Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) Review @ ModSynergy.com
When I was younger, I attended an arts program during high school that opened up my eyes to the traditional and digital arts. Admittedly I was better with the digital than the traditional, but I appreciated both forms of art, but I could not draw to save my life, haha. This arts program led me to my first ever purchase of a DSLR camera, and I chose to purchase the Nikon D50 back in 2005. I was a young kid and spent over $1200CAD using all of my newspaper route money I had earned.
The D50 was the one that got me into digital photography and it turned out to be a trusty and reliable camera as years later I still have the D50 with me to this day (Q4 2016), working with the original battery, but with battle scars involving a broken SD card door and peeling off rubber grip. You have to remember that these DSLR's back in the day came with no LCD viewfinder but instead an optical viewfinder just like the film cameras they evolved from. The viewfinder on the D50 was tiny, although at the time it was fine for my younger eyes, but I quickly outgrew it. The D50 had an LCD screen used for only playback. The small 2.0" LCD unit wasn't the best, it was super tough to judge against the outdoor sun.
Fast forward 11 years, close to the end of 2016, and so many things have changed in terms of the DSLR, but the one constant that remains is that the LCD while tiny bit larger, is still hard to judge in sunny outdoor conditions and frankly in general. So what is one to do in this case? The answer is to invest in what is known as a "field monitor". I'm shocked that the field monitor is an accessory I've overlooked for 11 years, I guess it's because I'm no professional, but nowadays these have become more adopted and have become more affordable.
Today I have the opportunity to share with you a field monitor from Elvid. Elvid is part of the Gradus Group LLC, a sister company of B&H Photo Video, who was founded in 1973 in Manhattan, New York City.
I used the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) for an entirely different purpose than what it was originally intended for, but the more I've used the Elvid 7" OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor foe what it was really made for, the more I realized just how versatile it was and how it could be adapted to many different applications. I soon realized just how great this Elvid field monitor actually is, I'm shocked I've not heard of and had one of these in my 11 years of doing photography and videography.
Now it's my turn to share with you on why you should be putting a field monitor on the top of your short list for list of accessories to purchase for your DSLR. Field monitors have been overlooked by the average person and I hope this review of the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) will start in changing minds.
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.
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 7" Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor comes in a plain printed brown corrugated box. An image of the product with immediate features and specifications are printed on both sides of the box. A plastic handle is located on top of the box to facilitate easy handling and transportation of the field monitor.
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 is sold for $239.99 USD through B&H Photo Video. At certain times that cost comes down when it's on sale. The Elvid field monitor comes with a 1-year warranty. Opening up the package you'll find the following contents...
Looking at the bundle, I like that the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 comes with a shoe mount ball head. This is an important piece that attaches to the bottom of the field monitor and then to your camera's shoe mount. The piece is high quality constructed out of metal and not of plastic.
Another neat addition is a mini HDMI to HDMI cable that most DSLRs should be using. On other devices that use either full size HDMI or micro HDMI, the user will have to supply their own cable.
Visual Overview & Build Quality
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 measures 7.4 x 5.3 x 2.0" (19.0 x 13.5 x 5.0 cm). My digital scale says that the Elvid field monitor weighs 580g or 1.28 lbs with the battery and sunshade attached. The field monitor in bare state weighs 426 grams or 0.939 lb.
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 is constructed entirely out of hard plastic. The body feels solid throughout and doesn't have any substantial flex when fiddling around with it. All buttons on the unit have good tactile feel to them and will be hard to accidentally press.
The OCM-7B-DV2 is meant not only for photography but videography purposes, therefore it has a 3.5mm headphone output jack, and it has a built-in mono speaker making it more versatile.
The bezels on the unit are relatively thin, leaving enough space for the included sunshade to clip on and physical buttons on the unit. Left and right bezels measure 0.67", while the top bezel portion measures 0.52", and lastly the bottom bezel portion that houses all of the buttons and headphone jack measures 1.20". Not taking into consideration the batteries thickness, the unit itself measures approximately 1.28" in thickness.
The 7" display panel on the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor is not your typical TN (Twisted Nematic) panel you'd find on a portable DVD player or in a minivan. This panel is of higher grade and is an LED-backlit IPS (In-plane switching) display with a glossy finish. Advantages of IPS over standard TN LCD are better and wider viewing angles, greater and truer color reproduction, higher contrast ratio, and a sharper professional looking image.
The bottom portion of the front of the field monitor we find from left to right the 3.5mm headphone jack, mode button, left arrow button (vol -), right arrow button (vol +), menu button, down/function 1 button, up/function2 button, function 3 button, function 4 button, power on/off button, and status LED indicator.
