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02-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #1
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why is chimping considered bad?

I've been using a DSLR (k-x) for a bit over a year now, and have just run into the term - even the name itself is very derisive... I feel like I'm improving my skills gradually, especially in working on getting the shot I want the first time instead of taking 17 shots and hoping for the best. However, I feel like the LCD is a valuable tool, giving me instant feedback on whether I got the composition/metering/etc. I was looking for. So, I'm a bit confused as to why the practice is so looked down upon.

Or is it mainly a way for people who have been shooting for long enough to know their camera inside and out to make fun of n00bs? :-)

02-08-2011, 09:07 PM   #2
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Psh....
Don't worry, I chimp ALL the time. Why? It's the only way to check your picture came out the right way for sure.

Like Stephen Johnson said in a book:

"The implied pejorative [in the term 'chimping'] is shocking to me. If there's any one thing that is revolutionary in the advance of photography represented by this digital age, it is the ability to inspect your work. Ignore such ridicule, and use the tools to their fullest."

Exactly. If I'm shooting action, obviously I wouldn't chimp after every shot, but it does lead to missed shots sometimes.
02-08-2011, 09:28 PM   #3
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Some people believe you have to get it right with the first exposure, using only the simple adjustments available in the camera. Preferably with a fully-manual lens.
02-08-2011, 09:34 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by acrollet Quote
I've been using a DSLR (k-x) for a bit over a year now, and have just run into the term - even the name itself is very derisive... I feel like I'm improving my skills gradually, especially in working on getting the shot I want the first time instead of taking 17 shots and hoping for the best. However, I feel like the LCD is a valuable tool, giving me instant feedback on whether I got the composition/metering/etc. I was looking for. So, I'm a bit confused as to why the practice is so looked down upon.

Or is it mainly a way for people who have been shooting for long enough to know their camera inside and out to make fun of n00bs? :-)
In my personal experience, photographers, especially professional photographers (or wannabe professionals), can be very elitist about a variety of different things. With the rise of digital photography, I feel that these photographers started to feel their skills were becoming less appreciated, and thus became more apt to point out the flaws of those who aren't as good as they are as a way of separating themselves from the pack. This is part of why I think chimping gets made fun of so viciously, because it's something that professional film photographers who were affected by this transition never needed to do (as they didn't have the option).

On a practical level, though, if you're looking at the back of your camera you're not looking at what is going on right in front of you, and this can lead to you missing shots you might have gotten otherwise. So there is a practical advantage to weening yourself away from looking at the back of your camera too much. It's something I'm still trying to improve on after a couple of years of DSLR use.

02-08-2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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It's only chimping if you start pointing wildly, jumping up and down, and start making chimp sounds after every other shot.

If anyone ever criticizes you, offer to cover their LCD with duct tape for them. But as Urkeldaedalus suggets, stay aware of the scene and don't get lost in the back of the camera.
02-08-2011, 09:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by noaslplease Quote
The implied pejorative [in the term 'chimping'] is shocking to me.
love this

QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
It's only chimping if you start pointing wildly, jumping up and down, and start making chimp sounds after every other shot.
duly noted

thanks all for your input, I have indeed missed shots in the past due to having my nose in the camera instead of looking out, so that's definitely something to work on. As for the rest of it, maybe we just need to come up with a nicer term something like... quickchecking... or visual quality assurance (VQA) or something...
02-08-2011, 10:02 PM   #7
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I chimp for the histogram. On a K-x you can forget about chimping for sharpness though, that JPEG preview and low res screen will tell you nothing about how sharp your image is. Why would you need to chimp for composition though, it's what you saw in the view finder as you pressed the shutter.

The problem with chimping too much is you will miss shots.
02-08-2011, 10:03 PM   #8
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Is that what chimping is, I wonder what the word origin is... It never occurred to me that visually checking exposure or focus with the tools at hand would be derided. It would be stupid not to check especially when shooting with manual focus/exposure lenses such as m42 or DKL mount lenses. Besides, pros have 'chimped' in the film days too. In a controlled studio setting, a Polaroid back or a standalone Polaroid camera was often used to check and fine tune lighting effects prior to commence shooting with film.

