Live View Basics on a Canon EOS 60D

Shooting still photos in Live View mode involves a few options that differ from those you encounter for regular photography with the Canon EOS 60D. In fact, there’s even a separate Live View menu that contains options available only when the camera is in Live View mode.

Before you dig in, be aware of the following caveats about Live View photography:

  • Some photography features are disabled or limited in Live View mode. Here’s the list of affected features:

    • Flash: Flash Exposure lock is disabled. Additionally, non-Canon flash units don’t work in Live View mode. And, here’s one more quirk: When you take a flash shot in Live View mode, the camera’s shutter sound leads you to believe that two shots have been recorded; in reality, though, only one photo is captured.

    • Continuous shooting: You can use Continuous Drive mode, but the camera uses the exposure settings chosen for the first frame for all images. And, as with flash shots, you hear two shutter sounds for the first frame in the continuous sequence.

    • Metering mode: You cannot use center-weighted average, partial, or spot exposure metering; the camera always uses evaluative metering in Live View mode.

    • Mirror Lock-Up and Set button functions: You can’t enable mirror lock-up (Custom Function III-5) in Live View mode. Also, none of the custom settings you apply to the Set button (Custom Function IV-2) work in Live View mode.

  • You must be extra careful to keep the camera steady. When you use the monitor to frame the image, you must hold the camera away from your body, a shooting posture that increases the likelihood of blurry images caused by camera shake. When you use the viewfinder, you can brace the camera against your face, creating a much steadier shooting stance. And, if you use a long lens (a telephoto or zoom lens that extends to a long focal length), the potential for camera shake is compounded. So, for best results, mount the camera on a tripod when you use Live View, or choose an ISO that enables you to use higher shutter speeds.

  • Cover the viewfinder to prevent light from seeping into the camera and affecting exposure. The camera ships with a little cover designed just for this purpose.

Think of Live View as a special-purpose tool that can help in shooting situations where framing with the viewfinder is cumbersome.

Live View is helpful when doing still life tabletop photography, for example, especially in cases that require a lot of careful arrangement of the scene. Often, you want to place your camera at a low or high position to compose the subject with the drama and perspective you desire. Scrunching down or climbing on tippy toes to get your eye to the viewfinder can be a real hassle. With Live View, you can alleviate much of that bothersome routine (and pain) because you can see how things look in the monitor no matter the camera position. Low-angle landscape shots or close-ups are also a lot easier to shoot with Live View, especially when you zoom in to critically check focus.

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