Coming to the rear of the field monitor we find the Sony battery mounting plate in the center with a battery eject button beside, we find input jacks that cover audio IN, full size HDMI IN, composite video IN, and composite video OUT, a power on/off flip switch, and a dedicated DC input terminal jack where you'd need a power supply ranging from 6 to 24VDC according the sticker at the back of the field monitor, but it should be noted that the Elvid website states 6 to 20VDC instead. In that case it'll be better if you used an adapter far below the maximum rating, a 12VDC adapter would be safer and more common to find. Power consumption of the OCM-7B-DV2 is less or equal to 8W. Holes for the built-in mono external speaker is seen on the other end of the unit.
Thankfully the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 comes supplied with a Lithium-ion battery meant for the Sony NP-F530/F550/F570 series of camera/camcorder. The battery is listed as 7.4V 2200mAh. Replacement batteries are quite inexpensive ranging from $10-20 USD on eBay. Battery life according to the B&H Photo Video Q&A section ranges from 1-3 hours. B&H Photo Video also sells an even larger 7800mAh battery that should be good for 4-6 hours. This battery is meant for the Sony NP-F930/F950/F970/F975 series. The connectors are compatible and fitment is the same between the two.
The bottom of the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 contains a metal 1/24"-20 threaded tripod mount. I like that this is metal and not plastic because the unit has a little heft, and a plastic tripod mount would have been the weakest link in an otherwise high build quality.
In the box there is an included fold-out plug wall charger. There's an LED in the front that tells you when its charging (red) and when it's completed (green). The good thing about this battery charger is that it claims to conform to UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Canada and US certification, which is an excellent thing that verifies it's safety. Those cheap uncertified Chinese chargers can pose a safety fire hazard and I'd avoid using them if that were the case.
The sunshade that comes with the field monitor clips onto the front of the display against four slots surrounding the bezel. The sunshade comes in two pieces, one is the frame and the other is the sunshade which the user puts on the frame with preinstalled Velcro on each piece. The Velcro system ensures that the connection is secure and won't fall off. The sunshade itself is pretty sturdy on its own and isn't going to be flopping around. In real world usage the sunshade definitely helps shade the glossy screen from sun glare and helps keep the image true.
How Does It Perform? Is It Any Good?
As I mentioned before, I didn't originally use the 7" Elvid FieldVision V2 OCM-7B-DV2 the way it was intended, as a field monitor for a DSLR. It speaks for the versatility that users can opt to use it for whichever application they desire because of the HDMI input.
The way I first used the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor was for an alternative to not having FPV goggles for a Parrot Bebop 2 Quadcopter Drone. The fact that the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 is less expensive than some FPV goggles on the market, offers a larger and higher resolution 7" IPS display instead of having to mount something that looks a bit ridiculous (in my opinion) and bulky over your head, makes a field monitor like the Elvid all the more appealing to me. Plus having FPV goggles wasn't a good option for me because I wear prescription glasses and have short-sighted vision, so it would not be comfortable. And I don't like the idea of strapping a Lithium-Ion battery to my head (offered in some FPV goggles).
The Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 ended up working out so well for this application, FPV for a Parrot Bebop 2 Quadcopter Drone. I was surprised that I felt very comfortable working in this setup, and the image quality was great at 1024 x 600. I ended up putting the Elvid field monitor on a Joby Gorillapod raised on a stool, and sitting down on a small stool operating the drone in an open field.
The funny thing was I never intended to test the build quality impact capability of the Elvid field monitor, but that's what exactly happened. I accidentally dropped the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 on the ground because I failed to use a longer HDMI cable than I expected I should use, and accidentally tugged on it causing it to fall about 1.5 meters to the gravel rocky ground. The Elvid's great build quality came through and withstood the impact like a champ. The sunshade did its job protecting the IPS screen from hitting rock during the initially fall where it popped off and then the whole unit flipped upside down. I was impressed that the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 field monitor still worked perfectly like nothing had happened, all it had to show for the fall was a battle scar on the backside, and one side of the sunshade clip did chip off a tiny bit. You can see the video of the fall below. The build quality is very tough.
I should mention that the Elvid field monitor boots up very quick. It takes from the time you flick on the power switch to displaying the source material on screen, in this case HDMI, about 6 seconds. This is considerably quick and is a positive attribute.
The second way I tested the Elvid OCM-7B-DV2 was for an action camera that had no LCD screen. This was achieved by using an micro-HDMI to HDMI cable from the action camera to the Elvid field monitor. You can use it also for action cameras that have an LCD screen but is very small and hard to judge in outdoor bright conditions. In my case, using the Elvid field monitor allowed me to have an exact live viewfinder feed of the camera. Everything looked fantastic from the colors to the sharpness of the display and all 7" real estate made a huge difference.
