Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ask Tim Grey - Harm from Live View

This is worth reading. I subscribe to obth DDQ and Pixology and am always learning from Tim, but this post is especially worth reading...

FYI, Tim Grey allows re-blogging of his posts as long they are posted in their entirety. Lisa

Ask Tim Grey eNewsletterDecember 11, 2013

Providing Answers to Photographers for Over a Dozen Years...

Today's Question: In a recent podcast episode Tim and Renee spoke highly of shooting with live view, especially for close focus shallow DOF [depth of field] circumstances. I have tried it for this purpose too and it works well. The Canon 6D manual, however, cautions against continuous live view use for a long period as it can cause internal temperature rise that would cause image quality to deteriorate, and I have read elsewhere it could possibly even cause camera damage. So my question is, how long is a “long period”?
Tim's Answer: This is a great question, which of course doesn’t have a clear and specific answer.

To begin with, there is no question that using the Live View feature of your digital SLR will cause some problems. On any camera, such continuous use of the image sensor will lead to a rather significant (and relatively quick) increase in heat, which leads to greater noise in any images you capture. Of course, the same is true for capturing a large number of images in a relatively short period of time, especially under hot conditions. By contrast, if you use the Live View (and thus the image sensor) sparingly, and the temperature is relatively cold, there will be less heat buildup and thus less noise in the images.

For cameras (such as digital SLRs) that feature a shutter mechanism, the Live View option can also be harmful to the shutter, leading to earlier-than-expected failure of the shutter. That is because the shutter must remain open the entire time you are using Live View, which among other things can stretch the springs used in the shutter assembly.

Of course, you could also argue that simply taking a picture damages your shutter, since a shutter has a limited life expectancy measured in a number of actuations. That, of course, would generally relate to the number of images captured, and most shutter mechanisms in today’s digital SLR cameras have a life expectancy measured in the hundreds of thousands of actuations, perhaps up to a maximum of around one million actuations.

In any event, I do recommend being somewhat judicious in the use of Live View. I certainly couldn’t cite a number in terms of how long you can use Live View before too much heat builds up or until you’ve actually done harm to the shutter mechanism. But the point is that while I love using Live View, I do try to minimize the use.

In other words, if I feel it will improve a given photo, I will absolutely use Live View. But I will also try to limit the amount of time I’m using Live View by working somewhat quickly, and also by being conscious of these issues and not turning on Live View until I’m ready to use it, and turning it off as soon as I’m done using it.

I wouldn’t go to extreme measures here, as in most cases the harm done will be relatively modest. But it is something worth keeping in mind, and it is worth developing good habits when it comes to the use of Live View.
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