The Feelworld F6 Plus is the latest 5.5″ on-camera monitor from Feelworld. Except in name, it shares little in common with the Feelworld F6 it replaces. It’s had a complete redesign over its predecessor, with a shiny new display, touchscreen interface, HDMI passthrough and LUT support.
We first saw the F6 Plus on display at NAB earlier this year, and I’ve been using one as my main on-camera monitor for a few weeks now with various cameras. So, here’s the rundown on the specs, how it works in practical use and my overall thoughts on the Feelworld F6 Plus.
|Model||Feelworld F6 Plus|
|Screen||5.5" IPS LED Backlit display|
|User interface||Touchscreen + Dial|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|Viewing angle||160° horizontal and vertical|
|LUT support||Yes, via SD card slot|
|Inputs||HDMI / DC 12v|
|Outputs||HDMI / 3.5mm Stereo Headphones / DC 8v (2A)|
|Battery||Sony NP-F L Series or Canon LP-E6|
|Mounting points||3x 1/4-20" threaded sockets (top, left and bottom)|
|Dimensions||148 x 93 x 20mm|
The F6 Plus offers several power options, as noted above. There’s a 12v DC input for powering off an AC adapter or external 12v battery. On batteries, it accepts the ubiquitous Sony L series compatible NP-F batteries, but also the Canon LP-E6 batteries, too. Connectors are provided for either style of battery. Personally, I’ve only been using NP-F batteries with mine as I make use of the 8v DC output the F6 Plus offers in order to power my camera through a dummy battery.
It includes all of the usual assist modes we’ve come to expect from Feelworld monitors, but the touchscreen UI makes them much easier to access than the sometimes awkward button layout of some of their other monitors. We’ll get more into the touchscreen features a little later, but here are some of the assist modes.
- Focus Assist (adjustable sensitivity in 5 colour options)
- False Colour exposure
- Zebra highlights (1-100% adjustable)
- Over/Underscan modes
- Anamorphic modes (1.25x, 1.33x, 1.5x, 2.0x, 2.0x mag)
- Pixel to Pixel
- Safety markers (70%, 80% and 90% for 16:9, 16:10, 4:3, 5:4, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1)
- Aspect ratio markers (16:9, 16:10, 4:3, 1.85:1, 2.35:1)
- Check field (red, green, blue, grey)
- Image Flip
- Image Freeze
One thing that immediately struck me about the unit after I pulled it out of the box was that it felt quite solid. Yes, it still has a plastic casing, but it feels more compact, solid and well built than some of Feelworld’s older monitors. The dial on the top feels quite flimsy by comparison to the build of the rest of the unit, but it hasn’t died or fallen off yet and it’s not something I’ve needed to really use at all so far, so it’s not something I’m going to worry about.
The number of 1/4-20″ connection points on the F6 Plus immediately won me over. My two 7″ monitors only have a single 1/4-20″ socket underneath. Having more on top and to the side offers a lot of great mounting options, especially if I’m not using it directly on top of a camera. The HDMI passthrough, too, was a very nice feature to see on such a small and relatively inexpensive monitor.
Mounting it to the supplied arm or to the Nitze bracket I typically use for an on-camera monitor was a doddle, and each of the 1/4-20″ sockets also has what appears to be holes for Arri locking pins. So, you could theoretically attach other things to the 1/4-20″ sockets you’re not using, but I don’t know how strong they are, I wouldn’t go overboard on the weight.
The dual battery slot that takes both Sony NP-F and Canon LP-E6 style batteries is interesting. I see these dual-format slots popping up more and more lately, although I’m not entirely sure why. Most people I know who are using cameras that take LP-E6 batteries, like the Blackmagic Pocket 4K, are looking into alternative power options because LP-E6 batteries just don’t last very long. Although, if you do have a few spare LP-E6 batteries floating around, they could be handy in an emergency.
My immediate impressions after taking it out of the box and giving it a look over were quite positive.
The whirlwind tour of features
Aside from the touchscreen, the F6 Plus offers a couple of very nice features over the F6. For a start, it has HDMI passthrough. This means you can take a signal in from your camera, see it on the monitor, and then send it back out to something else. Maybe a second monitor for your focus puller, or a wireless transmitter to a remote screen for a director.
