Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) Review @ ModSynergy.com
During my high school years, I had the opportunity to participate in an arts program that introduced me to the world of traditional and digital arts. While I found myself more skilled in digital art than traditional techniques, I developed an appreciation for both forms. It was during this time that I made my first major purchase—a DSLR camera. After much research, I decided on the Nikon D50 in 2005. As a young teenager, I spent all of my hard-earned newspaper route money, totaling over $1200CAD, on this camera.
The Nikon D50 became my gateway into digital photography, and it proved to be a reliable companion over the years. Even now, in late 2016, I still have my trusty D50 by my side, sporting battle scars such as a broken SD card door and peeling rubber grip. Back then, DSLRs didn't come with LCD viewfinders like they do today. Instead, they had optical viewfinders reminiscent of film cameras. The viewfinder on the D50 was quite small, although it suited my young eyes at the time, but as I grew older, I found it limiting. The camera featured a 2.0" LCD screen, but it was primarily used for playback and wasn't the easiest to use outdoors, especially in bright sunlight.
Fast forward 11 years, and many advancements have been made in DSLR technology. However, one aspect that remains challenging is the LCD screen, which can still be difficult to judge in outdoor conditions and in general. So, what's the solution to this problem? The answer lies in investing in a "field monitor." Surprisingly, it took me 11 years to discover this accessory. Perhaps it's because I'm not a professional photographer, but these days, field monitors have become more popular and affordable.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to an Elvid field monitor, the FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2). Elvid is part of the Gradus Group LLC, a sister company of B&H Photo Video, founded in 1973 in Manhattan, New York City.
Initially, I used the Elvid FieldVision monitor for a different purpose than its intended use. However, once I began utilizing it for its original purpose, I was amazed by its versatility and adaptability to various applications. It became clear to me just how fantastic this Elvid field monitor truly was. I can't believe I hadn't come across it in my 11 years of photography experience.
Now, it's my turn to explain why a field monitor like the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) should be at the top of your list when considering accessories for your DSLR camera. Field monitors have often been overlooked by the average person, but I hope that this review will change your perspective and open your eyes to the immense benefits they offer.
Considering everything that goes into a production, filmmaking can be an expensive craft. With all the manpower, sets, and often pricey gear involved, not even the simplest project is cost-free. At the same time, filmmaking is too important to be reserved for only a select few. If the cost of decent gear is so high that filmmakers without huge budgets can’t compete, something needs to change.
Elvid is committed to the belief that professional-quality filmmaking should be possible for everyone. That’s why we make video monitors and accessories that offer the features that filmmakers need at accessible prices. For our customers on a limited budget, that means offering great customer support and the features that really count. For working professionals, that means giving them the high-end feature sets they expect, minus the price inflation. Across all of our products, we’re working to make sure that filmmakers are empowered with great tools and a brand they can trust, so that no one is held back from pursuing their creative vision.
Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 Product Description & Features
The Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera Monitor V2 is a cutting-edge starter monitor supporting Full HD 1080p60 camera signals and boasting an IPS screen, which ensures you'll see your image clearly from side angles. It also features a sharp 800:1 contrast ratio and 600 cd/m² brightness. The monitor comes with everything you need to get you started, including an L-Series NP-F550 battery, pocket-sized charger, camera mount ball head, and durable sunshade. Weighing only 1 lb, the FieldVision 7" V2 will not feel heavy on top of your camera and will provide a 7" screen for setting up and monitoring your shots.
The FieldVision 7" V2 features a 1024 x 600 IPS display resolution and has HDMI, composite, and mono audio inputs, a composite output, a built-in speaker, and headphone output for monitoring your audio on set. For setting up your shots, it offers Focus Assist for more accurate focus adjustments, Check Field Mode for calibration, 1:1 Pixel-to-Pixel mode for displaying an input signal in its native resolution, and DSLR scaling which will automatically stretch a DSLR signal to fill the screen, eliminating the borders that normally appear. Providing for convenient ease of use there's a lineup of control buttons right on the front, and among them four assignable buttons that you can program with the functions of your choice.
