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Equipment Rentals Survey

Screen Africa conducted a survey among some of South Africa’s leading equipment rental companies to find out what the current trends and fads are within the industry. Here is what we learnt…

ENTRY-LEVEL CAMERAS
(R5000 – R60 000 retail cost)

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: CANON | 2nd: SONY | 3rd: NIKON

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Sony A7S II

Strengths:

  • Great in low light
  • Beautiful 4K footage
  • Great hand feel
  • Image stabilisation/handheld

Weaknesses:

  • No focus tracking
  • Image stabilisation needs to be turned off on dolly and slider shots

“The Sony a7s II has been a game-changer for filmmakers and creatives across the world. Cinematographers and photographers have been creating amazing images with this mirrorless camera that can rival some of the best.” – Brent Barbano, co-founder of camera rental community ShareGrid

2nd: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Strengths:

  • High bitrate
  • Beautiful image
  • Ergonomics

Weaknesses:

  • Large file sizes
  • Only HD output via its HDMI

“The Canon 5D Mark IV is a solid follow-up to the much lauded 5D Mark III. Though the new camera is capable of 4K video recording, the 1.74x crop factor is a bit of a disappointment. Overall though, the 5D Mark IV produced a great-looking image.” – Chris Monlux, Videomaker

3rd: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Strengths:

  • Manual audio gain control
  • Headphone jack
  • Superb low-light performance
  • 30-minute maximum record time
  • Improved rolling shutter

Weaknesses:

  • No uncompressed video out
  • Sluggish autofocus in live-view mode

“Superb imaging and fleshed out audio control makes the 5D Mark III a worthy successor to the camera that forever changed the landscape of video production.” – Mike Wilhelm, Videomaker

These cameras are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video

MID-RANGE CAMERAS
(R60 000 – R120 000 retail cost)

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: SONY | 2nd: CANON

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Sony PXW-FS7

Strengths:

  • Internal 4K recording with a super 35mm sensor
  • 14 stops dynamic range in S-Log3
  • Superb ergonomics
  • Fully operational out of the box
  • Records from 1 to 180 frames per second

Weaknesses:

  • Very Poor menu design and functionality
  • The LCD monitor is mounted with cheap plastic

“The Sony PXW-FS7 – XDCAM is the best camera on the market for your money. Not only is it loaded with tons of high end features, great ergonomics and internal 4K, but this is a camera that is very easy to fall in love with.” Jason Miller, Videomaker

2nd: Sony PXW-FS5

Strengths:

  • Grip has great function
  • Portable size

Weaknesses:

  • Super 35 sensor not full frame

It’s easy to love this camera. The picture quality is superb and the form factor is easy to use – but those things don’t come cheap.” – Chris Monlux, Videomaker

3rd: Canon EOS C300 Mark II

Strengths:

  • Beautiful colours with many gamma, gammut and matrix settings
  • Many focus assist options like Focus Guide, Boosted Manual Focus and Face Tracking
  • Small footprint, versatile modularity
  • Exchangeable EF-mount and PL-mount (via Canon service centre)
  • Nearly perfect image quality in HD (EBU Tier 1 quality level)

Weaknesses:

  • Grain in shadows when using C-Log2 at ISO 800
  • Soft image at 100/120fps and 2:1 sensor crop
  • 1/4” allen screws for top handle instead of quick release knob

“The Canon C300 Mark II shines in image quality with endless combination image style settings.” PJZ, GadgetFlux

These cameras are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video

HIGH-END CAMERAS
(R120 000 – < retail cost)

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: SONY | 2nd: RED | 3rd: ARRI

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Sony PMW-F55

Strengths:

  • Best in class image quality
  • Wider colour gamut compared to film
  • SxS Pro+ media cards
  • One-touch interface
  • Long battery life (Olivine Lithium Iron Phosphate)

Weaknesses:

  • Premium price tag
  • Slight learning curve

“Even for the premium price, you will get what you pay for with the F55. Currently, you will be hard pressed to get better 4K footage out of any other 4K digital production camera available.” – Rex, 4K Camera 

2nd: Sony PMW-300

Strengths:

  • F1.9 Constant aperture fujinon lens
  • Complete all in one package
  • High bitrate footage at 4:2:2 50 mbps
  • Superb build quality and ergonomics
  • Viewfinder transforms into LCD monitor
  • Viewfinder/monitor has essential tactile buttons
  • Adjustable fore-grip angle

