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Using the Monitor as a Viewfinder on the Canon EOS 60D

Live View is the now-standard name given to the camera feature with which you frame images via its LCD monitor rather than the viewfinder, just as you may have done when using a point-and-shoot digital camera. On the Canon 60D, you can opt for Live View shooting for still photography; and for movie recording, it’s your only option because you can’t use the viewfinder when making movies.

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Either way, be aware of the following monitor-related tips and warnings any time you take advantage of Live View:

  • Consider your focusing methods. You have a choice of three autofocusing methods in addition to manual focus. These autofocusing options are different from those available during regular still photography.

  • Using Live View for an extended period can reduce picture quality and harm your camera. When you work in Live View mode, the camera’s innards heat up more than usual, and that extra heat can create the right electronic conditions for noise, a defect that gives pictures a speckled look. Perhaps more critically, the increased temperatures can damage the camera.

    If a thermometer symbol appears on the monitor, the camera is warning you that it’s getting too hot. If you continue shooting and the temperature continues to increase, the camera automatically shuts off to prevent further damage. Don’t let things get to that point, though. Your pictures will probably be noisy, and you risk permanently harming the camera. So when you see this symbol, turn off the camera or at least exit Live View mode to give the monitor a brief rest. Keep in mind that in extremely warm environments, you may not be able to use Live View mode for long before the system shuts down.

  • Aiming the lens at the sun or other bright lights also can damage the camera. Of course, you can cause problems doing this even during normal shooting, but the potential risk increases when you use Live View.

  • Any time you use the camera monitor, whether composing a shot or reviewing images, you put extra strain on the battery. Keep an eye on the battery level icon to avoid running out of juice at a critical moment.

  • The monitor display can wash out in bright sunlight. You may find it difficult to compose outdoor shots in Live View mode although the 60D has improved the appearance of the LCD in sunlight. And of course, with the movable monitor, you often can adjust it to provide better viewing.

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