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15 Best External Camera Screens in 2022 (And How to Choose?)

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Having an external camera screen can be helpful for videographers or stills photographers who feel they need a larger display. There are several advantages, including better screen resolution and visualization.

If you feel like you’d benefit from having an on-camera monitor, the next step is to pick one. There are many options made by Atomos, SmallHD, Feelworld, and others.

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Top 15 External Camera Screens

There are a few key features that we’ve listed for each of the external camera screens on our list. Go to the buying guide at the end for how to choose an external monitor.

Here we go! These are our recommendations for the best external monitors currently on the market.

15. SmallHD Indie 7 (Big-Budget)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 1000 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: HDMI (Type A) input and output, BNC (3G-SDI/HD-SDI) input and output, SDI and HDMI embedded audio, 1/8″ (3.5 mm) headphone output, barrel (10 VDC) power input, and USB 2.0 (Micro-USB) input
  • Weight: 26oz (737g)

The SmallHD Indie 7 camera monitor boasts a large, bright, crystal-clear display with touchscreen capability. It also has various video assist tools such as professional image analysis, advanced pixel zoom, color correction, and unlimited real-time 3D LUTs. The battery life is not bad either.

Pros:

  • Brightness and 1000:1 contrast are ideal for outdoor shooting
  • SmallHD in-house software
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Intelligent power-charging of monitor and camera at the same time

Cons:

  • Expensive

SmallHD Indie 7 external camera screen

14. SmallHD Cine 7 (Outdoor-Friendly)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:10
  • Brightness: 1800 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: HDMI (Micro, Type-D), 3G-SDI input and output, 3.5mm headphone, USB 2.0, ethernet, SD card slot
  • Weight: 20oz (567g)

The Cine 7 is a large, bright full HD touchscreen monitor ideal for outdoor shooting. Its features include framing guides and 3D LUT overlays, but it doesn’t support 4K.

The idea is to provide Assistant Cameras (ACs), solo shooters, and directors with an all-in-one wireless monitoring or transmission solution.

There are four other versions available—besides the basic Cine 7. They are various “kits” offering camera control for different models:

Pros:

  • Large, bright screen
  • Excellent color rendition
  • 160° viewing angle
  • Covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color space
  • User-friendly menus
  • Camera controls for ARRI Alexa Mini, Mini LF, and Amira cameras (with more to come)
  • Option to add integrated Teradek wireless transmitters and receivers

Cons:

  • No 4K options

SmallHD Cine 7 external camera screen

13. Neewer F100 Camera Field Monitor (Canon-Friendly)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1280×800
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 450 nits
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI input-output
  • Weight: 30.5oz (866g)

The Neewer F100 is a large monitor ideal for a Canon camera. It comes with various “extras,” including an AV/HDMI cable, a hot shoe ball head, a shoe mount, and a sun hood. Screen resolution and brightness are limited, but this external camera screen does offer basic features such as zoom assist, scanning, and color peaking.

Pros:

  • High-resolution screen
  • Wide viewing angle
  • 4K and Ultra HD
  • Built-in speakers
  • 1200:1 contrast ratio
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Micro HDMI-to-HDMI cable not included
  • Low-resolution screen
  • Low brightness
  • No advanced features

Neewer F100 7-inch 4K external camera screen

12. Feelworld F6 Plus Field Monitor (For Canon Professionals)

  • Screen Size: 5.5″
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 500 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI and Type-C input, 4K HDMI and DC output, 3.5mm stereo headphone
  • Weight: 5.4oz (235g)

The Feelworld F6 Plus is specifically designed for professionals as an on-camera monitor to be used with Canon DSLRs. The display supports Full HD screen resolution, and the input/output ports cover all the most popular options.

It has a built-in tilt arm that rotates through 360° so you can view the screen from any angle, and its slim, lightweight design makes it highly portable.

Pros:

  • 4K output
  • Built-in tilt arm
  • Lightweight
  • Slim design

Cons:

  • Poor battery performance

Feelworld F6 Plus 5.5 Inch 3D LUT Touch Screen DSLR Camera Field Monitor

11. Feelworld T7 Camera Field Monitor (Small-Budget)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:10
  • Brightness: 450 nits
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI input-output, 3.5mm stereo headphone
  • Weight: 11.3oz (320g)

The T7 is a budget-friendly version of the FW279 that makes up for the lack of 2200-nit brightness with a large screen, slim design, wide viewing angle, and a range of monitoring tools. It includes color calibration technology, a focus peaking filter, a histogram, exposure controls, and a false-color function.

