I’ve had the opportunity to use and abuse the ikan D5w monitor and I absolutely love it. It’s well made, can use a wide range of batteries and has a ton of great features.

There’s a lot of monitors out there and it makes it hard to find the right one. You need to be sure that the monitor you purchase not only meets your needs now, but if you were to buy or even rent a different one. We all know that different projects require different cameras and there’s no point in buying a monitor for only one camera.

exposure comparisons

Features Not Included:
Although the D5w doesn’t have HDMI loop through, it does have SDI loop through. Not a deal breaker, but if you are always going from camera monitor to client monitor this is something to consider. If you own a Black Magic box, this won’t be an issue. For an additional $150 you can get a 1.4″ larger screen, and HDMI loop through. This is the D7w. Pretty good deal but I am a fan of the smaller monitors since they can be used for more compact setups.

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What’s Included:
First thing I noticed was the price point. Through ikan, you can purchase this for $1199.00 Like I’ve said in my other posts, with ikan you don’t just get a product, you get a kit to go with it.
Here’s what you get:
-Monitor
-AC Adapter
-DV Battery plate of your choice
-Eyelash*
-Hot Shoe Mount

*The Eyelash is not a sunshade. It adds a little lip to keep light out of the monitor. If shooting in broad day light you will want the D5w Sunhood.

Other than an articulating arm and batteries for the plate, this gives you everything you need to get out and start shooting. Although an articulating arm isn’t needed, I highly recommend picking one up.

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Waveform and False Color
I’ll start with my favorite features/options first. I am a big fan of using false color when lighting a subject, especially for interviews. But when I work on green screen, nothing compares to a waveform. Editors have preferences on where they like the green to hit and without a waveform I’d have no idea how to do this. Not only does the D5w allow you to see the waveform in full screen, but you can split the waveform, RGB parade, and vector scope along with your image into fourths. Awesome feature and the only thing better is that you can have it take up the bottom of the screen while your image takes up the rest. When setting up for green screen this is HUGE. EX3 is the camera of choice for myself and 522 Productions for green screen. I love having a personal monitor then looping SDI to the director’s monitor. No more running back and forth from the large monitor to camera to make sure the green screen is at the perfect level. Having the ability to go between these features is sure to cover all your needs when making sure you have proper exposure for any scenario.

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RGB Parade and Vectorscope
Once you have proper exposure, it is time to get the correct color balance. Same as coloring in post production. There is plenty of information online on how to read vectorscopes and RGB Parades so I won’t go into much detail about that. I tested the accuracy of them by shooting various scenes and then uploading them to the computer and bringing them into both Premiere CS6 and Davinci Resolve. I was pumped (but not surprised) to see that they matched up perfectly. Learning how to use these tools makes this monitor even more powerful and a step above the rest.

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Peaking:
The peaking on the d5w has a two versions. A colored peaking where you can actually change the color (I like red best) and one where the image goes black and white and the sharp images shows in the chosen color. It is great for interviews and tight shots. When you go wide, it is hard to show what is in critical focus. For those shots, I use the pixel in pixel option. Unlike other monitors, you can actually move around the screen while in it.

The Screen Itself
With a 1280×800 resolution, this screen produces clean, crisp images. I noticed the color was slightly different then what the LCD on the 7D showed and a little flatter, but when bringing in post, I didn’t see much of a difference. With any monitor you will want to play around a bit before taking it on a paid project. Knowing the ins and outs will help on set and insure you get the best possible image to your editor and colorist. I am really happy and feel this is a very reliable monitor.

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Final Thoughts:
This monitor is great for a single monitor onset, personal monitor for a camera operator and even for an AC as a focus puller. The physical features make it great buy and will allow you to use on various camera platforms. The size and weight make it easy to add to a hand held rig, tripod rig and even for a Glidecam.If you have any questions on the monitor let me know and be sure to check out ikan for more on this monitor and others.