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BEST Monitor for Mallincam/StellaCam Etc.

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#1 Mike Harvey

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 02:20 PM

I wasn't really sure how to 'headline' this post...hope that does it.

The new Marshall 10.4" monitor arrived yesterday and first light was last night.
While I'll REALLY get familiar with it at CAV this weekend, some first impressions might be helpful if you are agonizing over what monitor to use to maximize your performance.

This particular monitor has a "Pixel To Pixel" feature.
In other words, you can press a button and it will deliver the 'raw' (native?) resolution of whatever imaging device you are using. The Mallincam Color Hyper produced an image that was approximately 8" diagonally (and not quite a 4.3 aspect ratio).

Switching quickly back and forth between the FULL (10.4") screen and the PTP (8") did not show any noticeable pixel stretching...just a slightly larger image.
And the object itself (M-42) was glorious!

The smoothness of the images in the Marshall monitor allows you to get "up close and personal" to inspect the most minute details. This monitor has 1.44 million pixels and some built-in "cleanup" features that maximize the quality of the conversion of the camera image onto the monitor screen. You just don't see any 'dots',scan lines or other artifacts.

Previously, I've been very pleased with the, much smaller, Watec 3.5" because it is so sharp and user-friendly.
BUT, if you get too close you can start to see the pixel limitations of the monitor. For normal, casual viewing, though...this little jewel is just unbeatable ($399 at SpyTown.com).You can mount it right on your scope next to the focuser!

At the other end of the spectrum, the same caveat applies to LARGE monitors. With these you really need to "get back" to appreciate the images. The closer you get the more image breakdown you see because the small image out of the camera is being spread so thinly on the larger screen (to really simplify a much more complex process). My experiences show that these sizes are really best for large group viewing -
where the "wow" factor from a public that has never seen any DSO's is more important that critical inspection of the details -i.e. ( serious observing.

So far, I've tried 14 different monitors...from small, portable DVD players up to 1080i flat screen HDTV's.
NONE of them have matched the Watec or the Marshall.

Hope this saves you some time and hassle! ;)

Mike Harvey

#2 jayscheuerle

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:14 PM

CRTs are always going to have a better image from an analog source, especially if you're scaling up because they don't display pixels the way LCDs do. Their "pixels" are softer and rounded with a natural anti-aliasing.

I'm betting one of those old portable 4" TVs (long skinny things)might put out a tight image, but no S-video ports back then.

In general, a low-end, sub 13" CRT will offer a better picture and better controls than an HD plasma screen when you're coming from a low-resolution analog source like the Mallincams. Like this.

#3 rshassell

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:28 PM

Analog monochrome CRTs are pixel-free, but analog color CRTs still effectively have 'pixels', as delineated by the shadow mask and phosphor dot/stripe pattern.

#4 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:38 PM

Mike,

It appears that the 10.4" Marshall has features that the 7" versions does not. Is that correct, or does the 7" also have the PTP feature and you just did not discuss it earlier?

Jack

#5 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:46 PM

I have read about the smaller monitors that mount directly on the telescope------ would that be something like this:
http://www.bhphotovi...RO_3_5_LCD.html

#6 rshassell

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:55 PM

According to the user manuals on the Marshall website, it's a feature not needed on the 7" monitor, but usefull on the 10.4" where some 'pixel stretching' occurs to fill the screen. Here's how the Marshall user manual describes the PTP feature.

"As the native LCD displays of the V-R104DP-HD are 800 pixels wide by 600 dots (RGB pixels) high, it is necessary to change the size of the image to fill the whole screen. Pixel to Pixel mode bypasses the enlargement/shrink of this scaling function and displays the native incoming format.
For 525-NTSC/480P based images, pixel to pixel will appear as a 480x640 (4:3 aspect) or 480x720 (16:9 aspect)."

7" Manual

10.4" Manual

#7 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 04:09 PM

Joe,

The smaller monitor, Mike Harvey, Bob Schilling and I have been using is a Watec-35. It is a 3.5" LCD monitor that has brightness, contrast, color and back light adjustment knobs mounted on the lower/right hand face of the unit. This facilitates adjustment to achieve optimum live images on the screen. It is available from www.spysite.com. Just search their site for "3.5" LCD" and you will be led to it. This unit sells for about $400, but at a stargaze 3 weeks ago, mine outperformed two 10.2" DVD players, a MallinCam 12" B&W CRT monitor and a 14" Sanyo Color monitor.

