Viltrox DC-50 Review: The best cheap LCD monitor for videographers

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This is a review of the Viltrox DC-50 (also sold as the Neewer DC-50). Spoiler: it’s a great, inexpensive 5″ LCD monitor perfect for the videographer who desires more flexibility in their rig.

What it does: An inexpensive LCD monitor with HDMI input.  Can be used with HDMI-equipped video systems to monitor video (compatible with 24p). Useful for those with cameras without fully articulating screens or those needing more flexible viewing angles (on awkward shoulder rigs, jibs etc).  The DC-50’s Peak function can also be used as a focus aid.

Who it’s for: Anyone who needs to view their LCD in a position not allowable by your camera’s built-in LCD.  Anyone who wants a larger video image for framing or focus assist.

Why it matters: My Nikon D750’s are still my favourite cameras ever.  I find it a bonus that they also take great video.  But not having a front-facing LCD like our Nikon D5300 always made it my second choice for selfie-instructional videos like the one below. I purchased the beautiful (and expensive) Ikan VK7i to allow me to frame video-selfies, but it’s expensive, heavy and a bit cumbersome with lots of extra features which I will likely never need or use.  Too bad I didn’t find the Viltrox DC-50 sooner ….


Viltrox DC-50 LCD Monitor Review

Pros:

  • Price – relatively inexpensive for an external battery-powered, HDMI and 24p compatible external monitor
  • Includes built-in sun shade – clever spring-loaded sun shade also protects monitor when closed
  • Included hotshoe adapter – strong, stable (so far) yet flexible in LCD positioning
  • Includes HDMI to mini-HDMI cable
  • Lightweight – I don’t worry about positioning it on my camera’s hotshoe (unlike my heavier Ikan 7″ monitor which is a bit unwieldy atop a camera)
  • Small bevel – Allows for monitor image to be closer to lens (vs Ikan with buttons along the bottom edge of screen) which allows better eye-contact when recording videos while monitoring yourself via the external LCD monitor
  • Built-in speaker – allows for video review with audio confirmation (sure would love my Ikan to have a built-in speaker)
  • 24p compatible – (unlike Ikan’s 5″ LCD monitor offering)
  • Price – did I mention I could buy FOUR of the Viltrox DC-50’s for the price of ONE Ikan VK7i?

Cons:

  • Colours – colours are not accurate and noticeably posterized (Ikan image quality is much better)
  • No Power Included – See below for 3 powering options
  • Narrow viewing angle – pretty much need direct line of sight to get a good view of the screen (Ikan screen looks much better at various angles)
  • Not great in bright sun – but same is true of all monitors I’ve seen

Here’s a video unboxing and review of the Viltrox DC-50:


Viltrox DC-50 Tips and Recommended Settings:

150424-Viltrox-DC-50-Review-001

  • By default (out of the box) the built-in speaker volume can create feedback when recording.  Make sure to turn the volume to zero before recording.
  • In Video Live-View, I love the Viltrox DC-50’s DSLR aspect ratio setting.  In this mode the live-view fills most of its screen, giving an uncluttered and, importantly, un-cropped view of your image
    • NOTE: DSLR aspect ratio mode DOES crop during playback, so be sure to choose Auto or 16:9 when reviewing videos to insure proper framing.
  • Peak mode outlines what’s in focus in white.  While not as easy to see as other peaking systems we’ve used, the larger size (vs your camera’s LCD) and clarity of screen may make this a useful feature I’m looking forward to exploring.
  • 3 ways to power the Viltrox DC-50:
    1. Compatible Sony battery
    2. Power adapter (surprisingly my Ikan power adapter works great)
    3. Mini USB – I was happy to find out I could use my external USB batteries (usually used to charge our iPhones) via a standard USB to mini-USB cable to power the Viltrox DC-50!  If you have a USB battery that can supply 2amps of power, give it a try.
      • NOTE: powering via the Viltrox DC-50’s mini-USB plug will nullify the position of the on/off switch – i.e. it always draws power via the mini-USB plug.   Be sure to unplug your mini-USB cable or turn off your USB power supply to prevent unexpected battery drain.
Viltrox DC-50 powered via its mini-USB port

Viltrox DC-50 powered via its mini-USB port


Viltrox DC-50 Recommendation

What the Viltrox DC-50 lacks in image quality and viewing angle it makes up for in everything else.  If you’re looking for an inexpensive external LCD monitor for your DSLR or mirrorless video rig, I highly recommend it.  My only regret: not finding out about it before shelling out four times as much on my other external LCD monitor.


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6 Comments

  • Nicholas Gonzalez July 22, 2015 - 8:27 am Reply

    Thanks so much for this unboxing. As a follow up, have you determined the focus peaking to be useful?

    • Dave July 22, 2015 - 2:30 pm Reply

      Hi Nicholas, I primarily use the Viltrox to confirm framing when shooting myself, so sadly can’t give meaningful feedback on the focus peaking function. It’s still a good value, but the quality of image can’t match my more expensive options.

  • Alistair September 4, 2015 - 9:14 am Reply

    I’ve just bought one of these and it creates severe banding / gradients in the highlights to shadows.

    It does not start with the Viltrox logo and the menu structure is across two screens rather than one. Makes me wonder if there is two versions of these or if you have received a better review unit.

    This one is going back. Buyer beware.

    • Dave September 4, 2015 - 9:52 am Reply

      Sorry to hear that Alistair. I don’t see “severe” banding, but definitely colours are a little blocked up compared with my more expensive LCD screens. I paid full price for mine on Amazon, so no preferential treatment or “review unit” given. Hope it’s just a defective unit.

      • Alistair September 4, 2015 - 12:50 pm Reply

        No worries Dave. 😉 Thanks for yur reply…

        I too bought mine from Amazon (here in the UK) I’m really hopeful it is defective, as the size and build of the unit is ideal for what I need.

        Example of the banding here –

        http://imgur.com/a/n6CLH#0

        This is not a trick of the camera, it looks like this on the screen.

        Your unit is definitely different to others I’ve seen reviewed. If this was not a paid for review then it means there is two versions of these. The box of mine is different too but definitely a genuine Viltrox unit.

        I’ve not seen any start up with the logo and have all the items on one screen, as per other reviews. See here –

        http://imgur.com/a/n6CLH#1

        So I think you might have got lucky and got a really good one!

        Nice site and channel btw!

        • Dave September 4, 2015 - 2:47 pm Reply

          Thanks for the kind words. Wondering if they’ve changed in quality or production facilities 🙁 A real concern for non-brand-name items is the consistency and reliability of build. Hope you find a solution and can find a good copy!

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