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.
Table of contents
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.