If you’re just starting out in Film, on-camera monitors may seem like a luxury. Film experts will tell you otherwise. In addition to enlarging the screen for easier recording, many on-camera monitors can also enhance your camera’s video output. Whether you’re shooting with a cine, mirrorless, or DSLR camera, an external monitor is a must if you want to get serious about filmmaking.
You may think you don’t want to add weight to your setup or make it bigger, but an on-camera monitor is worth it. The extra large screen means that when you’re recording, you can see a more accurate live representation of your footage. If there’s a speck of dust on the lens or sensor, you’ll be able to notice it much more easily on a 7-inch screen than on a 3-inch screen.
Some of the higher quality on-camera monitors not only increase the size of the screen, but can also enhance the video functionality of the camera. For example, when shooting with a Panasonic Lumix S5 and an Atomos Ninja V external recorder, you can record 12-bit RAW instead of 10-bit 4:2:2 with its internal recording option. On-camera monitors are also great additions if your camera lacks features like a fully articulating screen, like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.
Even if you have features like focus peaking, zebra lines, and false colors turned on, an on-camera monitor lets you apply frame monitors that can reveal flicker that smaller monitors might miss. They also allow you to test content and show it to others on set without cluttering up a small screen.
In this list, we review the best external monitors and video recorders so you can get an overall imaging experience before you hit your editing suite and it’s too late to shoot again.
The best on-camera monitors in 2023