I got to briefly test the Elvid field monitor for its intended purpose with a DSLR. After failed attempts with my friends Nikon DSLR, I ended up having to try the Elvid field monitor in a small photography store whose friendly owner let me try it on their demo DSLR's set up. I could not use it with my own Samsung NX2000 because apparently it didn't support live HDMI output but only just gave me playback mode. Nikon has done a pretty poor job with video output to HDMI only possible on limited high end models, and the documentation for these needs improvement. They are definitely behind in the video department unfortunately. You'll have to research and check if your DSLR has the capability of outputting live to an HDMI display.
I later learned that Panasonic and Canon DSLRs have HDMI output performing significantly better than Nikon does at the moment. After playing around with the Elvid field monitor for its intended purpose, I can't stress how useful it is. If I had a DSLR that could output to HDMI, I'd use the Elvid field monitor every chance I could because it's so much easier to judge in manual focus mode compared to the looking through the cameras own 2.0-3.0" LCD screen.
I don't know for sure, but I don't think I could see myself using anything smaller than a 7" field monitor as the size difference makes a massive difference and anything smaller wouldn't be such large of a gap that I'd think it'll make a difference than 7" does. In the same manner I can't see using anything less than a resolution of 1024 x 600 that this Elvid field monitor supports because it allows the user to properly gauge and judge subtle changes when manually focusing the lens.
Safe Frames or the dedicated F2 button on the field monitor is also supremely useful for videographers in being able to film or shoot in specific video aspect ratios indicated by a red box overlay varying from 80%, 85%, 90%, 93%, 96%, and in 2.35:1.
Check Field or F4 button gives the user the ability to calibrate the monitor by displaying Red/Green/Blue/Mono colors over the feed so adjustments can be made. Lastly, while the built-in speaker is convenient, most will use the headphone jack to aide in live audio monitoring.
One drawback of an IPS panel (compared to LCD) is how it handles motion. The Elvid is therefore susceptible and in real world testing showed mild signs of motion blur/ghosting when fast movement is shown on the screen, however, it's not to the degree that it's a big distraction, it's very manageable in this size of a screen. LCD panels are much better at handling motion than IPS, that's why gamers will chose LCD over IPS when choosing a monitor because LCD's offer greater refresh rates as high up to 144/240Hz. Likewise the opposite happens for people who do professional photography and graphic design, where those will choose an IPS display for superior viewing angles and superior color accuracy which is important for their work.
The built-in speaker on the Elvid field monitor is surprisingly loud, but musically challenged. You can use the speakers for basic monitoring but don't expect anywhere close to audiophile quality. The sound quality of the speakers is musically flat. The speaker output is what surprised me because they are louder than those built in to Dell desktop computers. The screen supports audio through HDMI input, therefore the possibilities are endless in terms of what kind of applications you can use the Elvid field monitor for. You don't have to use the Elvid field monitor for its intended purpose of photography/videography.
The headphone jack is a better option than the built-in speakers which sound flat. It definitely sounds better than built-in speakers, offers a tiny bit more bass and fullness, but again don't expect anywhere close to audiophile quality because the internal DAC lacks an impactful low end, but rather it seems to favor the upper end with more treble to its sound signature. It's perfectly fine for basic sound monitoring making sure audio is getting picked up and recorded, but other than that it's nothing spectacular. I would say the internal DAC sound quality is even less that of the cheapest netbook you can find.
For fun and for example, you can have an portable mini PC setup that consists of (for example) a Zotac mini-PC/Intel NUC plugged in to an XCELLON 12,000mAh rechargeable power bank with AC outlet (PB-1200AC) that we recently reviewed and have it connected to the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) running on its own battery. Whether or not you use the built-in speakers or headphones is entirely up to you. I tried it in such a manner and the field monitor actually could output to 1920x1080 resolution, but the text scaling was almost unreadable since it was tiny. Lowering the resolution to 1280x720 made everything manageable and much better to use. I ran KODI and viewed some videos, and it looked great overall, so technically its a true HDMI monitor as it was able to go well past 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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The Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2) is a must buy accessory if you're into photography and or videography, but it's so versatile that you can use it for whichever application you desire. I can't understand why these types of field monitors aren't talked about often when it comes to camera accessories, people talk about other camera accessories, but they fail to mention something like this Elvid field monitor. The OCM-7B-DV2 build quality is top notch, it comes with everything you need to get up and running, it's got a fantastic and higher resolution IPS screen that allows you to properly judge what is on screen, it's got a loud built-in speaker, it boots up quick in 6 seconds, and it's just going to help you further your productivity. I can't stress how impressed I've come away from this review of the Elvid FieldVision 7" On-Camera HDMI Monitor V2 (OCM-7B-DV2)!