Over the last few weeks at the studio, at a couple of different events the whole topic of “Live View” on cameras has come up.  I want to write a feature on the subject but I am going to need your help.

The one thing that has really come home to me about Live View mode on modern DSLR cameras is how little most photographers, including myself, understand how it works, and how we can best way use it to help our photography.

Just a couple of thoughts about Live View at the moment…  

The main time I use it is when I am doing table-top work with the camera on tripod, it enables me to check focus by zooming in on critical areas of an image.

There is an exposure simulation mode with Live View which can be switched on an off. When it is on (the default on many cameras).  The image on the back of the camera will get lighter or darker as you change your shutter speed, aperture or ISO.  The brightness of the image on the display simulates the exposure you would see on your image if you were to take it with those settings.  Unfortunately when working in the studio using studio lights, this all falls apart. The camera has no idea about the studio lights and shows you a display based on the ambient light.  In other words the display will be black.  To be able to use Live View under such conditions the “exposure simulation” needs to be disabled.  On the Canon 5D Mk III that is on 4th (red) camera menu screen.  Which has three options.  Enabled (the default), During Video, and Disabled.

Live View Menu

For several people, when Live View is on, the studio triggers do not fire.  Oddly – you CAN use an on-camera (TTL) flash with Live View.  To use Live View with the studio triggers it is necessary to come out of live view after composing and focusing your image before hitting the shutter release.

I have found the following on-line resources about Live View (both Canon):


Here’s the information I’m looking for.

  • How/When do you use Live View?
  • Does your camera have exposure simulation with live view and can you turn it on and off?  If so how? (images of the menus always helpful for that).  Don’t forget to let me know make/model of camera.  I am particularly interested to hear from Nikon shooters.
  • Have you had problems with studio triggers / flash guns in Live View mode?  Do you know any workrounds?
  • Any on-line resources or guides you have found helpful for your make/model of camera.

Once I have sufficient information and a better understanding I’ll put together a guide to using Live View.