Most cameras now have Live View, meaning you can see exactly what the lens sees in real time. Even though many, many photographers have cameras with Live View, I am finding that many are not taking advantage of this technology. I think every photographer can benefit a lot from using Live View at times. Today, I would be unhappy using a camera without Live View. I especially like Live View with a tilting LCD, like that found on my Lumix cameras.
1. Sharper photos with slow shutter speeds – this alone makes Live View worth using. One challenge with slow shutter speeds is that as the mirror of the camera moves up and down, you get vibration that can degrade image sharpness. Even on a tripod with a mirrorless camera, you can have camera vibration issues that affect image sharpness. This is at its worst with telephotos and close ups. When you take photos with Live View, you have no mirror bounce because the mirror is already up. I consistently get sharper photos this way.
2. Better focus – on most cameras you can magnify what is seen through Live View so you can very precisely focus on something in a scene. I use this all the time for focusing on details in a landscape or when I am shooting close-ups from a tripod. I have also used it for wildlife when they are in a constant location and distance from the camera. With a little practice, it is very easy to use this focus aid quickly.
3. You see your image as a photograph, rather than something targeted by the viewfinder – you literally have a little photograph on the back of your camera to view, rather than sighting through the viewfinder. This makes the camera act like a little view camera. The difference between seeing a photo versus targeting a subject is significant. I see big gains in better compositions from photographers doing this.
4. You see exactly what the sensor sees – when you look through an optical viewfinder, you see the world as your eyes and brain perceive it, not as the camera records it. Live View shows you what exposure, focus and white balance actually will look like in a photograph.
A tilting LCD makes this even better:
1. You can put your camera low and still see what the camera is seeing – you can even put the camera on the ground for an unusual point of view and you don't have to lay on the ground to see the LCD or look through the viewfinder.
2. You can put your camera high and still see what the camera is seeing – it is not uncommon to set up a tripod that is perfect for the view, but the viewfinder is higher than you can see through. Tilt a live view LCD and that is no longer a problem.
3. You can shoot at any height without straining your back – good nature photography often requires us to put the camera at heights other than the easy eye-level. At other heights, it can be awkward and hard on your body to see through the viewfinder, so a tilting live view LCD is very, very handy.