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SimonSpear

D300 Liveview Lag?

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Hi all

 

I don't normally post in the strange and heady realm of dSLR's so please be gentle with me! :rolleyes:

 

I wanted to buy my wife Zoe a Nikon D300 for Christmas. She's been using compacts for years underwater, but would never use a dSLR due to the absence of liveview - even though she's quite happy usings SLR's for topside shots. Over the last few years I've tried to convince her that she 'could' learn to use the viewfinder, but she wont budge so I'd given up.

 

So along comes the D300. An amazing camera by all accounts and it has what I'd thought to be a lag free liveview feature. She's got very excited at the prospect and we've even got to the point of trying to get a housing ASAP. But then yesterday I heard that the liveview feature is not what I thought it would be. Apparently it has significant lag and would only be suitable for studio use.

 

We've tried out the Olympus 410 and 510 and found that the liveview would be pretty much useless underwater. Can anyone who's actually got a D300 confirm that the liveview is the same as the Olympus cams? I remember reading Alex Mustards brief hands on preview, but got the impression that the liveview was quick and would have been ok and not as it now has been described to me.

 

Any help would be really appreciated, as I've only got 4 weeks now to get it ordered and delivered before the big day! :P

 

Cheers, Simon

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I believe there is also an issue with the Auto Focus when using Live View. Possible, but not fully enabled. Anyone, perhaps someone more qualified can comment on that too....

 

scroll halfway down this page to see a note about AF with Live View...

 

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d300.htm

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Simon:

 

I can't answer your question from experience with this camera, but I have been researching this issue extensively for my own planned purchase. After spending too many hours reading up on the Nikon D300, Canon D40 & D400 and Olympus 410 I think I can tell you that no DSLR except the Olympus E330 has the type of no-lag liveview you are looking for. I don't know which of these cameras has the "shortest" lag, but as I understand it, all are less than most if not all P&S cameras but long enough to irritate those who want no lag.

 

The D300 is so new there are few if any tests, but as I understand it, the liveview function you are interested in from Nikon is called their tripod mode and is likely not what you want. I read one "review" that indicated it was not practical for a moving subject on land, and if this is true, it would seem unlikely to work well underwater.

 

Hopefully someone else will have better information and if my understanding is wrong, I might actually reconsider my current plan of getting an Oly E410, on which I assume I will primarily use the viewfinder.

 

I hope my information is of some use and saves you some effort.

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The Nikon D-300, Canon D40 and Olympus E-3 are all very close in lag time once pre focused and are little improvement over the Olympus E-410/E-510. None have the second sensor in the optical view finder like the Olympus E-330 and are therefore slower to AF and fire. I still think the live view is fine for static or very slow moving subjects, but you are not going to beat the optical view finder for most underwater subjects.

 

Phil Rudin

Edited by tropical1

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I found that comment I referred to above.

 

"Apparently they really mean that the camera must be mounted on a tripod for it to work well, because the sensor isn't quite fast enough to handle the camera or subject moving while the AF operation is under way."

 

This is from an Imaging Resource preview. Not sure what they mean, and they are waiting to do a full test.

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Thanks for all the info everyone.

 

I actually managed to pop into a local store that had one in stock today and played around with it a little. There really appeared very little lag on the liveview BUT it was completely unable to AF. Perhaps it was on the tripod rather than the handheld mode, but the guy in the shop didn't really know much as he'd literally just got it in and all he kept trying to do was sell me a Canon 40D. I didn't have time to wade through the manual to find out all the different options and I've never personally used a Nikon dSLR before so that didn't help either.

 

I was very impressed with the camera itself though and in particular it had a massive viewfinder. Perhaps I'll try again to persuade Zoe that the viewfinder is the way to go - although I'm not sure that I'll be able to convince her that it's as big as an LCD screen! :rolleyes:

 

Thanks for all your input.

 

Cheers, Simon

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Perhaps I'll try again to persuade Zoe that the viewfinder is the way to go - although I'm not sure that I'll be able to convince her that it's as big as an LCD screen! :rolleyes:

I've recently moved from a compact camera rig to a DSLR. One of my biggest concerns was the apparent difficulty of using the viewfinder compared to the LCD. But I have to say that in my case I got used to it immediately. It felt so natural from the first shot that I literally forgot the LCD screen on my first dive with the camera.

