Why Live Composite is One of the Best Things to Happen To Cameras

The Live Composite feature is so incredibly fun to play with.

Unless you’re shooting with Olympus and Panasonic, you’ve probably never heard of Live Composite. In our constant search to move away from editing, this is a feature we adore. It means that a photographer needs to think about something beforehand. They need to be very careful. And best of all, they need to not rely on Photoshop. When someone says, “Photoshop it later,” a part of me dies inside. It’s awful. But with Live Composite, a photographer can stay out in the field creating. If you’re a hobbyist or a professional who really just wants to shoot, we encourage you to try it.

Live Composite

Here are several things you should know about Live Composite:

  • At the moment, it’s only available on certain Olympus and Panasonic cameras.
  • It’s not just a multiple exposure feature.
  • It’s pretty intelligent.
  • It will save you loads of space on your hard drives.
  • It will save your camera’s battery life.
  • You’re literally compositing a photo in-camera.
  • You’re best off doing this with a tripod.
  • It is the truest way to create a composite in-camera without photo editing.
  • It’s very popular for astrophotography.
  • It’s fun for light painting too.

As technology improves, it will be much more capable. But the Live composite feature does things that phones really can’t do as well. Plus, a phone can’t match a dedicated camera’s image quality. Sometimes, it’s honestly fun just to sit there and mess around. The lead image of this piece could only have been done with Live Composite. If I had shot it in a single long exposure, then the buildings on the ground would be so blown out. But they’re perfectly exposed thanks to Live Composite. The clouds up top are swirling. And they make a very cool and fun effect.

There are a bunch other considerations too. If you’re doing this on a tripod, you’re probably shooting in bad weather. After all, bad weather creates the best photos. So you’ll need a weather-resistant camera and lens. This will give the camera the protection it needs if you’re outside. But if you’re indoors, then it’s a different game. I’d still put down a tripod and make sure that nothing hits it. In fact, shooting with the Live Composite mode is like shooting in a very old school style. It’s fun. It requires thinking about a scene beforehand. And most of all, it’s very experimental. You can shoot and fail! But you can also shoot and get something completely unlike what you thought you would.

Again, this feature is only really available on Olympus and Panasonic cameras. And only certain ones at that. Sony used to have something like this. Many years ago, they had a PlayMemories App store. But they killed it. This was one of the features you could add to your camera. It’s gone now. But it should come back in some way or another. Canon doesn’t have it, but they should. With all the innovation in their lenses, I’m shocked that they don’t. Pentax doesn’t have it either. And most shocking, Nikon doesn’t boast Live Composite. Of any brand, I’d expect them to. Nor does Fujifilm. Quite honestly, I think it will be a while until all of these brands get it.

The Phoblographer’s Infographics are made with VisMe.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.