Reference Material: Evaluating Panasonic’s HD/SD BT-LH1850 LCD Monitor
Panasonic continues its tradition of producing high-quality and reasonably priced reference monitors with the BT-LH1850, an 18.5” HD/SD LCD production monitor with HD and SD closed caption display, vectorscope, waveform monitor for RGB signals and RS-485 serial remote. With HD and HDMI connectivity, the LH1850 also offers a 3D LUT, which produces faithful color hues and smooth gradation, together with quick-response motion images.
As is the case with all monitors in the 17”-18” range, the LH1850 offers 1366 x 768 pixel resolution (WXGA) rather than the full 1920 x 1080 of a larger, more expensive display. Still, features include a 1:1 pixel mapping feature should an editor wish to see full-resolution details, which is more than adequate for this monitor’s intended market. Monitors of this size are ideal for use with small workstations (such as my own setup), on trucks and in remote applications, or as a director’s monitor on set. The LH1850 will satisfy all of these needs adequately.
There are advances here over earlier generations of Panasonic monitors. Power consumption has been reduced to 22W. The LED panel is mercury-free. A built-in 3D LUT enables accurate viewing. And most important to me, the scopes now read all lines.
A feature I particularly like is the crosshatch overlay, which allows a user to check the tilt of his camera.
Monitor specs are one thing, but how the image looks is ultimately more important. Images displayed on the LH1850 were clean. Refresh rate was fast enough to avoid motion artifacting. The viewing options, which include CineGammas, would allow for great on-set versatility.
My testing included using SDI inputs from camera as well as AJA Video and Blackmagic capture devices to simulate on-set and editing scenarios. In each case, monitor calibration was straightforward. The unit includes all of the controls one would expect (blue-only, etc.) and provided excellent reference for image as well as for color grading. Of course, it is unfair to compare the BT-LH1850 to monitors intended for professional color correction, but it’s certainly adequate for the work of its intended market.
I own a 17” monitor and perceived a difference that seemed larger than just 1 diagonal inch when I put the two side by side.
The input/output options include two SDI ports and the ability to daisy chain up to 32 monitors. I didn’t have 32 monitors to test, but it certainly worked with two. I appreciated its ability to work on DC power as a field unit. The integrated base means no assembly, and it just goes right into its box or field case for transport.
In short, the LH1850 is a worthy heir to the Panasonic monitor legacy. This unit provides excellent monitoring capabilities at a reasonable price.
Product: Panasonic BT-LH1850
Pros: Reasonably priced. Excellent refresh rate. Easily transportable. Multiple I/O options. LUT and gamma choices.
Cons: WXGA resolution instead of 1920 x 1080. Some limitation in customizing scope position on screen.
Bottom Line: A great monitor in the $2,500 range for use in a small studio, truck or on set. Lightweight, accurate, energy efficient. It gets the job done.