DCS Road Test — SmallHD DP7-PRO — Evaluation by James Mathers

by | Sep 19, 2014 | Reviews, Tips | 0 comments

MathersSmallHD 7A lot of capability packed into a very light weight package; that’s how I would describe the SmallHD DP-7-PRO I took out for a spin recently…and it just keeps getting better.

MathersSmallHD 2I was already impressed with it’s long list of features such as Wave Form, Histogram, and Zebras for exposure control, with pixel zoom and edge highlight for focus assist.  Focus tools like these are very helpful with the limited depth of field of a large sensor, especially if you are roaming with a handheld camera.  That’s right, even with all those capabilities, and a beautiful 7.7” 1280×800 OLED  display, it weighs in at only a little over one pound.  That makes it light enough to easily serve as a handheld on-board monitor.

MathersSmallHD 4With new features added in the latest firmware upgrade, it can also be a powerful look management tool.  It supports custom 3D-LUTs that can be imported from most popular color grading software. However, what’s really impressive is that it also has the industry standard control functions to create your own LUTs built right into the monitor.  These can be exported, saved to SD card for later retrieval, and you can even export .jpeg still frames.

This kind of advanced functionality can really help to close the loop with the Colorist and further confirm your intent as a Cinematographer throughout the post pipeline.  Several viewing LUTs are already available, based on popular Color Space variations such as “Cinestyle,” “C-Log,” “Log-C,” “Red Gamma 3,” “S-Log 1 & 2.”  These, however, are just for starters, since you can easily modify them to further hone a custom look.

MathersSmallHD 3What’s also very nice is that you can pass through any of these viewing LUTs and send a nicely corrected image to video village, while still being able to toggle back to view the RAW, or uncorrected image without disturbing the output down the line.  So, for example, you may be pushing the boundaries of the image, and need to view the RAW, but you don’t want to distract the Director with a flat or otherwise unappealing image.  You could also set separate looks to account for differences in cameras or lenses that you know are easily correctable in post, but might cause concern among the on-set Creatives. All in all, the DP7-PRO offers a lot functionality in a very compact and light weight package.


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