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Nick Hope

External high res 16:9 Monitor for the L&M Bluefin

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Light and Motion have told me that they're unlikely to have a 16:9 external monitor during 2008 because of other projects :)

 

So now I'm thinking of fitting a Gates or Amphibico monitor on my Bluefin instead. I know it wouldn't show the camera info but if it helps me judge focus and shoot in a more natural position then I'm interested.

 

I don't see a bracket as a major problem, and I'd probably mount it forward of the top window so I can still see the top window for camera info. The tricky part will be the wet connector...

 

Can any owners/dealers please give me some help... What diameter thread do the Amphibico/Gates wet connectors have where it screws into the housing? Looks like they both use the same one. Who makes that wet connector (look what's printed on the cable... maybe I can get a tech drawing from them with the thread specs to see if it would fit or I can adapt it)? How many conductors on the inside of the housing are actually connected to the camera on the inside (I suppose if it's component then 3 conductors are required)?

 

Also, if anyone has the existing 4:3 external monitor on an L&M housing, or for a polecam (Shawn?), what's the connector and cable like? Is it a 3-pin Subconn connector like on the light battery pods, with just 2 conductors connected internally? What's the cable diameter? If I only need 2 conductors then maybe I could use the existing L&M wet connector and cable and run it into the Gates or Amphibico monitor.

 

Finally, anyone got a price comparison of the 2 monitors?

 

Wag's review of the Amphibico monitor

Gates 16:9 monitor

Amphibico 16:9 monitor

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Nick,

 

Let me get into work tomorrow and I will measure it all up for you.

 

Fitting either the Gates or the Amphibico Hi Res monitors is a straight forward process given the holes are already in your housing.

 

Incedently I am heading to Phuket in a few days so if you need anything carried over now is the time......

 

email me at work info@scubapix.com

 

Peter

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Hey Nick,

 

long time no "see", so to speak.

I've been living in the Philippines now since Jan of this year, moved from California. Macro galore!

 

Been shooting for a couple of HD production companies, my own, private parties DVDs, some marine conservation groups, etc. Lots of projects going on. Soon will be giving seminars in uw filmaking here.

 

Nice to slowly come back to the WP community, after a time when I was too busy for that (setting up new business here, etc).

 

Anyway, good question yours.

As you know, like you I also have a L&M Bluefin HD for my Z1.

 

And, I also have the L&M 4:3 monitor (I used to use it with my L&M Buefin 900, and kept it when I upgraded to the HD housing for the Z1). It's the L&M "compact" monitor (self powered via internal bettery).

 

Although it's not high def of course, for general framing (e.g, divers, medium-large subjects at standard distance) the L&M monitor does a fine job. And after a while you actually can accurately "guess" the focus just by looking at the image (even if it's a bit soft, of course).

Of course for critical stuff, e.g, macro, it helps to double check your focus with either the big 16:9 LCD on the Z1, or peep through the Z1 viewfinder.

 

....I know [the external monitor] wouldn't show the camera info... but if it helps me judge focus and shoot in a more natural position then I'm interested.

 

Also, if anyone has the existing 4:3 external monitor on an L&M housing, or for a polecam (Shawn?), what's the connector and cable like? Is it a 3-pin Subconn connector like on the light battery pods, with just 2 conductors connected internally? What's the cable diameter? If I only need 2 conductors then maybe I could use the existing L&M wet connector and cable and run it into the Gates or Amphibico monitor.

 

If I can make a correction Nick, it is NOT true that the external 4:3 L&M monitor, when connected to the Bluefin HD housing does not show you the camera info that you already see in the nice 16:9 monitor built into the Z1.

In fact, the 4:3 monitor will show you exactly the same image, camera info included. Only thing is, it's letterboxed of course, to maintain the proportions of the 16:9 format into a 4:3 monitor.

 

The reason in some cases the external monitor may not "mirror" the camera info present on the main LCD of the Z1, is if you've inadvertently siwtched "ON" the "show 4:3 guides" mode in your Z1 menu (camera or "other" settings, can't remember). If that is the case, turn it off, and you should be able now to see the camera info on any external monitor.

Apparently the Z1 cannot ouput both the 4:3 guides and the camera info at the same time to an external monitor.

 

Mark in Palau used to have the same problem when he first got his Gates + Z1 + Gates ext. monitor, and he was able to fix this problem with this trick.

 

Re: cable, yes my L&M 4:3 monitor is a SubConn cable and:

- name on cable is "BELDEN 8412 2CE"

- diameter of cable is about 1/4 inch.

