9
list is touchscreen and camera controls some of these monitors are controlled
via touch screen and some make you use buttons personally I think having a
touchscreen is a big deal makes it a lot easier to navigate and use while on the
go all of these monitors were testing today our touch screen except for the
Andycine ultra-bright and the desview monitors and they’re all pretty
similar in responsiveness to the touchscreen but a drawback to be aware
of of the touchscreen models is that they will get dirtier with fingerprints
on them all the time also be aware that the smaller 5 inch monitors sometimes
it’s harder to press the buttons on the screen because the buttons are too small
so that’s one pro of having the 7-inch touch monitor is that it’s easier to tap
the right button on the screen one thing to be aware of too is even if your
external monitor is touchscreen doesn’t mean it can control touch to focus for
your camera that’s one of the biggest drawbacks for me when I’m using an
external monitor is that my Canon cameras have dual picks a lot of focus
and I like to be able to touch the screen to set my focus and correct me if
I’m wrong anybody but as far as I know there aren’t any external monitors that
can control dual pixel autofocus on a monitor you have to use the camera
screen for that likewise for camera controls most monitors aren’t going to
allow you to change your camera settings for the monitor unless it’s specifically
compatible with your camera like I know small HD has their cine line that is
compatible with re and red cameras but you’re gonna pay a higher price for that
compatibility so just some drawbacks to be aware of in general with using
external monitors moving on now to our tenth and final thing to look for in
monitors is ease of use which monitor has the best user interface easiest to
use on the go and all of that after having used each of these monitors hands
down the easiest to use straight out of the box and shortest learning curve is
the small HD they have their own software that is sleek and super simple
to use I would compare it to like Apple software Atomos takes second place on
this also a great menu system easy to navigate through but not quite as good
as small HD in my opinion and Andycine takes third a decent menu system though
much more watered down and then des view is super basic not much you can do
settings wise so big advantage to small HD in my opinion not to mention they
have their HDMI cable ports tucked into the monitor so there’s less of a chance
of it getting ripped out some don’t like this but I personally think it’s sleek
and more practical to use and then a side note we also tested latency but
seem to have much more lag than any other so at least for the ones we tested
here they all did a good job with this but there you have it those are the top
10 things that I would look for when buying an external monitor obviously
there’s more things to look for and you can mention those in the comments below
but I’d say these are my top 10 most important things that I would personally
care about if I were to buy an external monitor so which one should you buy here
are the recommendations for the following categories best overall
monitor I’m gonna give this one to the small HD focus 7 I like the screen size
not too heavy good resolution great battery life doesn’t record externally
but I don’t need that it’s plenty bright touchscreen has the tools and features I
need and it’s the easiest to use the small HD focus 5 is also great but quite
a bit more limiting in my opinion I’d only get the 5 if I needed a smaller
form factor and needed to save some cash next category for best external recorder
this one goes to Atomos if you need to record go with Atomos again I
always recommend the 7 inch over the 5 inch but if you need to save on weight
and money 5 inch will work as well our next category is best value best
bang for buck this one’s going to be Andycine for what you get for the money I
think this rules this category they give you great performance at not quite as
cheap as some but still at a very low price plus the a6 plus is actually a 5.5
inch screen so it’s a little bit bigger than the rest of the 5 inches as for the
ultra bright 7 inch version if you need that extra brightness this gives you
2200 nits for under $300 so that’s a great bang for buck just be aware of
that shorter battery life and the hot to the touch like I mentioned and then our
last category is best budget monitor if price is your biggest factor go with the
DES view metal 5 it’s one of the cheapest on the market at just 130
dollars now super bright not many features but bright enough to get the
job done as a monitor bigger than your camera screen and for double the price
at around two hundred and sixty dollars currently you can get a seven inch
monitor for much cheaper than most out there so des view is my recommendation
for cheapest on the market and still usable but there you have a folks
hopefully this was helpful to help you decide which monitor is right for you
obviously there’s more options out there but those are my favourites in their
respective categories after having our hands on all of these monitors everyone
on my team agrees that we would all choose this small HD 7-inch so that’s
our personal favorite and also big thanks to Adorama for sending all these
monitors for us to test out I provide the links in the description to buy each
of these lastly let us know what gear you’d like to see us review next and for
more tips and tutorials on buying and using gear to its fullest potential make
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