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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long details the features, controls, and options in the Nikon D800 digital SLR. The course begins with an overview of what a digital SLR is and a tour of the camera's basic components. Ben then discusses the camera's basic operation: changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in automatic mode, reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen, and transferring photos to a computer.
Next, the course introduces more advanced exposure options: program mode, exposure compensation, ISO adjustments, and more. After Ben briefly defines each option, he shows how to adjust it using the camera's controls.
Ben also discusses white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, live view, and video shooting. The course ends with a chapter on maintenance, including sensor- and camera-cleaning and care tips.
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 kind of a hassle. Maybe that camera is on a tripod in a difficult-to-see position, or maybe you are shooting a portrait and you would prefer to look in your subject's eyes rather than be behind the camera. For these 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 a cell phone camera.
The camera takes the image that's being captured by its sensor and it puts it immediately up on the screen so that you can see exactly what it's capturing. Activating Live View on your D800 is very simple. It's this switch right here. It's a rocker switch. By default it's up here on Live View. I can switch it down to shooting movies. I don't want that right now. I am going to leave it there. I press the LV button right in the middle of it and I hear a loud noise, which is the sound of the camera's mirror flipping up and the shutter opening. That's going to allow light to now pass through the lens to the sensor at the back of the camera, and so the camera is now rendering an image for me.
This stuff should all look pretty familiar to you. It's the same type of readout that you get up here in your optical viewfinder. I've got my metering mode and shooting mode, shutter speed aperture, my ISO, and the remaining number of shots on this card. I've got some other status information around. Up here these icons should look pretty familiar to you also. It's everything from shooting mode to where my images are being stored and some other settings. I have got this gizmo down here, which lets me change two things about the Live View display right now.
Notice that this is an instruction as to how to use this control. It's saying that I should press the Zoom out button--the one with a little checkerboard here on it--and use the left and right buttons on the multicontroller to change Live View White Balance or Brightness. So I am going to press and hold and when I do that, these two things pop up. Live View White Balance, LVWB is right there, and this is indicating that I turn the main command dial. And when I do, what's happening is different white balances are being applied to the screen.
This is not affecting my image in any way. The idea here if I am using this screen in some light that's causing the colors on the screen to appear wrong I can compensate for that by white balancing the screen. So this can be very handy in certain lighting situations. If I press the left and right button here, it moves me from this control to this control, which is simply a brightness control. I've got to turned up all the way right now so that you can see the Live View screen better, but if I go up and down, I can turn the brightness back down to where it would normally be.
This is a really handy thing if you are shooting in bright daylight; you might want to crank the brightness up. Or if you are shooting in low-light situations, you might want to turn the brightness down so that you don't blind yourself with the light from the screen. I am going to leave it set up here. I can also put it on Auto mode--that's this A up at the top here--and the camera will automatically try to calculate the correct brightness. We have got such a weird lighting situation in here for what we need for our video shoot that auto isn't working too well. Normally, it does. I am going to leave it here turned up all the way. I'll let go with the button and those two controls go away.
Shooting, for the most part, works just the way it does when you are not using Live View. You can use any shooting mode that you want. Right now I'm in Aperture Priority mode. You have the same exposure concerns and the same exposure controls. One of the real big differences though, is autofocus. You notice, I've only got one focus point here. My normal array of focus points is not lighting up. The cool thing is I can move that focus point anywhere I want just by using the multicontroller. So I can just drive this around the screen, and I have got almost an unlimited range of focus points now.
I can just put this wherever I need to to get the focus that I want. So I am going to drop it right here on riding on the end of this lens. Now you might be seeing the screen brightness change as I move around. That's just the screen kind of updating itself. I am not quite sure why it does that. It doesn't affect your metering though, or your final image. It's just trying to give you the best image that it can, so it's doing some calculations along the way. I am going to half-press my Shutter button, and here you can see that it has locked focus right there.
It's given me a green rectangle. If it could not lock focus--maybe because I was on a space with no contrast--it would give me a red box there instead. Now I can press the button rest of the way and take my shot. Now of course the other thing that's happening when I half-press my Shutter button is I am metering. And so I'm currently set in Aperture Priority mode for F5.6. It's a 30th of a second, and ISO 100 is the right metering for this light. But I want you to notice something about the exposure that's shown.
If I press the OK button, it gives me a preview of what my final image will probably look like, and in this case my final image looks just like this image that I've got here. But what if I was dialing in some exposure compensation? I am going to hit my Exposure Compensation button and knock one stop-- I'll go even farther. I'll take two stops out of this image. My screen here has not changed. The screen always tries to give me a good viewfinder, just like this viewfinder does it. It just tries to always show me an accurate reading of the current light in the scene.
Now if I press the OK button though, I will get a simulation of what my final image will actually look like. And I actually have an exposure compensation readout right here, and I can see that I am under my two stops. So, from this screen, I can, if I want, go ahead and manipulate my exposure and see an automatic real-time updating of it. And so I can dial in some overexposure and see it brighten or I can put it back to 0 to get a correct metering, or what the camera deems to be correct metering.
I am going to hit OK again and now I am back to my normal Live View. Right now I am in F5.6, which is a fairly shallow depth of field, and this camera back here is being rendered a little bit soft. I am going to zoom in on my display right now. I can actually zoom just as I would in Playback mode, and that lets me really evaluate my depth of field here. I can see that yeah, sure enough, that's really, really soft. This is not a depth-of-field preview situation.
This is real-time depth-of-field preview. This is what it's going to look like in my final image. So what happens if I change my aperture? I am in Aperture Priority mode, so I can simply turn my subcommand dial to change my aperture, and sure enough, as I go down to a smaller aperture, this is sharpening up. So I am going to put it about right there and zoom back out and see, my aperture ended up at F20. So I might start facing to defraction artifacts at that point, but for the most part this is a great way to really see what depth of field is going to look like.
When combined with the OK button for previewing exposure, I can get a very accurate view of what my final image will look like. So that's the basics of Live View shooting. With these preview options--with the depth- of-field preview and the exposure preview-- you can see how this is a really valuable tool for everything from studio shooting, where I can really nail my depth of field and my focus, to landscape shooting, portrait shooting. Anywhere else where I am going to be picky about focus, working slowly to really set up a shot well, Live View can be a real lifesaver in those instances.
Running the LCD screen and the image sensor generates a lot of heat inside your camera and as your camera heats up, you might start seeing more noise in your image. Eventually, if the camera gets hot enough, it will just shut itself off. You will need to wait for it to cool down before you can start using it again. If you press the Live View button and nothing happens, it probably means the camera has overheated. Let it cool down for a bit and then give it another try. Now, you can avoid these overheating problems by turning off Live View when you are not actively shooting, especially if the weather is very hot.
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