Pros:

  • 4K UHD
  • Full HD resolution
  • 160° viewing angle
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Slim (only 18mm)

Cons:

  • Battery not included
  • Low brightness setting

Feelworld T7 Camera Field Monitor

10. Desview R7 Full HD Field Monitor (Good Value)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:10
  • Brightness: 1000 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI Type-A (HDMI 1.4) input and output, 3.5mm headphone output
  • Weight: 13.4oz (380g)

The R7 is one of the cheapest seven-inch monitors with a bright 400ppi screen ideal for shooting outdoors. Plus, you can operate it using the touchscreen or buttons (if you’re wearing gloves).

Several options are available for in-camera video editing for professional shooters, including Exposure Assist, Focus & Composition, and Picture Style. It’s compatible with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras made by Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

Pros:

  • Easy user interface
  • Affordable
  • High-resolution screen
  • 180° vertical rotation
  • Cables included
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek

Cons:

  • No HDR
  • Distracting reflections
  • Plastic frame
  • Quality of HDMI cable

Picture of a Desview R7 7” Full HD Field Monitor

9. Atomos Shogun 7 (For Professionals)

  • Screen Size: 7.2″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 1500-3000 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: Yes
  • Ports: HDMI (2.0) 4Kp60 and two 12G-SDI (backward-compatible) input and output, 3.5mm stereo headphone output
  • Weight: 25oz (709g)

The Atomos Shogun 7 is effectively a seven-inch version of the Ninja V. It is ideal for professionals working with some of the best cine cameras who want external recorders with a large, bright HDR screen.

It offers real-time recording capabilities in 4K formats such as ProRes RAW and CinemaDNG. And there are built-in presets that can cope with camera manufacturers’ log video formats.

Pros:

  • Large, bright screen
  • Built-in external recorder
  • SDI inputs and outputs

Cons:

  • SSD drive costs extra
  • No buttons as an alternative to touchscreen

Atomos Shogun 7 external camera screen

8. Atomos Shinobi 7 (Bright Screen)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 2200 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: HDMI (2.0) 4Kp60 and 3G-SDI to 2Kp60 input and output, 3.5mm stereo headphone out
  • Weight: 20.4oz (577g)

The Shinobi five-inch and seven-inch monitors are the equivalents of the Ninja V, but you can’t use it as an external recorder. The Shinobi 7 is the bright, seven-inch version with log conversion. So you can preview the look of RAW footage and have the ability to upload LUTs from an SD card.

Pros:

  • Super bright
  • HDR
  • Dual battery slots

Cons:

  • Plastic body

Atomos Shinobi 7 external camera screen

7. Atomos Shinobi (For Budget Vloggers)

  • Screen Size: 5.2″
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 1000 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: HDMI (1.4) 4Kp30 input and loop output, 3.5mm stereo headphone output
  • Weight: 7oz (196g)

The Atomos Shinobi is the little brother of the Ninja V. It has a Mirror mode aimed at vloggers on a budget who don’t need recording capabilities but might have a camera without a fully articulating screen (like the Sony A7 III). It’s also small, light, and bright enough for shooting outside.

It shares the Ninja V’s ability to show HDR pictures that the camera’s LCD might not cope with. And there are plenty of display options such as waveforms and histograms accessible through the user-friendly menu system. It even supports 1D and 3D LUTs.

There’s also an SDI version of the Shinobi with lockable SDI sockets.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • HDR display
  • Mirror mode for selfies
  • Good battery life
  • Analysis View lets you view and edit your footage using histogram, waveform, vectorscope, etc.

Cons:

  • Plastic body
  • No locator pins for working with all Ninja accessories
  • No cables
  • Batteries not included
  • Not so good for stills photography

Atomos Shinobi external camera screen

6. Andycine A6 Plus V2 Camera Field Monitor (Small-Budget)

  • Screen Size: 5.5″
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 450 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI input and loop output, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • Weight: 8.3oz (235g)

The A6 Plus offers a lot of features at a low price point. The video assist options include histogram, a false-color function, peaking tools, plus 3D LUT support via an SD slot. You can also use the 8V DC output to charge DSLR cameras.

