Discover how to use it properly!
This month, Nikon maestro Michael Freeman explains just why Live View is so useful…
‘Looking at, not looking through’ is at the heart of using Live View as an alternative to a D-SLR’s optical viewfinder. Given that the SLR’s raison d’être is being able to actually look through the lens at the exact scene you’re about to capture, it might seem odd to side-step all that pentaprismand-mirror engineering in favour of an electronic view, but Live View can be extremely useful.
There is, of course, a new generation of mirrorless cameras for those who feel the D-SLR design has had its day, but for those of us still committed to D-SLRs, it’s the additional functionality of Live View that makes it so valuable. This includes being able to shoot from awkward angles and preview exposure and colour balance, plus live histograms, precision focusing, and, with some cameras, the ability to feed the view onto another display.
None of these features is life-changing, but they are all useful in some situations. The sheer variety of functions shows what can be done with a live feed direct from the sensor, and the possibilities of electronic display. There will no doubt be more clever functions to come, and the continual tinkering and improvements by Nikon and other manufacturers accounts for the different Live View options between models.
There’s also, of course, the very different experience of shooting with a two-dimensional frame, and many people find this closer to the final product, and so easier to compose with. However, before we all go out and buy a CSC, the still-strong argument for the D-SLR is the direct optical connection it gives you to the action taking place in front of you. Live View is ultimately for special situations.
The Live View display allows you to step back and watch both it and the action in
front of the camera at the same time, rather than having to use the viewfinder
An orchestrated set-up, with your camera on tripod, is an ideal situation for using
Live View: here I’m on a shoot in China in a beautiful old courtyard mansion