More and more new DSLRs seem to be offering a Live View mode - and one or two also have tilt/swivel LCds - although the implementation of these features is far from being standardised between/among manufactueres.
Do you think Live View - and/or tilt/swivel LCDs - on DSLRs offers significant advantages for panoramic photographers? And if so, why and for which styles of panorama?
I am a novice with DSLRs but have used a variety of compact digital cameras for years.
Although I experimented a bit using Nikon 995 and CP5000 with the FC-E8 fisheye and WC-E63/68 wide angle convertors on a Kaidan Kiwi head I was never quite satisfied with the quality of the output I could achieve.
I recently bought a low end DSLR - Nikon D40 - and the 10.5mm fisheye specifically to use for spherical panos which I hope will give me better results. This camera of course does not offer Live View nor the swivel LCDs of my old Coolpix cameras and I'm still getting used to not having a Live View on my DSLR.
Andrew Stephens Nikon D40, Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye, Sigma 8mm f3.5 fisheye, Nikkor 18-55/50/35mm lenses, Nodal Ninja 5 Lite, Nodal Ninja 4 with R-D16, Agno's MrotatorTCS short. Nikon P5100, CP5000, CP995, FC-E8, WC-E63,WC-E68, TC-E2, Kaidan Kiwi 995, Bophoto pano bracket, Agno's MrotatorA. Merlin/Orion robotic pano head + Papywizard on Nokia 770/N800/N810 and Windows 8/XP/2K.
"Do you think Live View - and/or tilt/swivel LCDs - on DSLRs offers significant advantages for panoramic photographers? And if so, why and for which styles of panorama?"
Yes! Absolutely. Think of having the camera on a boom reaching out of a window (i do this sometimes) or on a high-stand-tripod (about 3-4m above surface) and shoot a group of shots for high-rez stitches or "just" a spherical. You can have a small LCD-monitor (a little and cheap pocket-tv with composite-input, which nearly all of them have) and position the camera as you want. Without a visual control you have to act by intuition - that´s ok sometimes . . but control is better!
Combining the camera with a laptop allows you complete visual control by connecting the tv-out of the camera with the tv-in of the laptop. You have live-control without having to shoot first and control then as it works usually. There is software for complete camera-control via USB by the laptop - even with widely extended bracketing.
If you want something you´ve never had, then you´ve got to do something you´ve never done.
I use Live View and a fisheye for spherical panos.
Using the viewfinder when the camera is on a tripod is rather uncomfortable, especially when reading exposure data into the viewfinder is involved and not moving the camera nor the tripod is important (but most DSLR can display exposure values on the rear screen or on another screen). As I use a click stop panohead I often don't use the screen for framing (when some moving car or peoples are included in the frame I look at them directly.) Conclusion: when using a fisheye for panos, exact framing is not important.
Besides this particular situation I like to use my Olympus camera the way I used My Coolpix 995: my arms leaning against my chest, looking downwards at the screen, but this is because peoples don't know when and where I shoot...