External monitors have become a pretty necessary tool on set.
[Update]: These are now shipping, and will start at $1,200 for the monitor (while B&H says pre-order, the SmallHD site says shipping in 7-10 days). It will be $1,500 with the new Sidefinder clip-on viewfinder attachment.
While it's nice to have giant monitors for when you've got a decent crew or your camera is built up, there are plenty of times that you just wish you could use your phone as a reliable monitor for a small camera or as a director's monitor (with certain tools this is possible, but it's not always an ideal solution).
SmallHD essentially introduced just that today with their new 502 external monitor, that features a 5" 1080p screen with HD-SDI and HDMI input/output/cross-convert, and it's powered by Canon batteries. You can check out the intro video here:
Video is no longer available: vimeo.com/122785338
In terms of color accuracy, SmallHD claims that it is 85% NTSC Color Gamut, which puts it right in between the DP7-Pro LCD and OLED displays (which are 50% and 100%, respectively). The weight is going to make this perfect for smaller cameras and setups that already have a monitor or two attached. As I said above, I think this could be really terrific as a super light director's monitor, once you add in the wireless solution and a handle.
With smartphone screens getting sharper and bigger, it's only a matter of time before we see more external monitors like these. Typically what happens is the smartphone makers will be the only ones who can use them for a year or two (sometimes longer), and then they start selling them to third parties.
SmallHD doesn't have a price or availability yet, but we should find out those details relatively soon, and we'll be sure to take a look at NAB. You can read more about the monitor here.
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Awesome! The only thing is, you'll have to buy up some Canon batteries if you shoot with other cameras other than Canon (I have a Nikon right now).
March 25, 2015 at 10:57AM
Wasabi Power sells a 2 pack of LP-E6 batteries for $29.99 with two chargers on Amazon if you needed to buy some. Super good price and I've never had an issue with them.
March 27, 2015 at 12:47AM
Interesting little gadget - although the interest is highly dependant on the actual price. I like the battery thing, but is there no direct port to provide this thing with power? I need my monitors to be able to draw power from my V-lock battery. Oh well, we will see what NAB brings this year :)
March 25, 2015 at 11:17AM
March 25, 2015 at 11:33AM
Well,...yea - but it's not ideal, is it? :P
March 25, 2015 at 11:36AM
Why not? It's a PTap power cable. It just has a different attachment at the other end.
March 25, 2015 at 2:37PM, Edited March 25, 2:37PM
Well, besides the obvious extra cost (the link above shows a whopping $170,-!) I try to cut down on as much hassle, adapters and pieces that can fall apart on my rig while shooting as possible.
The next question would be: would you need two adapters than in order for this screen to work? I guess not, but if it needs two batteries in place it probably needs to adapters. Questions questions...
My current viewfinder has a slot for a battery as well as a power input. On the standard rig it receives juice from the big battery on the rig, but when I quickly need to cut down on size it switches to battery. Thats not really possible with this one.
March 25, 2015 at 3:15PM
The addition of 3d Luts on this thing is pretty neat, otherwise I feel like this monitor (that REALLY looks like an iPhone, right?!) is overcast by plenty of others. Then again, price will make a huge difference. I also wonder how reflective the screen is; that could make a big different, too, considering most screens out there now seem to have reflective surface problems.
March 25, 2015 at 12:17PM, Edited March 25, 12:17PM
Yes, if it's glossy, that's asinine.
This glossy fad is the most ridiculous regression in the history of consumer electronics.
March 26, 2015 at 11:52PM
I just did a shoot with a Shogun. For the life of me I cannot understand why they went with a glossy screen. It rendered the thing completely worthless as a monitor half the time.
April 9, 2015 at 8:49AM
I wonder what smartphone this is coming from. My guess is the Note 2 or 3. Samsung is actually really good with color accuracy and glare control. There is definitely some off-axis color shift on those screens, though.
March 25, 2015 at 1:58PM
The most amazing flip-out monitor I've ever seen was on our old Sony HVE-Z1U HDV camcorder. It was clearly viewable with direct sunlight hitting it. How Sony did that is a mystery because subsequent viewfinders were not as good.
If it was some sort of surface treatment or filtering, I wish I could buy that system to put on my DP4, which completely washes out in daylight, thus requiring the eyepiece or marginally useful sunhood. Would be nice for my GH4 flip-out monitor as well. Camera and monitor manufacturers seem to think we only use their tools indoors.
March 28, 2015 at 8:00AM
I'm someone with a very low budget who doesn't like to spend on unnecessary things, so I do want to ask people this clueless question: how necessary is a proper production or field monitor if you already have a computer monitor, iPad or TV set? For instance, would the above SmallHD solution be better than buying a Teradek clip and streaming to an iPad, or, cheaper yet, Google Chromecast and streaming to a TV...?
I suppose it might depend on what that external monitor is for -- whether it's director/client (in which case maybe all they need is something basic) or DOP (where they might want access to waveform, etc) or whether it might even be used in post by someone who wants extremely accurate colours.
March 25, 2015 at 2:12PM
Well it's about damn time. I've had a 5" 1080p display in my pocket for a year now; it cost me $500 brand new and it weighs 130 grams. All someone had to do was add an HDMI input.
March 25, 2015 at 5:02PM
This is exactly what I've been looking for to use with my bmpcc. If they make a lil hood for it, then I'm sold.
March 25, 2015 at 7:03PM
I use this on my Samurai which essentially converts it into a useable EVF that records Prores. Same size screen.
March 26, 2015 at 7:31AM
size is nice and I expect the price to be competitive given their history, I hope they are making an eye loop for it. Transvideo have the Starlite HD which is also a based on a phone screen and is a similar size but it SDI only and it's about £1300
March 26, 2015 at 4:04AM
March 26, 2015 at 11:53PM
Starlite HD does also have a touch screen (which will be used as an Alexa Mini controller), so there are other advantages of the Starlite. Another big difference is that Starlite has a real power port. Since smallHDs have real power ports in their DP pro monitors, it's odd that this one requires a canon battery. (It crossconverts like their pro monitors, unlike their non-cross converting AC series.). I hate HDMI, but it's my low budget wireless video solution...I want some of what the Starlite HD has and some of what the smallHD has...some day, some small monitor will have both. I'd like to see a daylight bright version as well.
April 5, 2015 at 6:47PM
I don't know the price of this monitor, but usually happens:
Cell Phone/tablet with 1080 OLED monitor = U$300
"Professional" monitor 1080 OLED = U$600
Damn "professional" word!
March 26, 2015 at 8:33AM
Still waiting for 7" 1080p :P
March 27, 2015 at 6:22AM
Yes! This looks great. I wonder what else there is in store for us during NAB.
March 27, 2015 at 7:57AM
Because this monitor has SDI IN and OUT, along with waveform and other professional image tools, my guess is that this monitor is going to priced in the $1,200+ range.
March 27, 2015 at 12:44PM
March 27, 2015 at 6:51PM
This article brings up a good point. I have an iPhone 6 Plus. It already has a 5" monitor. And costs me a bundle.
Does anyone know of the ability to get HDMI video INTO an iPhone via the Lightning port? That would be pretty cool. And save a lot of money.
March 28, 2015 at 7:50AM, Edited March 28, 7:50AM
how much is it? I wish something like this for 99euro.
March 29, 2015 at 11:46AM
You might need to add another 9 to that...
April 10, 2015 at 3:26PM
Looks pretty impressive. I'll be interested in seeing what it retails for here in Europe.
April 3, 2015 at 9:43AM