How important is a live view?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Frankp, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. Frankp
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    Frankp New Member

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    I'm torn between the Sony alpha 200 and the alpha 300. One difference is that the 200 does not have a live view lcd but it does have a better viewfinder. It is the opposite with the a300. Both are on special today with two lens...a200 is $549 and the a300 is $599. I really have been impressed with the Sony cameras from what I've seen and read. Any advice between the two? Also, does anyone think I am waaaayyyy off base and need to consider another brand/model.

    Happy Holidays Frank
  2. rom4n301
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    rom4n301 Member

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    personally i think the live view is useless, i love using the viewfinder, i just find it more comfortable and on the plus side no live view= longer battery life
  3. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    I find that its far easier to hold a camera steady and well when using the viewfinder rather than liveview - having the lens close to you means you have the added stability of your face and also the fact that your arms are not extended and thus are able to hold it more steadily.
    Further DSLRs tend to end up way more heavy than a point and shoot - especialy if you start using quality lenses and also longer focal length ones - with that in mind its just too much weight to hold out at arms length to use liveview.
    Point and shoots are find because they are very light by design and thus don't have the same limiation.

    Go for the alpha 200 if the only difference were liveview I would say it did not matter, but if the viewfinder is brighter then that can make a lot of difference
  4. OldClicker
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    OldClicker New Member

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    I'm a relative newcomer to photography and so had nothing invested in older technology, equipment or techniques. I bought a Canon XTI and within two months bought a Sony A350 for the Live View and body IS. I use the Live View about 70% of the time and would really hate to be without it. I know that everybody has different styles and needs, but I see Live View as another tool that helps me get the shot and really don't understand those who would not be willing to learn how to use a new tool. I have some really nice shots (for me) that I simply would not have without it. - TF
  5. Captain IK
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    Captain IK New Member

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    I think "live view" is helpful in the studio or when using a tripod, but for handheld shots, IMHO it is useless.

    Dave
  6. pez
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    pez Active Member

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    I look forward to using it on my new K20D body I'm getting tomorrow, but only for tripod shots at odd angles- where I won't have to contort quite as much to see the frame. But I wouldn't assign much worth to live view in general- sort of a gimmick...
  7. GrfxGuru
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    GrfxGuru New Member

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    I agree with Captain, I like live view on the tripod for general set up but then switch to the finder, beyond that I never use it. The one great thing about the view finder is that it isolates your concentration to only the contents of the frame.

    Regards,
    Peter Witham
  8. Flash Harry
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    Flash Harry New Member

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    Live view can come in handy in a case where you have a crowd in front of you and a decent shot can't be achieved through the finder, switch it on, hold it over their heads, check the live v shot and hit the shutter. H
  9. ksmattfish
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    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I started to reply to this post that I really enjoyed using "live view" with my old TLRs and view cameras, but hadn't had the chance to use a DSLR with live view. Then it occurred to me that I own a Canon 40D which has live view, and I've never used that function. So I guess I must not think it's very important seeing that I forgot it's a feature on one of the cameras I own and use all the time. ;) Maybe I should try it out. I think it would be even more handy with a movable LCD. I think it would be most useful for me using it when I'm holding the camera above my head, or down by my feet.
  10. TwoRails
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    TwoRails New Member

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    Live Preview can have lots of advantages. If you're use to a point-n-shoot, then it will feel natural for you. It is good for setup shots where you can quickly and easily see your composition and make adjustments as necessary (hence the reference to using a tripod above). However, I believe that it's the next model Sony up that has the movable / flippable screen which is one of the strongest advantages. That allows you to get shots you may not otherwise.

    One example is being able to walk around with the screen flipped up so you can hold the camera at waist level, taking all kinds of candid shots as most folks will not think your are taking photos since the camera is not at eye level. Great for parties and other events.

    Flipped down allows you to get shoots when you are stuck in a crowd. With it down, you can hold the camera over your head and see what you are shooting instead of guessing.

    And, it allows you to take very awkward position shots much easier. Laying on the ground may not be an option to take low shots (mud, water, etc.), but with the screen flipped up, you can just bend over instead. Reaching thru / around obstacle(s) is another advantage (like thru tree limbs to get a nature shot or the like).

    Finally, Sony has an advantage of virtually instant response time due to the use of two sensors (one for the shot, one for live preview) where most others use a mirror flip scheme which can be up to a second lag or so.

    (It might even come in real handy for surveillance photos too, I'd imagine.)
    .
  11. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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    This is why in most cases live view is wasted in on a DSLR.

    [​IMG]
    body & 70-200
    Not really a combo that works well at arms length.

    Neither is this.
    [​IMG]
    body & 24-70

    A DSLR is not really built to be held at arms length looking at a view screen like a small lightweight point and shoot. Even with small glass such as a 50mm. It is designed so that you stabilize the thing with your left hand and control it with your right hand looking through the viewfinder.

