Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
When you activate Live View, your camera raises its mirror out of the way so that light can get from the lens directly to the sensor. It's the sensor that creates the image that's shown on the LCD screen, so no Live View image can be created when mirror is down and in the way. Now, unfortunately, there's something else that happens when the mirror flips up. The autofocus sensors in the camera are located up here in the camera's pentaprism. Light from the lens gets bounced up here by the mirror and the autofocus sensors analyze it to calculate focus.
When the mirror flips up though, those sensors go blind, meaning your camera loses its normal Autofocus capability. When you're in Live View then, the camera has to use a different method to autofocus. Rather than relying on its autofocus sensors, the computer in the camera will analyze the image that the sensor is capturing and focus accordingly. The practical upshot is that Autofocus in Live View is much slower than it is when you shoot normally. By default your D800 goes into AF-S Focus mode when you first drop it into Live View.
That of course is Single-Servo Autofocus, great for shooting still objects. And you've already seen how I can move my focus point around with the multicontroller. Note that I can press the button in the middle of the multicontroller to always pop my focus point back to the very center of my frame. I can change the focus mode on my D800 by pressing the AF mode button on the side of the camera, and that highlights my focus mode right here. And now turning the main command dial will take me from Single to Full-Time Servo Focus mode.
So that's going to give me the ability to track moving objects. I'll let go of that dial right now. Just as in normal shooting, I can also change my Autofocus Area mode. Right now I'm in normal area AF. This is going to let me get pinpoint focus on a very particular spot in my frame, as indicated by my focus spot. But I have some other options as well, and I get to those again by pressing the AF mode button but this time while turning the subcommand dial.
So the first thing I get here is, if I turn the dial to the right, is that cycles me on to Subject-tracking AF. So what I can do here is if I have a moving subject--let's say this camera was suddenly dancing around my scene-- I could put this on the camera, hit my center button, and now the camera will track it no matter where it moves, and as I move my frame around. And here you can see it kind of thinks it moved there. Moving on, I'm going to press my AF Select button and move over here to Face priority Autofocus.
This is going to use face detection to automatically identify people in the frame and keep them in focus. The system can track up to 35 faces in the frame at once, but it will always focus on the closest. If I want to choose a different face, I can just use the multiselector to cycle through all of the different faces that it's recognized. Obviously, we have no faces in here at this time, so it's not doing anything. Moving on, another press takes me to Wide-Area Autofocus mode.
This is very similar to normal Area Autofocus, except that the camera is analyzing a larger area. So I can still move this anywhere that I want in the frame, but now its analysis is not going to be of a real pinpoint area, but it's going to do a wider analysis to stand a better chance of getting this object in focus rather than just one tiny, little point. Typically the difference between this and Normal-Area Autofocus is not going to matter so much if you are at small apertures, or even midsize apertures, simply because you're going to pick up a lot of extra focus just from your depth of field. But if you're shooting with a small aperture, this could make a big difference.
In general, for landscape shots, most handheld shots, any non-portrait subject, you're going to do better with a Wide-Area Autofocus than Normal-Area Autofocus, just because you're not going to be measuring such a tiny, little area. Finally, I can focus manually in Live View, and it works just like it would normally. I'm going to switch my lens from Autofocus over to Manual, and now I can simply focus using the focus ring on my camera. Now, the problem here is that it's a little bit difficult to see focus on the screen.
Fortunately, my zoom controls still work. So I'm going to hit my plus button, and notice it's zooming in on the area I have selected. Of course I can pan that around. I can zoom in a long way and that gives me a nice clear view. I'm having still a little bit of trouble there, so I'm going to zoom in farther. I can get really just right on top of this thing. Get my focus set, and once I have it where I like it, I can zoom back out and take my shot.
One last thing for Live View shooting: because my face is not up here against the viewfinder, it's possible for light to enter the system here and possibly cause flares or reflections within the camera. So I'm going to activate my viewfinder shutter, which is the switch right here, which just closes off the viewfinder and guarantees that the inside of the camera will stay dark. So if you're doing a lot of Live View shooting, don't forget to flip that thing down to keep light from entering your viewfinder.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 49907 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 84759 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 54537 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 91611 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.