Affordable monitors for the Canon 5dmk II

Well we all know the LCD screen on the 5d mk II is very difficult to use, mainly because of it’s fixed position but also it’s size. Focusing is only really possible when using things like the Zacuto Z-Finder, Hoodman 3.0 or ideally, an external LCD monitor.

I currently own the Ikan 5600.

v5600It’s pretty cheap but more importantly REALLY light and a nice screen size, 5.6 inches, especially if you plan to mount it on your camera, maybe like this…

v5600_app3_600pxHere are the specs from Ikan: The V5600 features a panel resolution of 1024 x 600, switchable aspect ratios (16:9 or 4:3) and multiple inputs, including YUV, AV and HDMI.   With a robust image that weighs less than a pound, the V5600 is the perfect solution for those seeking a small LCD monitor for field use on either full-size HD video cameras or the new HD-capable DSLR cameras

My thoughts…It’s way better than the LCD of the camera and the image is pretty nice. The output of the 5d mkII is quite odd. It has a mini HDMI socket (don’t bother buying the expensive canon ones, B&H do a nice cheap one!). Playback is full HD, obviously scaled down on this monitor, live output BEFORE you hit record in smaller than full screen, but still high resolution, but when you hit record the screen goes blank for about 3 seconds as the camera drops the resolution, not sure exactly what to…and the monitor re-calibrates, which is still absolutely fine for monitoring and focusing. just a bit annoying! Those three seconds could be crucial. Also you lose any audio playback when reviewing clips as having a lead plugged into the HDMI socket closes down both the LCD screen and the speaker. That would be a nice firmware upgrade, and simple too? Leave LCD on when plugging in external monitoring devices!

It’s not the best monitor in the world, nor did I expect it to be for the price, but if you are looking for something light, good size and good image take a look at it…make sure you get the adaptor to let you use Sony NPF batteries, I forgot and have had to order it,  otherwise it’s mains only. It costs around $570. Worth getting the hood for when you film outside too…

Now this new monitor looks great, I have yet to see it and hope to review it soon, it’s the SmallHD.

Here are the specs from the website…






lgimg3Love the idea of it being 720p, should be gorgeous and crisp. Has nice connections including proper component phono plugs. Shame it doesn’t have HD-SDI but at this price, c’mon! People are moaning that it doesn’t have peaking too…This is REALLY cheap for the specs. I just hope the picture looks as good as it sounds. It’s a bit bigger than I would like ideally for mounting on the camera, but I guess it depends on how much it weighs…As soon as I can get hold of one I will report back!!

Recommend any others? Please add them in comments section.

Want to learn how to create the film look? Click below.



  1. Greetings from Tokyo!

    I think I might have written on your other monitor review page, but it wasn’t showing up… Then i found this page, where it’s probably more appropriate, so I rewrite here… Might have been a problem of my profile information,,,,

    I’m a great fan of your work, and your blog has been an invaluable information source for me. Thanks for having such a wonderful site!

    There is a fairly new monitor, I’d like to see what you think about it.

    Ikan vx9
    I haven’t found a decent review online,,, yet.
    Just know it’s been used for “24”…

    I am considering this monitor since it has HDMI AND HD-SDI!! and around $1000.

    I do shoot ENG cameras as well; the additional HD-SDI input would be helpful for these other shoots. I just couldn’t spend the money to buy a monitor that only takes HDMI… I probably won’t even use it for ALL of my 5D shoots anyway. but since this monitor does HD-SDI, it opens up whole new possibilities. I started to think about getting one. I’d rather get a monitor that is more versatile.

    It also has pixel to pixel zoom, and manual dials for brightness/contrast/chroma/Tnt and that’s basically enought for my needs. Thought it is lacking the “false color” that could be handy for 5D shoots. (How precise is false color anyway? Is it coloring according to monitor brightness only? EX. if you turn the brightness up or down, will it shift the colors? )

    The VX9 seems to be the only one in this price range that has HDMI AND SDI input. ( or do you know any others?)

    The only thing that worries me is that I am finding out in online forums, that people say, ikan product sucks… That they are cheaply made etc.

    Maybe I should just buy it and find out…

    Sorry for the long message,

  2. Hi Philip Bloom,

    I’n wondering what kind of mount you’ve used for the monitor on the flashbracket? I’m building a rig and I’m looking for some kind of mount that can swifel in various positions.

    Thanks in advance and I hope you can help me!


  3. Compared to the Ikan (above) how about this monitor?

    It’s a bigger screen but lighter than the DP1, has a much higher contrast ratio 500:1 compared to the ikan’s 200:1 and accepts 1080p when the ikan says only 1080i. All around it seems to be specked out better than the ikan and a better price on top of that. It’s form factor is not quite as nice but obviously that’s far from the most important part.

    I’m building a rig for a T2i (whenever the body only comes back in stock) and instead getting the very high priced z-finder, I’m looking at a monitor. Ideally I would get both but with these more affordably priced monitors, I’m thinking I would rather of this to start.

    What do you think of this monitor in comparison to the ikan?

    Thanks, love your work,


  4. ….take a look at the new marshall 7″ M-LCD-HDMI-B-2

    Panel TFT LCD 7″

    Resolution 1920×1440


    When using the canon 5d mk2 in shoting mode you get a full picture, just a little stretched.. but 16×9….and for 350.00 with you can’t beat it…

  5. Hi Philip & All,

    I am a student film maker and don’t have the money to buy a monitor at the cost that the Marshall’s go for.

    Has anyone tried cheaper brands such as Lilliput which are around the $250, or the Manhattan’s around $620.

    Both share similar specs for Brightness & Contrast, but what should i be looking for?

    I just need it a monitor for Focusing and framing reference will these monitor do?



Leave a Reply