Finding an affordable yet production worthy field monitor can be a tough challenge, especially when you consider the fact that most budget-friendly monitors tend to compromise quality for the sake of lowering the price tag. Fortunately, there is one particular field monitor that provides a decent number of professional-level features all without breaking the bank.
The enticing offering comes from SWIT with their CM-55C field monitor. In the video below, Carl Yates of ProAV TV explains why this is one of the most affordable on-camera monitors the money can buy.
In essence, the SWIT CM-55C is a 4K 5.5-inch monitor designed to provide filmmakers with the right tools to properly evaluate their shots while filming on the fly. It features a 1080p display with a brightness rated at 450 nits. While the panel may not be the easiest to see in bright sunlight, the IPS panel allows you to view your composition with great image detail, even at extreme viewing angles.
Beyond that, the unit features a single HDMI 1.4 input with support for a 4K 30fps and 1080p 60fps feed. Also, there is a headphone output jack for audio monitoring, as well as an SD card slot for uploading firmware updates of 3D LUTs.
Power wise, the CM-55C can run off a Sony MVF of Canon LP-6 style battery, depending on the plate used along. There is also a USB Micro input to power the camera, as well as a DC output jack to run other devices if necessary.
All the interaction with the monitor’s software is done through the use of a joystick located on the front side. With it, you can access the various menus to enable different video assist features available on board. Some of these include waveforms, 3D LUT support, false colors, focus assist, anamorphic de-squeeze, DSLR scaling, and more.
According to Yates, the unit is certainly a worthwhile investment, especially for its sub-$300 price tag. All in all, it’s a delight to see a compact and well-designed monitor that features so many professional-level video assist features including 3D LUT support.
While the overall experience with the CM-55C is generally positive, there are some limitations to consider. For starters, the 450 nit brightness of the display is rather low, making it difficult for use in bright sunlight without a sunhood. Also, the display isn’t very color accurate, meaning that you may want to refer to another external monitor or the on-camera display when working with color-critical applications.
Despite the minor inconveniences associated with cost-effective monitors, the SWIT CM-55C is still a great option for those looking for more screen real estate, especially when it comes to practicing proper shot composition. With advanced video assist features and an extremely appealing price tag, the CM-55C is definitely a filmmaking accessory worth considering as a viable purchase.