d200 Monitor/LCD and View Finder

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Commonman, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Commonman

    Commonman TPF Noob!

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    I'm very new to digital photography. I've basically been into pretty simple black and white film photography and only used cheap or old digital cameras that have been given to me as friends move on to the current latest thing.

    Recently, I've had the opportunity to "try out" a Nikon d200.
    Now, just walking around the planet, I see people taking pictures with their digital cameras NOT using a view finder but using the LCD/monitor. In fact, it appears that some digital cameras don't even have a view finder.

    Trying out the d200, I quickly realized that one does NOT have the option of using the LCD/monitor in "real time." And, I realize that it IS a SLR camera and the whole idea of the SLR is to see THROUGH the lens. But on the same token, I'm just wondering why Nikon does not allow one to see through the lense using the LCD/monitor.
     
  2. Rogan

    Rogan TPF Noob!

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    because of the way an SLR works making a fully functional live view though the lens with the mirror etc is very diffuicult

    the newest nikons (d300, d700 and D3) allm have live view so do several new canon's
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's right. While the L in SLR is for lens...the R is for reflex, which (I assume) means that there is a mirror and that mirror is the the path of light and needs to flip up before the shutter opens. Also, the simple fact that the camera has an actual shutter, is an issue. The image sensor is covered by the shutter, so even if the mirror was not there...the shutter would still be closed. Digicams get around this because they don't have an actual shutter and the sensor is always getting light.

    As mentioned, 'Live View' is the newest craze to hit DSLR models....many of the newest ones have this feature. In Live View mode, the mirror flips up and the shutter opens, allowing the sensor to see the light and create the digital image on your screen. This creates a few issues...you can't use the viewfinder at the same time. Also, typical SLR cameras use the mirror reflection for autofocus, so when the mirror is up...the AF needs to be accounted for. Some models will flip the mirror down to quickly auto focus, then flip up again...and other models use the same AF technique as digi-cams...and read contrast differences in the digital image. I believe that the newer Nikon cameras can do it either way.

    Some people don't like the 'gimickiness' of Live View DSLR cameras...but others seem to like it.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Big Mike mentioned the different autofocus that needs to be used for liveview since the mirror isn't reflecting part of the image to the AF module in the bottom of the camera, but what was not mentioned is the massive performance hit you suffer from this AF technique as opposed to the very advanced phase detection system in modern SLR cameras.

    Performance hits are all around too:
    - You have a limited latitude for what you can display on the screen in live view, try pointing it at the sun and see how much you can see of the frame.
    - AF as mentioned above
    - Delay between what is happening and what is seen on the screen
    - It chews through batteries in a camera which could otherwise take hundreds of frames and easily be left on an entire week without too much concern.
    - Live view promotes bad photo techniques. I wonder if we get an increase in the "why are my photos shaky" questions when people start using liveview.
    - Since the shutter is open some cameras may require the shutter to be closed before it can take the picture increasing the lag, this makes sense to me because of the two curtains but I am not sure if this is actually done.

    Although no one ever mentions the big positive. A EOS450 user mentioned the zooming feature with liveview completely eliminates the guesswork with manual focus lenses.
     
  5. Commonman

    Commonman TPF Noob!

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    I guess for me, the attraction to the live view is that I don't have to have the camera up against my face. There's something also about being face to face with your subject, if human (or even animal) that makes the taking of the photo less threatening or more personal. This has been said bout the TLR, when you can hold the camera at waist level...less threatening. But, with the live view, you would still have to hold the camera up.

    I'll have to chew on the "big positive" that is mentioned...I'm not sure I understand it.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Remember that the camera is a lot more stable 'up against your face' than it is when held out at arms length. It makes me laugh when I'm at a wedding these days...half the guests have their tiny cameras out at arms length.

    I hear what you are saying about being face to face...but you could always use a tripod and a remote release (or a 90 degree view finder attachment for your SLR).
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A modern camera has no easy focusing aid, and a nasty viewfinder unless you get a full frame camera. Nikon advertise that the D40 D200 and above accept any lens with AutoIndexing. AI lenses date back to the 70s before autofocus was introduced.

    The only thing you can do to get the subject in focus then is to rely on the flaky focus indicator the viewfinder which I found is lacklustre at best, and downright wrong at worst, or replace the focusing screen to get a focus aid like the split prism of the old manual focus cameras.

    A friend of mine with the EOS450D says when he sets up landscape shots with his old manual focus lenses he approximately focuses, then frames the image the way he wants, locks his tripod, switches on liveview, zooms the display in as far as it will go, and then adjusts his focus.

    Since he can see a 100% crop of the image this way live, there is no guesswork on your focus. I admit though this would have limited utility for most people on this forum. Personally I am more happy with my modified focusing screen, it's much faster to use.
     

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