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Joel Andrews

7 reasons to upgrade to a SmallHD 500 Series monitor

By | 500 Series, Sidefinder
SmallHD Sidefinder

For many filmmakers, an on-camera monitor does more than analyze an image; it brings confidence to the creator.

There is value in knowing (in real-time) that your shot is what you need.

Whether you’ve heard about the 500 Series or not, here are 7 reasons to consider purchasing a SmallHD 500 Series monitor in the near future:

1. Put a crisp display on your gimbal.

A photo posted by Max Mammods (@maxmammods) on

If the 500 Series monitor was fried chicken, it would be extra crispy.

It’s 5 inches of Full HD resolution with an pixel density greater than the iPhone.  What makes it an even tastier option for gimbal operators is that it only weighs 7.4 ounces.

2. Nail your focus in any environment.

The 500 Series monitor and the Sidefinder attachment are a perfect marriage.

Shooters can now use tools like customizable focus peaking and waveform on a sharp, 5-inch display OR through the adjustable optics of a high resolution EVF.

A photo posted by Eggert Media (@eggertmedia) on

Whether shooting an interview in-studio or a wedding on the beach, the 500 Series + Sidefinder are an excellent option for better or for worse shooting environments.

3. Upgrade your onboard monitor/EVF stock options.

A photo posted by O X E N M A D E (@oxen_made) on

With camera manufacturers having to compete against each other on price point, how much priority do you think they give the built-in LCD and/or EVF-loupe?

Display quality and functionality are SmallHD’s top priorities by nature (on-camera monitors/EVFs are what we do).

When the image you are creating on set is quite literally your work and your reputation, how important is the quality of the display you’re choosing to use?

4. Add color confidence for you and for clients.

Whether you like to be involved in the color correcting process of a production or not, chances are, someone has asked you, “Is that what the final image will look like?”

If a client or director has concerns about color, what’s the easiest and fasted way to eliminate this fear? (here’s a hint, it’s not trying to explain what a LOG gamma curve is).

With the 500 Series monitor and Sidefinder, loading post-production looks (or 3D LUTs) is done effortlessly; providing real-time confidence that the shot will look awesome when all is said and done.

Firmware update 2.0 brought some particularly useful functionality, adding downstream 3D LUTs and an Output Preview Page as outlined in the video below:

5. Travel lighter.

The form factor of the Sidefinder is appealing to those that find themselves living out of suitcase.

Not only is it two products rolled into one, the Sidefinder (monitor + EVF attachment) weighs in under one pound (450g).

It’s also wrinkly-free.

6. Don’t be afraid to actually use it in-the-field.

No, we’ve never put a 500 Series monitor in a blender or tied rubber bands around it until it burst, but it does pass the “usability” test with flying colors.

With a milled aluminum frame and rubberized coating, the SmallHD 501 and 502 does a great job protecting its shock mounted, LCD display.

Here are some less-than-scientific durability tests we shot outside the SmallHD office:

7. Save money when you bundle a Sidefinder 501 or 502.

A photo posted by QUILL (@quill_film) on

To see a complete list of specs and features for the 500 Series on-camera monitors, please visit us here.

SmallHD movie look pack

Free Movie Look Pack + In-depth Color Grading Tutorial

By | 500 Series, 700 Series, Color Grading, Grade Trade, Looks (3D LUTs)

Enjoy this free LUT pack from SmallHD! All we ask in return is for a little feedback.

Get LUT Pack

Index of Looks

No Look Applied

(for reference)

Apocalypse This Very Moment

desaturated + warm overall cast

B-Boyz 2

intense contrast + strong warm/cool balance

Bob Ford

intense contrast + highly saturated warm tones

Life-Giving Tree

subtle, neutral overall balance + saturated warm shadows


heavily saturated warm highlights, cool/green shadow tones

Saving Private Damon

bleach bypass look; sharp contrast curve

The Matrices

never been done before

What are ‘looks’?

A ‘look’, 3D LUT or Look Up Table is a small file that behaves like a camera filter, colorizing footage it is applied to.

How should I use them?

3D LUTs can be dropped into many different color grading, editing and compositing applications — for previsualization or final output.

The 500/700 series by SmallHD allows you to shoot while monitoring with a 3D LUT applied, helping greatly to instill confidence in the shot as it happens – for crew and clients.

Making the most out of looks

Watch the tutorial to set up multiple pages of looks or any other feature and swipe between them with a left or right flick of the joystick on a SmallHD 500/700 Series monitor.


This look pack hasn’t been tailored for every camera and shooting scenario, so follow our in-depth tutorial on how to tweak & re-export all new LUTs using Davinci Resolve!

Shop On-Camera Monitors

See all our 5 and 7-inch on-camera monitors.


How do I attach the SmallHD Sidefinder to my camera or rig?

By | Sidefinder

What makes the Sidefinder easy to mount to your camera or rig is the side-mount bracket.