Jack

#8 Joe Lalumia

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 07:10 PM

Jack-- thanks

Joe

Moderators-------- thanks for fixing my LONG LINK! Never have figured out how to do it correctly! (Just gettin' old!) Ha.

#9 Mike Harvey

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 07:27 PM

Mike,

It appears that the 10.4" Marshall has features that the 7" versions does not. Is that correct, or does the 7" also have the PTP feature and you just did not discuss it earlier?

Jack


Hi Jack...

No the 7" did not have this feature.
I think they are "accepting orders" for an 8" version that WILL have that, But since that's close to the PTP output anyway, I don't know that it would be of any use.

This weekend I'm going to try and familiarize myself with all the various settings and features of the new monitor.
I think the Marshall company takes it for granted that anyone who orders one of their "professional' monitors already knows what it can do and how to do it. Unfortunately I'm 'just guessing' on some of the settings!

Mike

#10 Mike Harvey

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 07:29 PM

I have read about the smaller monitors that mount directly on the telescope------ would that be something like this:
http://www.bhphotovi...RO_3_5_LCD.html


One feature you REALLY SHOULD HAVE (whatEVER monitor you get) is MANUAL brightness and contrast controls right where you can reach them.
This particular Marshall 3.5" doesn't have that...you have to go into a menu.
They DO make a 4" model that has the manual controls.

Mike

#11 CarolG

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:11 PM

Mike, sounds like the 10.4" Marshall is a real winner-just wish I could afford one :( I did just receive my Watec-35 a couple of days ago, but haven't gotten to try it out yet. For those looking for a Watec, I got mine HERE for $353 and the little stand (theMS50) for $25. It all fits perfectly next to my focuser. Maybe someday I can upgrade to a Marshall.

#12 plav1959

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:46 PM

Hi Carol,
I'm in the same boat as you. Just received my MCHP today - now it's time to get a field monitor. I wonder if anyone has checked out this one:
http://www.bhphotovi...Monitor_TV.html
It's SVGA, has S video in, not sure if buttons on face panel are picture controls, or whether brightness and contrast are menu controlled.
Mike - did you get your monitor from B&H? After checking Marshall's website I see they have a distributor in Winter Park.

#13 Kevin2

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:00 PM

$400 is out of my price range right now. What is the < $200 DVD player you found?

#14 Rusty

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:12 PM

Mike, which Marshall monitor did you settle on?

#15 Mike Harvey

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:18 PM

It's SVGA, has S video in, not sure if buttons on face panel are picture controls, or whether brightness and contrast are menu controlled.
Mike - did you get your monitor from B&H? After checking Marshall's website I see they have a distributor in Winter Park.


DUH! Somehow I missed the local outlet.
Yes, got mine from B&H. I've done quite a bit of business with them in the past and they're good people. No hassle returns! :)
That 12" you referenced does NOT have manual controls. They're all in an internal menu that you have to access.
And unless you NEED the TV.........?

Mike

#16 Mike Harvey

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:21 PM

Mike, which Marshall monitor did you settle on?


It's a 10.4" Marshall HD monitor w/S-Video inputs (along with a bunch of others!). :)

Mike

#17 greg

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:47 AM

[/quote]
One feature you REALLY SHOULD HAVE (whatEVER monitor you get) is MANUAL brightness and contrast controls right where you can reach them.
This particular Marshall 3.5" doesn't have that...you have to go into a menu.
They DO make a 4" model that has the manual controls.

Mike [/quote]

I am using the Marshall 4" Monitor, and it has manual brightness, contrast, tint, and color controls right where you can reach them. It's a great monitor. I have been using a small monitor at my focuser for about a year now. I started out with a 2.5" with color and brightness, it was good, then a 3.5 with color, brightness, and tint, it was better, But the 4" Marshall blows them both away....Better resolution and a little bigger screen.
I may have access to a few of these 4" Marshall monitors if anyone wants to try one, you can send me a private message. The Marshall website lists them at $400.00 plus shipping, I will test these monitors to make sure they are in good shape, and ship them in the Conus for $250.00
Greg

#18 CESDewar

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 03:07 AM

The Marshall website lists them at $400.00 plus shipping, I will test these monitors to make sure they are in good shape, and ship them in the Conus for $250.00


I assume this is the same Monitor that BHVideoPhoto.com has on their website for $289?

