Live Preview Cameras  –  Vintage Camera Type

Typical Live Preview Camera Traits

Construction: metal / plastic
Lens Quality: medium
User Controls: moderate

Live Preview Camera Characteristics

Live preview cameras are digital cameras that provide users with a live video feed of the image coming through the lens. The vast majority of digital cameras fall under this category with older digital SLRs like my dependable Nikon D700 and digital rangefinders like the Leica M9 whose LCD screens are only used for image playback being the only notable exceptions.

Since nearly every single digital camera ever made is also a live preview camera, the range in optical quality is quite vast. However, since high-end digital cameras with high-end lenses make up only a tiny percentage of total existing models, the typical optical quality of a live preview camera is pretty average at best.

Much like image quality, the level of controls is also fairly average. Most live preview cameras are compact, consumer-level models which might offer a selection of exposure compensation settings but typically do not allow users to have direct control over focus, shutter speed, and aperture.

Live preview cameras come in many sizes, ranging from hulking professional grade DSLRs like the Nikon D5 to compact shooters such as the Sony RX100. In addition to form factor, there are also many purpose-built live preview cameras for a great variety of special applications which include inspection cameras for plumbers, specially-designed astrophotography cameras like the Nikon D810A, and rugged action cameras like the GoPro HERO6 Black.

Interested in starting or growing your own collection of live preview cameras?
Check eBay to see what’s available.
Vintage Camera Lab