I’m not a big fan of bells and whistles and usually the first thing that I do is turn all of that stuff completely off, beeps, bells, auto-focus assist, facial recognition (well, I did turn that back on) etc. Also, I will admit that I’m not known for reading user’s manuals from cover to cover.
I am in no way surprised that I had overlooked this feature. I just happened to run into it on a blog post somewhere.
If you’ve ever taken timed exposures you know how painful that can be. First, you take the photo for say, 3 or 4 minutes, then you have to wait another 3 or 4 minutes until the camera gets finished hiding all of the hot pixels. All told, about 8 minutes, just to see if you got it right. If no, then wash, rinse, repeat.
What Live Time and Live Bulb allow you to do is see how your timed exposure is progressing. You can set the camera to give you up to 24 updates (at ISO 200). You can determine how often it updates the rear screen, anywhere from every 1/2 second up to every minute in the following increments, in seconds: 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, or 60.
For this shot, I focused on the plant, then turned all of the lights out and opened the shutter. I had it update about every 4 seconds. Then, I painted the plant and the wall using a flashlight. I kept going back to the monitor to see the progress. When I saw what I liked, I stopped the exposure.
The difference between Live Time and Live Bulb is that with Live Time, the shutter will open when you press the shutter button and stay open until you press it again (up to 60 minutes, or when your battery dies.). Live Bulb, the shutter stays open until you release the button, just like normal bulb mode.
I find this extremely useful for long exposures. This, my friends, is a bell and whistle that I really like. Olympus should be shouting from the mountaintop about this!