One thing I really like about this monitor is that 500mw power consumption. I would be using this out in the field and a power-hungry CRT is not a feasible option, but at 500mw, it would run for quite some time on the built-in rechargeable battery that comes with that package.

#19 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 08:16 AM

Almost any portable DVD player will work. It justs needs a video input. The problem is that not all DVD players provide easy ways to adjust brightness and most dont have a contrast adjustment at all. Some make adjustments through the use of on screen menues and some use roller knobs.

I used an Audiovox D2010 (now discontinued) for 3 years with great success. I recently got a Phillips PET1002 and it did not perform as well at a recent stargaze.

Jack Huerkamp

#20 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 08:20 AM

Carol,

You will be very pleased with the Watec-35. At a recent stargaze, it provided the best views to date. Of course it is small, but then it feels more like "observing" when you have to climb up to the monitor mounted next to the focuser. I have the 10.4" in my 2008 wish list. The Watec-35 at the focuser and the Marshall 10.4 on the table mounted on the rear of the 17.5" for group viewing.

Jack

#21 greg

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:43 PM

The Marshall website lists them at $400.00 plus shipping, I will test these monitors to make sure they are in good shape, and ship them in the Conus for $250.00


I assume this is the same Monitor that BHVideoPhoto.com has on their website for $289?

One thing I really like about this monitor is that 500mw power consumption. I would be using this out in the field and a power-hungry CRT is not a feasible option, but at 500mw, it would run for quite some time on the built-in rechargeable battery that comes with that package.



Yes, that's the same great little monitor that I have, it looks like that one comes with a separate battery pack and charger. The battery pack and case are used for field testing video equipment, the battery pack is serparate from the monitor and the power cord from the battery plugs into the side of the monitor. For power I just use a 12 volt power cord with a 1 amp inline fuse and an RCA plug that connects to the 12 volt power supply near my focuser. Low power consumption (12 volt 500 ma) is a real plus.
It looks like they are charging Tax and Shipping which would probably put the price around $330.00 or so... Still a good deal if you want the rechargeable battery ( and a one year warranty :grin: )

All three of the small monitors I have used, from cheap to expensive, have out performed any other monitors I've used (15" CRT on a 100' cable, 21" LCD with a 25' cable, laptop 17" with a TV card, 50" DLP TV with Wireless or a 150' cable).
I think the key to how well a these 4" Marshall monitors work is the size of the screen, the resolution (480 x 230) and the 4 separate controls for adjusting the color, tint, brightness, and contrast. I find that going from a bright Nebula like say M-16 to a Galaxy like NGC 891, I use all 4 adjustments to really dial in the image. It takes all of about 5 seconds to adjust the image) I spend more time focusing than I do adjusting the image on the Monitor.
Another nice feature of the 4" Marshall Monitor is the protective glass over the LCD screen....just clean the glass, no worry about anything damaging the LCD screen.... These are tough little monitors, remember they where made for use out in the field by technicians to troubleshoot video equipment...

Greg

#22 Danno2006

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:58 PM

$239 here.

http://www.plasma.co...r/vlcd4prol.htm

#23 greg

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 03:32 PM

$239 here.

http://www.plasma.co...r/vlcd4prol.htm



That's the model without the battery and case... (don't really need them anyway).
That ia a Very Very good price...Free Shipping, No Tax (at least to Ca.) And a Warranty...

So I need to know what is the best price out there on the Marshall 4" Pro Monitor... That way I can adjust my price down to a point where my Monitors are still a Good Deal...

I would like to compair the Marsall 4" to a Watec 3.5" but I don't know anyone in my area that uses one.
Does the Watec 3.5" have Color, Brightness, Contrast, And Tint Controls?
What is the resolution of the Watec 3.5"?

Greg

#24 CarolG

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 04:35 PM

The Watec has color, brightness, contrast. The other specs are
Here

#25 CESDewar

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 07:39 PM

I'm wondering how you use the small 3.5in or 4in. monitors. I was thinking it would be nice something like the Vixen FlipMirror unit so you could quickly switch between Visual observing with an EP at a very different magnification and the Mallincam - does anyone do that?


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