Thanks,

02-08-2011, 10:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
On a K-x you can forget about chimping for sharpness though, that JPEG preview and low res screen will tell you nothing about how sharp your image is.
all too true :-\

QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Why would you need to chimp for composition though, it's what you saw in the view finder as you pressed the shutter.
I guess you have a point there Still, I guess it goes with the territory of being relatively new to shooting with an SLR - I feel like I'm gradually improving, but still don't have a lot of confidence in my composition skills. Chimping gives me another form of feedback, especially for DOF...
02-08-2011, 10:13 PM   #10
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Good point on DOF, the VF gives are very misleading impression on what your DOF will be in your image.
02-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #11
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Deriding 'chimping? I think of that as the 'Kodachrome' syndrome because that's apparently where that attitude started.

In the early days of B&W film, 'chimping' was done in the darkroom and serious photographers accommodated the fact that many adjustments were expected to occur after the exposure. Consider the elaborate Zone System and its variations which were oriented to finishing the print in the darkroom. Pushing, pulling, dodging, burning, cropping (you ever shoot 6x6 film format?) and toning were a critical part of making the exposed frame into a printed product. The lack of a convenient Delete button demanded attention to the economics, as well as the skills, of shooting film. Still does.

Then along came color photography and Kodachrome film. Getting it right in the view finder was both a necessity and a real PITA because the photographer pretty much lost all control of the final result once the film was exposed and sent to the processor. You see where this is goin' yet?

There is a more elegant way to 'chimp' however. Make the test shots before the action starts and build yourself at least a mental plan of action so you have foreknowledge of the appropriate settings for the anticipated conditions so you're not distracted later. Most lighting doesn't change for a given scenario, especially indoors under artificial lighting.

I thought I'd died an' gone to photo heaven when I could afford to buy my first TTL-metered Spotmatic. I'm doubly ecstatic today to have instant review, a histogram, the delete button and virtually unlimited 'film' on an SD card. I 'chimp' early an' often and make no excuses for it!

If you can't stand to be seen lookin' at your LED in public, learn to verify through test exposures and adjust the settings before the action starts. That, and accumulated experience, is how the pros shot unforgiving Kodachrome before LED screens were invented.

H2
02-08-2011, 11:00 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
Why would you need to chimp for composition though, it's what you saw in the view finder as you pressed the shutter.

The problem with chimping too much is you will miss shots.

What you think you see is not what you always get - blinks, shots a fraction of a second late, etc. And machine-gunners have 5 misses and maybe 1 keeper.

Chimp during breaks, not while shooting.
02-08-2011, 11:21 PM   #13
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Aye, chimp when convenient. Test-shoot, chimp, adjust, become more perfect. When the action is hot-n-heavy, just keep shooting.

I sometimes chimp for composition, more often chimp for exposure. If you're worried about exposure, bracket. And remember that much can be fixed in PP. If the images are important to you, DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET THEM!

And ignore any criticisms of your behaviour unless you're loudly flatulent. Hay, that's one way to keep the critics away!
02-09-2011, 04:35 AM   #14
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All I care about is my final images. it's no-one elses business how I get there, if I take loads of shots or almost none, check the screen afterwards or not, post-process or insist on a perfect SOOC JPG. I also don't care that some people think the only worthwhile photography is done with fully manual settings - I stick to what I know as it's what I know and it works for me!

I've started using the LCD screen more as I've realised the value of checking the histogram, and as I adjust from a camera with a 95% viewfinder to one (K7) with a 100% viewfinder I'm also using it to check I have everything in, after a run of photos with a bit missing.
02-09-2011, 04:59 AM   #15
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Chimping isn't so much bad/wrong as it is more of a show of prowess and 'hey I've got some great results here.' Once the stage is reached when good results are expected from shoot, then there's less chimping and more experimenting with and shooting the scene from numerous perspectives.

Thatls how I see it.
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