The side-mount bracket allows for simple, balanced rigging, for all the popular EVF style mounting options (1/4 20, 15mm rod, NATO rail, ARRI Rosette).

Side-mount Bracket

Sidefinder + Side-mount Bracket


The side-mount bracket is included with every Sidefinder and ships pre-installed.  The Side-mount bracket can be removed by using the allen wrench, included with the Sidefinder (see 00:12 of the video below).

How do I mount the Sidefinder using 1/4 20 threads?

There are 1/4 20 mounting points in several location on the Sidefinder; the most efficient location being at the bottom of the side-mount bracket.

If you own or plan to buy an EVF mount (tray style) that relies on 1/4 20 mounting points, we suggest using both 1/4 20 thread mounting points on the bottom of the side-mount bracket (see 00:30 of the video below).

How do I mount the Sidefinder using a 15mm rod system?

The 15mm rod and clamp are the legos for camera support systems. Together, they provide shooters with customizable support options for cameras, lenses, microphones, external displays, and more.

We’ve made mounting to a 15mm rod system simple and convenient with the Universal Mounting Kit for the Sidefinder (watch video below for demonstration/install instructions).

What is the best EVF mount for the SmallHD Sidefinder?

The best EVF mount for your rig is the one that suits your needs and your budget. That being said, we have seen several shooters use the Wooden Camera UVF Mount and rave about it.

If you are on a tight budget and are willing to loose a little build quality, CoolLCD makes a variety of EVF mounts that are worth looking into.

A photo posted by QUILL (@quill_film) on

UVF Mount by Wooden Camera

Wooden Camera UVF Mount V2

A photo posted by Erik Naso (@eriknaso) on

How do I mount the Sidefinder using NATO Rail?

NATO rail is another flexible mounting solution that is built into the side-mount bracket of the Sidefinder. There are many different NATO rail clamp accessories like the EVF accessories below that will help you mount the Sidefinder in the optimal position.

How do I mount the Sidefinder using ARRI Rosette?

There are many ways to add a Rosette style mounting to the Sidefinder. What’s important to note is that although the ARRI style rosette is the most common, other sizes exist (example: RED rosette).

The Sidefinder is designed to work specifically with an affordable rosette accessory that mounts via 1/4 20 to the side-mount bracket.

Bolt on Rosette Mount

A photo posted by Kevin Keiser (@kkeiser) on

Do you have an EVF mounting solution to share?

Let us know with a comment below; we’d love to add it to the list!

Firmware Update 500 Series

SmallHD 500 Series adds Waveform, Audio Meters, and more…

By | 500 Series

Update: Firmware 1.2 has been officially released as of 7/15/2015.

Features added to the 500 Series with Firmware 1.2

  • Increased control with the Wireless Remote

Update: Firmware 1.1 has been officially released as of 6/29/2015.

Features added to the 500 Series with Firmware 1.1

  • EVF and Remote control support added
  • Airplane mode – disables wireless radio for remote control
  • Tool menu now remembers your last location

We’re proud to be releasing Firmware 1.0 (Update: 1.2) to the SmallHD 500 Series monitors (501 and 502). As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact our support team here. Instructions for how to install firmware on your 500 Series monitor are listed at the bottom of this post.

Features added to the 500 Series with Firmware 1.0:

Image Capture – example image
Menus must be closed to use. Press capture button to hide all active tools and show capture guides. Release to capture raw image (Captures JPG Images to SD card) -Will not work if no SD card is installed.

Image Overlay – example image
Load any image from the sd card and display it at varying opacity levels over your live camera feed. Also you can have overlayed image blink on and off for framing purposes

HD Waveform – example image
Luma and RGB waveform added user selectable location and size

On-Screen Audio Meters and Headphone Output – example image
Shows 2-8 channels, adjustable size and location.

Canon DSLR Scale – example image
Fill the whole screen with image from a Canon DSLR

Image Flip / Auto Image Flip – example image
Allows you to flip / mirror monitor image (by default auto rotate will be enabled)

Anamorphic De-squeeze – example image
Monitor a non-squashed image when shooting with anamorphic lenses. Selected in settings menu & applies to all pages (includes 1.33x, 1.66x, 2x)

Color Calibration LUT
Change the built-in color calibration of your monitor using your own 3D LUT file — this is very different from applying 3D LUTs to the live camera feed on multiple pages

Known bugs with Firmware 1.1:

  • When vertical image flip is enabled an artifact may appear on the last horizontal line of pixels.
  • If you are using dslr scale, image scale, or anamorphic scale and use image capture it will not work properly.

How do I update the firmware on my 500 Series monitor?

