I have a Canon PowerShot SX120 IS. I would like to get a better comparable camera, but the singular feature I love the most about this camera is when in Manual mode, I scroll through shutter speed settings (like 15" - 1/2500) and the aperture (2.8 - 8.0).

When scrolling through these settings, the screen on the camera will relay the changes in real time.

Example: If I am indoors and want the shot to be brighter and less blurry I not only turn up the white balance, but can reduce aperture and speed up shutter speed. Each change shows on the LCD screen so I can dial it in before taking the photo. This allows me to get one perfect shot, instead of several shots at different settings an choose the best on. It is most effective for night time shots since I can see exactly what my picture of the moon will look like etc..

The question is this: What is this feature called? I want to get another newer camera, but I have no idea what to call this feature so I can find it.


3 Answers 3


Different camera manufacturers call this different things.

Canon calls this "Exposure Simulation", or Exp.SIM.

Fujifilm splits filters and film simulation from exposure and white balance, into two settings: PREVIEW EXP./WB IN MANUAL MODE and PREVIEW PIC. EFFECT, respectively.

Nikon calls it "Exposure Preview".

Sony calls it "Live View Display" — turning this on enables preview.

Olympus goes the other way around: previewing exposure is the default, and instead rendering the scene at a medium visible exposure in the EVF or on the LCD is called "Live View Boost".

Pentax doesn't have a setting or special term for this, but exposure is always simulated in manual mode but not in others.


This feature is called "Exposure Simulation". Some lower end digital cameras do not have this option. Some cameras will give you the option to turn it on or off as needed. Some will automatically disable "Exp Sim" during flash photography.


I prefer “previsualization” a term frequently used by Ansel Adams.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Do any camera makers use this term in their specifications, or is it commonly used in online reviews, making it useful to identify cameras with this feature? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 17:58
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that Adams actually used the term "visualization". The "pre-" is a later invention. But, of course, in either case, he wasn't talking about a camera feature; he had to do it with his mind. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 21:05

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