April 7, 2017
REVIEW

REVIEW: CineMartin 4K LT Monitors are Under $200 and Going Fast

CineMartin's 4K LT Monitors are so popular, they're already selling out. Here's what we think of them.

When CineMartin first announced the amazing price of the 4K LT external monitor ($199), many were skeptical, but No Film School got our hands on a unit and are impressed. In fact, so many people were impressed that the units are almost sold out, and Cinemartin remains unclear on whether there will be more batches in the future, so grab one soon if you want an unbelievable value. 

Introduction

The CineMartin 4K LT monitor is a 7" external monitor with a Sony NP battery mount, HDMI inputs and outputs, with a hot shoe mount and camera hood included . Unlike popular monitor/recorders like the Atomos Ninja, this is just a monitor. However, it's a monitor that comes in at only $199, and has a host of exposure and focus assist features that make it an amazing bargain at the price.

This is an ideal option for filmmakers who want to get more function out of their GH5, XT2, or even 5D while sticking with internal recording. The larger screen (compared to the screen on your camera body), exposure and focus assist tools offer a tremendous benefit over shooting on a DSLR alone.

[Note: CineMartin sent us a 4K LT for review, that we have set up with our Fujfilm XT2 camera.]

Sony battery sticking out the back of the monitorCredit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

Overview

Build Quality

For a low-cost monitor, the LT feels sturdy and not fragile. It doesn't seem quite as "modern" as some competitors—the textured plastic surface is slightly '80s, but is very useful for helping with grip. What's more important is that the monitor is not going to break the first time you drop it.

One oddity is that the battery mount came unmounted: the end user needed to attach it themselves. This is not a huge burden for a filmmaker who is used to rigging cables and fixing screw mounts themselves, but an oddity nonetheless. Of course, some sacrifices have to be made to bring in gear at this price point, and 5 minutes of using a screwdriver is hardly a burden.

Ergonomics

The HDMI ports are all on the bottom, which can be slightly awkward when routing the cable, and made re-attachments when it fell out tricky. Not impossible, by any means, but just a little bit of a hassle as opposed to the absolute ease of a side mounted HDMI, where it is easy to see the port and how it is oriented. 

Buttons and menus are accessed on the top and it's easy to do so. A roll bar and buttons are never as easy to navigate as a touch screen, but again, this is a $199 4K monitor that gives you false color, histogram, waveform, and more. A scroll wheel and buttons will do just fine, and the menu system is easy to navigate. There are three user-programmable buttons, easy to set up for focus assist tools, which genuinely improves the functional life of the monitor.

Accuracy

We measured color accuracy as a reminder that this isn't what the tool is for.  The accuracy of colors on this monitor isn't great, coming in around dLogE of 6.5; in an ideal world the hope is for something under 5 to be considered color accurate. It's not a terrible accuracy number, and actors won't look like Oompa Loompas on this monitor unless they are supposed to, but you cannot use it for color grading, and it shouldn't be used for absolute on-set color evaluation.

Then again, for $199, that is to be expected. This monitor delivers what you need from it: accurate framing and tools to help with focus and exposure evaluation. The color settings are very robust for the price point, but considering the software and hardware needed to calibrate, it's unlikely that would be a typical workflow on a $199 monitor.

Measuring the CineMartin LT on the bench: lights were turned off for actual measurements.Credit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

While color accuracy is low, sharpness accuracy is actually quite useful. While you won't see the full 4K resolution at 7" (most studies say you need something more like 85" to see 4K resolution), the 4k input allows for a tremendous amount of zoom into the image, which helps tremendously with the focusing process. 4K resolution really highlights even slight focus errors, and having the ability to punch in so far on the monitor is a huge bonus.

Visible artifacting on the 4k image.
High level of monitor zoom for seeing accurate focusCredit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

Where this monitor really shines, of course, is the processing options. With anamorphic, false color, histogram, and focus features, this monitor truly gives you a host of tools to help with making the best possible decisions on set.

Credit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

Conclusion

If you are on a budget, and want an external monitor for your DSLR, this is it. There isn't an SDI port, it's not color accurate, and you attach the battery mount yourself—but it's only $199. You're going to love having a 7" screen, a waveform monitor and a false color guide, and best of all multiple focus assist tools. It's going to turn your $1500 camera into a real joy to work with.

Despite the their statement that the LT line is done, we hope that CineMartin decides to make another batch when this one is sold out. This is a product the film industry needs. Even if they go wild and raise the price to $299, it'll still be a deal.

Available for purchase now at the CineMartin site.

TL:DR

  • $199 monitor that seriously ups the game for small cameras
  • Not color accurate, not meant to be; don't grade with it, shoot with it
  • Waveform, Histogram, and False Color, Oh My!

Your Comment

10 Comments

Can you sites stop posting this as a 4K monitor please! Yes it monitors a 4K stream but at 1080p. It's native resolution is 1080p! 4K recorder makes sense from atomos because that's exactly what it does and there's not misconeception in context or without context. However, 4K monitor by itself is a lie. It can monitor a 4K signal but by itself is NOT a 4K monitor.

Not the first time.....http://nofilmschool.com/2016/05/ikan-debuts-plethora-new-4k-monitoring-s...