1. Download .zip file by clicking here
2. Unzip file (extract files)
3. Read the included ReadMe .txt file to see what changes are included
4. Drag and drop .bin file from download onto your SD card (Must be 16gb or smaller – FAT or FAT32 for Windows, MS-DOS (FAT) for Mac)
5. Remove SD Card from computer or card reader attached to computer
6. Insert SD card into your 500 series monitor
7. Turn on your monitor
8. On monitor, page left all the way with your joystick to the monitor’s Setting Menu
9. Select firmware update in settings menu and follow on screen promts
10. Once firmware is installed and the on screen promt tells you to reboot your monitor – remove the power source and then re-attach the power source to reboot (power button will not work for this reboot)

500 Series monitor BTS


SmallHD 501 and 502 On-Camera Monitor At-A-Glance

By | Featured Product

SmallHD 501

$ 899

Now Shipping
  • 1920×1080 Full HD Resolution
  • Aluminum Frame with Rubberized Coating
  • HDMI In/Out
  • 7 ounces
  • Sidefinder™ Compatible
  • 30-day no hassle returns

Shop 501 Now »

SmallHD 502

$ 1199

Now Shipping
  • 1920×1080 FullHD Resolution
  • Aluminum Frame with Rubberized Coating
  • SDI and HDMI In/Out
  • 7.4 ounces
  • Sidefinder™ Compatible
  • 30-day no hassle returns

Shop 502 Now »

500 Series Software Tools

Listed below are some of the popular software tools on the 501 and 502 on-camera monitor. The 501 and 502 have the same tool set, with the exception of cross-conversion coming to the 502 via free firmware download. To see a complete list of tools/features, please visit the 501 and 502 spec page.

501 and 502 Kits

Save over $100 and get everything you need to start shooting with your 501 or 502 on-camera monitor.


Click to learn more about kits

SmallHD monitor and the GH4

502 Field Monitor First Impressions

By | 502 Monitor

I think it’s safe to say we’ve recovered from NAB Show 2015. It’s always one crazy week in Las Vegas, but it sure was exciting; drones got faster, gimbal rigs got smaller and BlackMagic released 100 more products.

As a team, we were all anxious to hear peoples’ first impressions of the SmallHD 502 and Sidefinder (which we premiered at the show). First impressions are tricky because you only get one shot at making a good one.

The Face of SmallHD Sidefinder
Dave Dugdale, Learning Video
Dale and Wes, SmallHD founders

Our strategy at the show was to let the 500 Series speak for itself (for the most part). We kept design and clutter in the booth minimal and tried not to overload visitors with too much information.

The response varied from person to person, but there were several common responses that are worth sharing.

“It looks like an iPhone.”

Yes, it looks like an iPhone… but I can assure you it’s not. Nor is it a clever case for your smartphone that converts your mobile device into a signal processing machine with an EVF loupe.

I didn’t know how to react to this statement at first. I wanted it to mean that they thought the product was aesthetically pleasing. For some people, the conversation lead to questions like, “Why can’t I just use my smartphone with my camera?” This is of course a different topic for a different discussion.

502 Sony FS7

For the people that understood why it couldn’t be a smartphone, the conversation naturally lead to discussing one of the biggest features (if not THE biggest feature) of the 502 monitor: the user interface.

There were a lot of resources dedicated to making the experience of using a 502 monitor feel like a smart device: fast, intuitive and simple. Combine that with a desire to keep things streamline, lightweight, and durable, and you get a field monitor that looks like an iPhone.

Why is it so expensive?

In short, competition is great for consumers. There are many different on-camera monitoring solutions available. It would be wise to educate yourself on the different options before making a purchase decision.

For the people that have been waiting for fully featured, Full HD field monitor with a small form-factor, the price point didn’t seem to be a shock. Many of our customers viewed this product as an upgraded SmallHD DP4.

Defy GX2 and SmallHD 502 Field Monitor

G2X Gimbal by Defy + 502 monitor

Freefly with 502 monitor

Freefly Systems Gimbal + 502 monitor

Helix Jr 502 SmallHD Field Monitor

Helix Jr. by Letus Direct + 502 monitor

There are several key elements to the 502 monitor that make it more expensive than the average 5-inch on-camera display option:

The 502’s display quality

Besides Full HD resolution (1920×1080), the 400 nit LCD has tremendous color and contrast, rivaling that of OLED technology. Its pixel density is superb, 441 pixels per inch (greater than an iPhone 6).

3D LUT support

We’ve noticed that 3D LUT support has become a monitoring standard for many shooters. If having 3D LUTs on set is important to you, consider quality of the LUT (3D vs. 1D for example), and how easy it is to load/access your LUTs when comparing your options. We feel that the 502 excels both in the quality of the 3D LUT and ease of use.


The 502 monitor is a great stand-alone field monitor, but it’s also the brains behind the Sidefinder (HD EVF with a flip-out 1080p display). The Sidefinder provides filmmakers with a universal viewing experience, for many shooting environments, with many different cameras, while keeping a tremendously low profile.

Motion State talks 502 field monitor

Click the image to watch the interview with Motion State.

We need something that’s small, that has all these features, that’s easy to power and doesn’t weigh very much... and here it is.

Sam Nuttmann, MoVI Operator/Cinematographer

Update: 501 added to 500 Series (click here to compare).