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As we've seen, one of the great advantages of an SLR is that you have a viewfinder that looks through the same lens that exposes the sensor. However, there are times when looking through that viewfinder is actually a hassle. Maybe the camera is up on a tripod, in a difficult to see position, or perhaps you're shooting a portrait, and you would prefer to look directly in your subject's eyes, rather than through the viewfinder. For those situations, live view might be a preferable way to work. In live view, the camera's LCD screen becomes a viewfinder, just like on a point-and-shoot camera, or on the camera on a cell phone.
The camera takes the image that's being captured by the sensor, and puts it immediately up on the screen, so that you can see exactly what it's capturing. To activate live view, you go to this weird looking little control right here. I say it's weird looking, because it's actually two different controls. There is this rocker switch, which goes left and right, which changes me from live view to movie shooting mode, and then in the middle of it is a button. For life view, we want it in the straight up and down position, and to actually activate live view, I just press the Start button. Now, listen carefully as I press this. That was the sound of the mirror in the camera flipping up, and the shutter opening.
So with all of that stuff out of the way of the sensor, light can now get through the lens, back to the sensor, and the camera can create an image here on the screen. By default, I get this status readout here, which is the exact same one that I get in my viewfinder, with a couple of little variations. I will get my shutter speed and aperture over here. I am not seeing a shutter speed right now, because I haven't metered. I have an exposure compensation display. This is the number of shots remaining on the card; an estimated number of shots remaining on the card. Now, this number differs than the number that I see up here.
Here I'm seeing 1999; here I am seeing 6400. I like this number better; it means more storage on my card. Fortunately, this is the accurate number. This display simply can't read out higher than 1999. So I actually do have an estimated 6400 images available on this card. I am currently in Auto ISO mode, and here's my battery meter. As you may have noticed, live view just turned off. This happens if I don't touch the camera for a while to save battery, and to keep the camera from heating up.
We're going to talk more about heat issues in a minute. So I am going to start that up again. I've got other information readouts that I can get here, just by pressing the Info button. So if I press it once, I get this. This shows me my shooting mode; I am currently in Aperture priority, and I've got my drive mode here, which is in single shot mode, white balance, picture style, auto lighting optimizer, which card I am shooting on, my format, and it's showing me that I am in live view mode here; Auto Focus Live view mode. And then down here, I see this badge for exposure simulation.
We're going to talk about that in another movie. So, just some simple status readout there; I still change these things the way that I always would. For example, if I want to change white balance, I press the white balance button on the top of the camera, and now I get a white balance menu here that I can choose from. I am going to stick with Auto white balance. If I press the Info button again from here, I get to a histogram display, where I can see that I have no clipped highlights or shadows; a real testament to the Lynda lighting crew that this set is so well lit. I am going to press the Info button again, and now I get my level.
This works just like it does in the normal shooting mode. One more press of the Info button wipes everything off the screen, giving me a nice clean view for composition. I am going to stick with the default view, showing my exposure parameters. Now, in the middle of the screen, I have a single focus point. I don't get all those multiple focus points that I get when I'm shooting in normal mode; I only get the one. So let's go ahead and try and autofocus here. I am going to shoot just the way that I always would. I am going to half-press the shutter button to focus and meter. So you can see that it's metered, but autofocus is going very slow, and it's giving me a big red box, and it's left me an image that's very blurry.
As I mentioned before, when the mirror flips off the autofocus sensors, which are up here in the pentaprism, go blind. So my normal speedy autofocus doesn't work. Instead, what happens is the onboard computer in the Mark III is reading this image off the sensor, analyzing it, and driving the focus motor in the lens according to what it finds off of its analysis. My problem is, since I've only got the one focus point, and since that focus point is currently sitting on something with very little contrast, the camera is not able to focus. So I can't switch to a different focus point, but what's cool about live view is I can actually just put this focus point wherever I want.
Using the multi-controller, I can juts drive it around here. I am going to put it on that camera right there, half-press my shutter button; Aha! And now I get focus. My image brightened up also, because this is also my metering point. This is what it's basing its metering off of. If I want metering that's different than that, I will need to use exposure compensation, or put it into some manual control, and just take control on my own. I can also put it on this camera over here, any part of that camera, and that, again, is going to change my focus, and my metering.
What's cool about this is I can actually put this anywhere in the frame that I want. I can put it in places where I normally don't have focus spots. So it's actually a pretty versatile focus tool; it's just a little slow, but still very accurate. Earlier, we saw that I was in an exposure simulation mode; we saw a little badge down here. What that means is that the camera is actually trying to simulate the exposure of the final image, which is something that I don't get to see in my normal viewfinder. For example, let's say that I dial in some underexposure in my exposure compensation.
The image is actually getting darker. I can see the changes that have been made to my exposure; it's changed the ISO, because I am in Auto ISO mode, but I am also seeing the overall effect on my image. Conversely, if I go the other way, I see a simulation of what would happen if I dialed in two stops of overexposure. So this is a really nice way of previsualizing my final scene. I also get if, I want it, depth of field preview, just like I would in normal shooting. I don't get it through the exposure simulation; as you can see, my depth of the field is very shallow, but I'm at f/11, so it should be deeper than that.
If I press the depth of field preview button, which is located on the front of the camera right next to the lens, I actually do get a preview of depth of field. There you see that it just sharpened up; the camera in the back got clearer. So I can get a very nice final preview of my image before I shoot; something that I can't do in my normal viewfinder. For the most part, all of the other exposure and shooting controls that you have will be the same in live view as they are when you're shooting normally. Running the LCD screen and the image sensor generates a lot of heat inside your camera.
Because heat is bad for electronic components, and because it makes your image more noisy, your camera will begin to show you warnings as it heats up. First, you will see this white icon; this indicates that image quality might be degraded. As you continue to shoot, that white icon will turn red, and then it will start flashing. Eventually, the camera will just stop shooting altogether, and you will have to shut it down to let it cool off. Now, how quickly that will all happen varies with the ambient temperature that you're shooting in. You can avoid these overheating problems by turning off live view when you're not actively shooting, especially if the weather is hot.
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