This tip is actually one that I could have put in my “Sharpness Series Part Two: Settings in the camera” post, but thought it warranted a separate entry given some of the confusion around Live view mode. I have heard and read some people say that Live View is just for tourists and people who don’t know how to use their camera. But it can be a very powerful tool for getting tack sharp photos. So how do you use live view to correctly and efficiently focus?
This tip would involve having the camera on the tripod or some other mount to stabilize, and the subject should be stationary.
1. Use the normal autofocus system of your camera to focus: Look through the view finder and focus by pressing the shutter release button half-way through. Your pictures will now be reasonably in focus and we will fine tune this in Live View.
2. Switch your camera to manual focus (on the body and on the lens). This will prevent the autofocus from interfering with the following procedure and searching for focus.
3. Switch to Live View
4. Move the focus area point in the viewscreen to the main subject of your composition (the one you want to be in focus).
5. Zoom your Live View, and not the lens, in as much as possible. Most DSLR Bodies have zoom buttons for this on the back of the camera.
6. While zoomed in, now gently operate the focus ring back and forth to get the position where the images is sharpest. Verify the result on the display while you are doing this.
7. Now switch Live view off and proceed to take that shot as normal.
Don’t forget to turn the autofocus back on or you will have 1 tack sharp image and many out of focus images.
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