Every now and then I surprise myself with discovering something so useful in an area where I expect it the least. This time it is the absolute usefulness of the live-view feature of my DSLR in landscape photography. I guess that like many of you, I have been happily composing through looking the viewfinder and rarely relied on the auto focus of the camera and rather focussed myself. So far this technique hasn’t failed on me and I tend to get the result that I was aiming at. It happened a few months ago, that I to started the try out the live view feature of my camera when composing my landscapes. First only out of interest, it stuck and interestingly I haven’t looked back since. The advantages are huge in every level. Since that day, I’m have been using the live-view exclusively and since everyone has his/her own preferences I have put together my main reasons for the switch :
Better way to compose
Sure, looking through the viewfinder already shows the composition, but seeing the image on the bigger screen makes in fact a big difference. It’s simply much easier, and better to compose
You need to slow down
Using live view and a tripod, seriously slows one down and much more thought goes into the final image
Using the magnification function (on the 5D Mk II it’s 5x and 10x) a much better and more precise focus is possible. The phrase “what you see is what you get” never was more relevant. Another bonus is, that by using live-view and magnification camera shake, even when using a tripod, is much more obvious in for example windy situations. Seeing and knowing when to release the shutter is worth a lot.
Mirror is already up
Using mirror lock-up had been a bit of a pain on a Canon camera, with live-view this has become obsolete as well.
I see live-view less useful in situations where one has to compose and focus a quickly, here the “normal” way through the viewfinder is surely way superior. For my landscapes and my latest detail and macro experiments live-view is a huge boon. So far, I had now mountains or trees running unexpected out of the frame. But hey, you never know what happens.