SmallHD DP6 first impressions
I got back from my shoot in Austria last night to find the DP6 monitor from SmallHD waiting for me. To be honest I’m not going to have much time over the next few days to put it through it’s paces but thought I’d share a few initial thoughts with you and some quick iPhone pics I took whilst having a play with it.
Firstly the packaging and build quality are fantastic, smallHD do such a great job of making these things feel industrial. I ordered one of the perspex covers which I fitted to the front as soon as I opened the box so as to stop any unwanted finger prints from getting on the screen. These work really well and it’s reassuring to know that the screen is protected.
Talking of the screen, the image is incredible! The only thing that I’ve seen of a similar quality is the iPhone 4’s screen as they both have a very high pixel density. I tried the DP6 with my Canon 5D2 and for some reason the image produced looked a bit yellow, more so than the LCD on the camera so I’m going to need to have a go at getting it calibrated before using it. My unit also has three hot pixels, but they are so small that they are only really noticeable against solid / dark colours.
Power wise I ordered the Canon battery plate which holds two Canon 5D/7D batteries. The monitor will actually run with just one battery attached so having two allows either hot swapping of batteries without loss of power or just a longer run time. The plate fits very well, again feeling very robust and the Canon batteries fit in with a solid click.
I had a slight issue with the jack connector from the power plate not fitting snuggly in the DP6 resulting in intermittent power loss but that was easily fixed by tweaking the pin inside the socket slightly. I’ve let the guys at smallHD know about the issue, mine may have been a one off.
The controls on the DP6 are much improved over the DP1 which I owned. Using two small buttons and a click/roll jog dial type wheel the UI is very easily navigated and making changes to settings becomes intuitive very quickly. The smaller of the two buttons activates the DP6’s focus assist feature which works very well indeed. The focus assist makes the whole image appear dark whilst highlighting in focus areas in bright white. I found it to be very accurate and helpful with my 50mm at f1.2!
The sun shade works just like the one on the DP1 and is a wonderful design, keeping the unit lightweight whilst doing a perfect job of removing glare.
Only time will tell if it holds up to use in the field. I’m really keen to spend more time with the DP6 and will write more when I have done so watch this space for updates about this monitor soon.
Adrian asked in the comments if the DP6 scales the image to correct the 5D markII output differences when recording and I can confirm that it does. You just have to set the scaling to ‘Auto’ in the menu. I’ve added a couple of pics showing the monitor before and after pressing record.
I spent some time with the DP6 today and installed the latest firmware from SmallHD. On the positive side the new firmware does adds a preset that simply works wonders with the 5D’s output modes. It pushes the image out to fill the maximum area possible in both viewing and recording modes.
On the downside I’ve started to discover a few things that are a slightly niggly. Firstly I’m struggling big time to get the colours right on the monitor, no matter what I adjust I always seem to have a yellow tinted image. In trying to adjust the colours I’m also noticing that the scroll wheel adjustment doesn’t always respond as expected, if I try and dial up the settings quickly it seems as though it struggles to keep up. Moving the dial more slowly seems to make it more reliable.
Minor niggles I know, but worth mentioning.
Read my full review of two new Marshall HDMI monitors plus the SmallHD DP6