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 FieldVision is an on-camera monitor with HDMI and composite audio and video inputs, as well as composite video loop-through. The 7" LCD panel's native resolution is 1024 x 600, with an aspect ratio of 16:10 (native) that you can set to 4:3, 16:9, Full Screen, and two zoom presets. The onscreen menu makes it easy to fine-tune your image, and it offers adjustments for brightness, contrast, hue, sharpness, color temperature, and saturation. There are also broadcast-specific features like safety frame markers and multiple display formats.
The FieldVision is equipped with advanced tools like Check Field to help calibrate the monitor, a Focus setting to fine-tune your focus, and Camera mode to scale the incoming video signal when shooting on a DSLR. Onboard programmable function buttons provide quick shortcuts to Check Field and Focus Assist modes, safety frames, color temperature, and the onscreen volume bar. There's also an integrated speaker and a 3.5mm stereo headphone output for live audio monitoring. A removable sunshade is included to minimize glare with shooting outdoors.
Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 Specifications
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor arrives in a simple brown corrugated box with printed details on both sides, showcasing the product image and its immediate features and specifications. To make transportation easier, a plastic handle is conveniently placed on the top of the box.
Priced at $239.99 USD, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 can be purchased from B&H Photo Video, with occasional discounts available during sales. The field monitor is backed by a 1-year warranty for added peace of mind. When you open the package, you will find the following items included:
Mini HDMI to HDMI Cable: Allows for easy connectivity between the field monitor and your camera or other compatible devices.
L-Series NP-F550 Battery (2200 mAh): A reliable battery pack that powers the field monitor, providing extended usage time.
Pocket-Sized Portable Charger (Fold-Out Plug): A compact charger that allows you to conveniently recharge the battery while on the go.
Shoe Mount Ball Head: This accessory enables you to securely mount the field monitor onto your camera or other support systems.
Sunshade: A useful accessory that helps to reduce glare and improve visibility when using the field monitor in bright outdoor conditions.
One standout feature of the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 bundle is the inclusion of a shoe mount ball head. This attachment plays a crucial role as it securely connects the field monitor to the camera's shoe mount. The ball head is notable for its sturdy construction, made of metal rather than plastic, ensuring durability and stability during use.
Additionally, the bundle includes a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, which is compatible with most DSLRs. This cable enables seamless connectivity between the field monitor and your camera, allowing you to view your footage in real-time. It's worth noting that for devices using full-size HDMI or micro HDMI, you will need to provide your own cable as it is not included in the package.
Visual Overview & Build Quality
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 has compact dimensions, measuring 7.4 x 5.3 x 2.0" (19.0 x 13.5 x 5.0 cm). With the battery and sunshade attached, the field monitor weighs approximately 580g or 1.28 lbs. In its bare state, without accessories, it weighs about 426 grams or 0.939 lb.
Constructed entirely out of hard plastic, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 feels solid and sturdy, without any noticeable flex. The buttons on the unit offer a satisfying tactile feel and are not easily pressed accidentally.
Designed for both photography and videography, the field monitor features a 3.5mm headphone output jack, allowing you to monitor audio during video recording. It also includes a built-in mono speaker, enhancing its versatility.
The bezels surrounding the screen are relatively thin, leaving sufficient space for the sunshade to be clipped on and accommodating physical buttons on the unit. The left and right bezels measure 0.67", the top bezel portion measures 0.52", and the bottom bezel portion, which houses the buttons and headphone jack, measures 1.20". Excluding the thickness of the battery, the unit itself has a thickness of approximately 1.28".
The 7" display panel on the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor stands out from typical TN (Twisted Nematic) panels commonly found on portable DVD players or minivan screens. Instead, it features a high-grade LED-backlit IPS (In-plane switching) display with a glossy finish. This IPS panel offers several advantages over standard TN LCD panels, including:
1. Better and wider viewing angles: IPS technology allows for consistent image quality and color accuracy even when viewing the screen from different angles. This ensures that multiple people can comfortably view the display without experiencing color or contrast shifts.
