Live View
Recently in another thread there were some contentious posts for and against the usefulness of Live View. Personally, I have rarely found a reason to use it, preferring a right angle view finder for those times I don't want to lie on the ground doing macro of bugs. Moreover, nobody in my various clubs and workshops has expressed any use for it..

Others said it was a great feature, and they used it..

Some say, and I agree, that it's primarily a feature used to lure point and shooters into the dslr market where they will quit using Live View when they realize how much better, faster, and easier an optical viewfinder is..

I truly don't know. What I believe might be totally untrue. Live View might really be a great tool. I can't imagine why, but it might be. I"m willing to understand..

So, my question is this. Please don't get involved with putting down or hyping a particular brand of camera. Do you use Live View much?.

If not, why not?.

If so, how long have you been involved in serious photography? How do you use Live View in day to day photography?.

Again, I beg. Please don't get into a argument with fanboyism toward one brand or another. Respect honest opinions. Please dont cut and paste hype from a website. Im interested in your experience with Live View.**********************.

I'll start..

I don't use Live View. My photographic hobby goes back to 1959 with my first Asahiflex. I've loved this medium for many years. I'm not a pro and don't want to be. I'm always learning and enjoy taking tons of pictures..

I guess I don't understand the need for Live View. I'd rather snap an image, look at the histogram, consider the composition and shoot again. Memory is cheap. I think that holding a camera out at length will contribute to poor stability. I think that as nice s my new D300's high res 3" screen is, the beautiful bright viewfinder is so much better. I also realize that I'm not so young and I might be biased unfairly to new things, hence this post.

Thanks, Craig..

Comments (15)

... but not a lot because my dslr has a fixed lcd..

Before going dslr, I had a camera with a flip and twist lcd, which I found very very very useful for taking ought angle pictures, such as shooting over the heads of a crowd of tourists..

I don't think I will buy a dslr without live view. In fact, I am sure that I will hold off upgrading my dslr until one or both of the following appear:a) flip and twist lcd,b) video mode..

Of course, live view is a pre-requisite for video mode, which is what I miss most going dslr.JonathanFOly E-510, 14-54, 18-180, TCON-17, FL-36Canon S1IS, Casio QV-3000..

Comment #1

I have tried live view once. I wasn't impressed. I think it has 2 main functions,.

1) Macro work where you don't/can't get on your belly, and.

2) Live Concerts or Gatherings where you have to raise the camera above your those cameras that have 170 degree view +/-, can allow to see what you are pointing at.

I have no use for came with the camera model I bought for other features I wanted. Like Body "IS" and adjustable Noise filter settings. RAW IQ And Size and weight where a consideration too.Peter .

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Enjoy your photography images, even if your wife doesn't ! ;-( in profile...

Comment #2

I have used the XSi live view quite a bit. It is great for macro/closeup work with a tripod. It permits really precise manual focusing. If for this use, it can be difficult to see the LCD clearly in bright sunlight. I can think of no other use and I have not even enabled autofocus with the LV function. The XSi does not have an articulating LCD so it would not be useful for shooting over the heads in a crowd..

I suppose there will be attempts to market this feature to P&S photographers who are thinking of upgrading to DSLR. I can't imagine why anyone would prefer LV over a DSLR viewfinder for routine use...

Comment #3

I too use an anglefinder. It's great for low level shots..

But it's useless for overhead shots. That's the only situation where I'd like an articulating live view LCD...

Comment #4

Live view isn't a big deal for me, although I can see it's usefulness for special situations like overhead shots and the like. But for that kind of shooting situation, you'd probably get better shots with a P&S..

I also hear that people like it for macrophotography and here is where liveview does hold some interest for me if the camera had an articulating screen. But I imagine that articulating screens are prone to damage, and the biggest drawback is that LCD screens are almost useless in strong light and maybe it's just me, but I find it's almost impossible to focus on an LCD screen because of the low resolution of not only the screen, but of the low res image that is generated for the LCD. And for regular shooting, it's laughable to hold a DSLR out at arms length to compose and focus except for happy snaps..


Comment #5

It's the point & shoot mentality. They want all the doo-dads. Soon we will see DSLR's that double as cell phones. What happened to simple and to the point? Save the expense for "features" and put it to good viewfinders and quality equipment that will last. IMHO.Steve-Seattle..

Comment #6

So far, most seem to agree with me. Experienced SLR users just don't use it much..

As for overhead shooting, in the old days, and I mean old, we often took off the finder (pentaprism) to hold the camera upside down and use the ground glass..

Other times, you'd just stick a wide angle of say around 20 to 24mm and put the camera up use the hyperfocal distance, then crop in the darkroom. I think holding it up and trying to view an LCD might be nearly impossible for these tired old eyes...

Comment #7

Having been into photography for many years, I have an appreciation of the waist-level viewfinder found in medium-format TLR and SLR cameras..

When I got my first decent digital compact, the Olympus C5050, I was delighted to raise the LCD to 90 degrees and look down into it in the same way I used to with the Mamiya C220. (Well, there is a difference, the mirror in the TLR finder inverts everything left-to right, whereas the LCD has things the right way round)..

I find it most useful when the camera is on a tripod, it means I don't have to bend down to peer into the viewfinder. Especially useful for macro shots where I can adjust the subject while watching both the subject and the screen at the same time..

But even for landscape shots I'm happy to use the LCD screen. Though I always angle it towards my eyes. I think a screen permanently fixed flat on the back of the camera is poor for this purpose..

