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Thread started 08 Jul 2018 (Sunday) 20:59
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Anone using a 7" monitor for a viewfinder?

 
jeffreybehr
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Post edited 2 months ago by jeffreybehr. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 08, 2018 20:59 |  #1

Two buddies are using different 7", 1920X1200-resolution monitors mounted to the rear of their cameras as viewfinders.
Here's one... https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …finehd_on_locat​ion_7.html (external link)
and the second... https://www.bhphotovid​eo.com …_ips_ultra_thin​_full.html (external link)

Each is connected via HDMI and each fotog LOVES the improvement in visibility, including apparent resolution and MUCH easier manual focusing. At about $300 for the monitor system and two 6600mAh batteries and a charger, I'm seriously tempted to try one, as my 74-year-old eyes are NOT getting better! With various clamps and rails I've been accumutlating for 19 years, I've patched together what I believe is a fairly rigid-yet-liteweight mounting system that will rotate with the camera for a vertical frame. Here's a pic of one friend's system. It's a little difficult to see clearly how it goes together, but all the controls on his Canon 5D3 are usable.

Anyone using a similar system?


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In 2018, switched to my fourth Sony system, this time an a7R3. The THIRD rendition of lenses includes a Loxia 21, Canon TS-Es in 24mm (gen.2) and 50mm (gen.3), and Sony zooms in 70-200/4 and 24-105/4.

  
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gjl711
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Jul 08, 2018 21:24 |  #2

I haven't used a 7" monitor but I use my 15? laptop often.

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rwmson
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Jul 11, 2018 06:41 |  #3

That field monitor is designed to mount on TOP of the camera using hot shoe ball head. Your photo appears to show it mounted to the rear of the camera somehow. In this configuration, none of the controls or the LCD on the rear of the camera would be accessible. That would be a non-starter for me.

Also, I find that my field monitor, which is connected via HDMI, to have rather slow response times compared to the camera's display. For example, take a shot and have to wait a second for the review image to appear on the field monitor, then wait another second for the screen to switch back to the camera settings screen. I find this latency to be bothersome and something for you to consider when weighing the advantages/disadvantag​es of using a field monitor.

I would however like to see more details on how your buddies are doing the rear-mount.


yeah, I gots some stuff.

  
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jeffreybehr
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Post edited 2 months ago by jeffreybehr.
     
Jul 13, 2018 20:15 |  #4

rwmson wrote in post #18660416 (external link)
That field monitor is designed to mount on TOP of the camera using hot shoe ball head. Your photo appears to show it mounted to the rear of the camera somehow.
It's mounted on a rail starting below the camera.

In this configuration, none of the controls or the LCD on the rear of the camera would be accessible. That would be a non-starter for me.
It's difficult to see in this pic from mostly the rear, but ALL the controls on the back fo the camera are usable.

Also, I find that my field monitor, which is connected via HDMI, to have rather slow response times compared to the camera's display. For example, take a shot and have to wait a second for the review image to appear on the field monitor, then wait another second for the screen to switch back to the camera settings screen. I find this latency to be bothersome and something for you to consider when weighing the advantages/disadvantag​es of using a field monitor.
I'll know more about that next week, after my monitor system arrives.

I would however like to see more details on how your buddies are doing the rear-mount.

Here's my start...a Kirk Long Rail Plate and a couple inexpensive 1"-wide clamps. Since the monitor rail clamps on the camera's L-bracket, the monitor will rotate with the camera for vertical frames.

My setup will be a few ounces lighter than Steve's. I'll post more pics next week. FWIW, the tripod is a temp.; my Gitzo/Cube is out for a small mod to the clamp.


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In 2018, switched to my fourth Sony system, this time an a7R3. The THIRD rendition of lenses includes a Loxia 21, Canon TS-Es in 24mm (gen.2) and 50mm (gen.3), and Sony zooms in 70-200/4 and 24-105/4.

  
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jeffreybehr
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Post edited 2 months ago by jeffreybehr.
     
Jul 18, 2018 01:26 |  #5

Here's the second stage. At 2 pics per post, it may take a while. But first, the cable is temporary; I'm looking for an HDMI cable with 90-degree connectors on each end. Also temporary are the aluminum spacers between the Cube's centerpost and the Kirk clamp screwed to it. The entire camera-and-monitor assembly lifts off the Cube tripod head upon loosening one clamp.

The monitor system rotates with the camera for vertical frames; I loosen the Cube's clamp, lift and rotate the camera, slide the normally vertical portion of the L-bracket into the Cube's clamp, and tighten the clamp. The monitor battery, an NP-F type, is rated at 6600mAh (the largest B&H had), and latches onto the monitor's back rather securely. Probably I'll slide the monitor forward on its rail maybe a half-inch. It's rather light (at least IMO) at 2 pounds, 1 ounce (930 grams) including the monitor and its anchor screw, big battery, rail, clamp, and too-long cable.


