Friday, August 5, 2011

Mailbox: SmallHD DP4



I received my SmallHD DP4 today. First -superficial- impressions: great design and feel. The monitor itself is featherlight, the viewfinder feels rocksolid, almost clunky in comparison. I'm almost afraid to mount it on the monitor for fear of bending/breaking it! It's probably better to attach the monitor to the viewfinder than vice versa. That is to say, don't mount the viewfinder when the monitor is on the hotshoe or on a flexible arm. Hold the viewfinder in your hand and press the monitor in place, that way you can exercise more controlled pressure.

I did a quick tryout with my GH2 and the resolution and picture looks great, straight out of the box. Have to get used to the menu but that's to be expected when you don't RTFM... The feature set and options are manifold and there's 2 preset buttons for your favorite settings. scroll/push button, usb port, HDMI in and out, replaceable battery plates (for now you can only use Canon LP-E6 batteries), and headphone jack for monitoring audio.


I didn't get a signal out of the camera straight away: I was about to start sweating when I discovered that either the camera or the DP4 doesn't like it when the camera is turned on before the monitor is. After I turned the camera off and back on again, the picture showed up.
As expected, the package feels very professional and complete. From the design to the materials to the accessories, this EVF/monitor makes me feel I can really go to work with my DSLR's.

I will write more about how the DP4 performs in the field and -when I get back to Europe- how it works with my Canon 550D/T2i.

If there's anything in particular people would like to hear about, let me know.



  1. Hi Roel,

    No zebra's.

    The DP4 uses a more sophisticated and clearer way of judging exposure. In the picture above, you see one 'false color mode' : the False Color HML (high, medium, low) setting, which has (gradients of) colors for under and overexposure and midrange. (Blue is underexposed, orange mid-range) The gradients go from blue to purple to orange to green to yellow)

    Alternatively, you can choose the HL (high, low) setting which will show blue for underexposure and yellow/red for overexposure.

  2. Jeroen,

    I'm looking for a evf, and the options for me are a zacuto or this smallhd dp4. So far I really like what I see from smallhd, just one question. A couple of people say it gets very hot in normal use, is this true? And (assuming it gets hot) does it drain your batteries very quick?

    complimenten voor je blog, leuk om te lezen. Grt Alexander Kooistra

  3. Hi Alexander, I've only used my DP4 twice so far and I have not have any heat issues. As you may have read, I bought aftermarket batteries and so far they've powered my DP4 for 1,5 hours. I'm keeping track how long they last.
    SmallHD warns that you may get less battery-time if you use non-Canon batteries but if you buy OEM-batteries that others have been satisfied with, I think you'll be fine.
    I'll write about my experiences with the DP4 some time soon and will also report on my battery-life.

    I'm glad you like the blog! (and let me hear what you finally decide on...)

    grtz, Jeroen

  4. Can you monitor audio through the GH2's hdmi output to the the dp4?

  5. Sorry for the delay in response: I haven't been able to monitor audio -yet- through HDMI. It should work though, according to the specs:

    Headphone Output
    • Monitor incoming audio transmitted via HDMI

    I need to spend more time with the monitor for a complete review and haven't used it for audio so far.

  6. Hi. Any updates now that you've had it for a while?

  7. I was starting to write about my experiences with the DP4 when I discovered a few white spots/specks on my screen. It's due to sunlight entering the viewfinder. SmallHD is taking care of it even though they have warned against using it in the sun and they consider it 'user damage'. They will warn more explicitly because apparently (many) more users have this issue. (it can occur after 30 seconds exposure tot he sun)And they will provide a lenscap for the EVF. I will write more about the DP4 asap.