There are times when photographing tethered on location that a larger monitor built for travel is more than handy — it is a necessity. Clients like to see the work they have commissioned on a bigger screen that is distanced physically several feet from the active set.
Elvid, known for its FieldVision small video monitors has just released three new ones — a compact 15.6 inch, a medium 23.8 inch and a large 28 inch version built into a flight case. I was given the 23.8 inch version for this review.
After removing the front of the case, a clean matte black LCD monitor is revealed complete with handles on either side for lifting the panel from the case.
At the bottom, are the control buttons for input selection, menu, navigation, exit, function 1–4, a power indicator light and a headphone jack for monitoring audio. Two speakers flank.
The Elvid SuperVision monitor has a high-definition screen resolution of 3840-by-2160 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is bright at 300 nits or 300 candelas per square meter, which is great when working outdoors in daylight.
The monitor’s bit-depth and color is an 8-bit FRC (frame rate control). FRC allows an 8-bit monitor (256 colors per channel or almost 17 million individual colors) to simulate a 10-bit monitor (1024 colors per channel or about 1.07 billion colors).
FRC monitors use the colors next to the original ones to flash the colors back to fool our eyes into seeing the missing original color. This is important for professionals involved in color-critical image-making. 10-bit color is better than 8-bit FRC, but the difference between the two is not readily noticeable. The human eye perceives millions of colors.
The StudioVision monitor is an IPS (in-plane switching) LCD with a viewing angle of 178º both vertically and horizontally. IPS monitors are the best displays for color accuracy, consistency and super-wide viewing angles. Colors don’t shift when viewed away from the center of the monitor as TN-type monitors do.
The monitor does not offer touch screen or LUT support.
A full list of the specifications for the monitor is on Elvid’s website.
The beauty of this monitor lies not only in is brightness and wide-angle of view, but also the options available to show information on the screen. This monitor can do picture in picture, split the screen vertically for side by side views or horizontally for one on the top half of the screen and the other on the bottom. If that’s not enough, the monitor can display four inputs at once.
It can also be used vertically with rotations of the default 0º, 90º, 180º or 270º so the monitor can be mounted in any orientation. Aspect ratios are adjustable as are safety, aspect and center markers.
Peaking adds a black outline to high contrast areas indicating focus. False color replaces the true colors with a standard set that indicates the exposure levels. When turned on, peaking shows brighter exposure with a higher color on the chart.
Elvid offers choices of power for the monitor. It can run on AC power by using the power brick strapped under the battery V-mount and plugged into the XLR socket next to the power switch. Battery power is also an option. Both are shown in the photo below.
The Elvid StudioVision 4K HDMI monitor comes installed in a flight case with a removable front and back door. The case is solid featuring recessed large twist locks on either side and a recessed spring-loaded handle on top and bottom. Four hard plastic feet are screwed onto each bottom corner. When I removed the front for the first time, a piece of foam cut to fit between the monitor’s two handles was between that and the sunshade. The sunshade uses Velcro type attachment to the case for use in bright locations.
The monitor itself is attached to the case with four mounting screws. They can be removed with an M5 hex key to pull the monitor from the case. This tool is not included but can be found at a hardware store for around $1.
The monitor in the shipping case weighs in at just under 36 pounds. I love that I don’t have to worry about damaging a regular monitor when going on location.
The Elvid StudioVision monitors have 75-by-75 and 100-by-100 VESA threaded mounting holes so they can be put on a rolling light stand. Attaching a VESA mount to these monitors is a chore because the V-Mount battery holder is in the way.
First, remove the monitor from the shipping case by removing the four M5 Hex screws. Then remove the battery mount’s four screws and keep them safe. The instructions say to remove the sub-plate that the V-Mount battery was attached to. When I mounted the Impact ME-108P monitor mount, which is a suggested accessory, the screws provided were too long. So I reinstalled the sub-plate to make the mount work.
The Impact ME-108P monitor mount recommended would be fine for the lighter weight 15.6 inch model. It is just strong enough for the 23.8 inch version and I would not recommend it for the 28 inch screen. A better choice for the medium and large monitors is the Matthews Gobo Plate Media Mount.
While the monitor offers HDMI 2 (X1), HDMI 1.4 (X3), VGA, SDI and DVI, it does not support Thunderbolt connections. A single HDMI 2.0 input is a problem if more than one camera is shooting 4K because split-screen does not support multiple resolutions.
I’d like to see the battery mount moved so that it doesn’t have to removed to use a VESA mount. I can think of a lot of times, particularly on location, when powering the monitor via a battery and have it mounted on a rolling light stand would be really useful. As things are now it’s either mount it on a light stand or power it with a battery. Hopefully, a future version will address this.
Finally, the hard plastic feet on the bottom of the case will be knocked off the first time the monitor is shipped. I suggest removing them before sending the monitor on its way via UPS, FedEx or checking it as baggage on an airline.
I like this monitor not only for my still photography work especially on location, I love it for my video productions. It is versatile, matches nicely with an Atomos Ninja V and lets me see multiple cameras in one place. The price is on par with what I paid for my much loved and sadly discontinued Apple Thunderbolt displays. Best of all, the integral shipping case means that I can take it anywhere without worrying about it being damaged during transport.
Elvid StudioVision 4K HDMI Monitor with HDR (23.8″)
This 23.8″ StudioVision 4K HDMI Monitor with HDR is a valuable asset in the studio or on location, providing critical image assessment tools and supporting standard as well as HDR monitoring of your image. Well suited to handle the rigors of the production day, the monitor is housed in a flight case with removable front and rear lids providing access to the monitor’s controls and connections when in use.