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'Budget' Sub 100ms HDMI Latency Camera's


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Hi,

I'd like to try and get as close to replicating the experience of operating through an optical viewinder on a budget.
Monitors aren't doing it for me. There's a view affordable EVF's on the market now that might do the trick, but mirrorless or other budget cine-oriented camera's often have too much latency. It bugs me, definitely for documentary-type work.

From what I've gathered, any delay lower than 100ms is not perceivable.
I was wondering if anyone knows of a resource that lists camera's with sub 100ms latency.

Testing will prove what works, but there's just so much to try, I'd like to see if I can trim down the possibilities before I start any testing.

Cheers!
Baltasar

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In my experience, I've had great HDMI latency with:

  • Canon C100's, C300's
  • Sony FS7's, FS5's (I would imagine the same with their FX cameras)
  • Black Magic Pocket and Ursa cameras (recent versions that do 4k)
  • Panasonic EVA1

Is latency the only issue you have with EVF?

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Thanks for sharing AJ. 
Well, latency is the main thing. 

Brightness, resolution, size, 3D Lut support, input signals, these count as well. But the affordable EVF's that I'm looking at seem to have those covered quite well (yet to try them out though). 

I'm looking at the Portkeys OEYE, the Portkeys LEYE and the ZCAM EVF.

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All of those EVF's seem great! My only problem with them, physically, is the inability to quickly change them into an onboard monitor.

What I really like about the Amira, Alexa Mini, and FS7 are the ability to flip out an onboard monitor. There are tons of times, not just when I'm shooting documentary work, where I can't physically get my eye to the eyepiece. The EVF's I mentioned can either flip away the eye piece to reveal the onboard monitor (FS7) or have a second monitor on the EVF that flips out (Alexa).

BUT, there are few EVF's which do that AND are not already part of a camera system. (The ones I mentioned come with each camera)

The closest EVF that can do that is the Alphatron EVF, but I'm not too sure if the resolution is good anymore nor on it's ability to load LUT's.

Generally speaking, though, I've never needed to load LUT's to an onboard monitor because most cameras have the ability to load LUT's. (Exceptions, of course, are older DSLR's like the GH4)

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Good point AJ! That would have been an added bonus with any of those EVF's I mentioned. It seems strange that Portkeys didn't implement it with the new and very well priced LEYE. 

I have had times with my Aaton (it's an older model without video assist) where a monitor would have made things a lot easier. 
However, most of the times the viewfinder was sufficient. Right now, I figured I would just pack my 5" monitor as well, just in case. 

So Blackmagic camera's have minimal delay as well? I wonder if the older model BM Micro Cinema Camera has a lot of delay through the HDMI. That sensor with DNG recording might make a good companion to the Aaton. 🤔

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8 hours ago, Baltasar Thomas said:

It seems strange that Portkeys didn't implement it with the new and very well priced LEYE. 

I completely agree!

8 hours ago, Baltasar Thomas said:

So Blackmagic camera's have minimal delay as well? I wonder if the older model BM Micro Cinema Camera has a lot of delay through the HDMI. That sensor with DNG recording might make a good companion to the Aaton.

I haven't used the Micro Cinema Camera, but I would imagine it to have little to no latency as well.

I would caution the Black Magic cameras when it comes to pairing it with the Aaton. It has no log profile, so they definitely won't match on set. The high fidelity files the camera records, however, are easy to grade and can match in post. 🙂

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16 hours ago, AJ Young said:

I would caution the Black Magic cameras when it comes to pairing it with the Aaton. It has no log profile, so they definitely won't match on set. The high fidelity files the camera records, however, are easy to grade and can match in post. 🙂

Thanks for the heads up! Yes, I was mostly thinking about post. 🙂

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  • 4 weeks later...

For anyone interested in this topic in the future, I did a little test to find out the latency of the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera through HDMI and compared it to a GH5. 

All tests were run at 25 fp/s. 

I ran a timecode window in Premiere Pro for 30 seconds for each test and filmed the iMac monitor and my Portkeys BM5 monitor placed next to each other, so I could read the difference in frames between the actual timecode and the signal sent from the camera to the Portkeys monitor through HDMI. Afterwards, I repeated this process with a Small HD 502 Bright monitor, to see if an industry standard monitor might obtain better results than the Portkeys monitor. 

These were my results:

Portkeys BM5:
1: BMMCC RAW: 3-4 frames / 120-160 miliseconds
2: BMMCC RAW 3:1: 34 frames / 120-160 miliseconds
3. BMMCC 422: 2-4 frames / 80-160 miliseconds
4. GH5 4K 10 bit ALL-I: 6-7 frames / 240-280 miliseconds
5. GH5 1920x1080 10 bit  ALL-I: 6-7 frames / 240-280 miliseconds

Small HD 502 Bright
1: BMMCC RAW: 2-5 frames / 80-200 miliseconds
2: BMMCC RAW 3:1: 3-4 frames / 120-160 miliseconds
3. BMMCC 422: 2-4 frames / 80-160 miliseconds
4. GH5 4K 10 bit ALL-I: 6-8 frames / 240-320 miliseconds
5. GH5 1920x1080 10 bit  ALL-I: 6-7 frames / 240-280 miliseconds
 
I might do another test with a shorter cable, these were 2 meters, I think 😅. Good quality though. 
Results were very similar between the two monitors overall and favored the BMMCC over the GH5. It seems the GH5 takes about twice as long to process the signal. 
 
Further testing will reveal if 120-160 miliseconds is good enough for my purposes :). 
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