Hands-On Review: ikan Field Monitors VK7i and VX7i
ikan has recently released updated versions of their VK7 and VX7 field monitors. The new VK7i and VX7i monitors feature 7” IPS LCD screens with higher native resolution, wider viewing angles and more accurate color rendition versus the older models. In addition to the original feature set, which includes Peaking, False Color, RGB adjust, Clip Guides and DSLR scaling, the new models also include a dual tally system. As with the previous generation, the key distinction between the new VK and VX models is their respective input options. The VK7i offers inputs for HDMI, Component and Composite video, and the VX7i adds 3G-SDI to that otherwise comprehensive list.
Both models feature 1280 x 800 native resolution, which renders a clear image that is well suited to the 7” screen. In addition, the LCD panel benefits from In-Plane Switching technology, which enables horizontal and vertical viewing angles of 170 degrees and improves color rendition. Another notable addition, a dual tally system, provides yellow, green and red indicators on the front and back of the panel. The front tally is an on-screen display, and the rear tally employs three, small LED lights in the upper left corner.
Each of the inputs on both models is paired with a looping output, which allows users to daisy-chain a series of monitors or connect an external recorder. As I mentioned before, the VX7i includes 3G-SDI, which enables data rates equal to that of dual link HD-SDI but from a single connection. Another advantage of the VX7i's 3G-SDI connectivity is the ability to use the looping output for long runs of more than 250 feet, which is especially useful for setting a "video village" a suitable distance from the action. In addition to the various video inputs, VK7i and VX7i both feature a 12-24 VDC XLR connector, a standard DC power terminal and an RJ45 tally input.
While connectivity is the key distinction between the VK7i and the VX7i, there are a few other minor differences as well, namely the control interface. Both models have control knobs for adjusting brightness, contrast, chroma and sharpness on the face of the panel. These knobs can also be used to adjust RGB and tint. The VX7i features a fifth control dial for navigating the menu, while VK7i uses a 4-button “D-pad.” Another D-pad accommodates the movable pixel-to-pixel function and—on the VX7i—doubles as a series of I/O selection buttons. On the VK7i, this second D-pad also provides four user-definable buttons. This gives the VK7i a minor yet notable edge on the VX7i, which only has two user-definable buttons. Of course, the deciding factor between the two will always be whether or not you need the VX7i’s 3G-SDI connectivity.
The VK7i and VX7i feature 1/4"-20 threaded inserts on the top, bottom, left and right sides of the panel, giving users several options for mounting the monitor on a camera or camera support system. The threaded inserts are metal, but the rest of the housing is a heavy-duty plastic, which keeps the unit relatively lightweight (approximately 1.1 lb).
As you may know, “Peaking” is a focus-assist feature that displays a colored outline around the edges of any object that is in focus. The VK7i and VX7i’s Monochrome Peaking feature displays a red outline. The False Color feature translates exposure values into an abstract spectrum of colors, providing a warning against under and over-luminance. Thankfully, a False Color key can also be displayed at the bottom of the screen to aid beginners in translating appropriate values. Clip guides are a similar feature that allow the user to dial in an IRE limit, and portions of the image that exceed that limit will flash a purple clipping indicator. DSLR Scaling adjusts the HDMI input signal for 3:2, 16:9, Full Screen or “Normal.”
Like most of ikan’s monitors, the VK7i and VX7i can be powered by a range of popular camcorder batteries. B&H offers the VK7i and the VX7i with batteries and battery adapter plates that are compatible with Sony’s BP-U and L series, Canon’s 900 and E6 series, Panasonic’s D54 series and Nikon's EN-EL15. The VX7i is also available with a Panasonic-style G6 battery and adapter plate. In addition, ikan has bundled a variety of “Deluxe Kits” that include the monitor, a battery, a battery adapter plate, a battery charger, an AC adapter, a camera shoe mount and a hard case.
For more information about these and other ikan products, please stop by the B&H NYC SuperStore or contact a sales professional over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.
|Display Type||IPS LCD|
|Screen Size||7" diagonally (17.8 cm)|
|Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Viewing Angle (HxV)||170 x 170°|
|Inputs||3G-SDI (x1, BNC) Note: VX7i only
Component (x1, BNC)
Composite (x1, BNC)
Tally (x1, RJ45)
|Outputs||3G-SDI (x1, BNC) Note: VX7i only
Component (x1, BNC)
Composite (x1, BNC)
|Power Inputs||VX71: 6-24 VDC power input (x1)
VK7i: 7-24 VDC power input (x1)
12-24 VDC power input (x1)
|Power Consumption||8 w|
|Mount Type||1/4"-20 threads (x4)|
|Dimensions||5.6 x 7.3 x 1.6" (14.2 x 18.5 x 4 cm)|
|Weight||1.1 lb (0.5 kg)|