What is Live View Mode on a Digital Camera?

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Updated July 27, 2022

If you have been experimenting with the various features of your digicam, you may be wondering what is live view mode on a digital camera. This mode, after all, is available with many of the best digital cameras on the market. Don’t worry. We are here to give you all the information you need.


  • A camera’s live view mode gives users a live feed of what the digital sensor is seeing, all before you press the shutter button to take a picture.
  • This mode allows photographers to make crucial decisions and adjustments on the fly.
  • Be sure to engage the LV setting in the menu. Most LCD screens should allow access to this feature.

What is Live View Mode?

Live mode, otherwise known as a camera’s LV setting, gives a DSLR camera some of the functionalities of a mirrorless camera. In other words, a digital camera’s live view mode gives the photographer a seamless live view of what they are about to take a digital image of. This relays what the image sensor is seeing directly to LCD screens. Other elements of a digital camera include the self-timer, plane of focus, and HDR for digital cameras.

Insider Tip

Take the time to ensure your subject is perfectly focused before engaging in live view mode.

Why Use Live View Mode?

Live view mode is one of the more popular shooting modes for a reason. Namely, it allows photographers to get a better grasp of their image composition before they actually push the shutter button. If the image looks off, they can change the shutter speed, adjust the depth of field, enable manual focus, adjust the light source, adjust the white balance, or change up the image brightness. Keep in mind you can use the autofocus of the digital camera, too. All of this can be done before pressing the shutter button, allowing you to save precious space on that memory card. If you are struggling to understand what is optical zoom and digital zoom on a digital camera, enabling live view mode can help you see “how the sausage gets made.”

Tips to Use Live View Mode

Here are some general tips to help you make the most out of your camera’s live view shooting mode so you can get sharper images.

Find it in the Settings Menu

Take your time to enable the live view mode in the settings menu, assuming your camera includes the functionality. You may want to consult the instructions to make sure ahead of time. These instructions can help you answer many questions about your camera, including the age-old query of what is ISO in a digital camera. In addition to the live view mode, your camera may include a manual mode, an AF-area mode, and various other scene modes.

Keep it Steady

A camera’s live view mode can be finicky if you have shaky hands as you try to access what the digital sensor is seeing. Keep your hands extremely steady or, even better, place the camera on a sturdy tripod.


Excessive motion may cause a discrepancy between a camera’s live view mode and the finished photo.


How do I turn on my Canon live view?

There is no universal procedure here, even within cameras manufactured by Canon. Check the instructions and do some settings diving.

What are the disadvantages of using a live view feature?

Focus can be slower when using the live mode, so get your subject properly positioned and focused ahead of time.

When should I use live view?

The best use for live view mode is when working on your composition. You can adjust and find the correct settings ahead of time.

STAT: The first digital still camera with an LCD for autogain framing live preview was the Casio QV-10 in 1995. (source)

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