2. Greater and truer color reproduction: IPS panels deliver more accurate and vibrant colors, making the images on the screen appear more lifelike and realistic. This is especially beneficial for tasks such as photo and video editing, where color accuracy is crucial.
3. Higher contrast ratio: IPS displays offer higher contrast ratios, resulting in deeper blacks and brighter whites. This enhances the overall image quality and provides better visual depth and detail.
4. Sharper professional-looking image: Thanks to the combination of IPS technology and the glossy finish, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor delivers a sharp and clear image with excellent visual clarity. This is particularly advantageous for professional use in videography and photography.
Moving to the bottom portion of the front of the field monitor, you will find a range of buttons and ports arranged from left to right. These include the 3.5mm headphone jack, mode button, left arrow button (volume -), right arrow button (volume +), menu button, down/function 1 button, up/function 2 button, function 3 button, function 4 button, power on/off button, and a status LED indicator. These buttons provide easy access to various settings and functions of the field monitor.
Moving to the rear of the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor, you will find the Sony battery mounting plate located in the center. Next to it, there is a battery eject button for easy removal of the battery. Additionally, there are several input jacks available, including audio IN, full-size HDMI IN, composite video IN, and composite video OUT. These ports allow for various connectivity options with other devices.
There is also a power on/off flip switch for conveniently controlling the device's power. The field monitor features a dedicated DC input terminal jack where you can connect a power supply ranging from 6 to 24VDC, as indicated on the sticker at the back of the monitor. However, it is worth noting that the Elvid website specifies a range of 6 to 20VDC instead. To ensure safety and compatibility, it is advisable to use an adapter below the maximum rating. A 12VDC adapter is a commonly available and suitable option.
The power consumption of the OCM-7B-DV2 is indicated to be less than or equal to 8W, ensuring efficient energy usage. On the other end of the unit, you will notice the holes for the built-in mono external speaker, allowing for audio output when required.
Fortunately, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor comes supplied with a Lithium-ion battery designed for the Sony NP-F530/F550/F570 series of cameras and camcorders. This battery is rated at 7.4V and has a capacity of 2200mAh. Replacement batteries for this series are readily available and relatively inexpensive, with prices ranging from $10 to $20 USD on platforms like eBay. According to information provided in the B&H Photo Video Q&A section, the battery life of the included battery can range from 1 to 3 hours, depending on usage. Additionally, B&H Photo Video offers a larger 7800mAh battery, compatible with the Sony NP-F930/F950/F970/F975 series, which is expected to provide a longer runtime of 4 to 6 hours. Both battery series have compatible connectors and fitment.
At the bottom of the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor, you'll find a metal 1/4"-20 threaded tripod mount. The choice of using metal for the tripod mount is commendable because it adds to the overall sturdiness of the unit. With the monitor having a substantial weight, a metal tripod mount ensures durability and reliability, as it is less prone to wear and tear compared to a plastic counterpart.
Inside the package, you will find a fold-out plug wall charger that is included with the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor. This charger is equipped with an LED indicator located on the front, which illuminates red while charging and turns green once the charging process is complete. One noteworthy aspect of this charger is its claim of conforming to UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certification standards for both Canada and the United States. This certification ensures that the charger meets rigorous safety standards, providing peace of mind to users. It is important to prioritize safety when it comes to chargers, as uncertified chargers from unreliable sources can potentially pose fire hazards. Therefore, it is advisable to steer clear of such uncertified chargers and opt for certified options like the one provided with the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor.
The included sunshade for the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor is designed to attach to the front of the display using four slots surrounding the bezel. It consists of two pieces: the frame and the sunshade itself. The user simply places the sunshade onto the frame, which features preinstalled Velcro strips on each piece. This Velcro system ensures a secure connection that won't easily detach. The sunshade is constructed to be sturdy, eliminating any concerns of it flopping around during use.