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I just returned from the camera store; and played with the D300. With regard to Live view if you wish to use autofocus , it would be feasible on hand held and tripod mode but always with some delay. On handheld the mirror goes up for focus (thus there is a brief blackout), and on tripod, it will focus but with more difficulty especially with a moving subject, so either way there is likely to be some delay except with stationary subjects.

Otherwise, an awesome camera, with 1-2 stops better noise performance by quick visual inspection than my D200. The last thing I have to see is whether there is any noticeable difference in highlight dynamic range handling over my D200. If there is, that will be the clincher to upgrade otherwise I'll sit this one out, hard as it is to do.

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Hi Simon,

 

My suggestion is to encourage Zoe to have a go at the viewfinder. I too was a little apprehensive about using one underwater, but as an earlier posted has suggested, it really becomes quite natural. I now can't imagine wanting to look at anything other than the real (ie. hasn't gone through a computer) image through a viewfinder. The few instances where a liveview may have been useful have not been underwater. It has been when holding the camera above my head for extra height and even then, because the screen doesn't tilt - I doubt there would have been any advantage over my current 'wave it in the right direction' technique :)

 

Good luck with your very generous gift!

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Otherwise, an awesome camera, with 1-2 stops better noise performance by quick visual inspection than my D200. The last thing I have to see is whether there is any noticeable difference in highlight dynamic range handling over my D200. If there is, that will be the clincher to upgrade otherwise I'll sit this one out, hard as it is to do.

 

thanks Loftus

 

do mean ISO 600 on the D300 is like ISO 200 on the D200?

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you think about the highlight dynamic range handling, how are you going to figure that out, borrow the camera again?

 

keep us posted!

 

Scott

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IMHO, the live-view is worthless (I didn't want it anyway). There is a setting on the mode dial 'LV'; then you select either 'hand held' or 'tripod' in the menus. You then press the shutter release button and the live view kicks on. Frame the subject and then either half-press the shutter release or the "AF-ON" button. The live view turns off and the camera focuses (but you can't see it focusing because the livw view turns off). Release the shutter release (or the 'AF-ON'), recheck your composition the press the shutter release all the way down. It clicks twice...once for the mirror dropping into place and the 2nd is the shutter release. It has lag....reminds me of my Oly 5050. Live view will never be on again in my camera (the LV had NOTHING to do with my decision to get the D300).

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thanks Loftus

 

do mean ISO 600 on the D300 is like ISO 200 on the D200?

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you think about the highlight dynamic range handling, how are you going to figure that out, borrow the camera again?

 

keep us posted!

 

Scott

I took some pics at ISO 800 and 1600 on the D300 in the store, and they were at least as good as 400 and 800 respectively on the D200 just by subjective evaluation. My specific thing with dynamic range is the interface of specular highlights (blown out, like reflections on a chrome object) with the first level of detailed highlights. Digital just does not handle this as smoothly as film. I have yet to see a digital photograph where I cannot tell the difference if I am presented with an identical film version. Today I looked at prints from a D3, and I think I could still tell they were 'digital' by looking at this area. I'm not sure if this issue will ever be solved, maybe because of the linear characteristics of a digital sensor vs the logarithmic shoulder of film response. It is something that bothers me more in prints than on screen. I am happy with digital and my D200 in every way except this issue, so improved noise handling by itself is not a reason for me to upgrade yet. I'll just have to wait to see some prints from a D300, but I doubt this issue will be resolved in the D300, it's not even resolved in the Hasselblad digital pics I've seen.

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I own the E410 and after playing with live view for quite some time it boils down to your trust in the focus of the camera. Yes the LCD doesn't update (AF) but the picture taken is in focus because the instant the shutter is depressed the frame is focused. With the E410 there's another button which pre-focus, pre-white balance and set the exposure but it locks in the focus. This speeds up the shot, but if the subject moves out of the frame or position, this will yield an unfocused shot.

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Like LyN I moved from a compact 2 years ago to a Canon 20D in an Ikelite. I had similar concerns but holding a housed SLR to your eye certainly feels more natural to me, particularly with it generally being in a bigger housing.

 

One point however is to be aware of is the view finder on the housing. I was using an Ikelite housing where you are not able to see the full subject through the viewfinder. You can only see one corner at a time and you have to move your eye around the view finder to see the other corners. You do get used to this but it is annoying, particularly as you get more experienced. If you have the money this is addressed by magnifiers on housings such as Subal and Aquatica but the housing cost is not for the faint hearted.

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