Thoughts On The SmallHD Sidefinder 502

Many filmmakers start out shooting on DSLRs, and indeed the DSLR created a revolution in low-budget filmmaking that is unmatched in the history of film. But one of the problems with DSLR filmmaking is the fact that most DSLRs have tiny, tiny screens.

This is a problem when you have to nail focus at 1080P or now 4K resolution. So what do we do? Let’s check out the latest offering from SmallHD – The Sidefinder 502 Monitor/EVF.

I love the story behind SmallHD. They won a cash prize in a film contest and used it to start developing some of the best camera monitors around. They look for what filmmakers want and try to meet those needs, which is where the Sidefinder comes in.

SmallHD_Sidefinder_502

Thoughts On The SmallHD Sidefinder 502

The Sidefinder is both a monitor and a EVF (Electronic View Finder). It includes a full 1080P EVF plus a flip-out 5″ Monitor – about the size of your average smartphone. The EVF is great for times when you need to focus entirely on your image without distractions that might come from outside sources like the sun, back-lights, directors… You know, small things.

It provides many mounting options in a small formfactor so it can go just about anywhere, and its built in SD card reader lets it load LUTs for in-monitor color correction and HDMI-SDI conversion for when you have camera or director’s monitor that needs an SDI input.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/122785338

The Good On The SmallHD Sidefinder 502

– 1080P EVF with flip-out 5″ Monitor
– Small and lightweight
– Button interface (no fingerprints)
– LUT views
– HDMI and SDI connections, including cross-conversion
– Aluminum Body (tough – SmallHD has videos of their monitors being kicked around their office and still operating just fine)
– Image tools such as histogram,

The Not So Good On The SmallHD Sidefinder 502
– Uses Canon Batteries – good batteries, but not necessarily cheep
– Battery life is estimated at 2 hours per battery – so you’ll go through them a lot on a long shoot.
– A bit pricy – $1,499 for the system.

Final Thoughts On The SmallHD Sidefinder 502:
SmallHD makes great products, and the Sidefinder will be the first in a line of related products expected to launch this year. It’s a welcome addition to anyone used to shooting on a small DSLR screen, but the price can be a bit high for small shooters – although you do get what you pay for with SmallHD.

Photo of author

ARTICLE BY Michael Head

Michael Head is a filmmaker and full-time geek living the the Dallas-Fort Worth Metromess. Follow him at @michaeldhead. Check in every Tuesday for Micheal’s “tech-Tuesday” articles. Check out his website.
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