Comparing High-end Video Monitors

Samuel Bilodeau compares some of the best monitors on the market to see how they stack up. Are the prices worth it?

High-end video monitors are usually workhorses. I know some people that swear by their Flanders, and it’s for very good reasons. You’ll pay over $20,000 to get a reliable work tool. It should last a long time and easily integrate into a workflow.

On the lower end, we have Atomos’ Neon displays, which were Atomos’ first foray into a true 10-bit display. However, Bilodeau doesn’t give it a glowing review. I’m guessing that’s why the price of the 24" monitor has tumbled from $6,500 to just $3,200.

In my opinion, Atomos’ larger monitors have been easily eclipsed by SmallHD’s offerings. The latter’s operating system and consistency are a step above. Bilodeau complained about the Neon series and isn’t the only person to express difficulty with calibrating an Atomos Neon display.

Interestingly, Apple’s ProDisplay XDR seems to fare pretty well. I keep seeing it on studio sets, mostly used by digital techs. The image is stunning, and the resolution is hard to beat. Capture One definitely shines on the XDR monitor. However, digital techs and DITs have both complained that they can’t easily get a Teradek into it. For some, this may be a deal-breaker, as the studio world gets more and more wireless.

However, Apple’s monitor is also really well priced. If you don’t need that direct SDI/HDMI input, then it’s a very reasonable proposition. I explained it better here. If you’re thinking about going down this route, I recommend getting the VESA mount version and buying this handle to make life easier.

What monitor do you use on set? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

Stephen Kampff's picture

Working in broadcasting and digital media, Stephen Kampff brings key advice to shoots and works hard to stay on top of what's going to be important to the industry.

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I'm sure I sound like an old grandpa but the only place I seem to run across HDR footage is on my cellphone and I hate it because I'll have my brightness set low for a dark environment and it will overwrite that show me a blinding video that I have no control over. I rarely ever want to see footage that bright.

So annoying.. should never be the default.

Also, I often see clients loving the HDR look on set, but they aren't prepared to deal with it later.

I guess it's better than when clients would ask for more "punch/pop" while viewing the footage on their older matte corporate monitors. At least iPhones/new MacBooks will generally look the same and we can be sure of the quality.