‘Live View’ from sucky to amazing

When I first heard about ‘LiveView’, I thought to myself. Wow that’s a gimmick that I’ll never ever use. I even laughed at it thinking it’s for amateurs! What is LiveView? it’s a feature that up to this point was limited only to fixed focus lens ( ie your point and shoots). It wasn’t until the advent of the 40D, 1DMKIII and 1DsMKIII that added the feature. I think the Xsi has this feature as well. What it is is it allows you to view what the lens sees through the LCD. At first I thought it was the most useless feature, and now I realize it has 3 real practical applications.
1) Macro photography
2) space photography
3) Quiet photography

How it works is the shutter rises up and stays open. Your sensor is pretty much working overtime at this juncture, so it does get toasty, and the batteries drain a little faster. But this sensor is for all intents and purposes an eye that opens and you see what it sees. When you snap the picture, there isn’t the usual mirror slap (or the sound the shutter makes when you click it. that is usually the mirror slapping up and down). So it essentially falls under application 3. Quiet photography. As you will notice, since the mirror isn’t slapped around, it isn’t as loud. Very useful for quiet church receptions that have priests who don’t like photographers and their clicks.

It’s not without it’s drawbacks though. What you lose is the camera’s ability to autofocus. But you can zoom in 10x and focus on the hair of a fly’s butt then snap the shot. So the loss of autofocus isn’t really a big deal, especially when it pertains to macro photography.
How did this all come about? Well my friend Gene at digimation.com has a mandolin that’s from the 1900’s that he wants to take pictures of. I have zero experience taking pictures of musical instrument. Not wanting to be caught with my pants down (figuratively speaking of course), I figured I’d make a first pass at my violin to see what pitfalls I’d run into.

Taking pictures of inanimate objects is bloody difficult. The trick is making said inanimate object interesting to look at. Go and try to take a picture of a pencil, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

So I first whipped out the 1DMKII, and after laying on the floor and trying funky angles, I realized my eyes hurt from trying to see through the viewfinder. After a few clicks I realized I’m using the wrong tool for the job. Enter the MKIII with live view to the rescue! here are my results. It was so so. Here are the ones with the MKII.
KN1Y3886-7_gbfx
KN1Y3884-5_gbfx
MKIII
GBFX6023-15_gbfx
GBFX6022-14_gbfx

The last pic I thought sucked but it proves a point. A master of light, once told me, “when photographing a cube, each angle must be a different shade, in order to provide richness and depth”. Ok Ok..a master of light didn’t exactly tell me that. I read it in a book. So technically by proxy he did tell me that! =)
At any rate, as you can see the violin looks flat and very blah.

for those who are interested or care, here are pics of the setup.
KN1Y3891-12_gbfx
KN1Y3888-9_gbfx
The left side I used a straight on flash with a diffuser umbrella, and for the right hand I just reversed and used reflection, to try to really disperse the light and not get a harsh hit. ratios were 1:4 so they don’t hit the subject dead on to make it look even more flat. If I cared, I should of adjusted it some to mitigate or completely eliminate the shadows on picture 2.

All In all, I thought it was a good practice run. Not bad for never taking a pic of an instrument before.

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About greenbeanfx

Photography is what I do =) If you wish to contact for a photoshoot, send me an email or comment on a blog with your info and I'll get back

Posted on August 8, 2008, in Aperature and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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