Need help to understand dslr features before I buy one

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Goldcoin79, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Goldcoin79
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    Goldcoin79 New Member

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    I want to buy my first dslr but am slightly confused about live view. From what I under stand live view is what is on the LCD display that when you half hold the shutter button down it shows what the exposure looks like before you take the picture. Would I be correct in thinking that you do not see what the exposure looks like through the view finder so you would have to have a look at the LCD display before taking the picture to know you have the correct exposure, if so does this not take time to do in which time you could of lost the moment.

    At the moment I have a canon powershot SX30 IS bridge camera and you can see what the exposure looks like before you take the picture through the view finder, so I assume this is what is known as a electronic view finder.

    My next question is on a dslr is the image stabilization in the camera the lens or on both?

    My last question is when people talk about a mirror less camera is this still a dslr or not and what are the pros and cons with mirror less camera.

    i know I have asked a lot here but I am looking at buying a dslr to get more into photography but the more I look the more questions come up. Any help will be appreciated.

    James
  2. SCraig
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    SCraig Well-Known Member

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    When using a DSLR (or film SLR) there is a mirror in front of the shutter that reflects the light coming through the lens through a pentaprism (or pentamirror) and through the viewfinder. What you see through the viewfinder is what is coming through the lens with the aperture wide open. Some bodies have a DOF Preview button that will stop the lens aperture down to the selected shooting aperture so that you can see what the depth of field will look like as well.

    The mirror raises immediately before the shutter travels, and it blocks the sensor. You cannot see what an image looks like (caveat below) on a DSLR until the shot has been taken since the mirror is blocking the sensor.

    Some bodies, primarily those that have video, have a "Live View" mode that raises the mirror and displays the image on the LCD on the rear. In that way you CAN see the shot before it is taken, however this is not available on every camera body made.

    Whether or not VR is in the lens or camera body varies with the manufacturer. All Nikon cameras that support VR (which is all of the current lineup) have VR in the lens. I think Canon is the same way but I'm not certain. It is my understanding that some Sony bodies (maybe all) have VR in the camera body itself. I'm not very familiar with Canon or Sony so someone else will have to provide a definite answer for those.
  3. Vautrin
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    Vautrin New Member

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    the issue with exposure is that what you see in live view AND what you see in the view finder is not really 100% accruate

    if it's pitch black, but you leave the shutter open long enough the star light will illuminate the landscape -- even if you can't see anything but blackness through the viewfinder

    if it's really bright out, and you look through the view finder, and you've done something silly, you might get a photo much too bright

    the key to remember is your eye functions like a camera lens. your pupil goes wider and lower to let in more or less light.

    really if you want to test exposure, the best thing is to takea picture, then preview it on the LCD. Forget live view or anything else... (although generally you'll be fairly confident you're in the right neighborhood for the exposure)
  4. Goldcoin79
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    Goldcoin79 New Member

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    What about if you are taking a picture where you only get one chance how are you going to know you will get it right if the exposure is not shown through the view finder?
  5. SCraig
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    SCraig Well-Known Member

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    That's when a thorough understanding of your camera, the limitations of its metering system, and an understanding of exposure come in very, very handy.
  6. Solarflare
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    Solarflare Well-Known Member

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    New DSLRs all have liveview now. But most of the time you wont be using it that much. And a DSLR doesnt need to have lifeview one in order to be a perfectly fine DSLR.

    Lifeview doesnt allow to use the main advantage of DSLRs - the Phase AF Sensor in the mirror box. This is what makes DSLRs superior and allows them to still have quick autofocus even in low light situations, when Phase AF on chip systems like in the Nikon 1 system or newer Sony Alpha Nex will stop working.

    Exposure you get through metering. Its no issue to meter before taking a shot. Light situations do not change THAT quickly, really.

    DSLRs need stabilization much less urgent than compact cameras, because you can hold them still much better if you can look through a viewfinder instead of looking at the backside monitor.

    There are DSLRs with stabilization in the camera (Sony SLTs, though those arent really DSLRs, or Pentax) and those who only have them in the lenses (Canon, Nikon). Optical lens stabilization is superior, but of course if you have it in the body, you will have it always, even if the lens has none.

    Mirrorless are NOT DSLRs. Thats why they are mirrorless.

    Mirrorless cameras have the lens much closer to the sensor. This means the optics can be less tricky, for certain focal lengths. It also means the camera is more compact and weights less. However, as I already mentioned, no mirror box means no specialized Autofocus sensor. Currently the technology of Phase AF on Sensor is getting introduced (Sony and Nikon 1 already have it, Canon has a poorly working one, Fuji just announced the new X100s that will have another one etc), however it doesnt work as well.

    All in all mirrorless is smaller and lighter, but you'll pay a price for that.
  7. ConradM
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    ConradM Active Member

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    OP, I'm surprised nobody has said it but it sounds like the Sony Alpha line is just what you're looking for. Alpha's have full-time live through the LCD and viewfinder, in body image stabilization, in body auto focus, and many other unique features to the SLT tech. They also have a much better AF system then comparative DSLR's.

    Don't be mistaken, Sony Alphas are not mirrorless cameras, they're DSLR's without a moving mirror, the mirror is still there, it's just translucent.

    It's funny, when I got my A33 I didn't realize for months that seeing what your exposure and WB are through the view finder isn't a common thing.
  8. ConradM
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    ConradM Active Member

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    A Sony Alpha with live view will AF better than a comparative DSLR because the mirror doesn't have to move. While your DSLR, stops AFing in between shots the Sony's will not.
  9. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    A DSLR doesn't stop using its AF system in between shots. In between a shot the mirror assembly slaps down again so the AF sensors get a new burst of light in between each frame. DSLRs with a mirror system have no problem tracking action based photography and indeed, as mentioned above, the traditional mirror based AF system is actually faster than that used with LCD systems.
  10. ConradM
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    ConradM Active Member

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    While that's happening a Sony Alpha just continues to AF, you basically said the same thing I did. So no, a moving mirror AF system is not faster than a than a translucent mirror AF system.

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