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Thread: Which portable external camcorder monitor?

  1. #1
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    Question Which portable external camcorder monitor?

    Hi my new camcorder comes with a cable that you can plug in which ends in a yellow video, white and red audio RCA/phono/AV plugs.




    I have plugged them into my old video recorder via a SCART adaptor and I can see the live video feed on my TV. The camera can operate in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio but my old TV doesn't cope with the 16:9 mode at all well, simply squashing the image full screen.

    I can also plug them into my PC capture card and use the capture card bundled software to monitor the live feed (though there is a 1-second plus delay or time-lag between the reality being viewed (say a clock face with a second hand) and the video image displayed on my PC screen (the clock on the screen is one-second-plus slow). The bundled software does have a 16:9 aspect ratio mode which is nice.

    What I would like to buy is a portable video monitor which would give me a good fully detailed image, operating appropriately in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio either automatically or with a manual 4:3 or 16:9 option.

    Now with the wide screen view, and given the video signal has a height of is it 576 lines, I reckon the minimum screen resolution I need to display every data point would be 1024 x 576.

    No problem for my 15 inch PC monitor but it doesn't have an AV composite video inputs, also it needs a mains supply so it isn't portable. Also 15 inch is just a wee bit big for portable in my opinion.

    I was thinking maybe 12 inch or 10 inch screen might be ideal.

    But most LCD monitors which are portable of that size have at the most 800 pixels width resolution. That is true for most dedicated monitors or DVD-player monitors which often have AV inputs on them and other people have used as portable video monitors.

    There are newer LCD screens in use for different purposes which seem to be up to my ideal specification in theory.

    I have noticed that netbook, notebook or ultraportable PCs often use a 10 inch 1024 x 600 screen. Presumably I could get one with a video capture card, maybe but there might be a time lag as I experienced with my PC, and there is always a delay when you switch a PC on before you can run the program which makes it function as a video monitor.

    Also I have my eye on a new DVD-TV player with an amazing 1280 x 800 resolution.

    Meos 12.3" Portable Freeview TV + DVD Player

    This would cost under 200 and obviously does a lot more than simply be a video monitor. It only seems to be available ordering via the web - that wedodigital website or diddydigital on ebay. So I can't test it and Beth the person who answers questions on the website can't really give me information about delays though someone else on a campsite website said he uses a DVD-player as a monitor with no noticeable delay on the screen.

    I have seen nothing with a similar specification in searching the website of local electrical stores like Currys or Comet and the rest.

    Anyway this is a dedicated camcorder forum so I thought I would post here to see what people recommend for a portable external video monitor for a camcorder.

    Which would you recommend?

    The Meos is under 200 and that is the top of my budget. Ideally, I would rather spend 100 on a simpler device which didn't bother with the DVD player or the TV but had at least 1024 pixel width and was portable 10 or 12 or maybe 13 inch at a stretch. Ideally with a rechargeable battery in it or at the very least with a 12 V input for power but I can't find such a product anywhere on the internet at that price.
    Last edited by Peter Dow; 09-10-2009 at 06:50 PM. Reason: The bundled software does have a 16:9 aspect ratio mode.

  2. #2
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    What is the intended use for your screen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    What is the intended use for your screen?
    I am intending to use an LCD screen which is a stand-alone portable monitor, or a screen which is integral to a portable DVD-player or some other portable device, which can be used via an AV cable as an external video monitor for my camcorder, with specifications as described above.

    I am looking for product recommendations of the form - "I/a friend/my company recommend a ***** manufactured by **** and sold by ***** as a video monitor. This product has an LCD screen resolution of 1024/1280/whatever x *** and yes it has a rechargeable battery and/or 12 volts supply."

    Thank you for your query but it is not particularly relevant because I am NOT looking for camcorder filming advice of the form - "Oh so that is the video you are making on this occasion - well here is my advice how you could make do without an external video monitor of the specification you are looking for. You DON'T need an external video monitor like that, silly man!"

    Well actually YES I DO want one like that thank you very much.

    So my question is, does anyone viewing this topic know of a suitable product with specifications as good or better and within my budget?

    If anyone wants to post what you use for a portable external video monitor that may be of passing interest as well, even if it does not quite have the specifications I am looking for because it may provide an idea.
    Last edited by Peter Dow; 09-10-2009 at 12:11 AM.

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    Still, what are you using he screen for?

    Focusing, etc or for the director

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    Quote Originally Posted by smifis View Post
    Still, what are you using he screen for?

    Focusing, etc or for the director
    Smifis - The op has clearly stated what he wants the screen for. Please read before replying. Many Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Dow View Post
    I am intending to use an LCD screen ... ...which can be used via an AV cable as an external video monitor for my camcorder, with specifications as described above..

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    You could use any old screen for that, i already know that part. for focusing, you'd need something decent with the option to switch to black and white.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Dow View Post
    Thank you for your query but it is not particularly relevant because I am NOT looking for camcorder filming advice of the form - "Oh so that is the video you are making on this occasion - well here is my advice how you could make do without an external video monitor of the specification you are looking for. You DON'T need an external video monitor like that, silly man!"

