Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy
I'm a new D600 user and a new Nikonian member. I've read many comments around the internet, including some here, about the limitations of live view (LV) in the camera. Of special interest to me has been 1) the inability to change the aperture in Video LV and 2) the accuracy/inaccuracy of the image preview displayed on the LV screen relative to what the camera will actually be capturing on its sensor.
On the first point, if anyone knows a workaround for this, I'd really appreciate knowing it.
On the second point, I came across what seems to be a pretty well informed discussion of it in a thread in the D600 Club at Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/groups/d600club/discuss/72157631670298314) and I'd be really interested in the thoughts of folks here on this topic, especially as it occurs to me that members here may generally be more experienced and expert in the use of the camera (no offense to the Flickr folks intended; I could be entirely mistaken here). Any clarifications, confirmations, corrections, or expansions of what's said in the Flickr thread would be most welcome. I'm really trying to master the use of LV on the camera and fully understand what can and can't be done while working in both Photo LV and Video LV.
For folks who don't want to read the whole thread, the following (in colored fonts) are the two posts I found most helpful. Naturally, I hope some of this information will be useful to other D600 users here and look forward to any feedback anyone may be able to offer by way of clarifying these issues generally. With many thanks in advance for any help anyone may be able to offer, here are the posts...
1) In Live View Photo mode, the screen does not show the effects of the chosen exposure, except for exposure compensation to some extent. It is not what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
Changing the aperture doesn't show a preview of the change of depth of field. Pressing Depth of Field Preview has no effect on LV Photo mode. Changing the shutter speed doesn't show a preview of the blur. Changing the ISO doesn't show a preview of the noise. Even in manual exposure mode, changing the aperture / ISO / shutter speed will not change the preview on the LV Photo mode (but there is an electronic light meter indicator). Exposure compensation adjustments can be seen on the Live View Photo mode within a range of +/- 3EV but in dim conditions (e.g. at night), I can only see changes within a range of -3EV to +1EV. If you apply exposure comp outside that range there is no change in the brightness of the screen.
Unlike in Live View Photo mode, the display in Live View Movie mode is of course what-you-see-is-what-you-get (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, fps). Exposure compensation changes are visible on the screen within +/- 3EV (but in dim ambient conditions, it is -3EV to +1EV).
2) There are two different live-views on the D600 -- each with different rules. Each one needs its own explanation
PHOTO LIVE VIEW
1. Photo live view allows you to change aperture, ISO, and shutter speed while live-view is activated.
2. However, as you change these settings, they won't be reflected on the LCD display
3. The Live-view display chooses its own settings and basically zeros out the meter so that everything is "properly" exposed according to the camera's best guesses.
4. If you're in aperture priority, your still frames will exactly match up with the LCD display. If you're in manual mode, your still frame might look quite different from the LCD display.
Exposure Compensation Work-Around:
I devised a little trick that might help. It's imperfect but it might be an okay solution for some. Say you are in manual mode with photo-live view enabled. You've chosen an aperture, shutter speed, and ISO -- and the meter tells you you are exactly 1 stop underexposed.
The LCD display will look 1 stop brighter than your chosen settings. If you change exposure compensation to -1.0, the LCD display will become one stop darker -- and you can get an accurate preview of your still-frame. Try it. It works. It's just annoying.
MOVIE LIVE VIEW
I'm going to say this up front: its clear that movie live view was NOT designed for taking still frames.
To best explain this, I need to give you guys a fake scenario.
It's Saturday and you are taking pictures at a birthday party. The night before, you were shooting some home videos with your D600 in a dark environment.
When you were shooting those videos on the previous night, you set your camera to movie mode and chose the settings 1/60, F2.8, ISO 6000. ("Settings A"). After this, you don't touch movie mode again.
Now at the daytime birthday party, you are trying to take a photo of the cake. You set your camera at 1/100, F4 ISO 100 ("Settings B").
Before you take the shot, you decide to go into Movie Live View to preview your exposure. Here's what happens:
1. Movie-Live-View imports your aperture from Settings B. You can not change your aperture while you are in Movie Live View.
2. Movie-Live-View imports your shutter speed and ISO from Settings A.
3. The LCD will display an exposure of 1/60, F4, ISO 6000. A bizarre hodgepodge of Settings A and B.
4. You are allowed to change ISO and shutter speed while in movie-live-view. The LCD display will update in real-time while you lower your ISO or change your shutter speed.
5. Say you cycle through until you find a good exposure for the cake. It turns out the correct exposure was 1/30, F4, ISO 800. ("Settings C")
6. If you press the shutter down, the camera will take a still. You'd think it would use Settings C. But it won't. It'll use Settings B! The "still-frames" portion of the camera doesn't care that you made all sorts of changes in movie-live-view. As far as it is concerned, you're still at 1/100, F4, ISO 100!
