The 12-Inch 720p External Monitor for DSLRs That Costs Under $100
Re-purposing something is always fun, especially when it can be used to help out filmmakers. This is one of the more interesting DIY monitors I've seen, and it's got one of the largest screens I've ever seen for a device like this. Basically, the Motorola ATRIX 4G Laptop Dock for the ATRIX 4G phone can be used as an external monitor. The Micro HDMI port on the device senses any incoming HDMI signal and then outputs it on the screen. Check out the video below of the device in action with a Canon 60D:
Nathan Smith - Motorola Laptop Dock with Canon 60D:
Here is a picture of the setup that Nathan is using to get his 60D working. The missing cable in the middle is a standard male to male HDMI cable:
The laptop dock can be had for just under $100 ($86 on Amazon -- less if you can find a deal), and it can take any HDMI device as long as you've got the right adapters. The device has an internal battery with supposedly 8 hours of life (probably less if it's being used as an external monitor), and its 11.6" screen sports a resolution of 1366 x 768. The monitor has a male Micro HDMI port, so you'll need a female Micro HDMI adapter on one end and a male Mini HDMI connector on the other. I'm having a hard time finding a female Micro adapter on Amazon -- it seems like eBay is the place to go.
While the laptop configuration isn't as ideal for monitoring, this could work great in a pinch or if you want a cheap monitor that you can throw around. The wireless possibilities with this monitor are huge, because it has powered USB ports -- so if you took a wireless HDMI adapter like this brite-View device which can be USB powered, you can have a completely self-contained wireless HDMI monitor for $216 (at current prices, minus cables).
This won't be a perfect monitor, as your options for adjusting settings seem very limited (and certain Canon DSLRs still output 480p when you press record), but if you're on a budget, this could be a great solution. If you're using a DSLR like the Nikon D800 that keeps the internal LCD on even with a monitor connected, you could hand this to your focus puller to use for critical focus. The laptop dock would also be great as a director's monitor. Specifically with higher end cameras that have HDMI as well as HD-SDI, using it with a wireless adapter would mean one less cable that has to come off your camera and be connected to a video village. Whether this will work perfectly or not remains to be seen, but there's no question it's an interesting solution.
If anyone has this laptop dock, it would be great to see more results. If you've got your own DIY-type monitor solutions, feel free to share them below.