Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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Provided a DSLR has both i.e. a viewfinder as well as a liveview feature. Which one is more preferable for focusing and composition, and why?

Is there something which can be done through a viewfinder but not through a liveview or the vice versa?

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Thanks @mattdm helpful link. –  TheIndependentAquarius Dec 28 '11 at 5:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It would depend on the specific camera, but in many cameras Live View will show 100% coverage (the final image will be the same as what you see in the LCD) where the viewfinder may only be 95% (true on certain Nikon models at least).

Live View uses a different autofocus mechanism, which seems slower to me, but is said to be more accurate. It is often used to focus in landscape and macro photography, and has the advantage that you can even zoom in on your subject to check focus more accurately.

Live View has a distinct advantage in low light where the image on the LCD will be brightened so it is easier to see your subject and compose, whereas the viewfinder will become dim as the light fades.

Live View will be a drain on the battery.

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It's probably worth noting, too, that live view is pretty much useless for hand-held and monopod photography since it forces you to hold the camera in a much more unstable position (yes, even with a HoodLoupe). –  user2719 Dec 24 '11 at 12:22
    
@StanRogers what is "monopod"? –  TheIndependentAquarius Dec 24 '11 at 14:48
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A monopod is a tripod with one leg (mono = one, tri = three) –  MikeW Dec 24 '11 at 18:33
    
So, when the live view shows 95% how do you know which part is being covered? Left, right, top, bottom? Oh, does it mean that a little area of the scene gets covered from all the sides? –  TheIndependentAquarius Dec 26 '11 at 11:46
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@AnishaKaul With the optical viewfinder, you are holding the camera in very close, and can brace the camera against your face (not everyone does; I do) and your elbows against your body, making the camera very stable -- or at least as stable as you are. With live view, you need to hold the camera away from your body to see the LCD, so the camera is only as steady as your outstretched arms. –  user2719 Dec 28 '11 at 14:52

When I want to have the fastest responsiveness, I use the viewfinder.

When making careful compositions where I'm using a tripod and have the luxury of time, I prefer using live view in combination with a loupe. I use the Hoodman Hoodloupe:

http://hoodmanusa.com/products.asp?dept=1017

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