12 Jun Why would I want an external recorder/monitor?

Source: DP Review

Not everyone wants to shoot video, so it may seem unthinkable to spend around $1000 on an external video monitor/recorder. However, others find it opens up creative challenges every bit as satisfying as stills photography.

The more you shoot video, the more you’re likely to encounter (and find yourself needing) tools that are rarely provided on stills/video cameras. We’ll be shooting with a couple of the more common models over the coming weeks to see how they compare, but first we wanted to give an overview of why you’d even consider using one.

Why would I want an external monitor/recorder?

As the two-part descriptor suggests, there are two main benefits to using an external recorder: to get a bigger, more informative preview as you shoot and to capture better quality footage.


In terms of recording, the benefits come from a number of factors.

Understandably, most stills/video cameras have processors designed primarily for stills, and they also have to make significant compromises in the name of battery life and thermal management, since video isn’t their primary role. Also, for the most part, they’re designed to produce amounts of data that are manageable by consumers, and at bit rates compatible with (relatively) slow memory cards. This typically means heavily compressed video, usually using what’s known as a GOP (group of pictures) video codec, which only records a full image at select key frames while interpolating the in-between images based on changes between frames. H.264 is a common example of a

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