Below are the top-rated on-camera monitors from B&H. Most of the monitors are only available from a few brands. Elvis and FeelWorld are two examples of brands that have an emphasis on affordable products. Atomos and SmallHD are two of the brands on this list. They offer a variety of products that range from low-end to high-end. Blackmagic Design, which recently joined the On-camera Monitor space with a range of recording monitors, is also highlighted.
The main reason for differences in cost is features like signal support, connector types, and software functions. Below is a list of common features you should consider when choosing a monitor. The article Choosing an on-Camera Monitor provides a detailed discussion of some of these most important features. To learn more about software functions such as focus assist, watch this video Camera Monitoring Tools.
The Key Factors You Need to Take into Account
- What signals can the monitor support? It has to support your camera’s signal(s)–generally, most monitors will.
- Is it able to handle a 4K input signal What frame rate is it able to handle?
- Are the connectors included?
- What is the screen resolution?
- How bright is the image? High brightness, such as 2000 cd/m2 and more, will better display the image outdoors in sunny environments.
- What software functions does the monitor have? For example, focus assist, waveform, and audio meters. Anamorphic de-squeeze, HDR, LUT support, and HDR tools. While there are some features that can be found on all monitors, higher-end models often offer more options and more settings.
- Is the monitor capable of recording your camera signal to a memory card? Is it a recorder or a monitor?
- Is it an OLED or LCD display? Is it touchscreen or LCD?
Atomos’ 5.2″ Shinobi model is affordable. A compact monitor like this is ideal for small cameras such as the Nikon Z6.
Atomos Shinobi 5.2″ 4K HDMI Monitor
The Shinobi is stylish and packed with features. It’s also one of the most affordable monitors. The Shinobi has one HDMI connector that can be used to plug in your camera. It supports up to DCI 4K/29.97 input signals and displays them on a 1080p display. The Shinobi offers most of the same software functions as the Atomos models, including waveform and HDR monitoring tools. They can all be accessed via touchscreen. Frame guides, one of these, allow you to view your image in various frame sizes. This is useful for setting up shots that are suitable for social media platforms such as Instagram. You can also upload up to eight LUTs via an SD card to the Shinobi, so you can add a LUT on your image while you are shooting. It has a surprisingly high brightness for such a low-cost monitor, with 1000 cd/m2 brightness.
Atomos’ next product is the 5″ Ninja. This is a similar device but it is also a monitor and recorder. You can record the shot directly to an SSD, up to 4K in compatible formats with most editing software. A 1TB SSD can store up to 2 and 1/2 hours of 4K video. This is more than you would be able to record with other cameras.
Atomos Ninja V 5″ 4K HDMI Recording Monitor
Atomos offers only a handful of products on the external camera screen. Atomos focuses on a small number of monitors at a given time. The Shogun7 is the top-of-the-line monitor. It is a 7-inch cinema monitor, recorder and switcher. It has multiple connectors that allow you to connect up to four ISO SDI camera streams and switch between them in real-time to display different shots. You can also record directly onto the monitor. The Shogun 7 comes with all the features of other Atomos models, such as HDR support, and a very high 3000 cd/m2 light.
SmallHD was popularized when its compact 4.3-inch DP4 monitor became a hit with users, from beginners to advanced. The company’s releases have been getting more sophisticated over the years. Although the Focus 5 was a low-end model, it is no longer in production. One is possible. The FOCUS PRO OLED SDI Monitor is available in a 5.5-inch, and the Indie 7 Touchscreen, will be the top-of-the-line. The new FOCUS Pro can only be used for SDI workflows.cinema hd uses this type of external camera screen for their videos. However, the INDIE 7 has HDMI and SDI inputs. It includes 4K input, LUT support, and HDMI/SDI crossover conversion.
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The most popular models on the high end are the 7″ 703 or 5″ 503 UltraBright1080p monitors. Both have 2200 cd/m2 brightness for clear outdoor visibility and offer a wide range of software functions such as HDR preview, 3D LUT Processing, waveform, histogram, and many more.
Blackmagic offers a variety of options from its Video Assist range of on-camera monitor/recorders. Each variation is different. There are differences in connectivity, signal support, and recording options. The Video Assistant 3G-SDI/HDMI 5″ monitor/recorder is at the lower end. It has 1080p signal support, and one SD card slot to record the camera signal. Two card slots are available on the 7″ model, which allows you to swap cards in production for uninterrupted recording. Another benefit is the ability to record directly onto the monitor. You can record raw footage from certain cameras and simultaneously record to the monitor in a codec like ProRe.