In practical usage, the sunshade proves to be beneficial by effectively shading the glossy screen from direct sunlight glare. This feature helps maintain a true and accurate image on the display, ensuring optimal visibility even in bright outdoor conditions.
How Does It Perform? Is It Any Good?
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor's versatility extends beyond its intended use as a DSLR field monitor, which is exemplified by my personal experience with it. Instead of utilizing it for its original purpose, I found it to be an excellent alternative to FPV (First Person View) goggles for my Parrot Bebop 2 Quadcopter Drone.
Compared to some of the FPV goggles available on the market, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 offers a more cost-effective solution while providing a larger and higher-resolution 7" IPS display. This eliminates the need to wear bulky and, in my opinion, somewhat unattractive goggles over my head. This aspect of the Elvid field monitor greatly appealed to me.
Furthermore, as someone who wears prescription glasses and has short-sighted vision, using FPV goggles would not have been a comfortable option. Additionally, I had reservations about the safety of strapping a Lithium-Ion battery to my head, as some FPV goggles require. These factors further solidified my choice to opt for the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor as an alternative solution for FPV use with my drone.
I must say, I had an incredible experience with the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor, even in an unexpected situation. Initially, I used it as an alternative to FPV goggles for my Parrot Bebop 2 Quadcopter Drone. The versatility of the field monitor, coupled with its affordability and superior display quality, made it a perfect choice for me.
I set up the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 on a Joby Gorillapod, placed on a stool, and comfortably sat down to operate my drone in an open field. The image quality at 1024 x 600 was fantastic, and I was fully immersed in the flying experience.
But here's where things took an unexpected turn. While operating the drone, I accidentally dropped the Elvid field monitor from a height of around 1.5 meters onto the rough, gravelly ground. It happened because I hadn't used a longer HDMI cable, and my tug caused the monitor to slip from my grasp. I was initially worried about the impact, but to my surprise, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 showcased its exceptional build quality.
Despite the fall, the field monitor remained in perfect working condition, as if nothing had happened. The sunshade did a remarkable job of protecting the IPS screen from hitting the rocks during the fall, although it did pop off and one side of the clip chipped slightly. Nonetheless, the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 stood strong, with only a battle scar on the back as evidence of the incident. I was truly impressed by its durability.
If you're curious to see the video of the fall, you can check it out below. This incident solidified my belief in the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2's tough build quality and reinforced my confidence in its performance and reliability.
I should mention that I was pleasantly surprised by the quick boot-up time of the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor. From the moment I turned on the power switch to the display of the source material on the screen, which in my case was HDMI, it took only about 6 seconds. This swift startup is definitely a positive attribute of the monitor.
The second test I conducted with the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 was using it with an action camera that lacked an LCD screen. I achieved this by connecting the action camera to the field monitor using a micro-HDMI to HDMI cable. Not only is this setup useful for action cameras without an LCD screen, but it can also enhance the usability of cameras with small and hard-to-judge screens, especially in bright outdoor conditions.
In my case, using the Elvid field monitor provided me with an exact live viewfinder feed of the action camera. The display quality was exceptional, with vibrant colors and impressive sharpness across the entire 7-inch screen. The larger screen real estate made a significant difference in my ability to accurately assess the footage and capture the desired shots.
During my brief testing of the Elvid field monitor, I had the opportunity to use it for its intended purpose with a DSLR. Unfortunately, my attempts with my friend's Nikon DSLR were unsuccessful, as it didn't support live HDMI output and only provided playback mode. This limitation was quite disappointing, and it highlighted Nikon's poor performance in the video output department. Their documentation regarding HDMI capabilities needs improvement, and it's essential to research and verify if your DSLR has the capability to output live video to an HDMI display.
However, I later discovered that Panasonic and Canon DSLRs offer significantly better HDMI output performance compared to Nikon. This information further emphasized the usefulness of the Elvid field monitor. If I had a DSLR that could output to HDMI, I would take advantage of the Elvid field monitor whenever possible. Its larger screen size and enhanced clarity make it much easier to judge and adjust manual focus compared to relying solely on the camera's smaller 2.0-3.0" LCD screen.
