Review of Nikon Live View Shooting Mode

Penny The Pug

What is Live View Shooting Mode

The Live View Shooting Mode with Nikon cameras is exactly what it says, you actually see on the LCD display, what the lens is seeing, but what you are seeing on the display is actually a fraction of a second after the camera has captured the scene due to the inbuilt camera delays.

The Live View shooting mode enables you to view the scene and compose the image without looking through the cameras view finder, and it is ideal for situations in which you want to, or need to, hold the camera at an unusual angle or away from your body, you can even hold the camera high above your head and still see the cameras LCD display.

Nikon cameras will provide two different modes for Live View shooting, Handheld Mode and Tripod Mode, the camera will provide full autofocussing operation during the use of Live View.

Live View Handheld Mode

With the normal digital SLR operation the phase detection AF sensors will be blocked when the camera raises the reflex mirror and exposes the imaging sensor, this is what happens in the Live View Handheld Mode. The mirror must be continually up during live view  and the  imaging sensor constantly sends data data to the LCD display, the mirror must be always held up while Live View Mode is being used. There will be a brief interruption to the Live View display when the camera drops the mirror, focuses and quickly flips the mirror back up to shoot a picture, after which the Live View will again resume.

Live View Tripod Mode

The Live View Tripod Mode, uses contrast detect autofocus which is detected directly from the camera imaging sensor. The camera reads the data off the camera image sensor and evaluates how the light to dark or dark to light abrupt transitions occur in the image, thus allowing the photographer to focus without interrupting the Live View display. Tripod Mode is the best mode when photographing still life images or when photographing landscapes.

Manual Focusing in Live View Mode

The cameras LCD display can be magnified and this magnification is extremely useful, the Live View display is very useful when manually focusing SLR cameras via the live view. During manual focusing, the magnified Live View display can be used very effectively to achieve precise focussing. I find this very useful for landscapes or for precise focussing when using a telephoto lens.

See here for a review of the current Nikon cameras.