    Well actually YES I DO want one like that thank you very much.
    The reason I asked that question was to ensure that before spending time researching monitors for you, I knew what your intended purpose was. For example I wasn't sure if you wanted to attach the monitor to a tripod or sled. As this is a video editing forum, our advice is always within the context of video editing.

    Hague camera supports have a monitor available online for 99.95. However, it looks like you'll need to sort out an external portable power supply. B. Hague & Co. Ltd Monitors & Monitor Brackets

    Creative Video have a range of field monitors:
    Creative Video > Monitors > LCD Field > WM-3208 TLM-700 L4-PRO MONITOR L7-PRO S1080BF S1080BS TLM-404 TLM-70D S1080DF V-R70P-HDA

    As do H Preston
    H Preston - Monitors

    Another dealer is Teletest 4.5" 16/9 TFT LCD Monitor. - Prokit. All of the above are reputable video specialists who show at all of the leading trade shows. I thoroughly recommend that you phone them up for a chat as they will be more than willing to offer expert advice, and will more than likely advise you to buy something they don't offer at a low price range if they don't think you need what they offer.

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    Post Width resolution minimum of 1024 pixels. Cost maximum of 200.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    The reason I asked that question was to ensure that before spending time researching monitors for you,
    You are most kind to spend any time whatsoever replying and I am grateful for your reply with links and so on. I would not have asked on a forum such as this without doing a reasonably thorough google search myself first and checking many websites of the kind you have linked to.

    In the course of my search I discovered that some consumer products at consumer prices (say under 200) were using 10 inch and 12 inch LCD monitors with resolutions of 10" - 1024 x 600 & 12" 1280 x 800 which appeared to offer better value than monitors advertised on websites such as you have linked to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    I knew what your intended purpose was. For example I wasn't sure if you wanted to attach the monitor to a tripod or sled. As this is a video editing forum, our advice is always within the context of video editing.
    Well if the product with monitor doesn't have the necessary attachment points I will figure something out, no worries.

    The purpose is as a filming aid to myself as cameraman/director/performer all rolled into one. I want to be able to monitor the live feed from my camcorder when I am filming/recording so as to be sure to get the object/person/myself I am filming properly centred in the camera field of view - that kind of thing. To check I can see as I am filming that I am close enough physically or with the zoom to be able to see the required detail etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    Hague camera supports have a monitor available online for 99.95. However, it looks like you'll need to sort out an external portable power supply. B. Hague & Co. Ltd Monitors & Monitor Brackets
    Well that Hague monitor is within my "consumer product" budget but the resolution of the monitor is not within my specifications.

    For this Hague monitor, they advertise a resolution of 1440 x 234 however that is a misleading specification. What they mean there is not full colour pixels but Red, Green and Blue sub-pixels, one each of the three primary colours which are required to make a full colour pixel. Therefore the true resolution of that monitor is actually 480 x 234 which is woefully short of my specified minimum of 1024 width and 576 height.

    Also at 7 inches screen size this screen size is too small to accommodate the resolution I need.


    Creative Video do have a monitor within my specifications 1024 x 768 pixels but outside my "consumer product" budget.

    BT-LH900AE but it costs 4,341.70 inc. VAT

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    I didn't see any monitor with at least 1024 pixels wide and within my 200 budget.


    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    All of the above are reputable video specialists who show at all of the leading trade shows. I thoroughly recommend that you phone them up for a chat as they will be more than willing to offer expert advice, and will more than likely advise you to buy something they don't offer at a low price range if they don't think you need what they offer.
    Well my low price range, less than 200 is non-negotiable. I have a good idea of my needs and I don't need advice as to that.

    I was hoping to tap into experience and wisdom of fellow amateur camcorder users like myself. I would not expect people to do research for me but if there was a widely used product which I was missing and the forum community knew of then perhaps someone might post a tip about that.

    I didn't think I was missing something on the market but I could not be sure so best ask.

    Rather I think I have spotted some new DVD/TV/players which might do better than other consumer products for this purpose - the new Meos I linked to above looks impressive and may be exactly what I need. I wondered if others had used something similar themselves and could advise from their own experience how well such products operate as an external camcorder monitor.

    Thank you for your reply.
    Last edited by Peter Dow; 09-14-2009 at 11:25 AM.

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    Peter, I wonder whether you need to rethink your assertion that the display needs to be 1024x 576 pixels minimum. I understand your logic in arriving at that but I do wonder whether "it works quite like that".

    I should add I have no knowledge myself of this matter but the thread interested me. The reason I'm having doubts about your logic is twofold:
    1. Very few of the professional field monitors have that specification or above - one would have thought if it was essential professionals would demand it.
    2. The Meos screen you mention includes the following line:
    Horizontal definition more than 500 lines

    Both these lead me to question whether number of lines equates to number of pixels (or at leats whether it's relevant)
    Tim

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    i didn;'t think lines applied to lcd monitors. i know in crt monitors your have scan lines, 576lines and is the height of the image.

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