What are the best on-camera video screens and recorders?
Shooting video with a DSLR or video camera is great but sometimes you may find the built in screen is just not good enough or too small for exposure and focusing. If this is the case you may feel the need to add an external video screen. These external screens offer a bigger visual experience, help with exposure and focusing and can enable other members of the crew to see what is being shot.
They can also come with other extra features like built in video recorders. This function enables you to record higher definition images than your camera is able to record. External screens can often be expensive but there are some cheaper alternatives available.
Atomos Ninja V 5 Field Recorder
The Atomos Ninja V 5 Field Recorder features a 16:9 touch screen with 427 pixels-per-inch of resolution. It also has a brightness of 1000 nits, so it should be fine for outdoor recording but may struggle in bright sunlight. However, you can solve this problem by buying a third party sunshade from a company like SmallRig.
It also features a built in video recorder and this can record up to 4Kp60 10-bit HDR video direct from your camera’s sensor over HDMI 2.0. This will give you a better choice of recording codecs and bypass any recording limits your video camera may have. Just make sure your video camera supports clean HDMI output. These codecs include ProRes HQ 4:2:2 and DNxHR HQX, so you will have plenty of recording choices.
You can record to both normal SSD drives and mini-SSDs A 1TB drive will give you approximately 150 minutes of 4K video. It also supports multiple log formats including Slog, Arri Log, Clog, Vlog, and Red Logfilm. Added to this are all the tools you need for monitoring your image like luma waveform, RGB parade, vector scope, focus peaking, zebras and false color. It has HDMI in/out, a line in input, microphone input and headphone out for audio monitoring.
Price $599.00 £435.00 €503.00
The Lilliput A7s is an affordable big-screen external monitor that offers great value for viewing 4K content at a budget price. It includes all the overlays and features you would expect from an external monitor like focus-peaking, levels and a histogram.
It also comes with a silicone case for added protection, a sunshade and a sturdy metal ball-mount. The screen is not tough sensitive but this is not a worry as you can get full control from the buttons and a scroll wheel. These will allow you to adjust its many functions. This is a no fuss external monitor and it will give you a big screen for an affordable price.
Price $159.00 £115.00 €133.00
The Desview R7 is a bright, 7-inch, full HD monitor with a touchscreen that costs less than $300. It comes with a screen that offers 1000 nits of brightness, an intuitive touch-interface and a host of accessories at a great price. You will be able to use it for outdoor shoots and it will cope well with extreme weather in the freezing cold.
You can control the screen with a mix of touch screen interaction and button controls. So if you are outside wearing gloves you can still swap its custom profiles and change key settings without having to interact with the tap and swipe-centric display. It also has a screen resolution of 400 pixels-per-inch so you will not struggle to see critical image information from your video camera.
Price $229.00 £166.00 €192.00
The Feelworld FW568 is another great budget external video monitor that is capable of displaying 4K content on its 500-nit full HD display. It comes complete with a sunshade hood and tilt arm so you can use it in bright sunlight and adjust it to the perfect position for viewing.
It does not have a touch screen but buttons to adjust its many settings. The lack of a touch screen may be less intuitive for indoor shoots but its use of buttons are a benefit when filming with gloves in cold conditions. It comes with many great features for an external screen including a histogram, false color and exposure peaking overlays.
There is also an anamorphic mode and a headphone output to monitor your audio. Its not to heavy either and weighs just 175g, so it won’t add too much extra weight to your video camera set up.
Price $129.00 £93.00 €108.00
Feelworld FW279 7-inch 4k
The Feelworld FW279 is a large external video screen that supports 4K HDMI input and comes with a 1920×1200 resolution. It has an aspect ratio is 16:10 with a 323 pixels-per-inch screen. It also has a good brightness level of 2200 nits, which makes this screen sharp and bright and suitable for outdoor filming.
This screen has HDMI in and out so you can easily connect it to 4K HDMI cameras and DSLRs. It also has a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a built-in speaker for sound monitoring. It does not have touch screen controls but two buttons for controlling focus assist, histogram, false colors, exposure, aspect ratio, zoom and safe areas. It gets its power from an F970 battery, which are common and cheap to buy.
Price $259.00 £188.00 €217.00
Feelworld F570 5.7″ IPS Full HD On Camera Monitor
The Feelworld F570 comes with a 5.7-inch display that accepts a 4K input and has a HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. This gives it a great image whether you are filming outdoors or inside. The IPS screen allows for a 170-degree viewing angle, so all the crew on your film shoot will be able to see exactly what is going on.
The screen has a contrast ratio of 1400:1 and also includes a sunshade for filming in bright sunlight. It has many image features that include a histogram, image freeze, peaking filter, checking filter and image flip. This means you have full control over the image it can give you.
The cold shoe mount and 1/4″ mount allows you to safely attach this monitor to DLSR cameras, handheld stabilizers, or tripods and stands. The battery system is also flexible, allowing you to use different types of rechargeable batteries such as LP-E6 and U60. You can also plug it into the mains by using the 12V DC input port if you run out of battery power.
Price $169.00 £122.00 €141.00
Aputure VS-2 FineHD Kit LCD Screen
The Aputure VS-2 is another great external monitor with a 7-inch IPS panel that features excellent viewing angles and bright colors. The 1920×1200 resolution is impressive and 1200:1 contrast ratio delivers crisp, clear and colorful pictures.
It come with many accessories including a small cloth for cleaning the screen, a carrying pouch, AV cables, HDMI cables and an articulating arm for screen adjustment. This arm allows you to mount the screen on a DSLR camera or other filming equipment and you can rotate it according to your preferences and needs.
You can also plug your headphones into this monitor as it comes with a 3.5mm jack or you can use the built-in speaker system to listen to the audio while recording. You can control the image of the screen with the buttons found under the monitor and these allow you to select image modes and access its main functions.
Price $279.00 £202.00 €234.00
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