Weaknesses:

  • Heavy body
  • Hardly any bokeh effect
  • No slow motion at 1080p

“The picture quality is once again best in class and rivals much more expensive and larger cameras. It’s going to be a good all round camera that will find a home on corporate shoots, news and documentary shoots as well as in low budget studios.” – XDCAM-USER.COM 

3rd: RED EPIC DRAGON

Strengths:

  • Can shoot in anything between HD and 4K all in the same camera
  • High-speed capabilities
  • Shooting RAW– a major advantage over most camera manufactures
  • Compact size
  • Sensor upgradeability

Weaknesses:

  • Some users find the battery life to be short with the camera being power-hungry
  • An expensive external recorder is needed for HD recording

“Given the Epic Dragon’s price tag, this camera isn’t for everyone, but it will appeal to those that demand the most nuanced colour and with widest possible dynamic range.” Camera News at Cameraegg 

These cameras are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video

CAMERA LENSES

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: CANON | 2nd: SIGMA | ZEISS | 3rd: ROKINON

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Canon 24-70mm 2.8 MKII L-Series

Strengths:

  • Effective in most everyday shooting situations, including dim lighting
  • When used on a full-frame DSLR like the Canon EOS 6D or 5D Mark III, the focal range gets you wide, normal, and short telephoto shots without having to change lenses.
  • Well-built from durable materials and weather sealed
  • Incredible sharpness and surprisingly few optical compromises for a zoom lens

Weaknesses:

  • Price and lack of image stabilisation
  • Large and heavy

“Sharp, fast, compact, and durable – this lens is a pro’s best friend” TJ Donegan, Reviewed 

2nd: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

Strengths:

  • Tack sharp imagery
  • Build quality
  • Price – outstanding value for performance
  • Great low-light performance

Weaknesses:

  • Big and heavy
  • No image stabilisation

“The Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art ushers in a new era of quality and performance for this popular fast prime focal length. A 9 blade rounded diaphragm creates beautiful background bokeh to isolate and accentuate the subject.”Michaels for Photography

2nd: Zeiss SLR 50mm Prime Full frame

Strengths:

  • Vibrant, natural colour with realistic contrast
  • Great low-light performance
  • Smooth, painterly bokeh effects
  • Virtually no vignetting of images

Weaknesses:

  • Image can be seen as too soft when shot wide open – typical of most 50mm lenses. Sharpness in this lens is best when used at f/4.5 and stopped down from there

“It’s definitely a dream lens for videographers because of the long focus throw and the softness that the aperture is capable of providing.”Adorama

3rd: Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 Cine Prime Lens

Strengths:

  • Alloy body, yet light
  • Great cost vs performace
  • Colour matched coatings
  • Full frame coverage
  • Available in a wide variety of mounts

Weaknesses:

  • A subtle colour shift as the lens transitions from wide-open to T4 / T5.6
  • The range doesn’t have uniform physical lengths

“One of the things I really liked about these lenses, especially because they are full frame, is the feeling of shallow depth of field with cinematic focus fall off, while shooting at a T4 or higher.” Steven Gladstone, Explora News Tips and Reviews

These lenses are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video

CAMERA MOUNTS & ADAPTERS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: METABONES | 2nd: MTF | 3rd: CANON | FUJINON | NIKON | PANAVISION | RIG WHEELS | SIGMA

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Metabones EF to E-mount

Strengths:

  • A built-in lens, giving an extra stop of light
  • Build quality
  • All the markings are engraved in the metal as opposed to being printed
  • Optical performance unmatched by the competition
  • Partially Removes a crop factor from the camera body when used with Canon lenses made for full frame DSLR. Adds one F-Stop to the lens brightness
  • No external power source required.
  • Image stabilisation
  • Smooth iris support with select Canon (2009 and later), Tamron (SP series 2013 and later), and Sigma (2016 and later) lenses

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive, but you get what you pay for
  • There are other options for more affordable Canon EF to E mount adapters
  • Noticeable reduction of image’s sharpness on good Canon glass. (you may not notice this on average glass).