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In 2018, switched to my fourth Sony system, this time an a7R3. The THIRD rendition of lenses includes a Loxia 21, Canon TS-Es in 24mm (gen.2) and 50mm (gen.3), and Sony zooms in 70-200/4 and 24-105/4.

  
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jeffreybehr
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Post edited 2 months ago by jeffreybehr.
     
Jul 18, 2018 01:32 |  #6

For my Arca Cube, we had to raise its clamp off the centerpost a quarter-inch so that the new 1"-wide clamp and Kirk Long Rail Plate would clear the rest of the Cube. To be clear on this, the camera's L-bracket clamps to the Cube's replacement, 1-1/2-inch-wide clamp, and the monitor's rail-clamp clamps to the left side of the camera's L-bracket.


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In 2018, switched to my fourth Sony system, this time an a7R3. The THIRD rendition of lenses includes a Loxia 21, Canon TS-Es in 24mm (gen.2) and 50mm (gen.3), and Sony zooms in 70-200/4 and 24-105/4.

  
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jeffreybehr
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Jul 18, 2018 01:48 |  #7

I'll take more pics of details if anyone asks. The monitor-anchor nut and screw are temporary. After I figure out where I want to park the monitor front-to-back, my friend will make a simple plate to go under the rail for the screw to go thru.


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In 2018, switched to my fourth Sony system, this time an a7R3. The THIRD rendition of lenses includes a Loxia 21, Canon TS-Es in 24mm (gen.2) and 50mm (gen.3), and Sony zooms in 70-200/4 and 24-105/4.

  
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jeffreybehr
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Post edited 2 months ago by jeffreybehr. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 18, 2018 02:03 |  #8

Here are two from the bottom. I doubt you'd have to thin your rail and clamp to clear your tripod head. Here...

https://www.amazon.com …age_o01_s00?ie=​UTF8&psc=1 (external link)

...is the 1"-wide clamp I bought three of; I used only two. I already had the 1-1/2"-wide Kirk clamp now mounted on the Cube (which I LOVE, BTW). What size clamps you chose depends on the width of your camera's L-bracket.

My friend made the black-painted L-bracket that's double-sided-sticky-taped to the base of the monitor as a JIC reinforcement of its 1/4"-20 screwhole.


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In 2018, switched to my fourth Sony system, this time an a7R3. The THIRD rendition of lenses includes a Loxia 21, Canon TS-Es in 24mm (gen.2) and 50mm (gen.3), and Sony zooms in 70-200/4 and 24-105/4.

  
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Audii-Dudii
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Jul 18, 2018 04:17 as a reply to  @ rwmson's post |  #9

I would however like to see more details on how your buddies are doing the rear-mount.

I'm one of the friends Jeffrey referred to in his posts above. Tinkering with cameras is my daytime hobby and photographing with them is my nighttime hobby. :lol:

As such, my camera rig is constantly evolving (and I like to think it's also improving, but that's a matter of opinion, I suppose), but here's a recent photo of the monitor setup I was using until Jeffrey bought from me earlier this week the monitor in the photo below.

That's because, based on my success using this 7", 1920 x 1200 resolution HDMI monitor over the past year, I decided to replace it with an even larger, even higher resolution, 10.1" 2560 x 1600 monitor.

Anyway, as the photo shows, the monitor is mounted to the A7R via an aluminum bracket screwed to the camera's tripod hole. This particular bracket is made from two pieces of aluminum angle screwed together, so it has a Z shape that allows the OEM LCD to be pulled as far away from the A7R body as possible. This reduces the LCD's ability to heat the A7R body and also increases the body's ability to shed heat from the sensor. (This is also why I am using an external battery to power both the camera and monitor, because I do a lot of long-exposure photography and the cooler the sensor, the lower the amount of noise it creates and becomes visible.)

I am also using a ribbon HDMI cable instead of the more common rubber jacketed cables to save some weight -- it's hard to tell from looking at this photo, but I am very weight conscious when it comes to my cameras -- and its smaller, less obtrusive size improves accessibility to the A7R's back-panel controls, which I can easily operate with the monitor positioned at this distance.


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Audii-Dudii
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Jul 18, 2018 11:22 |  #10

jeffreybehr wrote in post #18665103 (external link)
But first, the cable is temporary; I'm looking for an HDMI cable with 90-degree connectors on each end.

As we discussed, I strongly suggest that instead of a cable with 90-degree connectors, you look for right-angle adapters for each end of the HDMI cable.

