Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ Review

I recently had the opportunity to use the Odyssey 7Q+ in a real world test during a feature film. At first glance the Odyssey 7Q+ looks like any other 7” HD monitor, it includes all the standard tools you would find on any professional monitor such as waveform, zebras, histogram, false color, focus assist, pixel zoom and built-in Rec709. The display is a 7.7” 1280×800 OLED touchscreen that provides easy access to the settings and tools. But what sets it apart from other monitors is that it is also an external recorder.

The Odyssey 7Q+ seems very well designed, it’s fairly thin, only 1” thick, which is impressive, considering that it is also a recorder and the unit weighs only 1.3lbs. Our Noga arm easily supported the weight of Odyssey 7Q+.

We put it through a variety of conditions and the unit seem to handle them very well. We did have an occasional error that would cause “buffer overflow” we seemed to narrow it down to a few of the SSD cards may have been bad. Convergent Designs customer support was quick to respond and they sent us another unit as a back up.

The image below shows the “buffer overflow” error message we were receiving. The unit would stop recording, dropping frames in the process before automatically starting a new clip.

Odyssey-BufferOverflow

User Interface – The interface is very simple to use, we were basically able to plug it into the Canon C500 and start recording 4K footage without picking up the manual. Which is always nice when working with a new piece of gear. All the controls are conveniently located on the top and bottom of the monitors touch screen.

The monitor performed well under low light conditions, applying the built in LUT helped for darker scenes, but I would normally operate with it off because it had a tendency to make the highlights appear to be overexposed. The unit came with a detachable sun shade which covered the top half of the Odyssey 7Q+ screen and provided some shade for outdoor operations but was not enough under full sunlight.

The Odyssey 7Q+ is a fairly capable monitor, but the external recorder is really where it shines. It has the ability to record a signal from any camera at a variety of formats (including 4K RAW) at a price point that is comparable to most OLED monitors.

Here are a list of included recording options that come standard with the Odyssey 7Q+

Compressed Formats:

4K/UHD 10-bit YCC 4:2:2 up to 30fps in Apple ProRes 422 HQ
2K/1080p 10-bit YCC 4:2:2 up to 60fps in Apple ProRes 422 HQ
1080i 10-bit YCC 4:2:2 up to 60i in Apple ProRes 422 HQ
720p 10-bit YCC 4:2:2 up to 60fps in Apple ProRes 422 HQ

Uncompressed Formats:

2K/1080p RGB 10/12-bit 4:4:4 up to 30fps in DPX file format
1080p RGB 10-bit 4:4:4 up to 60fps in DPX file format

Additional recording options can be rented or purchase through Convergent Design based on your needs of your production. Once you place an order, you will receive an activation code that can be entered in your unit, unlocking the codec. This is one of the ways they have been able to keep the cost of the Odyssey 7Q+ down.

Record Options Available for Purchase or Rental

ARRI ALEXA
ARRIRAW (16:9) up to 60fps
ARRIRAW above 30fps require two SSDs

Canon C500
4K (4096×2160) RAW up to 60fps
UHD (3840×2160) RAW up to 60fps
4K “Half-RAW” up to 120fps
Canon RAW 50/60fps require two SSDs

Sony FS RAW
4K RAW up to 60fps
4K RAW 120fps burst
2K RAW up to 240fps
“4K24K” 4K RAW to 4K Apple ProRes 422 HQ up to 30fps
“4K2HD” 4K RAW to HD Apple ProRes 422 HQ up to 60fps
Sony FS 2K RAW 200fps and 240fps require two SSDsOdyssey-SSD

POV RAW
POV 2K 10-bit RAW
POV HD 10-bit RAW
POV HD 12-bit RAW

Storage Media – The Odyssey 7Q+ records to dual SSD slots that use a proprietary SSD drive. The SSD’s are designed by Convergent Design specifically for the Odyssey and are available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. The SSD’s have a tab on the top that is used to push the SSD in and out of the slot. It takes a little more force than I would prefer and usually requires the use of both hands, one on the tab and the other holding the monitor. I wish there was an eject button on the unit because I was slightly concerned that if the tab broke off, the SSD may get stuck.

The dual slots can be used in three ways:

  • You have the ability to span takes over two drives which allows for longer record times.
  • When recording higher frame rates, it spans alternate frames across two drives to give you higher bandwidth.
  • You can use both drives in a raid setup that records the same content simultaneously to each drive that can be used as a back up or to send off to an editor.

The file sizes can easily get out of control. On our production we were getting 14 minutes recording 4K Canon Raw files on a 256GB SSD. We had a total of 8 SSD’s, which allowed us to keep up with our fast pace. It took roughly 40 minutes to transfer a 256GB card via USB3 on a MacPro. We ended with 46GB of footage during the 22 day shoot. Our DIT had a hard time keeping up with the transferring of SSD’s and rendering out 1080 ProRez files for our editor.

Power – The unit can be powered by a 3 pin locking power connector or with the addition of a battery plate. On our production we had both options, but we preferred to power with a DTap cable attached to a Anton Bauer Battery Mount on the camera. The unit is a little slow to power on but nothing that would ever slow the production down.

Inputs – The inputs and outputs are well thought out on Odyssey 7Q+.

SDI Video I/O – HD-SDI/3G support: Single/Dual link, 2-inputs, 2-outputs, 2 Bi-Directional (can be inputs or outputs), Full-size BNCs

HDMI Video I/O – HDMI I/O Version 1.4a support, up to 1080p30 422 8-bit

Recording – You can set the unit to record via the touch screen or by being triggered by the camera record button.

Playback – Reviewing takes on the Odyssey 7Q+ is very easy. You simply tap the Play button at the top of the unit which would load the last clip and then you can scrub through it by swiping across the screen. You can also step quickly forward or backwards through the additional clips on the SSD.

Waveform and Histogram – Both the waveform and histogram display can be set to full screen or in the lower right corner of the screen. The unit can display Luma, RGB Parade as well red, green or blue.

False Color – False color on the Odyssey 7Q+ is nice because you can customize it to your preference.

Image Quality – The resulting 4K images looked terrific from the Odyssey 7Q+. I would consider it comparable to any other professional recorder in or above it’s price range.

Cropping Issues – The most frustrating thing about the Odyssey 7Q+ was the monitor was cropping the left and right side of the image which made operating by the monitor a bit of a challenge. There were several times this made it difficult to see the edges of the frame and we had to do additional takes because something unwanted would creep into the frame. We could never figure out how to fix this issue.

Conclusion:
If you are looking for a quality monitor/recorder with support for 4K recording the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ is the perfect solution at the price of a typical OLED monitor.Odyssey7Q

Pros:
Image Quality
Low Price
User Friendly

Cons:
Cropping issues
Large file sizes

MSRP: $2,295.00 USD

For more information on the Odyssey 7Q+ visit the Convergent Design

 

Categories: Production,Products