At first glance the Ikan VL7 monitor is a quality external monitor at a very modest price point. I ended up purchasing the full kit from B&H. This kit included a hot shoe mount, a canon battery plate, battery, two VGA cables, and a nice hard case to carry it all around in.
After opening the box I proceeded to connect this Ikan monitor to my trusty Canon HV30 via the single HDMI port. In addition to the HDMI input this monitor also has two VGA/composite inputs and a head phone output. Immediately after plugging the VL7 in, I could tell a big difference in the picture shown on my HV30 LCD and the Ikan. First off, the VL7 shows part of the captured frame that the built in LCD doesn’t. Although the LCD only cuts off a small portion on the frame, it’s still very nice to see exactly what is being captured. This helps a lot with accurate framing.
Boasting a 7 inch screen with a resolution of 800×480, the Ikan VL7, is an adequate tool for both framing and pulling critical focus. It features both an aspect ratio of 4:3 and 16:9. I prefer the latter while shooting HDV.
Now as an entry level monitor it doesn’t have too many functions, but it does have a peaking function which is useful for pulling accurate focus. The other two functions are underscan which I don’t use, and switching between aspect ratios. You can easily adjust the contrast and brightness with the plus and minus buttons surrounding the menu button.
Overall the Ikan VL7 adequately matches my needs for an external monitor. I haven’t had a chance to use it in the field yet but I’m happy with what I’ve seen so far while testing its limitations. I would definitely recommend this item to anybody on a budget that is in the market for an external monitor.