This way, you can leave the adapters more-or-less permanently attached to the camera and monitor and transfer the wear from repeatedly plugging-and-unplugging the cables to the adapters, which are inexpensive and easy to replace, unlike the connectors / circuit boards inside the camera and monitor.




  
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rwmson
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Jul 19, 2018 07:13 |  #11

Thanks for posting the setups!


yeah, I gots some stuff.

  
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NDAPhoto
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Post edited 2 months ago by NDAPhoto. (7 edits in all)
     
Jul 22, 2018 09:15 |  #12

A totally different direction is to use the CamRanger with an iPad or tablet. It creates a high resolution tetherless solution, so no cord between your camera and monitor. You can mount or hold the iPad anyway you want and have a large viewfinder with Retina resolution. More importantly, you can control all settings of the camera and shutter using the iPad, even bracketing. Zoom-in to the image to inspect your highlights and shadows by pixel, then make incremental adjustments to your settings. The CamRanger has the additional benefit of being a remote control which expands on the use of your camera for many situations. Your camera can be placed out of reach or even in a different room. For outdoor photography, you can set your camera close to your subject while monitoring and triggering from nearby. Or in the snow, set up the camera outside and trigger it from your car. Many more possibilities available to you by being tetherless.

The CamRanger retails for $300, so if you already own an iPad or tablet is a great monitoring option. The device is simple, about the size of an external battery pack and has a rechargeable battery. Mainly it affords a larger display while being tetherless, so all the other benefits are a no brainer. The app you use to control the CamRanger is free to download for Android or iOS.




  
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Audii-Dudii
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Post edited 2 months ago by Audii-Dudii. (6 edits in all)
     
Jul 22, 2018 09:44 |  #13

NDAPhoto wrote in post #18667933 (external link)
A totally different direction is to use the CamRanger with an iPad or tablet. It is tetherless, so no cord between your camera and monitor. You can mount or hold the iPad anyway you want. More importantly, you can control all settings of the camera and shutter using the iPad, even bracketing. Zoom-in to the image to inspect your highlights and shadows, then make incremental adjustments to your settings. The CamRanger has the additional benefit of being a remote control for your camera which expands on the use of a monitor for many applications. Your camera can be placed out of reach or even in a different room.

If you're using a Canon or Nikon camera, then sure, CamRanger is another option. As is Manfrotto's Digital Director and several other programs, too!

But not if you're using a Sony, because they don't work with them.

And the other wireless options available for Sony cameras that I'm aware of, including Sony's own remote control apps, all use the highly compressed, very low-res signal that Sony broadcasts from its A7-series cameras, which is nowhere near sufficiently resolving to be used for critical focusing. (At least not how I do critical focusing, anyway!)

So with Sony cameras, at least in the past and for now -- actually, I'm not sure about the latest, MkIII versions, but this is definitely true for the MkI and MkII versions, because I have firsthand experience with them -- the only option to feed the external monitor a high-ish resolution signal is to use their HDMI outputs, * which requires a cable (even when using Sony's pricey external monitors, despite the fact that they were designed to mount into Sony's proprietary multi-function hot shoe, which can provide a video signal.)

Although if money is no object, there are HDMI transmitters available that can wirelessly broadcast the camera's HDMI signal to monitors (equipped with receivers, of course!) up to 1000 feet away, so I suppose there are a few wireless monitor options if that is critical to your needs, but they all come with a four-digit price....

* FYI, with still photos, Sony's HDMI output is limited to just 1080P resolution, which is only 1920 x 1080. For playback of still photos, however, the HDMI signal resolution increases to UHD (aka "4k," although it's slightly lower than that), which is 3840 x 2160 resolution. So for capture purposes, an external monitor with 1920 x 1080 resolution is as good as one needs, but higher-res monitors can be useful for playback purposes. Hence the reason I'm upgrading my 7", 1900 x 1200 monitor to a 10.1", 2560 x 1600 monitor. Personally, I'd love to have a 4k monitor, but the smallest one I found for field use and at a (cough, choke) reasonable price -- i.e., $600 -- has a 12.5" screen, which is just too large for my purposes. For the time being, then, I've settled for a "2K" resolution monitor and will revisit this matter in another year or so....




  
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Audii-Dudii
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Jul 29, 2018 11:59 as a reply to  @ Audii-Dudii's post |  #14

For the sake of completeness, I'm reporting back after finishing the monitor upgrade mentioned above.

