First let me say that I often like to shoot using the vivid or some other high contrast/saturation picture control. While trying to set focus using LV under dark conditions I've cursed the D800 more than once for its grainy, dark rendering making manual focusing almost impossible. Last night I discovered something that makes life easier: Say you are shooting with picture control set to vivid. Doing so, LV looks like a extremely dark, grainy image. Now, create a new picture control (I named it "LiveView". Set the sharpening, contrast and saturation to minimum/zero. I've also made it monochrome to further ease focusing but haven't tested it for many different scenes where colour might be useful. Anyway, using this customised LV picture control the LV image is still grainy but clearly more useful for manual focusing. My process is now: Set camera to "LiveView" picture control, focus, set the camera back to your desired picture control and shoot. The image below was shot with very modest ambient lighting.
#2. "RE: Live view focusing in dark conditions" In response to Reply # 0 Sun 13-Jan-13 02:49 PM by Antero52
Thanks for the tip. I’ll try it as soon as I get my D800E back from service (probably shutter oil on the sensor or its protective filter).
I have a comment or question, though. While I’ve never used any of the picture controls in the D800E (because Adobe software do not honor them), I often try the near-equivalent settings in Lightroom or ACR. Yet I almost never settle on Vivid with my D800E photos, particularly for the reason that shows in your top photo. The contrast is fearsome and dynamic range very small. So it looks like that if you use Neutral or Portrait presets, you have a much better starting point than by using Vivid.
I may be mistaken, but as I said, I can’t test myself as long as my camera is in service.
#3. "RE: Live view focusing in dark conditions" In response to Reply # 2
Whether I use Vivid or some of the other picture controls (I have a Canon Vivid and Canon Neutral as well in my camera) depends on what my subjects are. NEF's aren't affected by the picture controls set in the camera unless you use ViewNX or CaptureNX. For jpeg's the story is different of course. For subtle transitions in the sky for instance I tend to stick with no or very moderate boost of contrast/clarity/sharpening in ACR as this has a nasty habit of creating banding. Despite the D800's DR I often use selective contrast enhancements in order to avoid the banding issues.
#7. "RE: Live view focusing in dark conditions" In response to Reply # 4
>>For subtle transitions in the sky for instance I tend to >stick >>with no or very moderate boost of >contrast/clarity/sharpening >>in ACR as this has a nasty habit of creating banding. > >Just to clarify, do you mean ACR creates banding in the JPEGs >(not the NEFs)?
Jpegs are only 8 bit so there is much less headroom for subtleities. I meant NEF's. When aiming to preserve the smoothest transistion possible I avoid increasing said parametres overall. Instead I go for selective adjustments.