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Flex your video-out, baby!
March 22, 2011 11:49 AM   Subscribe

My choices for cameras have been limited by my requirement that it has to have a flexible display, such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50, or the newly released Canon 60D. But maybe I'm thinking the wrong way... Is there a way to plug a portable video screen into my camera, and achieve the same viewing flexibility?

My principal reason is mushroom photography: when photographing something that only rises 1 cm out of the muck, I'm not too keen on lying down to see my shot. However, I also use the screen a lot for candid photography (street, events, and capturing smiles on shy friends).

The 60D is the first SLR I'm aware of that incorporates such a screen, BTW; I assume (if it's successful) that more will follow. However, I'd really prefer an EVIL to a DSLR (weight & noise considerations). An EVIL with a full-frame detector and flexible LCD screen... now that would excite me - but I can't hold my breath that long.

So... external viewer, or built-in flexible LCD screen? If external, what are my choices? Obviously, I carry around an LCD tablet, but that's not really practical. Can camera video outputs feed live to IPOD/Android smartphones? Something else entirely, dedicated to my camera use?

Any other ideas, hive mind?
posted by IAmBroom to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Something like this? Beyond that, there *are* monitor screens that slip into the hot shoe of a camera.
posted by notsnot at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2011


Olympus has an accessory electronic viewfinder for the E-P cameras that tilts up, but you'd still have to put your eye up to it, so not sure it would work for what you have in mind.
posted by gyusan at 12:00 PM on March 22, 2011


The Panasonic DMC-FZ100 series, DMC-GH1 series, DMC-G2 series, and DMC-GH2 series all are EVILs and have the freely-adjustable display screens.

I have a DMC-FZ50. It is easy to use and takes decent pictures. Even at highest quality/lowest compression, the JPEG pictures it shoots are a bit "noisy", but it shoots great in RAW. I have noticed that especially when using the Electronic ViewFinder (EVF), it can be very difficult to manually focus with much precision. The EVF just doesn't have the resolution that a purely optical system would have, and I often find myself rocking the focus back and forth, back and forth, and wind up taking my best guess. It's a bit better using the larger display, but that can be hard to see in bright sunlight and still suffers from the same resolution problem, if to a lesser degree.

My DMC-FZ50 does have an AV out, but I don't remember if that worked only for playback/review or if it was active in shooting mode as well. I can find out.

Panasonic has some even smaller EVILs like the DMC-GF2 series, which are basically a point-and-shoot body that uses smaller interchangeable lenses. The models I have seen do not have the adjustable display though.
posted by xedrik at 12:25 PM on March 22, 2011


notsnot, the Canon G11 has a 1/1.7" sensor, and doesn't have lens interchangeability, so all it really provides me with is the flexible screen - which I currently have. (OK, the 1/1.7" is twice as big as my current Canon SX10is, but only 1/20 the size of a full 35mm sensor.)

The "monitor screens that slip into the hot shoe of a camera" sound more like what I'm looking for. I'll go looking....


xedrik - my last camera was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50, and it's 1/1.8" - essentially the same as the Canon G11. Again, I'm hoping to move up to better low-light response. In fact, my choice of the Canon SX10 to replace this is drove home the noise issue, since the basic, preprocessing Signal-to-Noise Ratio doubled when I moved to the Canon. Wrong direction! I learned my lesson then.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:28 PM on March 22, 2011


Found these:

Nikon D5000 has an APSC sensor (roughly half the area of a full-sized 35mm sensor), at $550-$650.

It looks like external monitors that snap into the hotshoe start at abut $200-$250.

This guy sells a homemade wireless unit, complete with video screen, for about $200. It's nowhere near as tidy as the hotshoe mounts, but allows better resolution than VGA.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:48 PM on March 22, 2011


Maybe something relatively low-tech, like this mirror or this right angle finder?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:18 PM on March 22, 2011


Yes, you can do this, it's often done in the amateur filmmaking community.

Get a camera with an HDMI output like the aforementioned GH1/2, and then get an HDMI monitor like this one.
posted by fake at 9:30 PM on March 22, 2011


OK, dunno why my comments weren't saved...

Monday, stony Monday, at $15 that mirror-protector is wonderful! And at $70 the right angle finder is pretty affordable, too.

fake, your link sent me on a quest to find the best hi-res, smallest HDMI screen. Nothing under 7" really exists with greater than VGA res, alas. Not uber-portable at those sizes.

Thanks to all! I knew the hive mind could think outside my box!
posted by IAmBroom at 11:26 AM on March 23, 2011


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