SmallHD AC7 vs Ikan VK7i DSLR Field Monitor Shootout

See which one I buy.


Ikan VK7I vs SmallHD AC7

Update 1: I have the Lilliput 663/o/p coming in for review, it appears to be VERY similar to the Ikan listed above and it is less money, has a headphone jack and speaker and has a histogram. I will update this post later after I check it out.

Upated 2: I reviewed the Lilliput here and I still liked the Ikan better.

Ikan VK7i

Ikan VK7i


  • Boot speed – SmallHD wins by about 1 second.
  • Color fidelity – Ikan wins, SmallHD has a green color cast and a higher contrast
  • Peaking Accuracy – win to Ikan for close up on eyes
  • Lag time: tie
  • Battery life: 9.4watts for Ikan vs 6.4watts for SmallHD, SmallHD should have longer battery life
  • Audio meters – none of them have it
  • Warranty: Tie. Both Ikan and SmallHD 1-Year Warranty,
  • Mounting options – Ikan has 2 more than SmallHD
  • reflective screen – same

Thought Process

  • I what a display I can make accurate decisions off of, the screen on the 5D3 is so small I miss so many things that I see later. So the image has to be good. I want a good IPS panel that does at least 720p HD resolution.
  • It needs to have good brightness and good contrast ratio, I would like OLED but that is too much money. Also it is very new and who knows what can happen to it over time. I think IPS has a better viewing angle than the OLED as well.
  • Can’t I just use my iPad mini or Nexus 7 as a field monitor? They build millions so the price is lower for the screen and just think of the apps with scopes!  But USB lags too much, USB lower resolution and no HDMI input.
  • Use on a crane, or walk around within the frame with a long HMDI cord and adjust lights
  • I want it to be light and fit in my camera bag.
  • I want all the features like focus peaking and false color.
  • At this point I don’t need SDI but it would be nice to have for future stuff like a BM camera.
  • I originally thought I wanted it to record as well but the Ninja 2 doesn’t have a great screen and the Blade is too much money and only SDI. Most people say with the new Canon firmware there isn’t that much of an advantage to recording 4:2:2 10 bit, if I wanted to get that kind of quality I would shoot ML raw inside the camera. Most of the stuff that I want to record via HDMI, I can do via a Black Magic card.
  • And it can’t cost too much since this is an accessory that doesn’t get used all the time.
  • I wanted scopes but to get scopes it would cost hundreds more, there are other solutions to get scopes but they require another box and more power and cables. Then I thought, I already have scopes with Magic Lantern that will show up on the screen! If I buy a Black Magic 4k camera, I will really want scopes then.

Many Sizes

  • I could get a 4″ screen which is only an inch bigger than my camera’s screen, but it could be used for a EVF on a rig. I don’t use rigs yet, so not for me.
  • I could get 5″ that is a good size for on top the camera or to remote, and you can see from a few feet away, but I have a feeling that I am too much of a run and gun and would not use it in the field as much. Weight is an issue Ikan D5W is only .6lbs.
  • I could get a 6 or 7″ which will work more for a studio or controlled environment. This is what I need it for the most right now.

Clean HDMI vs Magic Lantern Raw

  • Using Magic Lantern raw I need to downgrade my firmware to Canon 1.1.3, in doing so I have lost a clean HDMI signal (1.2.1)
  • Magic Lantern is more important than having the HDMI clean (white rectangle and red dot) of overlays and 4:2:2



  • UPDATE: Lilliput 663/o/p $379 This one looks very interesting, I will be getting one in soon.
  • Sony CLM-V55 $400 800×480 no 720p resolution and no scopes
  • Ikan VK7I $449 800:1, 400nit, IPS, 1.1lbs. 1280 x 800, no scopes, No SDI same panel button diff, 6bit
  • SmallHD AC7 $600, 800:1, 400 nits, IPS, .75lbs. 1280 x 800, 217 ppi, no scopes, no SDI, 8bit (2/13)
  • Ninja 2 $695 800 x 480, has built in recorder
  • Ikan VX7I $810, 800:1, 400nit, IPS 1.1lbs. 1280 x 800, no scopes, Yes SDI
  • Ikan D5W $900 has scopes (Hamlut HDW5 is a copy from Ikan)
  • Marshall V-LCD56MD 5.6″ $1,000, only waveform monitor? Lower brightness 300nit and less contrast 500:1
  • Samurai Blade $1,295, 5″,  1280 x 720, SDI only, has scopes
  • TVLogic VFM-056WP $1,435 with scopes, 6bit, 500:1 contrast
  • SmallHD DP7 LCD Pro $1,300 has scopes

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Ikan VK7i

Ikan VK7i

5D Mark3

5D Mark III