PrashChopra 2:07am, 11 February 2009
LIve view is a great feature.. if implemented correctly. Many people from Nikon actually dont know what they miss in a live view (dont get me wrong.. I own a Nikon D90, and love it). I used to own Canons before, and can say with fair confidence that Nikon's live view implementation (at least on a D90) lags behind Canon's.

Technically, I would say on D90 it isnt fully implemented... example: you cannot change shot settings when in live view mode and see the live image update (darken/lighten) as you can on a Canon XSi or a 50d for example. In short, it lacks exposure simulation.

Another example is with respect to zooming in on the live view image. The max zoom on D90 is 6.7x. While even on a XSi it is 10x. Further, on a D90, the zoomed in live view isnt a correct representation of the actual scene.. it is interpolated (badly.. jaggily) from smaller resolution buffered images. On a Canon XSi, they are what you see: representing the true resolution upto 10x. You will only notice this difference when trying to accurately focus on a fine detailed object for a macro shot. I tried both Nikon/Canon in store, and NIkon couldnt resolve the rim lines on a lens barrel from 10 ft away at 6.7x zoom that the Canon could at 10x zoom with good interpolation.

If you want, you can read my review here to know more.

I wish Nikon improves on the liveview in future. For now, its just a gimmick for me in video mode. The camera otherwise is splendid.. the best!
mattkarlsson 10 years ago
I've used Live view once or twice, but only when taking pictures where something was in the way, and I couldn't get my eye up to the viewfinder.

I'd be just as happy if the camera didn't have live view (or video for that matter) at all. THey are simply features I don't find useful.
axiomatic riddle [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by axiomatic riddle (member) 10 years ago
I use the live view a lot of the time when using my light tent and CLS setup. I actually find its very accurate and with controlled shooting situations, where speed is not an issue. The contrast detection AF is accurate 100% for me.

Why compare it to the Canon system? The D90's is a totally different system.

I don't think Canons provide contrast based AF so the camera can't use the CMOS image for auto-focus. I find that less accurate in low light situations. Also the Canons phase detection AF requires the mirror down to block the CMOS. Thats very annoying and is now considered old technology by many.

LV is there for convenience. Why pick fault with something that works fine?
mo'funk 10 years ago
I like LV for capturing overhead shots.
Arie's Photography 10 years ago
I have to admit I haven't taken the time to read up on how focusing works exactly but somehow it seems to work! It comes in handy when I am shooting over a crowd or if I want to hand the camera to a friend who's never used a DSLR and put it on auto for for them... In small doses it's a nice feature.
ward.j PRO 10 years ago
LV isn't suppose to be the end all & be all feature of the camera. It's there for those occasions where it's just easier to see through/shoot with than the viewfinder. I don't use it often at all but I really like it whenever I do.
I was able to get the moon, venus & another star/planet all in the same shoot with it. the viewfinder couldn't get it all in & LV did perfectly.

It doesn't honestly matter too much if LV has some faults. Since most people don't use it like a P/S, it's kind of moot.
mountainous appliance [deleted] 10 years ago
I agree with you. LV is better resolved in Canon system. Before, i had a Canon 40D and i can prove this.
PrashChopra 10 years ago
@Facademan, everyone,

My intention has been forward looking: to improve a feature that will make D90 the supremo of enthusiast level cameras (it already is the best in its league).

No offense to any D90 owner (FWIW I own one and am in love with it with a capital L:-)

What I shared are pure facts. They dont make D90 a bad camera. But if improved, they can make it a historic one. Like I said, if you dont use liveview, its ok. If you do, you look for the best implementation. It comes really handy in cases where you wear glasses for vision correction, or if you have a tripod and are focussing on a macro object. There is nothing wrong in seeking perfection. Just my honest opinion.

About the AF mode, both contrast detect AF (D90) and phase detect AF (Canon 40d/50d) have their merits and demerits. Contrast based one is generally slower, but may work better in low light. Phase detect one, where mirror has to flip up momentarily, is usually faster, but may not always focus spot on.

The whole point is about being well informed.... not about finding faults. Dont you think you can better use your camera if you know it more?

