Use Live View Mode - dummies

By Doug Sahlin

Live View is an extremely useful feature on your digital camera. When you use Live View, the camera mirror locks up, and you see the scene on your LCD monitor instead of through the viewfinder. This gives you a larger canvas upon which to compose your images.

When you shoot in Live View mode, you can hold the camera over your head or down low and compose the image through the camera LCD monitor. You can compose the image with the camera held higher or lower if your digital SLR has an LCD monitor that swivels. You also shoot video with Live View.

Live View is not without its drawbacks:

  • Achieving focus can take longer when using Live View mode. In fact, in low light and when shooting subjects without well-defined edges, you may not be able to achieve focus automatically. But if you do have to focus manually, it’s easier to see if your subject is in focus on the camera LCD monitor.

  • Holding the camera away from your body to compose the shot with Live View gives the camera a less stable platform. When you compose the scene with the viewfinder to your eye, you’re able to hold the camera steady.

    Due to this fact, you have to shoot at a slightly higher shutter speed when you’re using Live View. Exactly how much faster depends on how steady you are and whether you’re taking the photograph before or after hiking five miles with a fully loaded backpack.

If your camera has the option to set up a custom-shooting mode, this can be very useful. For example, if you’re into macro photography, you may find it helpful to use mirror lockup to prevent blurring caused by the mirror stopping after you press the shutter button.

On most cameras, this is a menu option to which you must navigate. Instead of navigating to the menu option every time you want to take a close-up photo, use the menu command and others as the basis for a custom-shooting mode. After setting up the custom-shooting mode, all you need to do is turn the shooting mode dial to the custom setting you created.