SmallHD AC7 Field Monitor

What a great monitor….  The End

OK, ok. Maybe a little more is needed =)

Earlier this summer I was prepping a project and the DP had asked for a larger monitor with a really good sun shade.  I was using an older 5″ HDMI monitor.  We were shooting on my 5D3 and were going to be on the move over the 5 days of shooting.  So I started looking at my options.

I had checked out the SmallHD AC7 and it’s bigger brother the DP7 at CineGear and was very impressed.  Both monitors had a really nice look and feel and were well built.  I’m very partial to the way SmallHD handles their focus assist features.  The peaking in these monitors reminds me of the peaking in my old BetaCam cameras.  When you’re on, you are on!! and you can see the focus plane coming/going as you are rolling through focus.  Really helpful with DSLR shooting. The 5D3 staying in HD during recording is also very nice.

So as I said I was going to be in the field (or actually on an island) for 5 days shooting mostly “Run and Gun”.  We weren’t going to be able to charge batteries during the day and the rig had to be really light and nimble.  Pictured here is my Hand Held rig:

I found the easiest thing was to set up the 5D3 on a Manfrotto raiser with 12″ rods and use a Ultralight 15mm rod accessory to add the monitor via a cine arm.  (Say that 3 times fast =)  This put the monitor almost right over the camera body and still left access to the battery door and CF card slot.  To keep the weight down I used the Canon battery plate from SmallHD.  This allowed me to use all the same batteries for the monitors and cameras.  In this config we really didn’t need a follow focus and normally left the mattebox off as well.  At night we could run without the sunshade leaving a much wider angle of view for the shooter and any one around him.  I didn’t have it at the time but have since added a LockPort to protect the mini HDMI connection on the side of the camera.

The monitor was flawless.  The HDMI port is on the bottom so it was very easy to run the cable under the lens and straight up into the monitor.  It is very light weight.  The screen is quite bright and clear.  The shade helped the daytime shooting immensely.  We could make it about 4 hours on one pair of batteries. ( the plate is set up for 2 batteries to run together extending the over all running time.)  When the batteries are down to about 10% the screen changes to the AC7 logo and starts flashing.  (Can’t miss that warning =)  Pop two fresh batteries on and you are ready to go another 4’ish hours.  You can get a variety of different battery plates to match your kit batteries and needs.

The monitor comes in two versions: an HDMI only version or an HDMI / HD-SDI version.  I went for the HDMI version at the time but am now thinking about getting the combo HDMI / HD-SDI version.  That way I can hang it off my EX3 or the H2S converter on my 5D3 / Blade kit.

The menu is easy to navigate and has a dial entry approach along with two assignable button for shortcut features and menu functions.  There are a number of guides that can be assigned as well as false color, etc.  Truly a well thought out monitor.

Well just my first impressions of the monitor.  Very happy.  It now lives in the 5D3 bag.  I’ll give an update as I use it more this year.  Thanks again for reading my post.

Until next time, Good shooting

TDTrey.com


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