Best External Camera Screen in 2021 | What to look for?

external camera screen

Overview of External Camera Screen

Best External Camera Screen, As you have came here by seeing this title, definitely you are in a need to make your filming expertise bit more sharp.

External camera screen also known as external on-camera monitor is a must to have add-on gadgets to make your filming skill more sharp and to give your shooting creativity a more professional look.

“Light, Camera, Action……..Cut, Cut, Cut. Ya majority or even all of us can’t shoot as expected in just one take. Any video creator whether for film making or just for Youtube videos, have to keep sharp focus on what is being filmed and how accurately the camera is covering it.

To have detailed view of what is being filmed currently, you need a small screen mounted on the cameras to check your work. Almost all modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras come equipped with a screen to view content.

But the problem is they are small enough to give you detailed focus on your current work. Also you can’t completely rely on it. Some of the times when you see you filming videos on it, it looks great. But when you finally process you video on computer it looks “Ah! this is not that one”

And there feels the need of adding an external screen to the camera that not just provide a larger viewing area but can also offer additional tools for filmmakers not found on the cameras.

Here in this post we will give you a detailed analysis of why and how to choose an external camera screen and will provide you some of the best budget external camera monitors.

external camera screen in 2021

What’s the need of external camera screen?

Although the external screen on your camera increases the overall weight of your filming setup and the budget too but it is really a useful addons that let you do your filming tasks more professionally.

You should buy a camera monitor for external recording or for enhanced visual tools to be able to nail focus and exposure more accurately.

So if you find yourself struggling to nail focus or exposure correctly in camera or need to record externally, then getting an external monitor might be a good option for you.

With the external monitor, you get a detailed view of what is being filmed and how things are looking in it how it will look on final finishing or at viewer ends. You can adjust the camera, it’s angle and position accordingly.

Big external camera screens give you the exact detail of the brightness, and color accuracy level of the objects and the surrounding on the basis of which you can conclude how the video will look after final finishing. This lacks in the in-built screen.

Things look different on screen at different period of time according to the amount of light intensity present. You can check on external screen how all the stuffs are looking and can change the various modes and setting of the cameras accordingly.

Note :- We are going to take reference of only that brands which are common name for making external on-camera screens and I am quite familiar with them. These brands are -: ATOMOS, SMALL-HD, ANDYCINE, and DESVIEW

What to consider while buying external camera screen?

While buying your external on-camera monitor for your camera setup, whether budget one or the expensive one, you must consider following things:

Price

The price of external camera screens can vary anywhere from a hundred to 2K dollars depending upon the features it has or the name of the brand. In generally speaking, the more you pay, the more you get.

Some camera monitor brand that rules the market are Small-HD, Atomos, Andycine, Desview etc.

If you have little tight budget, you can go with the DESVIEW, ANDYCINE, SMALL-HD(5″) and if you can invest little more you will get little better like ATOMOS(5″,7″), SMALL-HD(7″). Even the budget one are better and support filming tasks with quality.

BRANDS PRICES
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″$650 (may vary)
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″$300 (may vary)
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″$160 (may vary)
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″$130 (may vary)
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″$800 (may vary)
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″$700 (may vary)
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″$330 (may vary)
DESVIEW R7 7″$200 (may vary)

Size and Weight

Size matters. All of you might have heard this line. More the size of your monitor is, more focused your you can do your filming jobs. But in return the size will increase its weight and price too.

Most external camera screens come with two sizes, a 5-inches and a 7-inches. The extra two inches really makes a pretty difference in filming for getting a detailed view. So if your budget allow, go with a 7-inches camera screens.

But the disadvantage of the 7-inches monitor is that it is comparatively heaver and bulkier that has impact on the ease of your movement and on the gimbal stand. Also it is bit costlier for just 2-inches.

BRANDSWeight
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″11.3oz
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″6.1oz
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″8.3oz
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″5.8oz
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″22.4oz
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″13.6oz
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″15.7oz
DESVIEW R7 7″13.4oz

Screen Resolution

Majority of these on-camera monitors come with 1080p resolution except some like Small-HD 5″ which has the resolution of 720p. As you are buying these monitors for accurately and focused filming, you should go with the 1080p.

Avoid 4k resolution screens as it not just increase your budget but also it is not too useful in a sense as you cannot distinguish between 4k and 1080p resolution in a small screen of just 5 or 7 inches.

BRANDSResolutions
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″1080p
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″720p
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″1080p
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″1080p
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″1080p
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″1080p
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″1080p
DESVIEW R7 7″1080p

Brightness

Monitors brightness are measured in nits. The more nits it is, the more bright your screen is. The brightness plays an important role while filming in sunlight.

You can’t see properly on a direct sunlight on your screen if it is low in brightness. Among all other ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT has higher nits of brightness.

The minimum level of brightness that can do your job is 300nits but you should go for at least 500nits of brightness if you are looking for outdoor filming setup. Above 2,000nits just give you next level crystal clear view.

You can take the reference of iphone 11, which has 811nits of full brightness.

