In the winter issue of Outdoor Photography Canada magazine, I wrote about all the benefits of using live view for outdoor and nature photography. I thought I would follow up that article with a little video demonstrating how I use live view to preview aperture effects.
On all Canon dSLR’s with live view, the depth of field preview button will engage in live view to show you on the camera LCD the exact amount of depth of field (DOF) you’ll get given the aperture you’ve chosen – just like we see in the video – very useful feature! For Nikon users some cameras (mostly their high end pro bodies) will engage the DOF preview in live view but many entry and mid-level cameras don’t (we have not tested the newest D800 and D4 Nikon cameras). You’ll have to test your Nikon to see what it does or doesn’t do.
Not to start a Canon – Nikon flaming war, but I have to say that live view in Canon cameras is much more functional than in Nikon cameras. For example, live view on Canon cameras is bright (even in dim light) but, on Nikon cameras, the live view is often dark and grainy in low light. Canon cameras can display a preview histogram in live view — the Nikon cameras we have tested don’t. And finally, on Canon cameras, the DOF preview button stops down the aperture in live view to show you aperture effects whereas only some Nikon cameras have this feature.
But don’t worry Nikon, your cameras have more accurate metering, and for the last few years have had much better autofocus and lower noise than Canon cameras. We’ll see if that changes with the release of Canon’s latest batch of cameras (5D Mark II, 1Dx). Anyway I digress – there is no perfect camera that does it all (yet) but I sure do like live view on Canon cameras. And for someone like me that uses tilt-shift lenses, having a functional live view to critically check manual focus, to magnify the scene on the LCD in live view to double check tilt effects, and finally, to preview aperture effects is critical to my workflow.