April 7, 2017 at 10:52AM

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It sounds like it's literally the name of the monitor. I've been lied to before from products. I have a sound system that says you could hear 4K sound! My girlfriend lies to me and says I'm attractive. I doubt you're gonna find a monitor that size that is going to have 4k. The Small HD 702 isn't 4k and it's crazy sharp! A true 4k monitor would eat away so much power I wouldn't want it on my camera.

April 7, 2017 at 1:42PM, Edited April 7, 1:42PM

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Julian
Director
365

If it's less than $1k then I just assume it's one of those things that is only worth trying if it can only do a quarter of what it's supposed to do and still get by

Marketing for ridiculous god-tier-yet-only-one-dollar sign video equipment is at an all-time high

April 8, 2017 at 1:03PM, Edited April 8, 1:04PM

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Drew
163

Why would I buy this one when I can get one from a known brand like Neewer with 2-day prime shipping? http://a.co/4w5b4IE

April 7, 2017 at 12:16PM

32
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Nicholas Tinsley
Hobbyist
74

4K bla bla bla thing does not matter of course, but thank you for mentioning the connection to the zoom function. I need to test it, so far I only tested it with a BMPCC. I bought this monitor for the anamorphic mode, since I am on a budget. Shipping was a big headache.. Well, at least the monitor itself looks nice and the anamorphic mode works fine.

April 13, 2017 at 3:49PM

4
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Alissa Alexina
Director | DP | Editor | Composer
74

Would this or the Aputure VS-2 be a better purchase? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1221494&gclid=Cj...7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&A=details&Q=

April 13, 2017 at 4:45PM

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Joseph Peed
Camera and Drone Operator
74

For those of you are are reading this post and needs an update from an actual buyer from this company. DO NOT BUY!!! This is a VERY VERY ( I can't even begin to tell you) RUDE and UNPROFESSIONAL company. 2 month went by and I havent see my monitor yet. two days ago when I kindly asked about the progress through email, this is what the sales manager says to me, I quote "What we told you ??? we hate people do not reading emails...I will mark your unit as keep on hole until septemebr, or I will refund your 100 -25% or send on July if you confirm you will be there in less than 24 hors". This means if I don't do what they tell me to do, I have to wait for 6 month until I get my monitor! WTF, seriously WTF!? So please do yourself a favor, AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COST! Go spend your money somewhere else with an actual legit company that sells good stuff with good customer service. This company is a big bully and please do not buy anything from them. I learnt my lesson the hard way....

June 26, 2017 at 1:33PM

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David Yao
Director of Photograhy / Camera Assistant
255

It may be a moot point as it appears--from CineMartin's website--that the remaining monitors were sold as a package to "a big customer." And if--as David Yao points out--their customer service is poor, they won't last long. I have a Lilliput monitor and I'm told the Neewer's are good, as well, so there are other modestly priced offerings out there. BTW, the $299 was actually EUROS, so the price is actually higher, in US dollars.

July 1, 2017 at 12:37PM

17
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Hello everyone,
don’t buy stuff from Cinemartin. That’s my big Advise for everyone thinking about it.
I write this because I made the worst experiences with this company you cloud ever imaging.
• the payment process is horrible and not transparent and it goes on in several steps, taking several days, it definitely will get more expensive than you think, because of exaggerated high shipping costs and taxes
• because of a problem on their website, regarding the payment process, Cinemartin still owes me about 1000$. This fault happens 3 month ago and there is no sign that I’ll get it back.
• Actually I never finished the payment process and never got a confirmation and they booked 11 times the shipping costs. That’s illegal, because I never reached the final site to confirm the payment. When I filed out the paymentform the site broke down and freezes. I never pushed the button “buy”.
• The customer service is the rudest I ever experienced. They’ll tell you, that you are an idiot and made the mistake, that you should stop wasting their time with writing emails, they say you have to wait two month to get the money back. Like I said, now it passed more than 3 month and nothing happens
• Not only the refund process is slow, even though the shipping takes two month
• If you think they are an exclusive sellers for some products start looking on other brands. I found the same products with a different brand on it. I cloud make a list where you can get them.
One thing that makes me angry is, that on many Websites Cinemartin products earn good promotion and I’m wondering why they support such swindlers. Websites whose goal is to inform their readers should get in distance to Cinemartin and not recommend it. I read those articles and now I feel cheated and betrayed and my wallet is 1000$ lighter. For nothing.
I will write about my case on many more websites until I get my money back. Actually I’m going to create a Website (www.dont-buy-cinemartin.com) where customers can write down their experiences and leave comments.

January 18, 2018 at 4:56AM

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Dear people, this guy ordered many many times the shipping of their product.
Our policies, and terms are clearly stated on our website. There is a fee of 25% for cancelling orders (only on orders from EU) and we cannot start to refund your money as the error was coming from your side, as you clicked and ordered more than 1 time the shipping.
In fact, as Angelo told you, we are sorry but we cannot even refund nothing as what you paid was the shipping, and the shipping is ordered automatically by our system to the shipping company, and the shipping companies does not allow for refunds. So I'm sorry, but the fault was from by ordering many many times the shipping, where on our website clearly states (and in bold and big font size) that "To proceed, click only one time on the BUY IT NOW button and wait for a response (usually a few seconds) "

What we told you is give you a credit balance of the money you spend on shipping as discount up to what you paid minus 25% of stated commission for new orders.

January 22, 2018 at 3:01PM

2
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Tony
161