Chapter 4 covers the basics of shooting in Live View mode, which enables you to compose your shots by using the camera monitor instead of the viewfinder. As I mention in that discussion, using this photography mode on a digital SLR isn't as simple as it is on a compact point-and-shoot model because of the complexities of SLR design. On the Rebel XS/1000D, shooting in Live View mode requires some tradeoffs, such as not being able to use certain exposure features or any of the fully automatic exposure modes (Full Auto, Portrait, and so on).
As for focusing, the simplest and usually most reliable choice is to focus manually, and the Chapter 4 guide to Live View shooting explains the steps involved in doing just that. (The process is a little different in Live View mode than when you use the viewfinder to preview your shots.)
You can use autofocusing in Live View mode, however. In fact, you have your choice of two autofocusing methods: Quick mode and Live mode. (Hint: Quick mode is usually the best option.)
The next three sections explain the art of autofocusing in Live View mode. Before you move on to those sections, though, note the following limitations:
✓ Continuous autofocusing isn't possible. You can set the AF mode to AI Servo, but even if you do, the camera behaves as if you instead selected the One-Shot option. In other words, the camera won't track focus on a moving subject during Live View shooting.
✓ Autoexposure and autofocus are set and locked together. When you autofocus in Live View mode, you don't press the shutter button halfway to lock focus as you normally do. Instead, you focus by pressing the AE Lock button — which also locks autoexposure, as explained in Chapter 5. If you want to lock exposure and focus separately in Live View mode, you have to reset the function of the AE Lock button.
You do this through Custom Function 9, which you can explore fully in Chapter 11. For the purpose of Live View autofocusing, select option 1, AE Lock/AF. After you do, you lock autoexposure by using the shutter button and lock autofocus by pressing the AE Lock button. (Trust me, however, that simply focusing manually is much simpler than this convoluted process. And don't make this change to the button functions while using this book, or things won't work as described.)
✓ Autofocusing isn't possible with remote-control shooting. If you want to control the camera with a remote unit, either switch to manual focusing or don't enable Live View.
Don't forget that the Live View function is turned off by default. You enable the feature via the Live View Function Settings option on Setup Menu 2. (Chapter 4 explains this step.)
Enabling Live View autofocusing
By default, autofocusing is disabled for Live View shooting. If you want to autofocus, take these steps:
You can't use Live View in any other mode.
2. Display Setup Menu 3 and highlight Custom Functions, as shown on the left in Figure 6-7.
3. Press Set and then press the right or left cross key to navigate to Custom Function 7.
The Custom Function number appears in the upper-right corner of the screen. You should see options shown on the right in Figure 6-7.
4. Press Set again to activate the options list.
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Although we usually tend to think of the digital camera as the best thing since sliced bread, there are both pros and cons with its use. Nothing is available on the market that does not have both a good and a bad side, but the key is to weigh the good against the bad in order to come up with the best of both worlds.