One of the big new features with the F6 Plus is that supports 3D LUTs. There are several built-in LUTs available (S-Log 2/3, V-Log and Log-C) to convert them to REC709. But you don’t have to stick with just these options. You can also use your own completely custom LUT files, too, stored in the monitor through the built-in SD Card slot. So, whether you want to simply correct or apply a whole finished look in the monitor, you can do so while still recording flat in your camera.
Note: While in the process of creating this review, Feelworld has released a firmware update (v1.0.7) for the F6 Plus which adds expands the monitor’s LUT storage capacity quite dramatically. Instead of being limited to saving only 8 custom LUTs internally, you can now save up to 50, and it turns your stored LUTs into a nice scrollable list, and not just next and previous buttons as with the original firmware.
The F6 Plus contains the usual array of camera assist features. Of course, it doesn’t contain a vectorscope or waveform, but it does offer focus peaking, false colour, histogram, audio meters, safety markers and monochrome/channel view mode. All of these features are available from a swipe up menu on the bottom of the display to easily toggle them on and off.
As well as these, you also get zebra stripe exposure warning, marker mat (super handy), anamorphic modes and various other features. You also get “virtual sliders” to quickly and easily adjust the volume of the built-in speakers or headphone jack and to adjust the brightness of the backlight in the screen by swiping up and down on the right or left half of the screen.
You don’t have to use the touchscreen interface, though. The power button enables you to quickly disable and enable touchscreen support, and then the combination dial button at the top right allows you to bring up the interface and sift through the various options. Not a feature you might use often in ideal conditions, but when it’s freezing cold on location and you don’t want to take your gloves off, it can be a pretty useful option.
There’s also a 1/4-20″ mounting thread on top, in case you want to mount it underneath something without having to flip it upside down (although you can flip the display if you want to). There’s an additional 1/4-20″ socket underneath for more traditional mounting systems, which is where you’ll also find the headphone jack, 12v DC input and an SD card slot for loading custom LUTs into the monitor.
A third 1/4-20″ socket is available on the right-hand side of the unit (as you look at the screen) for mounting to the supplied bracket. This bracket slips into your camera’s hotshoe and then screws into the side of the F6 Plus.
This is a nice bracket, as even when the screw is fully tightened to hold the monitor, you can still easily adjust the angle of the screen without it working itself loose. It also features an additional cold shoe, so that you have somewhere to mount a microphone or small LED light if you wish.
On the other side of the monitor is an 8v DC output, which I typically use to connect to a dummy battery that sits inside the camera. If your camera’s in a cage that makes it difficult to open your camera’s battery door, this is an almost essential feature. And, of course, it means you only have to deal with changing one battery for both systems.
I’ve been using the Feelworld F6 Plus for a few weeks now, both in the studio and out in the wild (quite literally) on location. I typically have it mounted on top of a SmallRig cage for either the Blackmagic Pocket 4K or the Nikon D800 (yes, I still use that for video sometimes). I wanted to try a 5.5″ monitor, because while I like the viewing size of 7″ monitors (and I certainly love the brightness of the Feelworld FW279), they’re a bit big and unwieldy on a cage.
The 5.5″ can barely be felt on top of the camera as far as weight goes, and the 8v DC output of the F6 Plus over either of my Feelworld FH7 or FW279 monitors makes it my favourite of the three for location work, particularly if I’m going handheld quite often. The small size and lighter weight also mean it’s quite easy to mount to a gimbal when necessary, too.
The Feelworld F6 Plus comes supplied with a hood which attaches around a snap-on frame with velcro. You can see that I’m not using it above, but I live in the UK where the brightness of daylight can be quite misleading (and completely absent a lot of the time at this point in the year). The screen is only 500 Nits in brightness, but much of the time I had very little difficulty viewing it. In very bright conditions, though, the hood is extremely useful, especially if the view behind you is particularly bright and reflecting off the screen.
Even when going handheld, the hood is deep enough that it blocks much of the environmental light, but not so deep that it’s difficult to see when you’ve got the angle set well.
Another advantage of the F6 Plus over its predecessor that I mentioned earlier, is the HDMI passthrough. This means you can have it pipe out to a second side-facing monitor for a focus puller. Or, as I was typically doing, feed it into an HDMI transmitter so that other people can watch the shot and keep an eye out for things you don’t notice. There is a tiny bit of lag between what I see on the camera’s LCD and what I see on the F6 Plus, but not distractingly so. Most of it, I think, is to do with the camera’s HDMI output rather than the monitor itself.
