Lilliput 663/0/P

Designed for DSLR movie makers, Liiliput’s upgraded 7in field monitor can also be a big-screen companion for tripod-using stills photographers. Damien Demolder tests it.

MANUFACTURERS have become very good at finding the space for large LCD screens on the backs of their cameras, but even the biggest in use on a standard DSLR is only about 3in across. Although this size allows some checking, it isn’t until we view via a laptop or desktop computer that we can feel confident everything is as it should be. If it is up to the job, this Lilliput screen offers photographers the chance to get that big view in the field and to check properly whether the picture has worked before it’s too late to shoot it again.

SPECIFICATION

Liiliput’s 663/O/P is a 7in field monitor that connects via HDMI, allowing live view and post-capture replay depending on the abilities of the camera. Although it is aimed at videographers, it is tested here for its use as a portable preview screen for photographers who would normally shoot tripod-mounted. This model features a native resolution of 1280×800, but interpolates up to 1920×1080 pixels. It is brighter than the last Lilliput screen we tested (the 5D-ii in AP 29 September 2012), and sharper. Lilliput claims this is down to the use of an in-plane switching LCD panel that also improves the viewing angle of the display from 150 at best in the 5D-ii to 178 in the 663.

The panel runs on a supplied 12-volt DC converter, but for use in the field the user will need to buy a battery. The screen comes with two battery-adapter plates for video-camera-type cells. This time Lilliput has included a rigid carry case for the screen, and it comes with a pair of HDMI cables, a 3G-serial digital interface cable if you are into broadcast video, and a sun shade that attaches by Velcro to the inner of the surrounding lip.

IN USE

The screen is very simple to set up — literally plug and play — and although there are plenty of controls and adjustments that can be made via push-and-twist knobs, I didn’t need to make any to get started.

I mounted the screen, which has tripod sockets on two sides, to a ball-and-socket head and fitted it to a bar with the camera at the other end. As the Sony Alpha 99 has a live feed via its HDMI socket, I was able to view the camera’s menus and exactly what would have been on the rear LCD of the camera at the time. Thus I could compose, alter settings and focus using the Lilliput 663 rather than having to look at the camera’s LCD. I also used this arrangement with the Nikon D7000 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3, but cameras that don’t feature a live feed can still enjoy playback with magnification for closer inspection. If your camera doesn’t have its own focus-peaking function, and most don’t, this facility on-screen will be very useful.

The screen is bright enough to see clearly on a sunny day, especially with the sun shade on, although the 663 has quite a glossy finish so I found that additional shading was necessary on occasions.

The previous model we tested, the 5D-ii, has a rigid shade that folds down across the screen to protect it in transit, but the button and knob design of the 663 means this wouldn’t work. That’s a bit of a shame, and although the carry-case is a great way to keep cables and batteries together it is another thing to carry. The 5D-ii can fold up and slot into a camera bag.

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