Live View mode comes in very handy for shooting stills as well as video. In fact, in some instances it has advantages over the viewfinder itself. One of these is the ability to precisely check focus, so it’s great for macro work when focusing manually, enabling you to ensure the subject is sharp.
This is because Live View lets you magnify the subject up to 10x for even greater accuracy. This is particularly useful when working at maximum aperture when depth of field is limited.
In fact, Live View mode is the best way to check how much of your shot is in focus at any aperture you are using.
Simply press the Depth of Field Preview button and Live View will display the image at your chosen aperture, so you can see exactly how much or how little is in pin-sharp focus.
Taking a step back from the camera and using Live View is a great aid to composition, too, and the grid can be used to eliminate crooked horizons.
Live View also provides a 100% view, so you can check for distractions around the edge of the frame and reshoot if necessary.
In situations where it’s difficult to see through the viewfinder – when shooting at low levels, for example – the large LCD screen comes in very handy. It can also be used for shooting with the camera held high above your head.
Finally, Live View prevents camera shake caused by mirror vibrations and when used with a cable release will ensure blur-free shots.
01 Switch to Live View
On a Canon EOS 5D Mark II like we’ve used for this tutorial, press the Live View button for a real-time video feed that’s viewable on the LCD screen. You can set Live View to Stills only or Stills + Movie via the Menu button and the Tools icon. For other cameras, check your manual.
02 Display key info
Pressing the INFO button with Live View active displays the exposure settings. Press again to display other details on the left-hand side. Press a third time for the histogram to check exposure. Press again to clear all information from the screen.
03 Check focus
Use the Magnify button to zoom in on the image and check focus when using manual focus for static and macro subjects. Press once to magnify x5 and again for x10. Press again to return to normal view. Use the ‘joystick’ to move around the image.
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