Turning Your iPhone Into an On-Camera Monitor

Some of the best portable screens available today are found on smartphones, especially iPhones. For many years Apple has been pushing ahead with gorgeous OLED display tech with accurate colors as well as high brightness and contrast. If only you could use it as an on-camera monitor when shooting video.

Well, you actually can according to filmmaker Jason Vong. There are a couple apps available for select cameras (Sony in this example) that will allow you to preview your image on an iPhone or Android device—and you don’t have to pick up the expensive Sony Xperia PRO to do it.

Sony users looking to monitor their camera with a phone should first check out the Sony Imaging Edge Mobile app or the Monitor+ app. Sony’s basic app is the best place to start if you are just trying this out.

It offers control over all your key settings in addition to giving you a wireless feed from the camera. There are grid lines available and a tap-to-focus functionality.

The Imaging Edge app isn’t perfect though. The resolution isn’t great enough to be able to zoom in and check focus and you won’t get playback without transferring the files.

You also can’t make changes to the Picture Profile and there aren’t any advanced monitoring features like peaking or zebras. It’s just for basic monitoring.

Monitor+ on the other hand is able to offer users a bit more. The free version is very similar to Imaging Edge and adds a histogram.

Image Credit: Monitor+

You can even do things like change codecs, frame rate, Picture Profiles, and more. If you are on Android you can even connect over USB for eliminating some latency. There still isn’t pinch to zoom or playback.

There is a way to unlock some additional features – a one-time $18.99 payment for the Pro version. That’s not the cheapest price for an app, but cheap monitors will run easily over $100.

Pro unlocks incredibly useful features, including zebra, false color, peaking, LUT preview, and anamorphic de-squeeze. A manual focus pull is an option as well. For more fun, you can use the Apple Watch app to check your shot and hit record from your wrist.

Apps still aren’t a perfect solution. The resolution on both apps is fairly low and even peaking on the Monitor+ app isn’t the most reassuring. Latency can also be an issue. Imaging Edge tends to have a more stable connection but Monitor+ can get quite bad.

If you don’t want to spend any money then Imaging Edge Mobile is likely the best pick. If you are looking to get something closer to a true monitor then the <$20 for Monitor+ Pro is worth it. Still, for the best possible monitoring, you’ll want a dedicated monitor.

Do you have any experience with monitoring via a phone app? 

[source: Jason Vong]

Order Links:

  • Sony Xperia PRO 5G Smartphone (B&H)
  • osee T5 5.5” Monitor (Amazon)

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