7. If you want to take a still frame using Settings C, you'll have to exit movie-live-view change the settings manually...then fire the shot.
If that's confusing, its because movie-live-view is confusing.
#1. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 0luckyphoto Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Wed 08-May-13 09:21 PM
In case no one else welcomed you, welcome to the Nikonians.
I've never used LV for still photography. Why? If I saw someone with a D4 using LV for still photography, I'd wonder.
My concentration would be on LV for video. That makes a lot more sense.
Just my personal observation and recommendation. Others mileage may vary!
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#2. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 1cwb1014 Registered since 04th May 2013Wed 08-May-13 11:57 PM
>In case no one else welcomed you, welcome to the Nikonians.
>I've never used LV for still photography. Why?
Thank you. It's good to be here.
The reason I'd like to use LV for still photography is that 1) it has the potential to offer a more accurate preview of the final image (in terms of exposure) than the viewfinder, which does not reflect changes made to aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and 2) it's much easier to do critical manual focusing in LV than through the viewfinder, especially because you can zoom in to the image in LV (this feature is often helpful in landscape photography and whenever else one wants to get the focus just right on a distant object that is not at infinity).
Of course, as you point out, others' mileage may vary.
#3. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 0
Live View is a critical tool for macro and other situations when you need precise focus. Live View uses Contrast Detect AF - a more precise but slower method than phase detect AF used normally. With Live View you can magnify the image to examine areas for precise focus.
The goal with the Live View display is to give you something you can see rather then precisely previewing your image. This enables precise composition and focus. Even if exposure was correct, none of the LCD views are precise. The histogram is much better to judge exposure.
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#4. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 3stuart benas Registered since 27th Jun 2013Thu 27-Jun-13 06:38 PM
i also ran into problems using live view on the d600. i contacted nikon and got some silly replies so started looking online and found this thread.
i enjoy taking night shots of large man made structure such as a factory on a river or a major bridge. typically i would put my camera on the trip and use live view to zoom in on the object to find a focus point and manually focus the camera. in many cases it is too dark to focus through the view finder. i find this to be the most accurate way to focus. i can leave the iso at 100 set the camera to f8 and use a 10 to 30 second shutter speed to get amazingly sharp images. this always worked on my d7000, d200 and d80.
this weekend i put my new d600 on a tripod and attempted to do the same thing. i was at iso 100 f8 and 20 seconds. i hit live view and i was presented with a basically black image with some noise running through it.
i took the picture and it was properly exposed. the confirmation image looked fine but the live view would not preview the image at the proper exposure. i had the brightness turned all the way up on the rear screen. the issue was that the preview was under exposed by about 9 stops. i was able to focus the camera by reviewing the image but that was a painful experience in trial and error.
everything else on the camera works great such as the menus or live view when ther eis enough light so i feel like it has to be a setting. the camera is too accurate even in low light for me to believe the live view is less effective than every other nikon dslr i have ever owned. i tested the issue on a nikon 50 1.4 af-d, 85 1.8 afs, 24 2.8 ais, and a nikon 70-210 ais as well as a tamron 24-70 2.8 vc.
#5. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 4ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 27-Jun-13 06:49 PM
In the digital age, using a very high ISO to focus and then changing ISO to a more normal level is a good solution. For night photography, this is a common technique. Focus is the same regardless of exposure settings.
The mechanics of Live View AF make it the most accurate method available.
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#6. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 4jckingca Registered since 16th Dec 2010Fri 28-Jun-13 09:19 AM
I like Live View for precise focus when using a tripod.
The D600 Live View uses the f/stop selected in the camera. In your case that would have been f/8.
You may wish to use the widest aperture for focus and framing in Live View, then remember to select the aperture you want to use to make the image. (This workflow is similar to using a large format view camera-- focus wide open -> set aperture -> make exposure)
Some previous Nikon bodies used the widest aperture for Live View but that is not the case with the D600. Perhaps a firmware update will change that.
#7. "RE: Live View Limitations, Aperture Adjustment, Preview Accuracy" | In response to Reply # 6stuart benas Registered since 27th Jun 2013Fri 28-Jun-13 11:28 PM
john- thanks you are a genius. i posted the same question on dp****w.com and no one had a clue.
i opened up the aperture to 1.4, went into live view, zoomed in and got the focus right. then i set the aperture. its like programming a manual focus lens. you need to tell live view what the max aperture is before you can make adjustments. strange but it works.
so live view gives you DoF preview (actually stops down the lens) but meters the preview assuming the lens is still open to the max aperture.
if you figured this maybe you explain why the auto focus on my ais lenses wont work. just kidding