At NAB I was offered a TVLogic 5.6″ monitor kit for review and assessment. The VFM-056WP sits somewhere between being a monitor and a viewfinder. It’s not as big as most monitors and it’s not really a viewfinder, like the soon to be released Alphatron/TVlogic EVF. So I was somewhat sceptical as to how useful it would be as my normal cameras all have built in LCD panels.
The kit included the monitor, a deep detachable hood, battery adapter for the ever so common Sony NP-F batteries, mounting ball joint, power supply and a few other small accessories, all inside a good quality flight case.
One of my few criticisms of this kit is the size of the flight case. The monitor itself is very compact and lightweight, but the flight case really is quite big. For my fly-away jobs I probably wouldn’t use this flight case, it’s just to big for such a small monitor. Anyway back to the monitor. Externally it feels nice and solid and to be made of good quality materials. On the bottom there are a pair of BNC’s for the HDSDi input and output. The HDSDi input works in both conventional 1.5G and 3G modes (WP version only) making it suitable for use with cameras that have a 3G 4:4:4 output, so it works great with the S-Log output of my PMW-F3. As well as the HDSDi there is also an HDMI input plus 3 phono connectors for the composite and component input. So all in all there is just about every type of input you could possibly want. In addition the WP version will convert any connected HDMI signal to HDSDi
On plugging in the HDSDi feed from my F3 I was presented with a very good looking, sharp and clear display. Checking the colour response using a DSC Chroma Du Monde chart showed very accurate colour reproduction, brightness and contrast. Although the LCD panel is quite small the resolution at 1280×720 makes the image look nice and crisp. Next I tried using it to focus. On the whole I found I could achieve reasonably accurate focus without resorting to peaking, but turning on the monitors coloured peaking function does make it much easier to find optimum focus. The other tool that helps focussing is a 1:1 pixel image zoom that is accessed using the menu switch on the rear.
The VFM-065WP has all the usual tools in the menu’s. The menu system is easy to use with a Function button on the rear of the monitor and a rotary dial on the side used to select and change settings. One thing that would be nice perhaps is a couple of assignable buttons to which you can assign your favourite functions.
As well as the common stuff like markers, false colour and zebras, it has some nice extra functions like a DSLR zoom feature that will expand the less than full screen output of Canon and Nikon DSLR’s so that it fills the screen. There is also a Range Error feature that allows the user to set maximum and minimum levels for luma and chroma. If these levels are exceeded, the areas in excess of these values blink on and off. The WP model includes waveform and vectorscopes that can be superimposed over the pictures in 3 different sizes, small, large and full screen.
So with it’s full set of features and tools, excellent build and image quality, the diminutive TVLogic VFM-056WP is a great little monitor that can be camera mounted without adding a lot of extra weight to your kit. I have been quite impressed by this neat little monitor and I’m sure it will end up in my kit for most shoots. It’s small size and low weight makes it particularly suitable for overseas shoots where I need to keep the total weight of my kit to a minimum to avoid excessive airline baggage charges.