Learn when and how to use live view on any camera. Our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, explains everything you need to know about your camera’s most underrated feature.
The ability to compose images on a camera’s screen using live view technology is still regarded with scepticism by some photographers. Many of these naysayers associate it with using compact cameras with small sensors and no viewfinder, and they see no benefit of it to the DSLR user.
However, although it’s not suitable for use in all situations, using live view can be an incredibly useful feature and offers a level of control that advanced users often say they crave.
Using Live View: what you see…
One of the most useful aspects of live view is that the image on the screen comes from the imaging sensor and this means that it resembles the photograph that you capture much more closely than the image in an optical viewfinder.
Any changes that you make to the exposure, white balance and colour processing, for example, can’t be shown in an optical viewfinder, but they are shown on-screen in live view mode.
As a result you can be much more confident about making settings changes and you often know that you have the image ‘in-the-bag’ before you even press the shutter release.
The live view image is shown with the aperture wide open, but it’s often possible to close down the aperture using the depth of field preview control.
However, the shallow depth of field visible at maximum aperture makes it very clear where the point of focus is, so you can be sure that it is on the correct part of the scene.
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