External Monitor with Camera Control for LUMIX BGH1 BS1H – Portkeys LH5P review by sumizoon
In this article, I would like to introduce the LH5P external monitor provided by Portkeys, a manufacturer of external camera monitors and EVF.
When it comes to Chinese manufacturers of external monitors, many people may think of low-cost Feelworld. this is because there are a considerable number of monitors on the market. However, Portkeys monitors are a bit more expensive than Feelworld’s, but they have a completely different interface and unique features. The interface looks sophisticated, and the manufacturer has the technology to control many manufacturers’ cameras via wired or wireless.
Table of Contents
- 5.5-inch External Monitor LH5P Overview
- Features of the LH5P
- Why is LUMIX Touch Focus only available on the BGH1/BS1H?
- Cautions for LUMIX
Monitor size: 5.5 inches
LCD resolution: 1920 x 1080
Maximum brightness: 1700 nits
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Control system: Touch screen / physical buttons
Input specifications: 4096×2160 24p / 3840×2160 24p30p / FHD 60p
I/O: HDMI input, HDMI output, headphone jack 3.5mm
Battery Type: Sony NP-F Battery
Wired camera control: Sony, Canon, Panasonic, ZCAM
Wireless camera control: Sony A7III, BMPCC4K / 6K / 6K Pro
Other: 3D LUT applied display
Color calibration support (Xrite i1 Display Pro)
The most distinctive feature is the maximum brightness of 1700 nits. With this level of brightness, outdoor visibility is high, and it is unlikely that you will be unable to see the monitor even in the middle of the day when the weather is clear.
The monitor can also be controlled by an external camera through a wireless or wired connection.
The LH5P is calibrated at the factory for proper color reproduction, but users can calibrate it using Xrite i1 Display Pro if necessary.
Many people who want to use an external monitor may want to check the image which is being shot on a large screen. The size of a camera’s rear LCD makes it difficult to check the focus, even if you use peaking. In addition to checking the focus, there is a big difference in visibility between the external monitor and the LCD on the back of the camera when checking for fine dust or reflected objects. I’m sure many of you have had the experience of checking your data on a PC and finding that something you didn’t notice at the time you took the picture or that there was dust in the picture. In such cases, an external monitor can be of great help.
External monitors generally have many features, but I would like to list some of the major ones for the LH5P.
1.Gestures for zooming in and out
It is necessary to turn on the gesture zoom in/out because it is not turned on by default.
The peaking function, which is known to be useful for focusing, is naturally implemented in this model as well. It may be hard to tell from the picture, but the large monitor is highly visible.
3. Waveform Monitor
Surprisingly, there are many monitors that have a histogram but no waveform monitor, so this is useful for those who want to check with an RGB waveform monitor. The following figure shows the information displayed on the camera side, so if you want to see the waveform accurately, you can turn off the information display.
Other functions that assist in shooting can be placed as shortcuts with icons on the left and right sides of the screen.
Many assistance displays are supported, such as monochrome display, guides, grid and crosshair, false color and zebra.
4. 3DLUT display
Recently, 3DLUT display has been implemented in external monitors. LUTs can be installed via USB, so it is a good idea to throw in your favorite LUT.
To load a LUT, insert a USB memory stick into the USB port and select “USB Looks” to open the loading screen. Tap the LUT you want to import, and it will be stored in the monitor itself.
Once the LUTs are stored or uploaded, you can apply them even without a USB memory stick. All you have to do is select the LUT as shown in the picture above. You can store multiple LUTs, which is a good feature for those who want to try different looks. The LUTs I tried here are 33 points in .cube format.
In the case of my beloved Lumix, the camera itself can install and display LUTs, but .cube cannot be loaded directly and must be converted to a viewing LUT called .vlt. In the case of Portkeys LH5P, .cube format can be loaded, which I think is very convenient.
5. About Camera Control
The camera control is a function to control the main functions of the camera by touching screen of the LH5P monitor.
The cameras I have are basically LUMIX GH series and S series, and I have tested the connection with them.
