Camcorders and a growing number of DSLRs feature LCDs that swivel and/or tilt to better enable image composition from less-than-ideal camera angles. Swivel-based LCDs, especially larger LCDs, can prove to be especially handy when you have to compose photos from a distance. The problem is that the largest LCDs top out at about 3.0 to 3.7”, which when viewed from a distance greater than arm’s length, is suddenly not so large.
As a workaround solution, many videographers and DSLR shooters have relied on field monitors for composing and reviewing stills and video clips. Available in sizes up to 9” diagonally, these oversized LCDs incorporate a TV-like experience into the creative workflow process. The downside of field monitors is that most all of them require two to three accessories, i.e., camera mounts, cables, etc, in order to integrate them to the workflow process.
The exception to the abovementioned issues is the Sony CLM-V55, a 5” LCD field monitor that simply slides and locks onto your camera’s hot shoe. Designed primarily for use with Sony’s proprietary hot-shoe mount, the CLM-V55 comes with an adapter that allows you to use the CLM-V55 on virtually any DSLR or camcorder that has a standard hot shoe.
With full swing-and-tilt functionality, the CLM-V55’s WVGA (800-480) screen provides a bright field of view of the action in a choice of 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio, and when used with the included snap-on sun shade, is quite viewable under the brightest lighting conditions. For power, the CLM-V55 relies on a standard issue camcorder battery, which clips on to the reverse side of the screen surface. There’s also a small spin-and-click control wheel located on the side of the LCD that allows you to control brightness, contrast, peak, zoom for critical focusing, color temperature, as well as audio levels of the screen’s built-in monaural speaker. There’s also a stereo jack for plugging in headphones, though live feed is mono and stereo is only audible in playback mode.
The Sony CLM-V55 should prove to be handy tool for still and video shooters who shoot at odd camera angles (copy stands readily come to mind) or simply prefer viewing the action on a larger screen.