Why the LCD Monitor Is So Important
The flexibility of the digital camera has allowed a new mastery over photographic imagery. Things that were impossible with film or that took a very long time to learn are now quite easy thanks to the LCD monitor.
The LCD allows you to take control in some valuable ways, including:
Preview of the image before taking in real time
Accurate TTL rendition of the image
Good depiction of the color of the scene
Ability to adjust color balance in real time
Improved display of focus
Ability to instantly review the last image taken
Ability to make corrections within seconds after a picture is taken
Ability to rapidly change settings in quickly moving situations
Ability to review all images taken in a session
Many people assumed that it was the ability to manipulate electronic images or to send them as e-mail attachments or post them on the Web that made digital photography so popular. Yet at least as attractive are the greater enjoyment and the higher skill level made possible by the instant feedback of the LCD screen.
The LCD monitor/viewfinder shows the camera operator what the image looks like in real time before the picture is snapped, and moments later it allows a review of the photo just taken. For the first time in the craft of photography, the picture taker can obtain a good idea of the quality of the image that was just captured. This has a number of advantages for the photographer. She can rapidly make adjustments if a picture is not right; she can quickly learn how to take pictures in unusual situations; she can delete pictures that she doesn't like; she can review a series of shots to make sure she covered all aspects of a picture opportunity. In addition, she can show pictures, as they are taken, to her subjects to get feedback and keep every-one happy.
An excellent example of this new control and flexibility is how the LCD screen works with the camera's flash. Flash lighting has always been very hard to predict. Yet with the LCD monitor, a few test shots will soon reveal the best settings for the flash and even allow some complicated setups such as bouncing the flash (see Chapter 6), which can provide a much softer and more natural look.
In addition to providing feedback, most LCDs allow a constant display of critical photographic information such as the particular automatic or manual exposure settings, the amount of charge left in the battery, the number of pictures left in the memory card, the picture resolution, the color balance setting, the metering configuration, the flash setup, and the focus mode.
Some photographers find that this can be too much information. Many systems allow the camera operator to shut off some of the displays so that only the most critical data is shown. As if that were not enough, the LCD is also used as a mini computer monitor that allows the changing and setting of a number of parameters via a menu system.