In addition, you will see that it supports quite a few cameras, including Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Blackmagic Design, and even ZCAM camera and TILTA follow focus.
Looking at the list above, I’m amazed at how many cameras are supported. This is because most of the camera manufacturers are probably not privy to the protocols used to control their cameras from the outside, so it is basically necessary to reverse engineer and analyze the communication of each camera. (Even if the protocol is fixed for each model within the manufacturer to some extent, I think it is quite difficult.)
In addition, there is a possibility that this information may change with firmware updates, so I bow to the engineers who implement the software for the camera control section of Portkeys. I can’t even imagine what it would be like.
In the case of LUMIX, you can control the camera by selecting Type-C when connecting.
1. The BGH1/BS1H itself does not have a monitor.
2. The BGH1/BS1H cannot use touch focus with a standard external monitor.
3. The BGH1/BS1H can be set via Wi-Fi connection or remotely control, but the image quality is not good.
4. If you connect Portkeys LH5P to BGH1/BS1H via USB/HDMI, high quality monitoring and touch operation are possible. My friend Emark demonstrates how to do this in this video, so please take a look at it.
However, as you can see in this video, wired camera control over LANC is exclusive to USB control, so you cannot control the camera while using LANC. This is due to the specifications of the camera.
This is how you can control the camera externally by touching the screen. I think this part is similar to the back LCD of the LUMIX S series and G series.
In my previous review of the BS1H, I used the external monitor to take pictures, but it took me quite a while to get used to using the few buttons and dials on the body to move the focus and turn the focus on. But I think this is definitely easy to use sensibly.
Why is LUMIX touch focus only available on the BGH1/BS1H?
This function, touch focus, is a feature I would like to use in LUMIX GH series and S series as well, but currently it is only supported for basic operations such as ISO/REC/FOCUS/WB. This seems to be related to the software specification of LUMIX. BGH1/BS1H’s tether shooting software on PC is LUMIX Tether for Multicam. With this software, you can access all the menus on the camera. Or rather, the menu itself is controlled by the PC, and in addition, it can be focused with a mouse click. I think this is because the LH5P uses this feature well.
Case for LUMIX GH5/GH5S/S5
As far as the connection verification with LUMIX GH5S/S5 is concerned, when both HDMI and USB are connected. The camera is in Tether shooting mode, the LCD monitor of the camera body is forced to turn off. At this time, the camera’s LCD monitor itself is turned off, so the camera’s touch operation is also disabled.
Therefore, it is necessary to turn on the camera’s settings and information display beforehand. (This is because you will not be able to do anything other than setting REC/ISO/FOCUS/ISO/WB.)
Unfortunately, the camera’s monitor turns off on the S5/GH5S.
I’m sure some of you may be thinking that you can check the camera settings on the camera’s LCD, concentrate on shooting with clean output on the external monitor, and change the exposure with the touch operation on the external monitor if necessary, but unfortunately this is not possible with LUMIX GH5S/S5. Unfortunately, the LUMIX GH5S/S5 cannot be used in this way. This is due to the specifications of LUMIX, and I think it is the same for GH5. The GH5M2 may have a different specification.
Case of LUMIX S1H
In the case of the LUMIX S1H, the LCD monitor continues to display even when the USB/HDMI is plugged in. This may be a difference from professional models.
Example of S1H’s perverted connection Ideal system?
However, since it is incompatible with the latest firmware, we have confirmed the control with one previous version. In the above diagram, Video Assist is sandwiched in between, but the camera’s LCD does not turn off when S1H and LH5P are connected via HDMI/USB. This is ideal, isn’t it?
The usability will probably vary greatly depending on the type of camera connected. For those who only control REC/ISO/Focus value/WB during shooting, I think there is no problem even if the LCD of the camera body turns off.
Also, although I wasn’t able to try it out this time, I’d really like to see if it’s really possible to operate the menu using touch in the case of the BGH1/BS1H.
Even if it is not possible, it is definitely possible to control the camera (ISO/SS/F value/WB) and I think it is the most suitable monitor for BGH1/BS1H among the existing monitors.