DIY off-camera monitor screen for DSLR cameras
Prof. Andrew Davidhazy (ret. RIT)
I was often disappointed by my Canon 5D Mark II not having a flipping or better yet a detachable monitor.
Instances of this happened when I placed the camera on a fully extended tripod and had the camera pointed downwards to make a photograph of something on the floor. Getting one’s eye above the view screen was sometimes impossible. At other times I wanted to shoot from a very low angle or position and getting my face down to the camera was equally difficult.
Cameras with view screens that flip out or up and possibly rotate overcome these problems.
What to do? I knew that my camera had a video out capability and I had used it often while teaching as it allowed me to display on a large screen what was going on with the camera. But my “strange camera position” requirements needed an independently powered and portable display.
We have a rear view camera on our camper that transmits a rear view to a small display or monitor in the cab. This got me thinking. Could I use such a terminal to hook-up my camera to?
Well, to test the practicality of this possibility I bought a $20 5” diagonal TFT color monitor advertised for use with a car backup camera. It required 12 volts provided by the car battery. It had a video-in connector. And a power connector.
Knowing that eventually I would want to fasten the monitor to something like a tripod I decided to install a ¼ x 20 inch “T” nut on the bottom of the terminals foot.
Since the stand was hollow on the inside I gouged out part of the thin plastic bottom cover and glued the “T nut in place.
Going further I found among my left-over items a 3” metal bar with a hot-shoe adapter on one end and a couple of ¼ inch holes drilled along its length. Instering this into the camera’s hot-shoe would allow me to fasten the terminal to the camera if I wanted that bit of convenience.
Making the video connection from camera to terminal was straightforward using the yellow color-coded RCA connectors. For power to simulate the car battery I used an 8 pack 1.5 volt per cell battery holder since this would output 12 volts.
To make the battery pack to monitor power connection I used a 9v. battery clip soldered onto the end of the terminal's power supply cable that came with the terminal.
This proved “tricky” as at first I connected the battery clip incorrectly.
If any part f this is not clear you can contact me by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Parts I used:
One 5 Inch HD TFT LCD Digital Car Rear View Monitor
with free shipping found on eBay. $ 21.49
One 8 cell battery hoder $ 3.49
One 9 volt battery clip $ .75
Total cost about minus batteries about $ 25