Live view for manual macro shots

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by The Professor, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. The Professor

    The Professor TPF Noob!

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    I've been reading about the Canon EOS Rebel XSi live view. Apparently it is somewhat difficult to use for manual shot setup in macro (where depth of field is tiny). Since my reason for purchasing a camera is to do in-studio manual macro work, I'd want live view to be useful for this.

    What camera body has the best live view for manual macro work? And since I'll be doing mostly manual work, I do not want to pay for ridiculous camera IQ. (I really don't need a dozen focus areas, or face detection, or subject tracking, or the raft of other expensive but useless stuff.)

    I will probably end up with both a 60mm and a 150mm macro (though I'll make use of whatever kit lens for miscellaneous human-scale shots). Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I don't have a live-view capable DSLR but I've heard from a few photographers who say that the only time they do use live-view is for macro. The idea being that it's easier to see what you are focused on with the screen than the rather tiny viewfinder.

    If I remember correctly, it's a bit awkward to use AF while in live view because the camera has to flip down the mirror to focus then flip it up again. However, it's usually easier to focus macro shots by moving the camera anyway...so I would think that live-view would be fine.

    One of the guys I talked to about this, shoots Canon also has a Nikon DSLR (D300 or D700 I think) and he said that the live-view on the Nikon wasn't nearly as good as the Canon because it wasn't fast enough and a bit jerky. Would still be good on a tripod but not really for hand held macro which is what he would be doing.
     
  3. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do not own a XSi. However, I've seen one in action that the XSi was connected to a computer with a USB cable. With the Canon software installed, you can see the LiveView on the PC instead of the small screen on the camera and take the shot with the mouse without remote shutter release.
     
  4. The Professor

    The Professor TPF Noob!

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    I do not need AF for my macros. I intend to mount the camera on a focusing rail, lock down the settings, then dial in the entire camera. This last step would obviously be where I need the live view. Speed of update is not such an issue since the rail will move a fraction of a mm at a time.

    Another person also told me to USB the body into my laptop and use it to drive the shutter. This is cool since I assumed I'd need to buy a remote release for this delicate macro work. (Though I hoped I might cheat by using a built-in timer to let the optics settle down before snapping the pic.)
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    built in timer will work just as well as a remote - also remember to use mirror lock up as well as the timer/remote.

    As for liveview some DSLRs offer magnification in liveview so that on the screen the middle of the frame is enlarged so that one can get even more accurate focus - of course this is best on a tripod where one already has composition setup. I don't know which models offer this feature though
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know of someone who uses the XSi Liveview and zooms in to focus his manual focus lenses. Very good idea, although for me it would be more practical for non-macro work.

    I have found with macro I pick my magnification first, and then tend to move the camera to get things into focus. Mainly because the Nikkor macro lenses have only 180degrees of rotation on the focus ring from infinity to 1:1. The only time I have ever really properly focused using the lens and focus indicator was with a Vivitar 1 series 105mm f/2.5 macro which had 720degrees of rotation.

    But each to their own with this point. If time is not of the essence, then liveview with zoom is a fantastic focus aid.
     

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