Sony’s new Monitor & Control app turns your phone into a monitor

Sep 12, 2023

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Sony’s new Monitor & Control app turns your phone into a monitor

Sep 12, 2023

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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Sony is blasting it big today, and along with their Burano Compact CineAlto, they also released a new control app. But it’s not only for the Burano; this app is also for the Sony FX3 and Sony FX30. Its best feature: it turns your “I already have one” phone into a high-end on-camera monitor.

The app is creatively named “Monitor & Control”, but don’t let the unimaginative name fool you. This app packs a punch.

What is Sony’s Monitor & Control app

Sony describes the app as “A mobile app for visual creators that enables wireless monitoring, high-precision exposure adjustment, and focus control on the larger screen of your smartphone or tablet”. In a nutshell, this app provides the same set of features as a standard monitor.

The Monitor & Control app for video, would be what the Imaging Edge Mobile app is for stills. It provides focus functions, Exposure helpers, and color management tools. If you have a phone or a tablet, you now also have a high end monitor.

Monitor & Control app camera support

According to Sony, the Monitor & Control app only supports three cameras:

  • Sony FX6 (firmware version 3.00 or later)
  • Sony FX3 (firmware version 4.00 or later)
  • Sony FX30 (firmware version 3.00 or later)

At the time of writing, the latest firmware for the Sony FX3 is 3.00, so I assume we will see a firmware drop from Sony any day now.

Monitor & Control app features

While you do need a phone (or a bigger tablet) to run this app, it offers features that are very close to DJI’s monitor. The main difference if probably that Sony is using Wifi so they are more limited in range.

Precise exposure monitoring

For the Sony FX3 and FX30, you’ll get a suite of exposure assistance tools: histogram, waveform, and False color.

  • The histogram gives you a quick view of the overall brightness/luminance.
  • The waveform helps identify the exposure levels in different parts of your image.
  • False color overlay lets you dial in perfect exposure for your subject.

Those exposure aids update in real-time and can be hidden, resized, or moved around to match your preferences.

Intuitive focus controls

From the app screen, you can control the standard focus settings:

  • Touch Focus – Tap a subject on the monitor for real-time focus tracking. (Not unlike tapping the LCD on your camera). Unlike the LCD, you can now split camera operation from focus pulling between two people. I would love to test the latency on this, but it seems that the use cases that Sony is promoting are not time-critical.
  • AF sensitivity, and other focus settings can be configured intuitively. One advantage of the wireless connection that another user can tap a subject shown in monitor of tablet or smartphone to track a subject using Real-time Tracking, so that the camera operator can concentrate on moving the camera without worrying about focusing.

Adjustment of color settings

Monitor & Control provides control of Picture Profile/Scene file settings, LUT switching, and other operations. Additionally, LUT can be applied in Log shooting so that an image resembling the finished image after post-production can be checked on a larger screen during recording.

Monitor & Control Competition

There are some apps that provide similar functionality, albeit older. Sony’s own Imaging Edge provides limited functionality. And there are third-party apps like nExt camera app.

There are also physical devices that provide “phone monitoring”. The most notable is the Accsoon Seemo ($179.00). It’s not just limited to Sony, and it provides some other functions as well. I assume that latency performance is superior with a hardware solution, but I have not tested it yet. Then again, it costs $179 more than the free app.

Price and availability

Great news here. If you already own a compatible Sony camera, you get this at no extra charge. Right now, there are only three supported cameras, but Sony is saying that they will expand the range. To download the new Monitor & Control app, go to the bottom of this page.

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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2 responses to “Sony’s new Monitor & Control app turns your phone into a monitor”

  1. Philip La Lumiere Avatar
    Philip La Lumiere

    I’ve always wondered why this wasn’t more popular of a feature.

    Smartphones can bring a lot to the table if they could integrate with standalone cameras better. Being able to live stream via 5G cellular straight from the camera to zoom calls could be quite a marketable service for wedding/event photographers. Being able to have the phone start backing up jpeg (or raw if enough band width/data plan) as you shoot could really help out especially if you don’t have a dual memory card slot on your camera. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it is an extra layer of safety when it does work in a given situation.

    You could even have some of the batch processing (eg: applying lens correction profiles, or automatically adding tags in the metadata to help sorting) could be done in real time on the phone.

    I’ve always wanted something of a smart camera, and Samsung tried the concept in 2014 but they weren’t very successful (personally, I think the proprietary system and lack of quality bodies/lenses was the issue, not the connectivity or utility or cost). I think I recall a sony attempt. Personally, I think apple and android could both start offering some sort of sensor module, possibly mounted via MagSafe and powered by the wireless charging pad. The phone can do the processing and storage. You could get data connectivity via the wifi chips. If Nikon offered their mirrorless mount, it might just help restore their business too, although canon would have quite a competitive offering if they let the smaller line of mirrorless lenses mount to an iPhone compatible sensor unit. This could even let you use the phone and camera module separately, letting you use the screen for things like remote control PTZ, or teleprompter.

    I really wish iPhone and android had a proper “camera with smartphone guts” offering.

  2. Carter Tune Avatar
    Carter Tune

    You’ve been able to do that to most digital cameras for about 10 years or so now. Why is this new?