Pros:

  • Advanced video assist controls
  • Dual battery mount supports Canon LP-E6 and Sony NP-F batteries
  • Built-in tilt arm

Cons:

  • The tilt arm may need modifying for some cameras

Andycine A6 Plus V2 5.5inch Touchscreen 4K Camera Field Monitor

5. Blackmagic Video Assist 5″ 12G HDR (High-End)

  • Screen Size: 5″
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 2500 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: Yes
  • Ports: HDMI input and output, BNC, SDI input and output, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C (3.1 Generation 1), UHS-II SD card slot
  • Weight: 14.5oz (410g)

Blackmagic Video Assist is at the top end of the market for five-inch on-camera monitors. Plus, it’s the only one that can capture Blackmagic’s RAW code video when shooting with a model from its Pocket Cinema Camera range. It also offers 3D LUTs, professional scopes, exposure tools, and focus-assist features.

Pros:

  • Incredible brightness
  • Full HD resolution
  • HD to DCI 4K 60p recording capabilities
  • RAW compatibility

Cons:

  • No RAW capture via HDMI input
  • Distracting reflections

Blackmagic Video Assist 5” 12G HDR external camera screen

4. Lilliput A7s Full HD Monitor (Most Affordable 7-Inch)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:10
  • Brightness: 500 nits
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI 1.4 input and loop output, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Weight: 11.3oz (320g)

The Lilliput A7s is the most affordable seven-inch on-camera monitor on the market if you don’t need to record your footage. It has buttons and a scroll wheel rather than a touchscreen. It also fits onto a DSLR hotshoe, can cope with 4K video (with loop-through HDMI output), and has two customizable function keys.

It offers similar bells and whistles to more expensive on-camera monitors. Functions include Pixel Zoom, Audio Level Meters, False Color, Check Fields, Color Bars, focus peaking, a pixel-to-pixel scan, and image flip. All these features are designed to make life easier for videographers.

Pros:

  • 170° viewing angle
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Feature-rich
  • High-resolution screen
  • Includes a velcro sun hood, silicone case, and ball mount

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • Limited brightness, unsuited to outdoor shoots
  • Batteries not included

Lilliput A7s 7-inch external camera screen

3. PortKeys BM5 III (Outdoor-Friendly)

  • Screen Size: 5.5″
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 2200 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: HDMI and SDI input and loop output
  • Weight: 12.4oz (351g)

If you’re looking for a bright, contrasty on-camera monitor, then the BM5 III may be the right choice for you. Its screen is only five and a half inches and can’t record video, but the brightness rating of 2200 nits is only beaten by the Blackmagic Video Assist listed above.

It also offers excellent connectivity, supporting 3G-SDI, HDMI, HDMI-SDI cross-conversion, and Bluetooth. Other valuable tools include precision waveform, zooming, color temperature, ARRI false-color mode, improved focus peaking, underscan, OSD flip, image capture, and 3D LUTs—which you can use a flash drive to upload.

When used with the Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K or 6K, the Bluetooth connection lets you remotely control settings, including the zoom, shutter speed, codec, focus, and screen resolution.

Pros:

  • Brightness and 1000:1 contrast ratio ideal for outdoor shooting
  • Touchscreen display
  • 178° viewing angle
  • Feature-rich
  • Has Bluetooth module BT1 for Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K and 6K
  • Toughened glass

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can’t record video

PortKeys BM5 III external camera screen

2. Feelworld FW279 (Good in Direct Sunlight)

  • Screen Size: 7″
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • Aspect ratio: 16:10
  • Brightness: 2200 nits
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Recording: No
  • Ports: 4K HDMI input and loop output, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Weight: 12.9oz (365g)

The real strength of the FW279 is its large, bright, contrasty, high-resolution screen that’s perfect for shooting outside in direct sunlight. The color calibration settings allow for excellent color rendition. And there are plenty of monitoring tools available, such as focus assist, zebra stripes, and histograms. It’s also designed to work with most DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Pros:

  • Built-in speakers
  • 1200:1 contrast ratio
  • 160° viewing angle
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • No LUTs

Feelworld FW279 external camera screen

1. Atomos Ninja V (Most Popular)

  • Screen Size: 5″
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9
  • Brightness: 1000 nits
  • Touchscreen: Yes
  • Recording: Yes
  • Ports: HDMI (2.0) 4Kp60 input and output, 3.5mm stereo microphone, 3.5mm headphone, remote jack
  • Weight: 12.7oz (360g)

The Ninja V is a popular monitor due to the well-calibrated HDR screen and support for 4K up to 60fps, 6K Apple ProRes RAW (from the Nikon Z6 and Z7), H.265, 4:2:2, DNxHR, and log formats from ARRI, Canon, Panasonic, RED, and Sony.