I enjoy the way this modern technology is bringing back the pleasure of the older technology in a new guise.Regards,Peter..

Comment #8

...since I have a P&S Leaving the funny part aside:.

I've used DSLR's(400D) and P&S(various brands) and I must say that LiveView is a great thing to have IF (big IF) it comes with a tiltable LCD..

Yes, the SLR part of the DSLR is very useful (great Manual focusing, instant changes, whole shebang), but I for one, don't like to roll in the mud for ground-level shots and I like to see clearly what is happening when my camera is on a tripod (being a little on the short side  ) and it's nice to shoot above head at concerts and such!.

Yes, the classical viewfinder is great and it is at the core of photography. But if you can make your life simpler with the help of technology, why not?..

Comment #9

SorinC wrote:.

...since I have a P&S Yes, the classical viewfinder is great and it is at the core ofphotography. But if you can make your life simpler with the help oftechnology, why not?.

I would have agreed with you back before I bought me first DSLR. I was one of the last hold-outs still using film or a digital point and shoot. I almost didn't buy a D80 because I wanted Live View. I almost bought an Oly 510. The only reason I stayed Nikon was the fact I owned a lot of Nikon glass and because I'm a bit of a Nikon fanboy..

I used the D80 for almost a year and forgot about Live View until the D300 came out. Upgrading was partially because of Live View. I tried it a couple of times and quickly realized that for me, it was a pain in the behind. I still love the D300 and wouldn't go back, but Live View isn't the reason. Even if it had an articulating LCD..

It seems so cool. It seems like it would be great. For me, it just turned out to be a very non-useful feature..

I'm glad I'm getting various responses. Maybe I dismissed it too quickly. We'll see. I was going to do some macro tonight. Maybe I'll try Live View again...

Comment #10

I must be missing something I dont think live view has anything to do with wheather the screen tilts or not but rather showing the exposure on the screen..

For instance a 1/2 press will reveal if the subject will be under or over exposed and you can adjust before actually taking the picture..

Im a rank amatuer and I find it most usefull rather than having to take the picture then making exposure changes..

Comment #11

The problem with exposure via Live View is that it doesn't really tell you anything unless it's a very good screen and you can see it clearly..

Exposure is relatively simple to deal with using exposure compensation and a few rules of thumb. Guessing it from a Live View screen strikes me as a bigger act of faith. Matrix metering modes are getting even better at guess what to do better. You have to take your eye away from the optical viewfinder and recompose to use Live View and that's just no way to shoot..

The best way would simply be if there was a live-histogram on the optical viewfinder. Basically, yes, I want something like those nice fighter-pilot types get - info projected onto my optical system. Maye a mirror to flip an information window in view. I don't really care what the sensor or metering system sees - I'm only interested in what I see and ensuring the final image reflects what I want from that. One word - histogram..

Using an optical viewfinder is still the best way to do almost everything, and almost everything, for me, out-weighs the very few occasions where Live View would be useful..

I use an EVF in my S9600 and that's OK - it's quite a good EVF. It's where I formed this odd need to have a Live Histogram ! But it's not an OVF and a good OVF kicks ass for photography. I even use the alleged OVF on my A710 compact in preference to the LCD. That feels better to me than mucking around with an LCD. At the very least I know what I wanted to capture and what it looked like when it comes time to review and post process the images..

Maybe one day the EVF will be good enough to replace the OVF but until then the OVF is king ( or queen if you prefer - lets say monarch  ). Improve the OVF, add projected information like a histogram, but leave it there. Bigger would be nice - manually focusing with some of those entry-level OVFs must be ghastly. Squint inducing..

And give us back our plain old informational LCD on the top of the camera. It's more natural to glance at this that have to twist the camera to get a look at the LCD ( and often to have to press buttons to do it )..

By a strange coincidence my Pentax has both a fairly good OVF and an informational LCD. You could probably guess that just from the rant..

Keep Live View and put the money where it would be useful - an augmented, larger and brighter OVF !.

And would someone please tell me why in heck I'm using Capitals for Live View ? Cripes ! I've developed Capitalitis. What next ? Blogitis ? .


Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #12

Sjgcit wrote:.

The best way would simply be if there was a live-histogram on theoptical viewfinder. Basically, yes, I want something like those nicefighter-pilot types get - info projected onto my optical system.Maye a mirror to flip an information window in view. I don't reallycare what the sensor or metering system sees - I'm only interested inwhat I see and ensuring the final image reflects what I want fromthat. One word - histogram..

I read somewhere that Nikon had patented a heads-up type display for the optical viewfinder. I don't know anything else about it..

I agree with you about a histograms. I use them most of the time... a great tool. I'm not sure I'd want one in my way in the OVF..

The reason I use caps in Live View is because I think it's a registered trademark, but I don't know. I don't really care...

Comment #13

I haven't experienced with Live View of DSLR. My opinion is that Live View is not much useful (or perhaps useless) without a swiveling LCD giving the fact the OVF of DSLR is more superb in many ways (clarity, no processing delay and etc.).

However, I have experienced with swiveling LCD of P&S and must say that it is useful when composing difficult angle shots like overhead shots, ground level shots or self-portraits (without tripod)..

I can't think of any usefulness of Live View without swiveling LCD for now and don't want to give any hypothesis without real experience...

Comment #14

For shooting tiny plants and other low-to-ground subjects from ground-level view easier and cleaner than doing a belly-crawl checking different compositions..

For shooting over a crowd more polite than trying to elbow through, assuming no special status; there's not always higher ground to stand on...

Comment #15

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