For some time, I have been using a 7″ Lilliput external monitor for my Alpha and other HDMI output cameras. This is fairly bulky, with its external battery pack, and is mounted on a flash bracket holding it to the side of the camera. The main use of the monitor is for interview-style filming with it facing the subject (self filming) but it also has uses making location shooting simpler. Such monitors are usually mounted within video rigs, off camera, often at waist or chest level even when the camera is held above and forward of them.
The cost of the Lilliput is around £150-£200 depending on supplier and battery/mains power choices. Similar monitors from Marshall and other makers typically cost two to three times this, because they are sold for the photo market – the Lilliput is sold to the in-car entertainment sector, and therefore is not marked up by 300% to allow for the deep pockets of camera owners relative to car owners.
Sony’s new 5″ monitor is much lighter, and comes with mounts for hot shoe and Alpha shoe, and a neat lightweight HDMI-miniHDMI cable (oddly enough, that’s about the hardest thing to find – a short, skinny cable). It costs $395, but for that you do get a folding hood which is neat. They have many photos of it and not one shows it facing forwards, but the use is mentioned in the publicity.
It does not draw power from the HDMI, but requires either a mains adaptor or a battery pack, which is not shown in any of the photos. Sony have done the same as LED-video-light makers – provided a bay for fitting the regular Alpha camera battery as a power source. The press release implies that the battery pack is a separate item (‘optional’) instead of making the point that you use any large Alpha battery (including old ones left over from the A100). I find it very convenient that my video light accepts the same batteries as my camera system, and not very convenient to have a bulky rechargeable pack for my 7″ monitor. (NB: all that white space is part of Sony’s image we have linked to – nothing like wasting a bit of bandwidth by not cropping pix, is there?).
Here’s the press release:
A new clip-on LCD monitor from Sony gives DSLR camera owners a bigger, better view of their footage while shooting HD video.
The CLM-V55 is a portable video monitor featuring a high-resolution WVGA (800 x 480) (5”) LCD panel. Attaching easily to most Interchangeable Lens Digital cameras and compatible HD camcorders via the supplied adaptor, it displays video footage during shooting/playback with excellent clarity and a wide viewing angle.
The clip-on screen tilts and swivels to any angle for comfortable framing in any position – even self-shooting when you’re in the picture.
The CLM-V55 is loaded with pro-style features to help photo enthusiasts and videographers shoot high-quality HD video footage with their Interchangeable Lens Digital camera.
Pixel magnification mode assists with accurate focus confirmation, giving an enlarged pixel-perfect view of a selected portion of the Full HD image. It’s complemented by a colour peaking function that highlights the edges of accurately-focused areas of the video image.
An intuitive control wheel allows quick, positive adjustment of a wide range of monitor settings without interrupting shooting. Adjustable parameters include aspect ratio (16:9/4:3), volume, brightness, contrast, colour tone (phase), colour temp and auto dimmer. On-screen markers aid precise framing by giving precise indication of a TV’s 16:9 or 4:3 actual display area. The LCD monitor’s on-board mono speaker is complemented by a headphone jack for accurate audio monitoring during shooting.
The CLM-V55 attaches easily to a wide range of Interchangeable Lens Digital cameras from Sony and other manufacturers that support HD video shooting. The supplied adaptor simplifies mounting on any camera or HD camcorder that features an auto-lock accessory shoe or ISO shoe. Signal connection from camera to monitor is via the supplied HDMI cable, while power can be supplied using a battery pack or AC adaptor (both optional). The CLM-V55 comes with a detachable LCD hood for more comfortable viewing when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight.
The CLM-V55 LCD video monitor by Sony is available from March 2011.