External monitors on camera are arguably one of the single most valuable piece of kit for video production. Not only do they provide a larger screen compared to the built-in camera display, they can provide a lot of standard professional tools that your camera may or may not have otherwise. The larger display alone can aid in composition and focus which are pretty important details. The 2 biggest functions I look for are waveforms for exposure and focus tools such as focus assist and focus peaking. Vectorscopes aren’t actually implemented yet on the 500 SmallHDs though the place holder is there as a coming soon firmware update and will be a great tool for checking whitebalance. Another detail I really like on the newer SmallHDs is you can have multiple toolsets ready to go and toggle between them as needed – you can see this in action in the short video below.
Not all monitors are created equal and bigger isn’t always better depending on the rest of your rig and filming style and in my case I opted for something short of the larger 7in displays. Many professional monitors like the 500 SmallHDs allow you to load in LUTs so you can really see how the scene will look rather than the straight out of camera flat / log footage that you otherwise see. Here’s a quick look at the outgoing DP4 and the newer 501: