Nikon D3300: How to Switch to Live View Mode

By Julie Adair King

Like many dSLR cameras, the Nikon D3300 offers Live View, a feature that enables you to use the monitor instead of the viewfinder to compose photos. Turning on Live View is also the first step in recording a movie; using the viewfinder isn’t possible when you shoot movies.

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To shift to Live View mode, press the LV button. You hear a clicking sound as the internal mirror that normally sends the image from the lens to the viewfinder flips up. The viewfinder goes dark, and the scene in front of the lens appears on the monitor. To exit Live View mode, press the button again.

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Here are a few pointers about using Live View mode:

  • Press the Info button (on top of the camera) to change the type of data displayed on the monitor. You can choose from the displays shown in the figure:

    • Show Photo Indicators: Reveals extensive shooting data for still photography. The camera uses this display mode by default.

    • Show Movie Indicators: Displays data related to movie recording, as shown in the upper-right screen in the figure. The transparent gray bars that appear along the top and bottom of the screen show how much of the vertical image area is excluded from the frame if you set the movie resolution to a setting that produces a 16:9 frame aspect ratio.

      The only setting that doesn’t produce this ratio is 640 x 424, which captures a 3:2 frame, the same as a still photo.

    • Hide Indicators: Displays only the basic shooting data shown in the lower-left example in the figure.

      In this display mode, as well as in the one described next, four tiny, horizontal markers near the corners of the display take the place of the shaded bars indicating the 16:9 frame area that appears in Show Movie Indicators mode. Two of the markers are labeled in the figure.

    • Framing Grid: Adds a grid and the 16:9 framing marks.

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  • Cover the viewfinder to prevent light from seeping into the camera and affecting exposure. The camera ships with a cover designed for this purpose. Slide the rubber eyecup that surrounds the viewfinder up and out of the groove that holds it in place; then slide the cover down into the groove. (Orient the cover so that the Nikon label faces the viewfinder.)

  • The monitor turns off by default after 10 minutes of inactivity. When monitor shutdown is 30 seconds away, a countdown timer appears in the upper-left corner of the screen. You can adjust the shutdown timing via the Auto Off Timers option on the Setup menu.

  • Using Live View for an extended period can harm your pictures and the camera. In Live View mode, the camera’s innards heat up more than usual, and that extra heat can create the proper electronic conditions for noise, a defect that gives your pictures a speckled look. Perhaps more importantly, the increased temperatures can damage the camera.

    For that reason, Live View is automatically disabled if the camera detects a critical heat level. In extremely warm environments, you may not be able to use Live View mode for long before the system shuts down.

    When the camera is 30 seconds or fewer from shutting down, the countdown timer appears to let you know how many seconds remain for shooting. The Warning doesn’t appear during picture playback or when menus are active, however.

  • Aiming the lens at the sun or another bright light also can damage the camera. Of course, you can cause problems by doing this even during viewfinder shooting, but the possibilities increase when you use Live View. You can harm not only the camera’s internal components but also the monitor (not to mention your eyes).

  • Some lights may interfere with the Live View display. The operating frequency of some types of lights, including fluorescent and mercury-vapor lamps, can create electronic interference that causes the monitor display to flicker or exhibit odd color banding.

    Changing the Flicker Reduction option on the Setup menu may resolve this issue. At the default setting, Auto, the camera gauges the light and chooses the right setting for you. But you also can choose from two specific frequencies: 50 Hz and 60 Hz. (In the United States and Canada, the standard frequency is 60 Hz; in Europe, it’s 50 Hz.)