BRANDSBRIGHTNESS
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″1,000 nits
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″800 nits
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″500 nits
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″450 nits
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″1,500 nits
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″1,000 nits
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″2,200 nits
DESVIEW R7 7″1,000 nits

External Recording

External camera screen are not just bought to keep focus track on what is being filmed but sometime also to record externally through these monitors.

Sometimes you feel need to record externally when you don’t want to record certain part of your video in your main memory card.

Also if your camera has 30-minutes recording limit, an external recorder will light record as long as its battery and SD card lasts. Out of all other brands we are talking about only ATOMOS has the capability of recording externally.

BRANDSExternal Recording
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″Yes
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″No
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″No
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″No
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″Yes
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″No
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″No
DESVIEW R7 7″No

Battery Life

All these monitors need external battery power source to run and not consume main camera power source. A monitor with average battery life can do your job without mess if you are mostly focusing indoor shooting. But for long outdoor filming stuffs, you must choose an on-camera monitor with better battery life.

BRANDSBATTERY LIFE
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″about 4 hrs
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″about 14 hrs
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″about 10 hrs
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″about 7 hrs
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″about 7 hrs
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″about 8 hrs
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″about 3 hrs
DESVIEW R7 7″about 5 hrs

Tools and Features

Tools and features are one of the main reason why you have shifted to external screens. The powerful assistant tools that come with these monitors are really very useful for filming tasks which lacks in the in-built screen on the cameras.

These tools and features includes focus peaking zebras, false color waveforms, RGB parades, 3D LUT previews, audio meters, horizon indicators etc.

The RGB Parade scope displays waveforms representing the levels of the red, green, and blue channels in a clip.  The 3D lookup tables (3D LUTs) are used to map one color space to another.

rgb pARADE | 3d lut
RGB Parade

They are commonly used to calculate preview colors for a monitor or digital projector of how an image will be reproduced on another display device, typically the final digitally projected image or release print of a movie.

Out of all the other external monitors, ATOMOS and Small-HD are packed with more features giving you more advantages of pro tools for your filming tasks with quality.

Touchscreens

Having a touchscreen on your external monitor is a big deal which allows you to navigate on the screen more easily. Majority of these monitors come with touchscreens with almost same touch sensitivity.

BRANDSTouch
ATOMOS NINJA V 5″Yes
SMALL-HD FOCUS 5″Yes
ANDYCINE A6 PLUS 5.5″Yes
DESVIEW MAVO P5 5″No
ATOMOS NINJA INFERNO 7″Yes
SMALL-HD FOCUS 7″Yes
ANDYCINE X7 ULTRA BRIGHT 7″No
DESVIEW R7 7″Yes

After getting all the aspects of these brands, then what for you. Definitely which fits better for you depends on your needs, whether you are seeking it for indoor or outdoor shoot, whether for average amateur or high quality professional work bla! bla!.

If you are little tight in budget, you definitely want affordable one with all the essential features but if money is not your problem you can go with the expensive one.

In order not to confuse you, we are not going to give you a long list of monitors.

Also checkout this
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Best External Camera Monitor Screen

Best budget external camera screens (on-camera monitor)

Here is the list of best external camera screen under budget but best in their performances to professionalize your work. Please note, the order in the list doesn’t represent the rank of the the external monitors.

Atomos Ninja V

Features :

  • 5-Inches
  • Touch Screen
  • 1920×1080 resolution 60p
  • HDR Daylight Viewable
  • 1000nit brightness
  • With recorder
  • 12.7 ounces weight
  • 5.94 x 1.22 x 3.6 inches dimension

Atomos is a popular company for making camera’s screens. This is one of the popular option for external monitor for those who want to record externally too with touch features and good brightness.

SmallHD Indie 7

Features :

  • 7-Inches
  • 1920 x 1200 resolution
  • Touch screen
  • Daylight Viewable
  • 10-Bit, IPS LCD Panel
  • Supports Video Input up to UHD 4K30
  • 31.2 ounces weight
  • 4.2 x 7.09 x 1.32 inches dimension

SmallHD Indie 7, external screen is for those who want a touch screen monitor with good battery life and brightness. Its IPS LCD display is better for daylight viewable.

ANDYCINE X7 Ultra-Bright

Features :

  • 7-Inches
  • 1920X1200 resolution
  • 2200 nits ultra-bright
  • Daylight Viewable
  • 4K HDMI Input and Output
  • 17.6 ounces weight
  • 9.1 x 6.7 x 3.7 inches dimension
  • Aluminum body

Andycine X7 ultra-bright is a nice option for those who want maximum brightness to shoot in the the day sunlight giving you 4k HDMI input output features.

DESVIEW R7

Desview External Camera Screens

Features :

  • 7-Inches
  • 1920X1200 resolution
  • Touch screen
  • 1000nits brightness
  • 4K HDMI in/Output
  • More features and tools
  • Support 180° vertical rotation
  • 32.16 ounces weight
  • 7.01 x 4.61 x 8.74 inches dimension

Desview R7 external screen is for those who want lots of features at affordable price. Brightness is good and supports 4K HDMI with touch screen.

