Nebtek HD70

After spending a LONG time hemming and hawing, comparing the various options for HD on-camera monitors:

Carrion (amazing picture, great price, but heavy and larger size)
Panasonic (very nice, but equally very expensive)
Marshal 7″ (not bad at all, not very bright, heavy)
Totevision (questionable build quality, so/so picture)
IKAN 8000HD (crap picture, all plastic, very cheap, not really fair comparison)
Varicam/Swit (garbage)

I finally bit the bullet and bought a Nebtek HD70 for on-camera monitoring (and for future use in my yet un-built stabilizer). The picture is AWESOME- heads and toes above the Marshal 7″. It’s bright, and with a hood, works fine even in full sun-shine. They have an edge enhance mode that really makes pulling focus in a 85mm f1.4 nikon a snap. It has underscan, blue gun, bars, and various PAR modes (though I pretty much only use 16:9. There are multiple holes for tripod mount plates, or for other attachment methods, so it should work great on a stabilizer. The power and video i/o are in the back, and can be turned so they point sideways. It runs on 12v, or 7.2v through a smaller connector. It’s got an all metal case, feels quite tough, and has BNCs w/ loop-through. I paid just under $2k for it.

Now the bad-
I got it with the Panasonic battery adaptor (I have an HVX200) and my non-panasonic brand batteries didn’t work until I added a few strips of gaff tape to the battery mount to ensure contact with the electrical connectors. Nebtek said that both the adaptor and the off-brand batteries are made from molds of the panasonic items, and they use those molds far past when they should- thus the parts don’t always fit right. I’m not very happy with that answer, but with the tape it seems to work just fine.

It eats batteries pretty quickly, I’m using 5600mah units, and I get about 2 hours of use out of them. Not so great when they take ages to recharge. So I might be looking into a different battery option. Not sure yet. Price and weight of AB or IDX system is daunting.

Finally, when my camera is in HD mode, if I am WAY overexposing the frame, the monitor will freak out and think there is no video signal. It’s not really a big deal, since you’d never actually shoot with those settings, but it’s annoying when you are setting iris, or moving into a brighter area and you loose your picture till you dial back the iris. I guess I could look at it like a “feature” It’s lake a hard stop for when you blow 100+ IRE. Nebtek support has been good, and is working with me on this, so it’s still unresolved.