PrashChopra 10 years ago
Here are some real life pictures to explain this issue:

[1] Nikon D90 manually focussed object as seen in the LiveView at 6.7x:
NikonD90-LiveViewInterpolation by PrashChopra

[2] Nikon D90, the same scene, captured as it was focussed above, this image is the actual captured image:
NikonD90-CapturedImage by PrashChopra

You can clearly see that the LCD is capable of resolving much better.. but perhaps for speed gains, D90 interpolates from lower resolution images during live view.

FWIW, the following is a live view image (not the final captured one, but in live view), at 10x zoom. Although I dont have a directly comparable image for the exact same settings, the Canon's liveview was better interpolated. Perhaps because they only need to display 1/4th of the Nikon's target image (LCD is lower res).
CanonRebel450D-CapturedImage by PrashChopra
Nantonos 10 years ago

LV is there for convenience. Why pick fault with something that works fine?

Because it could work better, and because other cameras (the Canon mentioned above; my old Minolta A1 also) show that it can be made better in practice.
Leighton Roberts 10 years ago
I only really use it to compose in a awkward situation. works just fine for me. I turn it of when I've composed a shot then carry on as normal
kellenholgate 10 years ago
I don't really like Live View, because I'd rather just put my eye in the viewfinder. When I shoot bands though, sometimes its nice to flip on the live view and put the camera high in the air.

Also nice for macro photography, and putting the camera on the ground. Focuses slow, but definitely usable. I don't use it very often, but I use it more than I thought I would, and I would miss it if i didn't have it.
axiomatic riddle [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by axiomatic riddle (member) 10 years ago
I agree, however, for the 2% of time its used, its perfectly usable. Primarily this is for Macro or low angle work where you don't need rapid focusing. I can get correct focus 100% of the time without any problems. The irratation with the Canon system is that to focus, the mirror needs to flip and you lose the LCD picture for a while, sometimes a few second whilst it aquires a lock. Its also inferior in low light. The NIkon doesn't and uses the more accurate contrast detection, which I personally prefer.

LV is in its infancy in DLSR's and will develop over time. The D90 has better LV performance over the D300 (according to Nikon), so its just progression.
Nantonos 10 years ago
Its not the rapidity (I rarely use AF anyway) . Liveview is not just an autofocus system!
The issue is with the quality of the image. Its sparsely sampled to give the HD resolution image. When the live view image is zoomed in, you are still seeing a small portion of that low resolution image. Its therefore less useful for macro than it might be. I believe that was the main point that Prash was making also.
axiomatic riddle [deleted] 10 years ago
The thing is I dont need to zoom function anyway because the 920,000 pixel LCD is perfectly clear for me to get accurate and clear focus. Thats sufficient for me 100% of the time when I do use LV.

I have just tested it again and note that the D90 has a 5 step zoom. The first 3 steps are very good. Steps 4 and 5 are overly pixelated for sure. I am suprised anyone needs to go that close to get a good focus.
PrashChopra 10 years ago

[1] Your comments make sense that in real life, one would rarely need to go to that high zooms. But in cases when you do need them, you will feel the need. Example: a tiny fly/bee with tentacles/hair on its extremities. Assume they are thinner than a millimeter (which they are). Now imagine how accurately you will be able to control which part or which extremity you want to focus tack on.

Now look at the example images I shared above. The metal mesh shown has a horizontal and vertical pitch of a few mm... about 3mm each. With a Canon, I could resolve them finely during liveview. With D90, they are at best a blurry representation, everaged over a 5x5 mm region lets say.

You just have to try to believe it. Again, like you said, its not needed everyday. But when I need it, I wish I could just steal lv from Canon and put it in here.

[2] Another thing is about exposure simulation. Consider a time around sunset... where its so dark the default exposure control scheme wont show you a thing in ths LCD. And viewfinder wont be of any help either. In such cases, I found Canon's exposure simulation better wherein I could increase ISO, or exposure time, or aperture (widen it) and the live view will adjust accordingly in brightness.. telling me when it is correctly exposed.

