LCD

Vincent Bockaert, 123di.com

LCD as Viewfinder

Digital compact cameras allow you to use the LCD as a viewfinder by providing a live video feed of the scene to be captured. The LCDs normally measure between 1.5" and 2.5" diagonally with typical resolutions between 120,000 and 240,000 pixels. The better LCDs have an anti-reflective coating and/or a reflective sheet behind the LCD to allow for viewing in bright outdoor daylight. Some LCDs can be flipped out of the body or angled up or down to make it easier to take low angle or high angle shots. The main LCD is sometimes supplemented by an electronic viewfinder which uses a smaller 0.5" LCD, simulating the effect of a TTL optical viewfinder. LCDs on digital SLRs normally do not support live previews and are only used to review images and change the camera settings.

Digital compact with a twist LCD Fixed LCD on a digital SLR

LCD to Play Back Images

The LCD screen delivers one of the key benefits of digital photography: the ability to play back your images immediately after shooting. However, since only about 120,000 to 240,000 pixels are used to represent several millions of pixels in the original digital image, further magnification is needed to determine whether the image is sufficiently sharp and needs reshooting. Not all cameras offer magnification and the magnification factor differs per model. Some cameras allow basic editing functions such as rotating, resizing images, trimming video clips, etc. In playback mode you can also select an image from the thumbnail index.

Besides playback, many cameras allow you to "scroll" through the EXIF data, view the histogram, and even show areas with potential for overexposure, as shown in this animation.

LCD Used as Menu

The LCD is also used to change the camera settings via the camera buttons, often allowing to adjust the brightness and color settings of the LCD itself. The main LCD is frequently supplemented by one or more monochrome LCDs (which use less battery power) on top and/or at the rear of the camera showing the most important camera and exposure settings.

Menu system displayed by the LCD Example of a monochrome status LCD providing information such as battery and storage card status, exposure, focus mode, white balance, etc. Often a backlight can be activated via a button.
This article is written by Vincent Bockaert,
author of The 123 of digital imaging Interactive Learning Suite
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