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Adorama Flashpoint 7-inch LCD Monitor

All of the items Adorama's Flashpoint product line are priced in the $200-$400 range, but quality-wise they're very good. They're not the most refined and precision instruments available, but they get the job done, and this 7-inch, 1280x800-resolution LCD monitor, which lists for $400, is no exception.

Presets and Monitoring Capabilities

The reason why camera operators want to use an external monitor like this one is that it’s a larger surface to look at. That’s really one of the biggest factors. The LCD monitors that are part of the camera itself generally are 2 and 3 inches diagonally. Seven inches obviously a lot larger than a 3-inch monitor, and you can see the difference. It’s very easy to adjust when I’m focusing--I can nail it just because things are larger. That’s one of the biggest reasons why you want an external monitor.

There are a number of presets available on the Flashpoint monitor. There are some monitoring capabilities built in. Figure 3 (below) shows focus peaking. It turns the edges of items that are in focus to red, and there’s also an additional function in the menu to have the video be black and white or remain in color. Figure 3 shows it set to having a black and white image with red. It just emphasizes what’s in focus and what isn’t, and as I change the focus, the red goes away as I go out of focus and comes back as I’m in focus.

Figure 3. Operating the monitor with Focus Peaking on. Click the image to see it at full size.

In Figure 4 (below) you can see the histogram in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. This helps you gauge the proper exposure in all the different areas of your image.

Figure 4. Gauging exposure with the histogram. Click the image to see it at full size.

Additionally, we have exposure zebras. Just like on your camera the zebras, the striped lines will show on areas that are overexposed. There is no setting in the menu to actually set at what level the zebras come on. I’m going to assume that it’s 100 IRE. I haven’t tested this functionality, but that seems to be consistent with this one little frame in the screen in Figure where I know that the chart in front of me is not overexposed. There is also a False Color function that turns everything to fluorescent colors. I honestly don’t know what this is used for.

Now, lastly in the menu you have wheels that control brightness, saturation, tint, and color, but if you turn the dial you can go through the different menu items. One of the things I found out quickly is that I didn’t want to use the full-screen view on the aspect ratio because it was actually squishing things a bit. I wanted to be using the 16:9. On the top and bottom there are small black bars, which just tells me that the native aspect ratio on this monitor is not 16:9, but it’s actually probably 16:10, so the proper setup for HD video would be 16:9, and not on auto or full screen and obviously not in 4:3, all of which are available on here.

Additionally in the menu there’s a pixel-to-pixel view, so if I wanted to view just a punch-out of the center of 1280x720 or of the screen’s full 1200x800 resolution, then I can use that function and it’ll zoom in everything. It’s really just to check focus in a much more precise manner.

In the camera settings it has the option of standard definition and high definition--listed as 480p and 1080i--but when you output a 1080p signal, it will actually read it. So it’s actually 1080i and 1080p, which is really a nice feature because sometimes in my workflow I’m throwing out 1080/30p for video switcher and for webcasting purposes, and I definitely want the monitor to be able to see that signal, where some monitors can't support that 1080/30p or sometimes 1080/60p output, and then you have to change everything just to accommodate the monitor.

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