There are many advantages to getting older. You have gained much wisdom in the passing years, and experience mean you make less mistakes. If you are really lucky, your mind and memory remain as sharp as a tack, able to recall things in a flash like what settings to use for specific shooting circumstances, and where you last put your spectacles.
Sadly though – and the glasses is a clue – as the years roll by, many of us are inflicted with one ailment that in this game, does tend to make life that little bit more difficult and I am sure you have guessed what that might be.
Yes, our eyesight tends to be less than stellar.
So, it was with great excitement and anticipation that I opened a parcel the other week from monitor specialists OSEE containing a rather dinky black mini-Pelikan like case.
You might remember OSEE: About 12 months back we reviewed one of their field monitors, the model LCM215E, and liked it very much indeed.
In the carry case was a model G7, a 7 inch top-of-camera field monitor with lots of built in goodies and dollops of functionality. It is obviously aimed squarely at the cinema-camera brigade.
But first, I’ll get rid of the bad bit. You see, as there are very strict laws about batteries, especially lithium based ones, the OSEE G7 does not come with any battery. It takes Sony NP-F batteries, or you can use a V mount battery to charge the monitor with the D-tap to DC in cable in the kit.
In my case, for the sake of this review, I used a cobbled together universal DC charger with adaptor that you can get just about anywhere (I went to Jaycar) while I waited for a Sony battery to come from Better Batteries. (You do get a power adaptor in the box, but no Australian “plug head” for it, just European and US).
For many pro shooters, I doubt this will be an issue of course, but for those entering this world for the first time, I think it is worth mentioning.
Now with that out of the way, let’s get back to the G7.
With a brightness rating of 3000nits, it can be seen in the open quite comfortably from our tests, but just in case things get a bit extreme, OSEE do include a foldable sun hood in the tin.
The available viewing angle is a useful 160° by 160° and the G7 is rated at working between 0° – 50° Celsius so you are OK for the moment at least in terms of global warming. You don’t need to be a body builder to carry it as without battery it weighs only 450g.
For those right into techie specs, the input formats the OSEE G7 will accept are:
The OSEE G7 has a number of interface options and buttons. As well as the HDMI in and out ports, SDI in/out, DC and headphone ports, there is a built-in speaker, SD card slot and of course, the battery bay.
The majority of these are on the back of the unit.
The major physical controller of the OSEE G7 is a small 5 – way joystick located on the front right-hand side (facing the unit) and this has a multitude of uses dependent upon the location, direction and amount of time the joystick is held in a specific position.
I’ll get back to the joystick operation and what it can do in a second.
Built in tools include:
- Anamorphic Desqueeze: It can properly restore the video shot by anamorphic lens. It can work with a camera without internal anamorphic de-squeeze to support 1x, 1.33x, 1.5x, 1.66x, 2x and 2x mag anamorphic lens.
- Super False Color Exposure Assist: It supports
powerful Super False Color mode, including Under-exposure / Over-exposure
/ 18 degree grey / Skin tone indications, to help you to get a correct
exposure easily. The exposure indicators are calculated for different cameras.
You can select the following 16 log curves:
SONY LC709, SONY LC709A, SONY S-Log2, SONY S-CLog3, Panasonic V709, Panasonic V-Log Original Image, BMD, BMD 4K, Canon C-Log2, Canon C-Log3, ARRI REC709, ARRI Log-C, RED RG3, RED RG4, RED LOGFILM, RED RL3G10
- Waveform, Zebra, Histogram and Vector Scope exposure assist tools can help you get the right exposure even in difficult situations: Position and Opacity of Waveform, Histogram and Vector are adjustable. Waveform can be setting to Luma, RGB, Parade and Size even can be adjustable. Histogram can also be setting to Luma, RGB. Zebra stripes with level adjustment
- Red/Green/Blue Focus Assist, Peaking and Zoom: B&W Background is available.
- De-log 3DLUT & User 3DLUT upload: G7&T7 provides 30nos De-log 3DLUTS, including S-log2/3, V-log, Clog 1/2/3, Log-C, J-log1, RedLog, BMD, FujiFilm, GoPro, DJI etc to convert log mode to REC709 for all major cameras; User creative 3DLUT cube or calibration 3DLUT cube can be uploaded to G7&T7 by SD card. Max 16nos user 3DLUT
- HDR Function: Supports HLG/PQ HDR video display for field anad production.
- 2ch Audio Meters and Speaker are available.
- Scale: Variable image re-size function is a plus.
Just for the fun of it, I played with the OSEE G7 on three separate – and very different – cameras. First of was my day-to-day workhorse for out and about stuff on the go, a Panasonic WFX1 camcorder connected to the G7 via mini-HDMI. It worked like a charm, but I wouldn’t have liked to be using it without a tripod, in this case I used a Joby.
Read our review of the Panasonic WFX1 here.
One thing I did have to do was reduce the volume output of the G7 as even with the internal mic of the WFX1 turned off and the audio set to line in (with no external mic added), there was noticeable feedback from the G7’s speaker.
This leads me to another small point. In the carry case supplied with the OSEE G7 is a 4 page fold out Quick Start guide, but nowhere in their could I find the way to lower the volume of the G7s output.
Because of this, I highly recommend you go online and download the 77 page PDF full manual for the G7. (To change the volume level, you hold the joystick to the left for 3 seconds to bring up the Settings menu by the way).
And this is the key to understanding the operation of the G7. It is all in this joystick usage, and in some cases, holding it in position for a few seconds.
The second camera I tried it was my Panasonic HC-X1 “run-n-gun” / docco camcorder on a Miller tripod. This I took outside in bright sunlight and even without the sun hood, I could read and see the G7’s screen clearly. (Read our review of the Panasonic HC-X1 here)
For the 3rd camera, some might suggest this was a bit silly, but in truth, it was probably my favourite test; I used a Sony RX0 Mk II and the benefits were immediately obvious, and I refer you back to the opening words of this review.
I love the RX0 series from Sony, with the Mk II being the latest of course (review here). But the one thing I do not like about it is the menu system, primarily because on-screen it is so damn small and hard to read!
Even when a smartphone is connected via wi-fi, unless you have a large screen smartphone or tablet, it is still a little hard on my eyeballs, but on the G7 it was brilliant! Sure, you are not going to cart a G7 around with you everywhere just for using on a Sony RX0 Mk whatever, or even a GoPro or DJI Action Cam say, but by crikey it is handy when setting the camera up or learning its functions.
But back to the G7.
Once you have worked out the nuances of the joystick / menu system, the G7 is easy to work with and set up the way you want it. There is a pile of tools available that can be placed on screen for quick access including histograms, zebra, waveform, focus assist and peaking, and you can quickly add up to 8 custom scenes with various settings depending on your requirements. An image on screen can zoom to 2x or 4x and can be panned in all directions.
The monitor comes with anamorphic de-squeeze too with multiple options, such as 1.33, 1.5 and 1.66.
For fans of LUTs, there are built in files supporting general LUTs for ARRI, RED, Sony, Panasonic, Canon Blackmagic and Panavision, custom 3DF LUTs and you can add three more of your own from an SD card.
At USD$1050, this OSEE G7 is very good value for the functionality you get. If you don’t need the SDI option, there is a less expensive model the T7 or a smaller T5 for dSLR enthusiasts.
The attractive price might bely the fact these are designed for professional users. But make no bones; this IS a professional unit. You can get more information from http://osee-dig.com/g7.html. You can buy product from www.oseedirect.com or email to Osee: firstname.lastname@example.org