Unfortunately, the results so far are mixed. The larger screen (10.1" v. 7" diagonal) of the Uperfect 10.1" 2K monitor (available now on eBay for $89.95, which is $15.00 less than I paid when I ordered it 10 days ago ... grrr) is great and the additional resolution (2560x1600 v. 1920x1200) is definitely useful when reviewing captured photos before I strike my setup and move onto the next scene / photograph.

But the quality of the image displayed isn't as good as it was using the previous monitor (a 7" Aputure VS-1 FineHD), which, of course, cost roughly twice as much, so I suppose this shouldn't have come as a surprise. I'm not an expert in these matters, but the issues seem to be that the Uperfect monitor has neither the brightness nor contrast range to match the Aputure monitor, let alone improve upon it. To make it usable for my nighttime photography, I have had to crank the individual RGB channels as high as they can go while preserving the same color balance, as well as crank the overall brightness control to its max. Even then, it doesn't reveal sufficient detail in the shadow areas and the highlights are nearly blown out, which makes judging exposure lengths a bit tricky, because until I become accustomed to this monitor's performance, I don't have a very good idea of how the exposure will ultimately look (except to check the histogram, which isn't very precise because it's based on a .jpg and not the raw file) or how much headroom, if any, I will have available during post-processing.

This also means I have to use another workaround as well, which is to increase the ISO three or four stops, roughly compose my photo, and then iterate to the final composition by taking test photos and looking at the results, then blindly adjust the camera this way or that. While this approach does work -- I've had to use it with many other camera setups over the past decade -- it's a PITA, to be honest, and I would be much happier if I could avoid it, because taking multiple long-exposure photos in a row heats the camera's sensor and potentially increases the noise level, especially when the ambient temp is high, as is generally the case during the hot summer months here in Phoenix, AZ.

So, Yes, this monitor setup does work -- but only just okay, sort of -- and I'm pondering where to go from here. Unfortunately, the other 10.1" monitors with 2k resolution aren't exactly thick on the ground, so there aren't a lot of other options, and of those that do exist, many appear to be the same monitor, only repackaged slightly. Or they use the same IPS panel, which suggests they will perform similarly.

However, if one is prepared to accept a larger size -- say, between 12.5" and 13.3", and spend more money -- between $300 and $600 -- then some other, presumably better-performing monitors are available, such as the Lilliput A12, which offers 4k (3840x2160) resolution! Of course, I will only be able to take advantage of that during playback, because the live HDMI signal my A7R outputs is limited to just 1080p (1900 x 1080) resolution, but it does output a 4k signal during playback, which should provide a significantly higher-res image to review.

I hate to spend the additional money and I don't really want / need an even larger monitor, but after even just two nights of working with a 10.1" monitor -- even one that is as much as a PITA to use as this one has proved to be -- going back to a modest 7" monitor and being happy will be very, very difficult for me. (And for the record, using the OEM 3" LCD on the back of the camera is now for emergency / backup use only ... no way, no how can I ever willingly limit myself to working with a screen that small! <shrugs>

Anyway, here's what the larger monitor setup looks like (note: the cables / routing still need to be sorted, so the final, final result will look much tidier, but there's no point in going to that expense and effort at this point, when I've not yet made a final decision on the monitor):


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Audii-Dudii
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Aug 11, 2018 17:59 |  #15

So I've now changed monitors again, this time for a Lilliput A12:


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It has "4k" resolution (actually, 3840 x 2160, so a bit less than 4k resolution), decently high brightness and contrast ranges, and a 12.5" screen. (The photo displayed on the screen below measured approx. 11.5", so very nearly what one would see on the ground-glass of an 8x10 view camera, provided one masked the format to 3:2 instead of a 5:4 aspect ratio. (I know this for a fact, because I was actually shooting 8x10 transparency film when I converted to digital capture back in 2005-06 and one thing I've missed since then is the large view of the scene on the ground-glass.*

I've spent some time tweaking its settings and finally have it working well enough that it's adequate for my purposes. Unfortunately, it's also a pound heavier than I would prefer and really soaks up energy from my external battery pack, which it converts into heat for the rear panel, as it becomes quite warm to the touch after a little while.

It's also not the least expensive monitor around, although the price has recently fluctuated between $599.95 and $499.95 and if you pick it up during one of eBay's 15-25% off promo sales, as I did, you can buy one for even less still. For the money, I am not expecting perfection, but I am generally happy enough with it, so I'll end my search here ... for now, anyway.

* If one desires, it's possible to flip the displayed image upside-down and also reverse it left-to-right, such that it mimics what would see on the ground-glass of a view camera. And all joking aside, I can foresee occasions when I might just do that, in order to abstract the scene that I am photographing and make it easier to arrange the composition around shapes and colors instead of specific, identifiable objects.



  
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Anone using a 7" monitor for a viewfinder?
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