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Why does having DSLR Live View mode make a difference

| February 8, 2010 | 5 Comments
DSLR Live View is a feature in digital cameras that most of the compact owners take for granted. However, it was not so long ago that the feature has made it’s debut in the dSLR market. How useful is it ?

Live View mode is the name of the feature where you can preview the photo you are taking, as a live video feed on your digital cameras LCD display. If you are a digital compact camera owner, this is definitely not a new feature, as this method was used in compact cameras from their very beginning.

dslr Live view features

Live view mode features that help composition

However, this feature has only recently been introduced to the dSLR owners. If you have been using compact camera and are planning to upgrade to dSLR, this feature will be a godsend. I should know, I have finally upgraded my Pentax K200D to a K-7 and feel reborn all over again.

Before buying my dSLR, i had an Olympus C-765 UZ, a solid mid-range ultra-zoom camera (10x). Over the time I was using it I have gotten so used to composing my photos by using LCD screen, that after i have bought my dSLR (Pentax K200D), reverting to using viewfinder was a huge hassle for me.
I have adapted eventually, but only a week ago when I bought a digital camera that has live view mode, have I realized how much have I been missing this feature.

The benefits of Live View mode:

1. You get a chance to see how your actual photo will look like – as much as I am aware that some pros might not agree, live view mode is as close as you will get to seeing the actual photo, without pressing the shutter button. Some dSLR camera’s viewfinders do not offer 100% coverage. That means that the fence, or the reflector, that you tried so hard to keep just out of the picture, might still end up there. On the other hand, live view mode is pretty much, what you see is what you get, with the exception of depth of field.

2. No need to second guess white balance – if you prefer to use manual white balance when taking your photos, live view will make a preview giving you a chance to evaluate the colors of your photo, and adjust white balance if necessary.

3. Big screen preview – the most obvious benefit, however not the one to be overlooked. Viewing your image on the big screen, gives you a much better idea if the photo you are taking  is good enough, or if you could improve it by quickly re-composing. Not to mention the ability to see all of the fine details of the photo. It still isn’t computer screen but in my opinion, it beats viewfinder any day of the week, and helps you improve your photography techniques.

4. Using additional on-screen help tools – in photography, any additional help tool is welcome. Therefore, when you are using live view mode, check for additional tools that might help you get your photo right in-camera. The usual on-screen tools that are available on the live-view is the grid, helping you compose your photos, the electronic spirit level (pentax k-7 feature only) ensuring your horizon is straight, and a histogram for evaluating your exposure. We will examine histogram and why it is the most important feedback tool in more detail in our friday’s photo school. Untill then, our tip of the week is:

Live View mode makes a lot of difference, so if you have it, use it !!!

… especially if you have previously used digital compact camera.

One note regarding live view – avoid pointing your camera towards the sun while using live view mode as it might damage your sensor. Happy shooting.

Some more interesting articles on Live View mode

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Category: Beginners Photography, Photography Tips

About the Author (Author Profile)

Alan Graf is the editor and founder of Digital Photography Student. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also editor of – a Croatian wallpaper archive, and his own photo gallery at

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Also with LV you have better feeling how the picture would look like if you are taking a shot in scene with complicated light- i.e. somebody is standing by the window.

  2. […] f/4.0 for maximum sharpness with still shallow depth of field, and manual focus. I have also used live-view for composing the shot, and micro-managing focus. The camera was set on the tripod and I was taking […]

  3. […] issue, although somewhat annoying, can be easily avoided by either focusing manually, or by using LiveView with the zoom feature, which can help you preview how the subject […]

  4. […] able to deliver in terms of composition ability. The interesting fact is that due to the lack of Live View on my Pentax K200D, the Nokia provided greater composition freedom, as it was easier to manipulate […]

  5. […] Use Live View to help you visualize the world in black and white – Live View has been introduced to DSLRs only recently, but in my view, it’s an invaluable tool in helping you to improve your visualization skills. Seeing the world in black and white is not an easy task for a beginner, and Live View helps significantly in bridging the gap. […]

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