While you can use this monitor in the studio, it’s one that definitely feels very at home out on location.
What I liked
First thing’s first, I love that this is a touchscreen UI. While it could do with a nicer looking layout and design, it’s fantastic to be able to quickly and easily find everything without having to deal with an array of buttons across the top of the monitor, as I have to with my FH7 and FW279. This alone makes it a pleasure to work with as it speeds up workflow efficiency while filming.
It’s a fairly responsive capacitive touchscreen display and is very precise. It knows exactly where I’ve touched, so it doesn’t choose options I haven’t actually tapped, like some resistive touchscreen monitors I’ve tried in the past. As I said, I do think it could use some better styling, but it doesn’t affect the functionality. So, It’s going in the win column for me.
The lighter weight of the monitor means it is barely felt on top of a camera in a cage. With an HDMI transmitter and wireless microphone receiver mounted to the cage, the addition of the monitor doesn’t feel like it adds much extra at all – especially if you use the smaller NP-F550 sized batteries instead of the higher capacity (larger, heavier) NP-F970 batteries.
I like the HDMI passthrough and 8v output. Both of these have been invaluable features for me while I’ve been using the F6 Plus so far, and I expect they’ll continue to be so in the future.
What I didn’t like
So, there are three things that… Well, it’s not so much I don’t like them. They’re more just little annoyances that I’ll learn to live with.
My biggest problem with the F6 Plus is the same problem I have with all touchscreen devices. My laptop, tablets, smartphones, everything with a touchscreen suffers from the problem of fingerprints, and boy is the F6 Plus screen no exception. I do think this is something that a good screen protector can (mostly) solve, as it does with smartphones, but knowing which are the good ones could become a spendy exercise. There are no big-name brands making screen protectors for the F6. So, I hope that Feelworld can team up with a good screen protector company at some point to be able to offer these for their touchscreen monitors. Or at least to be able to suggest an officially recommended brand of screen protector.
As for the next issue… The one thing, well, two things I’d hoped for that this monitor doesn’t have are a waveform and vectorscope. Sure, it’s only a $230 monitor and it’s already very good for what it costs, so we can’t expect miracles. But it would be nice to start seeing these features come to less expensive monitors. Hopefully, there’s a way Feelworld can figure out how to add this to a future firmware update.
Finally, I wish the swipe-up menu at the bottom was configurable so that you could change the toggle options. I’d love to be able to swap out the safety marker option for the marker mat option instead and the monochrome channel view for zebra stripes. I’m changing those more often than I am the safety marker, and I turn them on and off quite regularly throughout the course of shooting as I bounce between the important shots and behind the scenes stuff.
Update: It turns out that the swipe up menu is actually configurable. You just need to swipe it up and then double-tap, and you can reconfigure every button at the bottom to utilise a different feature.
But, as I mentioned, they’re more mild annoyances than anything else. The first is an issue with just about all touchscreen devices, the second is wishful thinking, and the third just means I have to go into the main menu more often. They’re certainly not dealbreakers.
The things I like about the F6 Plus far outweigh those little niggles above. At this price point, I’ve not used a 5.5″ monitor that felt as comfortable and efficient to use as the F6 Plus does. There are a number of other monitors on the market that do offer more and some that are much brighter for outdoor use, but they also cost significantly more money.
Some might feel that even 5.5″ is a little large for an on-camera monitor, but personally, I like my on-camera monitors to be quite large, having previously used the two 7″ monitors I mentioned above as my regular on-camera monitors. Since I got the F6 Plus, though, I haven’t used the 7″ monitors on-camera at all. The 5.5″ still feels big enough, especially with how comfortable it feels on top of the camera. It feels like a great compromise, offering a relatively large screen while still having a fairly compact build. And the 8v output to power my camera with a dummy battery is invaluable.
The colours are quite vibrant, and 3D LUT support is a fantastic feature. I can throw on a corrective LUT just to get a better idea of the real contrast and exposure of the scene, or I can use a creative LUT to get some idea of how the final scene will look once I bring the footage into my editing software.
The F6 Plus has now found a permanent place on top of my camera, whether I’m on a tripod on location or going handheld. The only way it’s being replaced is if a new version comes out offering vectorscope and waveform. But I’m still holding out for the possibility of these being added in a future firmware update. If you don’t need or care about those two features, though, the F6 is a great little monitor for the price, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
The Feelworld F6 Plus is available to buy now for $229.