Food for thought:-)
axiomatic riddle [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by axiomatic riddle (member) 10 years ago
Prash, I take your arguments and they too make sense. I guess most things are personal preference anyway.

Ref Point 2 though, I guess I prefer to rely on the metering rather than the LV view. I have the adjusting LV view with my backup Canon G10 and even with that on full manual, i prefer the metering read out.

Each to their Prash!
Chaz Boyd 10 years ago
i dont really use it. however it does come in handy when trying to line up a shot in a weird position or overhead.
PrashChopra 10 years ago
@Facade Man,

Agreed. To each their own:-)

Leviticus Web 10 years ago
Have only used live view for video, for me it seems pretty pointless for stills even for macro. I guess if you need a larger view the camera would be tethered to a monitor for ultra macro and the like, if the subject lets that be possible.

Having read folks ranting about how great live view is I was looking forward to it, a bit disappointing really,I guess as others have mentioned for the 2% (if that) it might be useful, maybe, possibly.
flat shelf [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by flat shelf (member) 10 years ago
Never use it to take pictures, and when people ask "hey...cant see anything here, cant take the picture"...i just say: "thats the way it works, look trough that hole there"....

i hate to press the LV button...that mirror going hurts me.
PrashChopra Posted 10 years ago. Edited by PrashChopra (member) 10 years ago
I had a recent experience that I must share with you guys.

I was at the Calofornia Disneyland past weekend. I wanted to take a picture of a Pixar character during a parade. Unfortunately there were taller people standing ahead of me with their kids on the shoulders. That left me with no choice but to enable the liveview and get a shot with my hands stretched above my head.

I had barely 5 seconds to make the shot.. because the parade was moving.. and this character jumping around to greet kids and all. So I point the camera at her, press the shutter half way, and it started to AF using the contrast mode. It did finish in 2 seconds or so.. but by then the subject had moved away. I tried again, same thing. Then I just put the lens to manual focus and focussed the best I could while looking at the LCD 2 feet above me at a slanting angle.. I did get some shots this way. But they were soft... of course due to poor focus.

At this moment, just for that, I missed my old cheapo Canon XSi.. which would AF in a snap by looping the mirror/prism up. This mode is there in D300, but not in D90.

Every other time, the camera worked out great! Here is a sample video from the parade (make sure you watch it in high quality setting):

Disney parade

And here is an HD version (shorter):

Disney parade in HD

AF in video mode/liveview is a pain.. but it is a lot of fun too!!

Nikon D90 Challenges
PrashChopra 10 years ago
Here is a thread where I shared live view buffer images dumped directly from the camera using the Nikon's SDK if you are interested.
PrashChopra 10 years ago
If anyone has experience/knowledge about NIKON firmware updates/modifications, PM me. And I am referring to programming/system knowledge, not the official upgrade knowledge. See this thread to know what I refer to.

somekevinguy 10 years ago
I have never even turned the live view on or tried the video.
r v e 10 years ago
Just something to add. Live view can be great to check the various White Balance settings. If you want to "preview" the effect of the different WB settings without taking test shots, Live View gives you a way to see the effect before taking the shot.

Heard this in the first episode of
aodaod5 Posted 10 years ago. Edited by aodaod5 (member) 10 years ago
Sometimes i forget that my D90 has a Live view function.
The Camera Boy 10 years ago
Just to add another note. One of my mates has got a Sony Alpha 350. And the live view on that is actually pretty good. it has two sensors with one entirely dedicated to the live view. Although the main sensor is still used to capture the shot. I have played with it quite a bit before i got my d90, and as a result I was dissapointed with our Live View. The Sony can focus just as quickly in either mode. The tilt ability is pretty nice too.

In my opinion the live view on the Nikon is a pain in the backside because it cannot focus quickly, however it does occasionly have its use.

Here is a bit of blurb
kindhearted street [deleted] 10 years ago
Don't feel too bad. The viewfinder on the D90 is far superior to the A350. The A350 viewfinder is actually inferior to the A200, because they had to fit the extra live view sensor into the camera.

I really liked the feel of the Sony cameras in hand though.
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