“The Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony E Camera Adapter IV (i.e. non Speed Booster version) offers the full-frame coverage, making it the go-to Canon adapter for use with the a7 / a7R / a7S.” Nomadic Shutter 

2nd: MTF E-mount

Strengths:

  • Well built
  • It accommodates a lot of cameras, from the Sony NEX5 up to the CineAlta F3 and F5, as well as the Canon EOS 7D up to the Cinema EOS C100 and 300s
  • Excels at allowing consistent zooms at any speed that also can hold focus throughout the zoom range

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“MTF’s adapter really excels at allowing consistent zooms at any speed that also can hold focus throughout the zoom range. This is where the adapter really shows it’s value.”Craig Chartier, DVINFO.NET 

These products are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video

GRIPS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: KESSLER | 2nd: KUPO | OCONNOR | 3rd: PANTHER | SACHTLER

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Kessler CineSlider (5FT)

Strengths:

  • Extremely light and portable
  • Heavy Duty ability – with an 80 lb weight capacity
  • Adjustable Drag Control
  • Removable Crank Handle – provides option for manual operation
  • Can be upgraded to be motorised
  • Motion Control Ready
  • The Kessler Parallax®, provides automatic panning and fixed-point shooting capabilities to the Kessler line of sliders

Weaknesses:

  • It’s portable, but just too large to fly with as hand luggage

“This slider is SERIOUSLY smooth, I call it a ‘one take slider’, you only need to do the shot again if you cock up – not the gear sticking on you!” – Phillip Bloom, world-renowned filmmaker

2nd: Kupo Double Gag Grip Head 2 1/2” grip head

Strengths:

  • Mounting jaws to accept any accessory with a 5/8”, 1/2”, 3/8” and 1/4” mounting stud or tubing
  • Solid Steel Central Bolt for toughness and duarability
  • Maxiumum torque provided by oversized “T” Handle and dedicated Roller Bearings
  • Durable with non-slip aluminium friction disc

Weaknesses:

  • none

“The Double Gag Grip Head from Kupo allows you to easily mount two light control frames into a single grip head.” – Kupo

2nd: OConnor 25/75 Fluid Head

Strengths:

  • A step-less, ultra-smooth pan & tilt fluid drag specifically designed to allow superior control, precision, and stability
  • The platform release lever has a one touch finger actuated safety release catch. This allows for one “finger” or hand action to undo the safety catch and open the lever
  • All current 25/75C accessories are interchangeable with the 25/75D

Weaknesses:

  • none

“OConnor also makes a 2060 and a 1030, which are for lighter cameras, but the 2575 is the most flexible of those designs and I’ve even used it for smaller DSLR cameras very effectively.” – Graham Futerfas, cinematographer

3rd: Panther Flexi Grip Kit

Strengths:

  • A totally flexible system that can be:
    • – Table Dolly
    • – LowBoy / HiHat
    • – Bazooka Base
    • – Camera Base
    • – Rigging System
    • – Slider
    • – Tracking Dolly
    • – Doorway Dolly
  • Lightweight and small, so very portable.

Weaknesses:

  • none

“It is a universal tool for multi-purpose use and can be extended according to your needs.”Mick Jones, Litup Digital

These grips are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video | Southern Lighting Solutions

CAMERA GIMBALS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: DJI | 2nd: ZHIYUN-TECH | 3rd: FEIYUTECH | PILOTFLY

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: DJI Ronin-M

Strengths:

  • Flexible system – the Ronin-M can replace dollies, sliders, and jibs in many situations
  • It can be controlled by single operator or an included 2.4 GHz radio controller for dual-operator acquisition
  • Feels natural in the hands and very forgiving
  • Cost effective
  • Able to use a RC controller or thumb controller unit.
  • Long battery life
  • Quick set up
  • Light

Weaknesses:

  • The roll axis has a tendency to drift, which is exacerbated by being off balance even a little. This can be fixed by just restarting the unit, which takes about 15 seconds total
  • Like all gimbals, has a bit of a learning curve to balance, but easy to use once you get going
  • Bars tend to loosen

“The Ronin-M can handle basically any DSLR as well as small cinema camera such as the Canon C series or even the Alexa Mini with a lighter lens.” Jason Miller, Videomaker

2nd: DJI Ronin MX

Strengths:

  • Flexible system – an included universal mounting adapter allows it to be adapted for use with jibs, car mounts, and various other types of camera support equipment. There is also a handlebar for handheld use
  • Built to perform – designed to resist high G-forces using powerful motors and IMUs, the Ronin-MX is engineered to maintain stability and hold horizon when mounted to an aircraft or a vehicle
  • 360° Freedom of movement
  • Wireless control and transmission
  • App Control

