It wasn’t long ago that the standard resolution of a field monitor was something like 800×600 pixels. Then came 720 HD monitors like the popular SmallHD DP6. And more recently 1080 HD monitors and monitor/recorders started to appear. Popular 1080 HD (1920×1080 and 1920×1200) monitors from the likes of SmallHD, Marshall and others have tended to be at the higher end of the price spectrum but loaded with features. Recorders like the Atomos Shogun and Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ also have great Full HD screens too, at a price.
In the last few months we’ve seen more budget-friendly monitors with 1080P screens. Ikan’s recently introduced DH5 HDMI five-inch monitor has a 1920×1080 screen for $399.
But it doesn’t stop there. Now Chinese maker Aputure has lowered the barrier even further with their new VS-1 FineHD seven-inch 1920×1200 panel for less than $200. For that you get a 450 nit brightness and 1200:1 contrast ratio monitor in a lightweight casing that runs off common Sony NP-F type batteries. The display itself is a glossy IPS-type which Aputure claim has a wide 160 degree viewing angle and vivid colours. You also get a sunshade in the box – a nice touch. It accepts HDMI or component video signals.
What you don’t get at this price are features like peaking, histogram, zebras and false colour. But if you have a camera that has these functions internally and outputs them over HDMI then this VS-1 FineHD might be all you need.
If you do want the extra functionality then you can get the Aputure VS-2 FINEHD for a little more. It has the same body as the VS-1, but with a more rounded feature set. It has focus peaking in different colours, false colour for exposure, histogram, zebras and audio level meters. You also get a battery, charger, case and articulating arm. The price for the VS-2 is just $279.
Neither of these monitors is bleeding edge and premium brands like SmallHD still offer slicker solutions with more image control and assessment features. You can’t load the Aputures with a lookup table and there are no HD-SDI versions at the moment either. But at under $200 you can’t expect all the bells and whistles. We are looking forward to testing these monitors out to see if they are worth using in the field. If $200 is all you have to spend on a monitor then the VS-1 might just be your new best friend.
For more info check out the Aputure website.