I personally find it difficult to imagine using a field monitor smaller than 7 inches. The size difference makes a significant impact, and anything smaller wouldn't provide the same level of convenience. Similarly, I believe a resolution lower than 1024 x 600 would not be sufficient for properly gauging and judging subtle changes when manually focusing the lens.
During my testing, I discovered that the Elvid field monitor's dedicated F3 button, which serves as its equivalent of Focus Peaking, proved to be much faster and more convenient than enabling it through the camera's menu. It worked exactly as expected and even better on the larger screen.
The Safe Frames feature, accessible through the dedicated F2 button, is incredibly useful for videographers. It allows for filming or shooting in specific video aspect ratios, indicated by a red box overlay with options ranging from 80%, 85%, 90%, 93%, 96%, and even 2.35:1.
The Check Field function, available via the F4 button, enables the user to calibrate the monitor by displaying Red, Green, Blue, and Mono colors over the feed, making it easier to make necessary adjustments. Additionally, while the built-in speaker is convenient, most users will prefer to utilize the headphone jack for live audio monitoring.
One drawback of an IPS panel compared to an LCD panel is its handling of motion. The Elvid field monitor, being an IPS display, does show mild signs of motion blur or ghosting during fast movement on the screen. However, in my real-world testing, it wasn't a significant distraction and was very manageable given the screen size. LCD panels generally handle motion better and are preferred by gamers due to their higher refresh rates, which can go as high as 144/240Hz. On the other hand, IPS displays are favored by professionals in fields such as photography and graphic design, thanks to their superior viewing angles and color accuracy.
Surprisingly, the built-in speaker on the Elvid field monitor is loud but lacks audio quality. While it can be used for basic monitoring purposes, it falls short in terms of delivering audiophile-quality sound. The speaker output was particularly surprising as it exceeded the volume of speakers built into Dell desktop computers. The screen supports audio through HDMI input, opening up various possibilities for using the Elvid field monitor beyond its intended purpose in photography and videography.
The headphone jack is a better option than the built-in speakers, providing slightly more bass and fullness. However, it's important to note that the internal DAC lacks impactful low-end performance and seems to favor the upper end, resulting in a more treble-focused sound signature. While the sound quality is satisfactory for basic sound monitoring and ensuring audio is being captured and recorded, it's not exceptional. I would compare the internal DAC sound quality to that of the cheapest netbook available.
For a fun and unconventional example, you can create a portable mini PC setup using a Zotac mini-PC or Intel NUC connected to an XCELLON 12,000mAh rechargeable power bank with an AC outlet (PB-1200AC). This setup can be paired with the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) running on its own battery. Whether you choose to use the built-in speakers or headphones is entirely up to you. I personally tested this setup and found that the field monitor was capable of outputting a resolution of 1920x1080, but the text scaling became almost unreadable due to its small size. Lowering the resolution to 1280x720 made everything more manageable and improved the overall user experience. I ran KODI and viewed some videos, and they looked great on the monitor. Technically, the Elvid field monitor proved to be a true HDMI monitor, surpassing the 1024 x 600 specification.
To enter the field monitor settings, just press the menu button at any time. There are four main settings. I'll list what they are below and the things you can change among them.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
The Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) can be purchased on B&H Photo Video for both American and Canadian customers right now for $239 USD.
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I have to say, the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) is an absolute game-changer for photographers and videographers like myself. What's surprising is that it's not given the attention it deserves in discussions about camera accessories. The OCM-7B-DV2 is a prime example of top-notch build quality, and it comes with everything you need right out of the box. The IPS screen with its higher resolution is simply fantastic, allowing me to accurately assess what I see on screen. The built-in speaker is surprisingly loud, and it even boots up in just 6 seconds. This field monitor has significantly improved my productivity and workflow. I can't stress enough how impressed I am with the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) after my thorough review. It's truly a must-have accessory that has exceeded my expectations.