    Live view can be useful in limited application such as macro on a solid support such as a tripod or when ever you have solid support and a non moving subject. Live view however is not something that should make or break a camera purchase as it is truely a minor feature in the DSLR world.
  12. TwoRails
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    TwoRails New Member

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    Maybe for that nice setup you have, but the OP is talking about a Sony. I'm not a betting person, but "I'd bet" that a Sony 300 with a 200mm zoom on it weighs a small fraction of your setup in the first post. I was just down at Best Buy and I played with one, and it is very light and compact in size. It was very comfortable to hold out, up, or down. Not too much more than one of those mega-zoom P&S units. It's an oranges to apples comparison to a Sony.
  13. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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    Body weights:

    Canon 40D = 26.1 oz.
    Sony A 300 = 23.3 oz.
    Canon 5D = 28.6 oz

    They are all in the same ball park.

    When you put a lens on it, it's not just the weight that comes into play. It is also the way that weight is distributed. Physically longer glass will distribute the weight differently.

    The other thing to remember. When you buy a P&S even a very expensive P&S you are getting an entire package built around a smaller sensor. With a DSLR you are buying a system. Neither of us know what the OP is thinking of for lenses and for what purpose.

    The real apples to oranges here is comparing useful features from a P&S with useful features in a DSLR.
  14. TwoRails
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    TwoRails New Member

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    OK, maybe the body weights are similar, but I was referring to the complete setup. Sorry I wasn't clear. However, isn't just the 70-200 lens in your first shot something like 3 1/2 pounds??

    Sony's 75-300mm that is often offered in a deal with the Alpha 300 weighs in a just 18 oz. The Canon lens weighs over three times as much.

    Keep in mind that FrankP is talking about Sony 200 or 300 and is most likely not going to be buying $1,200 - 1,400 glass any time soon to put on it.

    PS: I like your avatar, BTW: Jeff Dunham is freaking hilarious!
  15. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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    The 70-200 f2.8 is 2.8lbs. As for the lens options I make no assumptions on what glass the OP will or will not buy, nor do I make assumption as to how much money the OP chooses to spend. This is just a serious hobby for me, but I realize that the more important part of the system is the glass, not the body. Bodies will come and go but good glass will last for years.

    It is no assumption on my part, rather it is from experience, that something like live view is not something the average photographer should consider as a primary reason to purchase a camera body. I work part time in a camera store. There was a lady that came in with a friend who was a Sony nut. (Not saying that all Sony users are nuts, he just bought Sony or not at all whether it was cameras, electronics etc.) He had convenced her that she needed a Sony DSLR. So she bought an A 300.

    A few weeks later she came back and wanted to trade it in on a new camera. Why? The friend was convenced that Live view was the best thing to come along in photography since the invention of the shutter.

    She had two problems with his notion after trying it out.

    1 she bought the camera to take photos of her kids, including sports photos. The live view turned out to be worthless for that and most of what she was doing. It didn't control as easily as her little P&S.

    2. She realized to take photos of her daughter at soccer games she needed better glass. Obviously the idea of spending $1800.00 for Sony's 70-200 vs $1200 that she saw the Canon went for was a shock. The owner gave her a good price for her A 300 and she walked away with a Canon instead. She has been back twice for another lens and a flash unit.

    Again this is not a putdown of Sony. But anyone deciding on a DSLR needs to go in with their eyes open as to what their potential system need will cost. I have yet to figure out why Sony's 70-200 f2.8 is more expenive than Canons 70-200 f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8IS or Nikons 70-200 f2.8VR.

    Live view is like anything else, a tool. But would you buy one brand of car based on the fact that it has a hydraulic jack in the trunk and the other car has a scissors jack? The OP needs to look at what they intend to use this camera for, figure out what system accessories that will take, and decide on it as a whole.
  16. OldClicker
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    OldClicker New Member

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    Attach that to a tripod and Live View can work just fine. I don't understand where you get this 'arms length' stuff. You really can't see past that being the only way to use it? - TF
  17. Dmitri
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    Dmitri New Member

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    Can't argue with anything he says here. If you like live view, go for it. But it is pretty useless and, as he says, you get longer battery life.'

    On a related happy bit: People are more likely to get out of your way if you have the camera up to your eye, as opposed to have it in front of you like a tourist ;)
  18. gryphonslair99
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    gryphonslair99 New Member

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    Apparently you didn't read the entire post. From my original post.

    Live view like any tool has a purpose but on Christmas morning, kids opening up presents. You want to break out the tripod and have them pose? Birthday party, again you want to break out the tripod and have them pose? Kid playing sports or in the back yard, you want to break out the tripod and try to follow the action with live view? Dinner with some friends, Christmas party, or any of a thousand other times you want to take photos of the spontanious events going on are you going to set up a tripod?

    If not then how do you plan on viewing the LCD screen? It doesn't work well if you put your eye to it like a viewfinder. The only way I can use my wife's Canon 870 is with it held out in front of me. My eyes don't focus well on an LCD screen a couple of inches from my face. In watching about everyone else I have seen using a P&S with an LCD hand held it is the same thing.

    In the overall grand scheme of things, what do most people with cameras take photographs of. Spontanious events in their or someone else's lives. Right tool for the right purpose.
  19. sabbath999
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    sabbath999 New Member

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    For my style of shooting, live view is completely useless 98 percent of the time... but the other 2 percent of the time when it ISN'T useless it has allowed me to get shots that I otherwise would have missed.

    I like having it on my camera, but I don't consider it mission-critical for what I do.
  20. roadkill
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    roadkill New Member

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    Do yourself a favor... get a D80 or a canonb XTI if your gonna drop thatkinda cash. It will open up worlds to you.

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