Niagara Falls Live ND

This article features a small selection of Niagara Falls Live ND photographs captured handheld with an Olympus OM-D E-M1X.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 @ 40 mm, efov 80 mm, f/8, 1/2, ISO-64, Live ND

If you’re like me and hate using tripods unless absolutely necessary, the Live ND Shooting mode on the Olympus OM-D E-M1X will be of interest. This is an in-camera simulation that replicates using a neutral density filter. The E-M1X accomplishes this by capturing a number of images in quick succession, then combines them in camera.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 @ 25 mm, efov 50 mm, f/8, 1/2, ISO-64, Live ND

To activate this feature a photographer would go into Shooting Menu 2 and turn Live ND Shooting ‘On’. The ND Number can then be selected. The E-M1X provides five options from 1 EV all the way through to 5 EV in single EV increments. If the user wants to see a live approximation of what their photograph will look like, they can turn LV Simulation ‘On’.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/2, ISO-64, Live ND

The LV Simulation view shows the relative amount of motion blur that will appear in the photograph being composed.  To use the Live ND Shooting mode the OM-D E-M1X must be set to either Manual or Shutter Priority mode. For best control I would recommend Manual. The upper limit of ISO that can be used is ISO-800. The E-M1X can produce both jpeg and RAW files when this mode is utilized.

There are some shutter speed restrictions when using Live ND in terms of the fastest shutter speeds that are allowed. These vary by the amount of neutral density effect desired. To use a specific ND effect it may be necessary to stop your lens down and lower your ISO setting. For example, if you check the EXIF data for the images in this article you’ll see that I used ISO-64 and stopped my lens down to either f/8 or f/10. Using these exposure settings allowed me to use ND32 which creates a 5 stop neutral density effect, and requires a shutter speed no faster than 1/2 second.

When using Live ND in very bright sunlight you may need to stop your lens down to the point where you risk some diffraction. It is also possible to overexpose an image when using Live ND, so you may need to dial back the amount of neutral density effect to get a proper exposure.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 @ 19 mm, efov 38 mm, f/8, 1/2, ISO-64, Live ND

Here is a list of the fastest shutter speeds that can be used with Live ND Shooting mode:
ND2 (1 stop) 1/30 second
ND4 (2 stops) 1/15 second
ND8 (3 stops) 1/8 second
ND16 (4 stops) 1/4 second
ND32 (5 stops) 1/2 second

A number of other functions cannot be used in conjunction with Live ND. These include HDR, High Res Shot, multiple exposures, keystone compensation, bracketing, interval-timer photography, flicker scan, flickerless photography, subject tracking, and fisheye corrections.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/10, 1/2, ISO-64, Live ND

These images were my first dedicated attempt to use Live ND Shooting mode. This feature has a lot of creative potential and I will be doing some additional work with this mode in the future.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All are presented as 100% captures without any cropping.

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6 thoughts on “Niagara Falls Live ND”

    1. Hi Stuart,

      I believe that is a typo in the E-M1X manual. The shutter speeds are limited to a range of 1/30 to 60 seconds to a maximum ISO of 800.

      When I use LIVE ND I cannot use shutter speeds that are any faster than the ones I have noted for each LIVE ND value. Robin Wong confirmed this in one of his YouTube videos (see time code approximately 9:50):


  1. Great images ,
    ,,, and ongoing praise of the small Nikon setup.
    Thank you Thomas for keeping the site.
    All the best in 2020!

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