Recently, I had an opportunity to review what I have always considered to be the on camera monitor to which all others are judged: Marshall. Marshall has achieved this by manufacturing monitors that are streamlined inside and out. When Marshall puts it’s products on the shelf, you can have confidence you are buying a product that is tried and true.
Unlike some other monitors on the market, you don’t have to worry about having to upgrade dysfunctional firmware on a monthly basis simply because the manufacturer rushed to market with a half baked product. If you’re attracted to a particular spec or feature of a Marshall Monitor, you can feel confident that it works when you buy it and not six months after you buy it when the firmware gets updated — quite frankly, no one has time for that!
Having had the V-LCD56MD and using it extensively over the passed few months, I can say unequivocally this latest model not only maintains the high standards held by all Marshall products, it actually raises the bar. Here are just some the reasons I love this monitor:
1. Beautiful Screen – rich colors, exceptionally clear, sharp and vibrant
2. It is an exact representation of the camera’s monitor – color and sharpness are literally the exact same
3. Rubberized exterior feels good in your hand and less likely to slip
4. Extremely light weight – even with the DV battery
5. HDMI loop through
6. 3G HD/SDI loop through
7. Easy Menu with options to assign menu functions to one of 4 user buttons
8. 1/4-20 mounts on all 4 sides
9. Headphone jack to monitor audio
10. Easy DSLR image re-sizing
Initially, I wasn’t clear about the terms used to describe this monitor. I wasn’t clear as to why it was described as being modular, but Marshall’s decision to include the term modular, not only in the description but in the name of the monitor, is probably the only way to describe one of its key features.
How else would you describe a device that allows you to change how it functions by simply swapping out various modules to suit whatever your needs may be? Specifically there are two modules on the back of the unit that can be mixed and matched. First, the battery plate can be swapped out, easily allowing you to choose between ten different types of DV battery plates. This is very cool as you’re not married to one type of DV battery as these can come and go as the manufacturers see fit. Secondly, and most importantly, there is an input module that can be swapped out as well.
Now HDMI loop through comes standard with this model and its position is fixed, and why not? The fact that HDMI is a consumer connection hasn’t stopped Canon EOS or any other manufacturers of HDSLR cameras from using HDMI as its main line out. Marshall’s modular input panel gives you the ability to switch between two available modules:
Left: MD-3GE 3G-SDI Input Module with Loop-Through Right: MDO-3G 3G-SDI Output Module converted from HDMI input.
This level of forward thinking is the cornerstone of Marshall’s excellence, future proofing products through a design that allows you to change the very way the monitor receives and exports signal – brilliant!
Other specs include:
Four user-definable function buttons on the front-panel allow quick access to numerous settings and features including focus-assist, false color filter, aspect ratio, screen markers, monochrome mode, color temperature, delay mode, and more.
A variety of screen markers in 4:3, 16:9, and full screen modes allow accurate monitoring of the different aspect ratios used in broadcast environments. User Markers allow for custom aspect ratio, cropping framing, now with a choice of four colors and variable width lines.
8 channels of audio from the HDMI input or 16 channels of audio from the HDSDI input are available for monitoring. The headphones can monitor any pair from the available channels.
Six User Setting Presets allow the user to save six system configuration files for later recall when needed. These configuration files will save 38 different parameters that can be adjusted by the user.