In standard (Hand-Held) mode, the live view displays the whole image when focusing. However, there is another method to AF, which one has to select via the menu. Designed for tripod use and named accordingly (Tripod Mode), the second focus mode allows you to zoom into the image (up to a 13x view) when in the act of focus. In AF, focus is still insanely slow at times. On the other hand, the zoomed in view really comes into its own when focusing manually on a stationary subject. In fact, this method is the one I always leave the camera set to as I find manual focus with magnification a lot faster to focus than the AF in live view mode. As an astrophotographer, this is a dream come true when focusing on stars through a telescope where there is no focus confirm in the viewfinder thanks to a lack of electronic communication between camera and 'lens.' Want proof? Check out the below photo of the Moon, focused live at full 13x magnification. Also, any birder who uses astronomical telescopes will find this function immensely useful when trying to get perfect focus for a bird sitting in a tree.
Bottom line: the live view of the D700 is a double-edged sword. First up: the bad. AF in live view mode is terrible, the camera is practically unusable. The good news: the D700's 920,000 dot LCD screen provides stunning details when used in live view and, this coupled with the ability to zoom in as one focuses manually, makes the live view great for anyone photographing stationary, far-away subjects.
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