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Marshall, one of the most well-known and respected names in field monitors, has released an afforable line of budget monitors priced to be within the reach of just about any videographer or video hobbyist. The consumer/prosumer videographer now has a more affordable monitoring solution from Marshall, with its M-LCD7-HDMI line of consumer camera-top field monitors.
Now, let’s be clear, these are not professional monitors, and they don’t have many of the features that professional videographers demand. There's no peaking, blue gun or false color, but what these monitors do have is a large seven-inch screen to help you compose your shots and ensure that they remain in sharp focus. Certain features that the monitor does have include auto Aspect Ratio Detect, Image Flip / Flop, Auto Power-Down and color temperature adjustments.
For maximum convenience in the field, you can power these monitors with standard DSLR batteries. Depending on the kit you choose, the monitor can be compatible with Canon BP511, Canon LP-E6 or Nikon EN-EL3e batteries. Even though this kit may not have many professional features, the main advantage of an external monitor is still undeniable. Making sure your footage is in focus with your camera's small LCD screen can be challenging. Something that seems in focus on a two-inch screen may be incredibly out of focus when enlarged upon a bigger screen. The seven-inch monitor can help make sure that what looks in focus really is in focus, and it can assist in proper framing.
These budget monitors are designed to mount right on top of a DSLR or HD camera, and the HDMI inputs should be compatible with most recent camcorders. The seven-inch, TFT LCD 800 x 480 monitor features 1,152,000 pixels for fairly high-resolution imaging. It also offers a 500:1 contrast ratio and a 70-degree viewing angle. The monitors weigh in at 12 ounces without the battery. With the battery inserted, weight varies, depending on the battery you choose.
Billed as an all-in-one turnkey system, the kit includes the seven-inch, 800 x 480 LCD monitor with two video inputs and one audio input allowing composite, HDMI and VGA connectivity. The kit also includes a grab bag of accessories, just about everything you need to get started, including a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable as well as a standard HDMI cord, A/V cable, PC cable, 12-volt AC car adapter, AC power supply, a stand, a hot shoe camera-mount adapter and a remote. If you get one of the battery adapter kits, you’ll also get a hood that can make viewing the LCD in bright sunlight easier, a DC cable, a battery plate, a mounting plate, an AC car battery charger and of course, a spare battery.
The Marshall LCD7-HDMI kit is available without a battery adapter and is also available with adapters for the Canon BP511 (compatible with many Canon digital camcorders), Canon LP-E6 (compatible with most Canon DSLRs, including the 7D and 5D Mark II), and the Nikon EN-EL3e (compatible with the Nikon D200, D300, D700 and D80 digital SLRs).
These monitors bring us one step closer to truly democratizing video, putting high end-like video tools within the reach of creative video students, non-professional videographers and video enthusiasts.
Have you had any experience shooting with these or any other low-cost monitors? Did you miss any of the pro features or were you satisfied with their performance without those features? Tell us all about it in the Comments section below.