- diameter of each of the "fatter" ends of the cable is the same as the ends on the cable that connects your lights to the pods.

- The cable has THREE "golden" pins, plus a forth one that is a simple metal pin that helps the whole thing plug into the blukhead perfectly aligned.

 

It's not clear whether 2 of the conductors are connected internally. I would assume so since the video cable only carries 2 signals, but don't quote me on that.

 

Hope that helps. If you need pix, let me know (or email me, nick@oceanwonders.org)

 

Nick

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Hi Nick, thanks for the reply. I'm glad things are going well for you over there.

 

You're probably outputting the signal at 480i or 576i, which is why the camera info displays. The problem is displaying camera info when the output is set to 1080i, which is what I want to output for maximum clarity. According to Wagsy's report the picture is clearer at the higher setting. If this thing doesn't let me really see the fine focus then I don't think it's worth bothering.

 

If only 2 of the conductors are connected for the SD monitor then I would assume they would use the same connector as the lights, which has only 2 brass pins plus one stainless steel "guide" pin. I wonder why they use a connector with an extra pin :D

 

Anyway if the L&M SD monitor cable and socket has 3 conductors and screws straight into the Bluefin then maybe I could run that cable straight into the the Gates or Amphibico 16:9 monitor.... if it only needs 2 or 3 conductors. The cable diameter is probably similar enough.

 

Anyone know how many conductors are actually connected internally on the Gates or Amphibico 16:9 monitors?

 

Still interested to know what size the thread on the Gates/Amphibico female wet connector socket is as well.

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Anyone know how many conductors are actually connected internally on the Gates or Amphibico 16:9 monitors?

Hi Nick,

 

Although my Endeavour has the "inbuilt" Amphibico version, I imagine the connections are the same. Mine connects directly to the Component Out socket on the camera, so I assume it has three outputs (RGB) to the monitor.

 

Roger

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Hi Nick

 

Not sure of the size of your hole in the housing but you could get the Amphibico plug and component cable to connect the 16.9 screen to your setup. The Amphibico plug/hole is like 12mm in diameter.

 

Only standby/record and time code on display if in 1080i mode.

Fine tuning focus is still best with the viewfinder but the high res screen works pretty good.

 

 

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Hey Nick again.

 

Now I understand, you want to output at 1080i to your external 16:9 monitor.

 

yes, I think as you and also Wagsy hinted at, it's actually a "feature" (BUG!!) with the camera.

 

I remember before I left for PI and still had my Sony HD TV (1920x 1080) back in California, I used to run into the same problem. When connecting the Z1 to that HDTV via the component cable, and trying to display the camera info onto the HDTV set (with the latter set to 1080i), only the info on the TOP part of the Z1 LCD would show. The info at the bottom WILL NOT show, when connected to a monitor set to 1080i. Yep, it's pretty F...d up, but there's no other way (not that I know at least).

 

I think it's because the software that controls the display of camera info is still old, and it uses large, non scalable fonts and symbols, which was fine in the old pre-HD days, but not anymore.

 

The only way to see ALL of the camera info is to connect in 480i or 480p mode, which of course results in a softer image.

 

You would think Gates and Amphico shoudl be aware of this bug? What does the manual for their monitors say?

 

Perhaps there is a "firmware" that Sony has released, that would fix the bug?

 

Nick

Edited by nickdiver

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Thanks guys.

 

For the record we should say that 480i/480p is available only if the camera is set to 60i. For 50i the standard def output is 576i/576p.

 

I'm rarely comfortable using the eyepiece, especially when the camera is down close to the seabed, which is usually the case for the macro shots where i need to judge the focus. That's why I'm looking into this.

 

I've been told that the Gates wet connector has a 7/16-20 thread. The connectors on the SubConn site also have 7/16-20 threads. That's 11.11mm, but in fact L&M wet connectors have threads of diameter 12.4mm, so they can't actually be UNF 7/16-20. They're probably a small 1/2" thread.

 

The holes in the rear of the Bluefin are shallow and don't look compatible with the wet connector shown in Wags' pic.

 

The single hole in the side of the Bluefin has a 9.4mm diameter thread. Not compatible either

 

So it doesn't look like the Gates/Amphibico connector would screw straight into the Bluefin. But I'd love to hear for sure from a dealer who has the parts and can actually try it.

 

Furthermore it doesn't look like the SD Bluefin monitor cable could be fitted into the Gates as I'm told there are no fewer than 6 conductors connected internally on the Gates HD monitor. Checking that with them.

 

All of which really only leaves the option of getting a female-male thread adaptor machined so the Bluefin can take either the Gates or Amphibico connector.

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