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Is the Live View Really so Needed?
Recently many new DSLR cameras are equipped with the Hot Feature of 2007 - Live view. Those models who do not have this feature, will for sure come with update to include it. The feature adds some costs so for example Nikon didn't included it in the entry level D60, but new D300 and D3 have them both, as well as Canon.
It is one of those features, you need only once you get used to it - we never had it with film SLRs so why now, you asking?

What the feature is:
Live view is simply compact-camera-like preview of actual scene as seen through the lens. It helps you preview the shot on bigger screen than (valid twice for crop DSLRs) viewfinder is. Over head clickers might love it also, but this is not, where it's power is.
Live View is revision of captured photo before it is captured. It only speeds up your work and helps you to create less garbage photos in difficult conditions.

- It helps natural photographers their work on tripod. No more crawling in mud is needed. It works with external monitor as well.

- It allows remote camera usage. For example Nikon's remote allows gate triggering and/or with remote display you can capture shots you never could. Including wild animals who feel human for hundret of meters.

- It helps fashion and all other photographers to work on tripod in weird camera positions. It is not only simple, it allows You what was never possible before. I often had to and have to shoot some images without being able to see it. Sure experience gives You some idea, but precise composition with camera on tripod in vertical position is now possible.

- It helps focusing. Specially those using MF lenses or in camera motor focused lenses will love they can get top sharp images. Optical viewfinder can never help You with that even with magnifying viewfinder attachment.

- Last, but not least, this feature is great for testing lenses. When you get new lens, or just want to be sure how your one will perform, live view shows you zoomable image almost same as it will appear in raw file.

What the feature isn't:

- It is not intended to replace the optical viewfinder.

- It's operation is slow (specially Nikon's implementation) so it is just ok for indended things, but no way feature which you will use all the time or reason to decide which camera to buy or not.

- If you still believe that capturing photos with tilt display over head of people on concert and clicking until one is OK is how photographer works, pickup your favorite superzoom and forget live view and DSLRs.
Posted on 17 Feb 2008 by fkh
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