The maximum screen resolution is only 1080p, but it can still record 4K 60p video and display anamorphic lens footage with 2x, 1.5x, 1.33x, or Panasonic’s 4:3 aspect ratio.

In fact, the Ninja V can even improve the quality of footage your camera can shoot! For example, if you have a Panasonic Lumix S5, you can shoot 12-bit RAW instead of 10-bit 4:2:2.

There are also a host of features available, including multi-level exposure tools, waveforms, a vectorscope, focus peaking, zebra stripes, and a false-color function.

Pros:

  • Built-in recording and playback
  • DCI 4K up to 60p
  • Small and light
  • Wide range of compatible codecs
  • It comes with audio inputs
  • Can improve a camera’s recording quality

Cons:

  • Fan noise
  • No buttons as an alternative to touchscreen
  • Significant moire and aliasing in 6K Apple ProRes RAW

Atomos Ninja V external camera screen

How to Choose an External Camera Monitor

There are several factors to consider when choosing an external monitor. These include their size, weight, screen resolution and brightness, touchscreen and recording capabilities, plus the number of input and output ports available.

Screen Size

This is obviously a trade-off. A smaller camera monitor will be lighter and more portable, but a larger one will give you a better view of your pictures or log footage.

The on-camera monitors in this list are all between five to seven inches in size (measured diagonally). But you’ll still need to consider other factors such as the size and weight of your camera, how you plan to connect them, and whether you’ll generally be shooting handheld, using a gimbal, or from a tripod.

Features

When it comes to the optical features of external monitors, there are three important factors:

  1. Screen brightness—If you’re going to be shooting outdoors in bright sunlight, you’ll want something offering at least 1000 nits and a 1000:1 contrast ratio so you don’t get washed-out colors or have to dash into the shadows to see your footage!
  2. Resolution—This is essential, and we mean not only the screen resolution of the camera monitor itself but the resolution of the footage. Most monitors have a 1920×1080 16:9 screen, but that doesn’t mean they can’t display or record 4K UHD video, which has a resolution of 4096×2160.
  3. Contrast

High-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras now offer many monitoring tools to help videographers, including zebra stripes and focus peaking. However, an excellent external monitor will offer all that and more—plus the ease of use from a larger screen.

Two features that might be very important to you are touchscreen control and the ability to record directly to the monitor. We’ve picked those out separately in our list to make it easier to narrow down your search for the perfect camera monitor.

Wireless monitors have the added benefit of giving you the freedom to walk around without being tied to the camera. Some even offer a “focus following” system that lets you adjust the focus remotely from the camera monitor itself rather than the camera.

Connections

In photography, compatibility is a big issue. This is especially true when it comes to external monitors.

It’s no good buying one if it won’t “talk” to your camera. So it’s important to work out which video formats and codecs you’ll be using, which microphones and headphones, and—crucially—whether your external camera monitor comes with all the right connections.

Some monitors are specifically designed to be on-camera monitors mounted on the hotshoe of a DSLR or mirrorless camera. It’s convenient if the external camera screen has a built-in “tilt arm” that lets you spin the monitor 360° (both vertically and horizontally).

Alternatively, you can simply link the camera and external monitor with an HDMI cable, and most monitors will also allow you to “loop” the footage to other monitors or devices if you’re working with an assistant on set.

Benefits of External Monitors

Are you still on the fence about buying an external monitor? Here are the main advantages.

  • Easier to check composition, focus, exposure, etc.
  • Offers flexible positioning—you don’t need to stand next to the camera anymore!
  • More suitable 16:9 aspect ratio than 3:2 camera LCDs
  • Easier to watch log footage with other people on set
  • Always visible if you’re doing a vlog with a fixed-screen camera
  • Helps visualize final output using built-in look-up tables (LUTs)
  • Has monitoring tools that may not be available in-camera, e.g., waveforms and vectorscopes
  • Better video recording quality (higher bit rates in some instances)
  • Additional recording capacity
  • It helps avoid camera overheating when filming for long periods

Conclusion

An external camera screen can bring significant benefits to your videography workflow. The screen resolution, size, brightness, and contrast will be a step up from the LCD screens usually found on the backs of cameras. That means outdoor shooting will be a breeze—even in direct sunlight!

On-camera monitors also offer touchscreen control, 4K and HD video recording, and plenty of features such as histograms, waveforms, and vectorscopes to help you make sure your footage looks just right.

We hope our list of external camera screens will help you add a new dimension to your photography!

Test out your external camera screen by taking our Total Time-Lapse course, and learn to create stunning movies!

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