I normally don’t start off a product review with the word “fun”, but I have to tell you man was this camera fun. Don’t get me wrong, the Marshall CV506 has some serious features that would rival some cameras costing twice as much.
We will get to those features and more but first some background. The CV506-H12 Miniature High-Speed HDMI Camera from Marshall can capture broadcast, sports, racing, or any high-speed action and create slow-motion, high-resolution video. This powerhouse camera features a 2MP 1/2.8" Sony Exmor sensor and records up to 1080p60 and up to 120 fps slow-motion video.
For those of you unfamiliar with Marshall Electronics, I want you to start on their very cool and expansive website.
It always amazes me when companies like Marshall have such a huge array of products and the associated technology that goes with it. Besides cameras, they build controls, monitors, and other equipment that almost anyone (as in me) would want on my productions.
Their customer list is huge with just about every major player on it. But if you want to know more about Marshall go there. But the last thing about the site is that Marshall has some great video of the Marshall CV506, the very camera we are looking at.
Built to Last
For a miniature HD camera, the Marshall CV506 is built like a mini brick, which is one of the things I love about it. Metal that is built to last. If you have done as many remotes as I have in all sorts of venues—big and small—then you already know that things (like cameras) have to work day in and day out right from the box.
The CV506 flawlessly did that despite my best efforts to derail this review before it even started. I did a typical thing that can happen on remotes. Let’s just say the CV506 took a dive and leave it at that. I watched it happen like it was in slomo on my client monitor. Lucky for me I just picked the CV506 back up and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
This is why “broadcast cameras are just “different”. Built for real world production. Then I secured the camera on the tripod and went about the rest of the day. I mean if your camera can deal with that, it doesn’t get much more real world right?
Let’s Get Real
Earlier I said that this camera was a fun review. It was fun because Marshall got the whole idea of a broadcast quality miniature camera right and in rather a smart way. The camera and subsequent design is just so damned eloquent because of its simplicity. The camera is set up with HDMI, 3G-SDI, and has this amazing tether of cables complete with a locking ring connector, something I hadn’t seen in a while.
The tether comes complete with a built toggle/controller to manage the settings of the camera. Additionally, if you want you could control the CV506 using a RS485 connector that is part of the tether. Think about it from this perspective—You are doing a race of some kind. It could be anything. You want and need to set up the 4 or 5 CV506s you have on the truck. Using the toggle/controller built into the tether or the remote you can very easily set up or customize each CV506 for white balance, black levels, along with an ultra low light sensitivity in color with the ability to see IR wavelengths.
The CV506 features a 2.5MP CMOS sensor, with 1920 x 1080 resolution and outputs 3G/HD-SDI as well as HDMI. Imaging tools include Digital Noise Reduction(DNR), Auto White Balance, and digital zoom.
In other words Marshall stuffed a bunch of great specs and features into a camera I can hide in my hand. Here are some more CV506 specifications for you tech nerds (like me).
Marshall Electronics CV506 Specs
Supported Frame Rates
3.6mm M12 Mount Lens
3G/HD-SDI: 1 x BNC
HDMI: 1 x Type A
Audio, Power, and Control: 1 x 12-Pin Hirose
Iris: 1 x 4-Pin
This amazing CV506 miniature camera has another feature that I was so impressed with. With the CV506 you have the ability to change the lens. Correct, you can change the lens to more closely match the visual goals you have for your production. In my opinion, it is just amazing. Check this out.
A removable M12 mounted 3.6mm lens with a 72° angle of view is included with the camera. However you can swap out the lens for almost any other Marshall M12 mount lens. Just having that flexibility to swap lenses makes the CV506 even more versatile that I first thought. I have also listed the lens options below.
- CV-4702.3-3MP: 2.3mm, f2.2 3MP M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 126°
- CV-4702.8-3MP-IR: 2.8mm, f2.6 3MP M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 100°
- CV-4703.6-3MP: 3.6mm, f2.0 3MP M12 lens (included); Horiz. AOV = 72°
- CV-4706-3MP-IR: 6mm, f2.4 3MP M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 48°
- CV-4708.0-3MP: 8mm, f1.8 3MP M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 40°
- CV-4712.0-3MP: 12mm, f1.8 3MP M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 33°
- CV-4716.0-2MP: 16.0mm, f1.8 2MP M12 lens; Horiz AOV = 25°
- CV-2812-3MP: 2.8–12mm, f1.4 3MP Varifocal M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 108–3°
- CV-0622-5MP: 6–22mm, f1.6 5MP Varifocal M12 lens; Horiz. AOV = 46–16°
Having Fun Shooting With the CV506
I told you we were going to have some fun. When I got the CV506 I said to myself how can I show off what this camera is capable of? I don’t have a race track or a race car, but I have always wanted to up the ante when it comes to doing table top and what I call “micro shooting”.
So I put the CV506 to the test. I want you to pay close attention to the size of the camera and scale of what I am shooting in comparison to the camera. I decided that the best way to do some shots was just grab up a variety of items in the home office and shoot them with the CV506. I also decided to see what would happen if I didn’t light the scene. As you can see by my shot selection, the focus was spot on and the clarity of image was pretty darn good.
Obviously, I was literally “handheld”, but with some careful planning and lighting I can see where the CV506 could easily become a first choice in this category. Can you just imagine how much fun you could have with multiple CV506’s around a RC track, nevermind a full sized track?
As I said in the beginning this unassuming powerhouse of a camera is a wolf in sheep's clothing. If I have the opportunity to do some more tabletop for real I would start with the CV506. It was very easy to adjust the settings and the image quality was superb. The variety of frame rates and versatility of the CV506 makes adding it into your inventory a no brainer in my book.
Yes, and it was a ball shooting with it, too!