The Best Cheap Camera Monitor for Filmmakers - Andycine A6 Lite Review
A great camera monitor is an essential part of a filmmaker's toolkit, the built in monitors on our cameras just aren't big enough for nailing sharp focus. But a lot of the time a great monitor is gonna burn a big hole in your wallet with a decent one from brands like Atomos and Small HD costing you at least £500. And until now the cheaper alternatives have been pretty bad, lacking the quality and features you expect from an external monitor.
But all your prayers have been answered with Andycine's A6 Lite monitor. The A6 Lite is a great monitor that cost just £159 at the moment. And for the price the monitor is rammed with features that you'd expect to see on higher end monitors.
The monitor features a 5inch 1080p display that is crystal sharp with great colour accuracy. The monitor is capable of receiving the 4k input from your camera and down-scaling it to a 1080p image. This is great because this is a feature that a lot of other cheap monitors really struggle with, and you end up with a cropped image, or unbearable latency issues. But you won't experience that with this monitor.
The monitor also includes a lot of great features within the software such as focus peaking, exposure zebras, histograms, audio levels, zooming and crop guidlines if you intend on shooting video in an aspect ratio other than 16:9. The menu system is really easy to navigate with the buttons on the display.
The A6 Lite is capable of being powered with 3 different sources. Either via Canon E6 batteries, Sony NPF batteries, or through the DC input on the camera. I have't run the monitor with either E6 or NPF batteries so I can't really comment on battery life with either of these options because the way I've been running the monitor is with a v-mount battery direct into the DC input.
The monitor draws an uncanny resemblance to the far more expensive Small HD Focus which costs almost 3 times as much as the Andycine A6 Lite. Both monitors include a swivel mount that allows the monitor to be viewed from in front or behind the camera. This is not only ideal for filmmakers but also for YouTubers who need to see themselves from in front of the camera.The only downside of this swivel mount for me is it's size, I like to keep my rig as tight and compact as possible and the swivel mount sticks out way too much for my liking, but that's just me being nit picky with something that can be easily solved with Andycine's incredible Mini Hot Shoe Mount which will only cost you £35 and is a fantastic solution if you're like me and prefer a more compact camera setup.
Another small issue I've had with the monitor is a minor latency issue. I've tried this camera with three different setups in total and with every setup there's been a different amount of latency. The first setup was with my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4k and there was a noticeable latency, the second setup was with my Sony A6500 and there was an even more noticeable latency issue, and the third setup was with an Arri Alexa Mini via a Teradek Bolt wireless system and this had the biggest issue with latency but that can be expected what using a wireless system with any monitor. I'm not sure where the issue is coming from, whether it's to do with the monitor itself or whether it's to do with how different cameras have a difference in how they output through HDMI. But there is definitely latency whilst using this monitor and that's just something to be aware of, it's really not an unbearably bad lag but it's definitely there.
Something I would have liked to see on this monitor is the inclusion of loadable LUTs and Waveforms within the monitor's software, both these features have become pretty standard on most camera monitors. It's not that big of a deal if you're working with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera but when you're working with cinema cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4k and Arri Alexa that shoot RAW video formats, the footage straight out of the camera is really flat. So by adding these features the monitor would really be incredible.
But all those points that I've just mentioned are me being really nit picky. Those minor negatives really don't take away from how GREAT this monitor is for the price you're paying. So if you're in the market for a monitor and don't want to spend an arm and a leg, there really isn't a better option on the market for you.