FEELWORLD LUT7

Feel World External Camera Screen

Features :

  • 7-Inches
  • Ultra Bright 2200nit
  • 1920×1200 resolution
  • Touch Screen
  • 3D Lut Waveform Vectorscope
  • Automatic Light Sensor
  • Assist 4K HDMI Input
  • 360°rotation 
  • 32 ounces weight

Packed with lots of features at affordable price. Gives ultra brightness to work at strong daylight and supports 4k HDMI. If you want lots of features, you can consider buying this external screen.

Best expensive external camera screen (on-camera monitor)

Here is list of few expensive external camera screens but there ad-on features really worth the amount of money. These on-camera monitors are used by big professionals and mega budget video makers.

SmallHD 703 Ultrabright

Features :

  • 7-inches
  • Full-HD LCD display
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 2200nits brightness
  • HDR Preview
  • 3D Lut Support
  • Professional Software Tools
  • Gorilla glass cover
  • 2 x SDI inputs and 1 x SDI output, 1 x HDMI Input and 1 x HDMI output
  • 26.4 ounces weight
  • 1.13 x 8.38 x 4.88 inches dimension

This is expensive monitor but if you can afford it, it really adds value to your money. Equipped with all the necessary features and tools, this makes your work more professional. It has best brightness, it has good resolution and break proof glass to shoot action with action.

The size of this external camera screen is just like the budget one but the working quality is quite considerable for a professional filming.

Atomos Sumo

Atomos Sumo 19 | Best External Camera Screens Monitors

Features :

  • 19-Inches
  • 10-bit HDR High Bright Monitor
  • 1920×1200 resolution
  • 16:9 native aspect ratio
  • Accepts up to 4Kp60 or HDp240 over HDMI or the dual 12/6/3G-SDI inputs
  • Realtime Exposure on set from Log for HDR & SDR
  • Load an infinite number of custom LUT’s onto SUMO19M via the HDD/SSD slot
  • For Professionals
  • 191 ounces weight
  • 19.84 x 2.48 x 12.2 inches dimension

This is huge, a 19 inches mega screen for professional film makers packed with all the pro features to make your task more quality. Since it has everything from size to lots of features, this external camera screen is used by film and documentary makers.

If you are planning to buy this, keep assure that you are buying it for daily commercial use. Buying it for amateur purposes will loose your pocket too much.

SmallHD 702 Touch

Features :

  • 7-Inches
  • Touchscreen
  • UXGA Wide, HD, FHD 1080p 1920 x 1200 Resolution
  •  IPS-Type LCD Panel Type
  • Cine 7 UltraClear Screen Protector
  • 8GB SD Card
  • HDMI Hardware Interface
  • 31.2 ounces weight
  • 7 x 2 x 9 inches

Again a SmallHD brand in the list. This external screen is not just expensive but one of the widely used by those content creators who can afford it. Packed with all the features from touch IPS screen to screen protector, this deserves to be considered while buying an external camera screen.

External Camera Monitor Screen FAQs

What is external screen?

External screen is an add-on accessory that can be mounted on your camera, might be on your DSLR or on your mirrorless camera to give you a detail focus on what is being filmed currently, as inbuilt screen on these cameras are too small to nail focus properly.

These external screens are big or more bigger and definitely adds the weight on your setup, but the the functionality it offers worth all these.

What is the purpose of a camera monitor?

Well, you can still do your job with in-built screen on the camera body, but the size of these screens are too small. To have a detailed nail focus on your filming, you would need some bigger external screen attach with your camera.

Not just this, external on-camera monitors are also used to record externally and have some useful tools that lack in the camera.

Can I use my phone as a monitor for camera?

Yes of-course. All you need to do is to attach the camera with the mobile using USB cable and OTG adaptor. There are lots of app that will help you do this in a proper way.

Follow the instruction to connect your phone or tablet with the camera monitor –

  1. Connect your USB cable to your camera’s port.
  2. Attach the OTG adapter to the other end and hook up your phone/tablet.
  3. Switch on your camera and set it to Live View mode.
  4. Open your app of choice on your phone.

Can you attach a screen to a camera?

Yes, and this post is all about. Not just external screen, but you can attach various other accessories like external microphone, external flash, extra battery power etc. to make your your filming tasks more productive.

How do I use an external monitor as a Webcam?


Its easy all you nedd to do is to connect the USB cable to the monitors USB Type B port on the back of the monitor and attach the other end of the cable to an available USB port on the computer. Allow 10-15 seconds for the computer to recognize the external webcam.

Which external screen should 4k or non- 4k?

As i already mentioned in resolution section that 4k external camera screen is not so much useful as you are using it just for checking your tasks and not for enjoying. You even can’t differentiate between 4k and non-4k in just 7-inches screen. Also it will increase your budget as 4k screen costs higher.

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13 thoughts on “Best External Camera Screen in 2021 | What to look for?”

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  5. From my experience, Atomos 7 inches is the best budget external camera screen. Perfect for every type of filming.

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