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I have often wondered why so many DSLR and standard camcorder users do not use a hot or cold shoe monitor when taking topside video or photos to supplement their underwater shots. When filming underwater most everyone I know uses an external monitor rather that the camera's small LCD screen so why, when those DSLR LCD screens do not really enable you to see as well as you could, do users not bring along a nice 5 or 7" HD monitor to shoot with.

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Well,

a external monitor is on my shopping list for 2 reasons:

1° i shoot more and more video with my D800 riga and a external monitor would e very helpful for that

2° my eyes become nearsighted and so a bigger monitor would help to have a better control over what i see and record

3° the bigger monitor would be helpful to take pictures with a rebreather as the big "mouthpiece" prevent to have the housing near in front of the eye

 

I belive that a external monitor with a zoom function would be very helpful and replace (for me) a viewfinder even if the optical quality is much lower.

 

I think that the main reason for the low use of external monitors is that good quality monitors are quite expensive and - if not using a tripod - make the camera harder to hold steady due it's additional weight.

 

Chris

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Due to the angle and terrain of coral in underwater environment, an external monitor is more useful as the diver can tilt the monitor to the angle they need to shoot video.

 

While on the top side, that challenge mostly can be overcome without monitor especially many dslr has swivel screen. Trying to attach a monitor on a camera body will also require a cage/shoulder rig because the set up get heavy, and the hot shoes/cold shoes are not strong enough to hold heavy gear. The underwater housing essentially become a cage with multiple ball joints and weigh become more manageable once it's in the water with variety of float. Just my thought.

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A lot of my top-side shots are taken on boats. Over the years I've developed a technique of pushing the camera tightly against my face and bending my knees to move with the motion of the boat. So I always use cameras with a good viewfinder and rarely use the back-panel display. I was taught that a three-point handhold is always going to be more stable than a two-point handhold.

 

I reckon that handholding a camera away from the face, "iPhone style" will never be as stable as the three-way support provided by two hands and your face. Especially on a wobbly boat. Adding a monitor, increasing the weight, IMHO, is only going to make handholding less stable.

 

For my new "above water" GH4, I have just ordered one of these: http://www.zacuto.com/z-finder-dslr-viewfinder

 

They make one of these finders just for the GH3/GH4 format. I am hoping that it'll give me a better viewfinder while still enabling the three-point hold technique. Should arrive this week so I'll let you know whether it works for me.

 

Regards

Peter

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