Something major is happening with our world. Or maybe I’m just living through such major market transformations for the first time. I was too little to remember what was going on with the film world when digital cameras started hitting the market. Now we’re on the verge of not one, but three major changes: shifting to mirrorless, blending photo and video work because often it’s necessary for your career, and social influence on the marketplace.
Somehow this dramatic first paragraph felt right, but let’s lighten things up a bit. We’re not alone, there is always something that can make our life easier as we go through these changes and today I have a camera monitor in my hands for review. I tested ikan DH5 on-camera monitor for about a month. I am not a video shooter, but at this point it’s necessary to have videos for your brand no matter your actual profession. And the cheapest way, in my mind, was to learn and do it myself.
Why would you need a monitor?
The most basic answer is to have a bigger screen to see the framing of the shot and focus better. I also think it’s a handy tool for photo shoots on the road when you can’ tiring laptop setup to an outdoor location. My number three reason is for camera balance, almost like a gimbal. The camera setup gets heavier and is easier to work with since it’s not as wobbly because of your quick movements. Steadicams utilized in the past and now we simply have gimbals and DJI Osmo to work with.
I’ve tested a few of iKan products before. They always seem to be a bit ahead of the curve and know what products to add to their lineup. It happened to gimbals and monitors just recently. But the issue for me is that often it doesn’t seem like they are the ones making the products.
In the boxes, which have not the most exciting branding, are printed on office paper manuals. Everything is there, but it all seems a bit too “scrambled together quickly.” I guess that’s the best way to put it. I am used to expensive branding, I like it, I appreciate the thought process and attention to details behind it, but with ikan, at least with entry models of various products, expect to have a very simple unboxing experience without any major wow moments.
The monitor I had I’m my hands was 5″ in size, light and portable, especially without the battery. You don’t get external batteries or HDMI cable in the box, so get ready for a bit of that Spirit Airlines “we’ll upsell you on all extras” kind of mentality.
I guess at this point I sound sarcastic and negative, but the monitor is a great tool and worked perfectly for me. Sure, I had to buy some extras, and sure it’s not a $1,000+ monitor, but the cool thing is that it works, it does that it’s supposed to, and you pay for what you get. There is a perfect ratio of price and actual product benefits you get. So I’d buy this monitor all day long if I needed more.
I can’t speak for how this monitor will handle after 1-2 years of work, but it seems like a solid work machine. I can always throw it in my bag and use it on the road in case I need to get video clips of wherever I am. There are quite a few buttons and settings, but for the most part you get a basic model that let’s you control 2 main function keys with the most essential settings you want to switch.
A common issues I’ve seen in reviews of other monitors is how they do not fill the screen 100% when connected to a camera. I shot with Sony a6300 and this monitor went into full screen mode filling all space it had available. There was a bit of pixelation of the menu text, but who cares, I needed to see my frame and focus. If I cared about more stuff, I’d go with a more expensive more advanced model and there are quite a few:
For me personally, the point of having such a monitor is really for the short promo clips and when I want to explore some more film making in my free time. I do videos for my store, but I have a hard time with post production and have not found the right editor just yet to take over what’s most painful for me.
One more feature I want to point out on this monitor is its sun visor. At least for me it didn’t attach too well and was pretty flimsy. There is a Velcro part and the plastic part. You connect all that together and put the visor on the monitor. I think you might have to find other solutions rather than use what’s provided in the box.
All in all, the monitor was great for me, I didn’t use it for color control and I don’t think you should expect magic colors from it. But for what it is, and how much it costs, this is probably the best entry-level medium size (7″ is too big for me) camera monitor you can find.