Weaknesses:

  • For longer cameras like the Sony F5 and FS700, extension arm solutions, available from third party manufacturers, are needed
  • When used handheld, the operator’s arms still need to be extended in front of the body – tiring if you’re holding the gimbal for any length of time

“The MX is probably the DJI gimbal most users with lightweight lenses and mid-sized cameras will now opt for, unless you need to carry larger payloads, in which case you will still need to use the original Ronin.” Dan Chung, Newsshooter 

3rd: Zhiyun-Tech Crane 2

Strengths:

  • Long battery life
  • Quick, direct camera control via handgrip buttons
  • OLED screen making settings easy to read
  • Manfrotto-standard quick release plate, to move the camera between the stabiliser and tripod without the need to re-balance the gimbal
  • “Slow-fall” feature protects your camera from a sudden drop when the Crane 2 is powered down
  • Can power select Sony cameras
  • WIth a maximum payload of seven pounds, heavy DSLR cameras can be mounted
  • Third-party accessories that add wireless focus to the mounted camera are available
  • Fast response time producing smooth footage

Weaknesses:

  • The extra weight and heavier payload capability could lead to fatigue during long operating sessions
  • Limited camera compatibility list – the follow focus only supports compatible Canon cameras, like the EOS 5D Mark IV

“The convenient OLED screen, strong performance, and higher max payload definitely make the Crane 2 a suitable option for both amateur and professional videographers.” – Philip Chung, Digital Trends

These gimbals are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video

WIRELESS ZOOM & FOCUS CONTROLS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: REDROCK | 2nd: RTMOTION | 3rd: APUTURE | ARRI | CHROSZIEL | PRESTON | TILTA | TERADEK

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Redrock microRemote Wireless Focus

Strengths:

  • Automatic lens calibration (with manual calibration option)
  • Left or right-handed operation
  • Powerful Redrock Torque motor works with both cinema and still lenses
  • Handwheel with adjustable hard stops
  • Handheld can be used in tethered or wireless modes
  • Lightweight rig that can be moved quickly and operated for long period of time
  • Fully digital system with 16 wireless channels which allows the user to move to a different channel if there is interference on the channel being used.

Weaknesses:

  • The large thumb screw almost touches the lens when adjusting

“If you have any gimbal or Steadicam stabiliser and use it with your own equipment on a regular basis. It provides a lot of bang for the buck and for me it’s the first remote focusing unit which is versatile enough for a lot of shooting needs, and cheap enough that you can buy it rather than rent it.” Nino Leitner, Cinema 5D 

2nd: RTMotion’s MK3.1 kit (Focus, Zoom & Iris)

Strengths:

  • Small and lighteight
  • Very good price for a single channel system that expands to two and three channels
  • Tiny receiver supports up to three channels and record/stop features
  • Responsive and precise
  • Controller’s LCD screen makes it easy-ish for newcomers to figure things out on their own.
  • The MK3.1’s controller feels great in your hand
  • It’s powered by a small Canon LP-E6 battery which lasts somewhere in the range of 30-36 hours of average use
  • two year warranty

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive
  • To add iris or zoom to your system, additional motors are needed to be purchased

“My own experience with the MK has been rock solid, and I’m not aware of any other system that gives you not only a great single channel option, but also an easy and relatively affordable path to upgrading to iris and zoom control as well. “ Helmut Kobler, Los Angeles-based DP and cameraman  

These products are available from: Digitalfilm Service

LOCATION LIGHTS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: ARRI | 2nd: KINO FLO | 3rd: LITEPANELS | LED PANEL

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: Litepanels Astra 1×1 Bi-colour LED panel

Strengths:

  • True colour quality
  • Good intensity
  • Great price vs performance

Weaknesses:

  • Dials aren’t capable of precise control
  • A little heavier than most LED panels, but easily manageable

“It has great colour quality, has good intensity and costs less than other lights we tested in its category. We really enjoyed having a light with a very true colour, allowing for better capture in camera.” – Chris Monlux, Videomaker

2nd: ARRI M8 HMI 800w

Strengths:

  • Weather protection class IP23
  • Uses lens-less MAX technology to combine the characteristics of a Fresnel and PAR source
  • Lensless MAX Technology also makes it lighter weight and easy to use
  • Emits light comparable to a 1200W fixture
  • Focusable between 15° and 62°
  • Cross cooling allows safe operation even at 90° tilt
  • Very consistent with its colour temperature

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“These lights are easily controlled with a knob, so you can spot or flood your lights to the exact amount you like with absolute ease. You can use these to create a nice backlight or bounce these babies into ultra bounces to illuminate your talent. You can also get a bit more light out of them and they are very consistent with their colour temperature.” Shane Hurlbut, ASC 

3nd: Kino Flo 4ft 4Bank Kit

Strengths:

  • Emits the equivalent of a 1000W softlight with low electrical draw
  • High colour rendering (CRI 95) with optional True Match lamps in 3200K and 5500K
  • Colour temperature consistent
  • Flexible power supplies for worldwide use
  • Same fixture takes daylight and tungsten lamps, plus visual effects colour lamps
  • Mounts to stand, light enough to be hand-held or taped to a wall
  • Instant power-up and dead quiet

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“Kino Flo is far and away the most common brand of fluorescent lighting used in the film and TV industry today, so apologies if this reads a little like an advert for them. They’re not paying me, honestly!” Neil Oseman, cinematographer, UK 

These lights are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video | Southern Lighting Solutions

FILM LIGHTS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: ARRI | 2nd: KINO FLO | 3rd: FILMGEAR

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: ARRI SkyPanel S-60

Strengths:

  • High output equivalent of a 2000W tungsten soft light, drawing only 450W
  • Fully colour “tuneable”
  • USB-A port for downloading firmware upgrades from a thumb drive, PC or Mac
  • Flexible power supplies for use worldwide, and can use 23-36 VDC batteries
  • Natural shadow rendition and true soft light beam quality
  • Resilient materials and assembled by hand

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“The skin tones it produces are second to none, and its ability to execute fine green/magenta adjustments makes it possible to quickly adjust for complexion. Thanks to its large aperture, the shadows produced by the S60-C are subtle and natural, which is not always the case with LED lighting.” Alex Schwindt, Film Team director at Hope Community Church in Raleigh 

2nd: Lightstar Gorgeous Parlight

Strengths:

  • Energy efficient – HMIs can output four times the amount of brightness per watt of electricity
  • Accurate daylight temperature is pleasing to the eye
  • Great price vs performance

Weaknesses:

  • Not having a swing away door for quick lamp changes
  • The ballast fan can be considered noisy by some

“We put these HMIs through some rigorous testing on long shoots, and they hold up just as well as Arri HMIs. During a week long photo shoot we did for LAT catalogue, these lights were working continuously for 12 or more hours each day.” Brandon Peterson, ECG Productions 

3nd: Filmgear Panel 100w

Strengths:

  • The colour temperature is adjustable in range 2700K – 5600K
  • LED fixture produces a directed flow of soft light with a wide angle of beam. Also it creates homogeneous and clean shadows, even and smooth light field
  • Due to using LED technology, fixture’s lifespan is longer – approximately 30 000 hours.
  • Comfortable and functional design and made of durable materials
  • Supports DMX options and easy to use

Weaknesses:

  • None

“The LED panel fixture produces a directed flow of soft light with a wide angle of beam. Also it creates homogeneous and clean shadows, as well as an even and smooth light field.” MLK LCC

These lights are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video | Southern Lighting Solutions

STUDIO LIGHTS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: ARRI | 2nd: KINO FLO | 3rd: BRONCOLOR | LED PANEL

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: ARRI SkyPanel S-60

Strengths:

  • High output equivalent of a 2000W tungsten soft light, drawing only 450W
  • Fully colour “tuneable”
  • USB-A port for downloading firmware upgrades from a thumb drive, PC or Mac
  • Flexible power supplies for use worldwide, and can use 23-36 VDC batteries
  • Natural shadow rendition and true soft light beam quality
  • Constructed from resilient materials and assembled by hand

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“The skin tones it produces are second to none, and its ability to execute fine green/magenta adjustments makes it possible to quickly adjust for complexion. Thanks to its large aperture, the shadows produced by the S60-C are subtle and natural, which is not always the case with LED lighting.” Alex Schwindt, Film Team director at Hope Community Church in Raleigh 

2nd: Kino Flo 4ft

Strengths:

  • Emits the equivalent of a 1000W softlight with low electrical draw
  • High colour rendering (CRI 95) with optional True Match lamps in 3200K and 5500K
  • Colour temperature consistent
  • Flexible power supplies for worldwide use
  • Same fixture takes daylight and tungsten lamps, plus visual effects colour lamps
  • Mounts to stand, light enough to be hand-held or taped to a wall
  • Instant power-up and dead quiet

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“Kino Flo is far and away the most common brand of fluorescent lighting used in the film and TV industry today, so apologies if this reads a little like an advert for them. They’re not paying me, honestly!” Neil Oseman, cinematographer, UK  

3nd: Broncolour HMI FT1600 1600w with Para 177

Strengths:

  • Portable
  • 1600W lamp head, a lamp module with a daylight-balanced bulb and counter reflector
  • The HMI FT1600 permits 100-50% dimming control with consistent colour, so is easy to mix with flash and daylight
  • Flicker-free performance to suit video and high-speed shooting applications, and has a CRI of 95+

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive

“In plain and simple words, this light shaper could be comparable to a fresnel spot on steroids. You don’t have to worry about breaking the glass of a fresnel, it only weighs around 12 pounds and is super portable, it’s even more versatile” Quentin Decaillet, Fstoppers 

These lights are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | The Magic Lightbox Company | Puma Video | Southern Lighting Solutions

MONITORS

MOST CHOSEN BRAND: 1st: SMALLHD | 2nd: ATOMOS | FLANDERS SCIENTIFIC | SONY | TV LOGIC | 3rd: BON | EIZO | LILLIPUT

MOST CHOSEN PRODUCT:

1st: SmallHD DP7 7”

Strengths:

  • Brigtht OLED screen
  • Customisable 3D LUTS can be uploaded through an SD Card
  • Smart Keys and Touch Screen Controls – very easy to access
  • User can define the custom functions
  • Focus Assist built-in
  • Portable
  • Very power efficient
  • Light enough to use as handheld on-board monitor.

Weaknesses:

  • Some may find the menu system difficult to master at first due to the complexity of the menu

“The SmallHD DP7-PRO OLED field monitor provides accurate colour, rich blacks and an OSD/Scope system delivered through touch screen that will knock your socks off!” – Jeff Foster, Provideo Coalition 

2nd: Atomos Shogun 7”

Strengths:

  • Not expensive
  • Great colour and contrast.
  • The interface is very clean and intuitive and does not suffer from an extensive and cluttered menu
  • HDMI and SDI inputs

Weaknesses:

  • Highly reflective screen, a hood is needed
  • Made of plastic, so not that durable and not weather proof
  • Short battery life

“Short of some minor issues, such as a highly reflective glossy screen and horrid battery life and indication, the Shogun is a real pleasure to use especially with the Sony a7S. This is a highly recommended addition to anyones a7S or FS700 kit.” Jason Miller, Videomaker 

3nd: Sony OLED PVM-2541 25”

Strengths:

  • OLED full-HD RGB 10-bit driver picture quality
  • Light and compact
  • Flexible mount options make it ideal for desktop editing, office viewing, studio monitor walls and OB vans
  • Superb black performance, wide colour gamut and quick response with virtually no motion blur
  • Easy-to-use control panel

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive
  • Limited viewing axis. As with LCDs, when you get too far off center
  • Audio sync is an issue with interlaced material depending upon the I/P mode you use

“The depth of black was fantastic and the white purity was incredibly even – the OLEDs stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of their image quality.” Mark Horrobin, senior colourist at Smoke & Mirrors 

3nd: Flanders Scientific 17”

Strengths:

  • Gives user every pixel the HD camera records
  • Displays 10-bit colour depth as opposed to the more common 8-bit
  • Lighweight
  • Only draws 28 watts of power, so longer battery life
  • Connects to cameras wirelessly using a Paralinx Arrow receiver
  • It can show two camera angles on screen at once (and even the second angle comes in wirelessly via a second Paralink receiver)
  • The monitor has built-in LUTs

Weaknesses:

  • Expensive
  • Has two HD-SDI inputs (and outputs) but no HDMI input

“Being able to run dual camera angles completely wirelessly all day long on just one or two batteries makes this rig one of my favourite pieces of gear.” Helmut Kobler, Provideo Coalition 

These monitors are available from: Cam-A-Lot | Digitalfilm Service | Puma Video | Southern Lighting Solutions

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