Chimping... or not?

By Martin Joergensen | July 12, 2008 12:25 PM | Permalink | Comments ( 0)

chimping.jpgYou may have heard the term, chimping. Chimping is what 9 out of 10 (if not 99 out of 100) photographers do when shooting digital. They check their images on the back of the camera to see what they just shot.
Many of us chimp immediately after each shot or after each series of shots. Others chimp in breaks in their shooting.

It seems that many hard core photographers disable the image review on the LCD completely. It can give faster shooting speeds, remove the distraction of the image popping up, and real pros need not look at each image. They're of course confident that what they just shot is perfect.
They may replay a single frame or two when they start shooting to make certain that they are not completely off track with exposure, and maybe look at their captures on the LCD when they're done.  Some even seem sure enough of their merits that they just empty the card onto the computer and do the review in post processing once back home.

Well, I'm not confident enough to be that cool. I chimp! Vigorously! And I love it. And judging from the chimping I see around me when looking at other photographers, so do they. There's nothing like ensuring yourself that the image has not only been caught, but that it's also reasonably well composed and exposed. I did turn off the automatic LCD review several times to see if it would work for me, but after having spent seconds staring at the pitch black LCD after each image or group of images was shot, I turned it on again.
The benefits of the quick image review is unsurpassed by almost any other feature I can think of in digital cameras. I remember back at my film era where hours if not days (and weeks in my last months with Kodachrome) would pass before I knew whether I had set the flash right, nailed the right expression or just managed to get the main subject in focus.

minolta-viewfinder-sensors.jpgNow I chimp, assess composition, look at histograms and enlarge the image to 100% and make sure that I have what I need. And I love it. And I love showing the images to my models and subjects. Nothing more fun than to show people what they look like and make them feel comfortable with the situation.

My only issue is that the screen will light up as soon as I have shot an image and let go of the release button. That is quite disturbing, especially when shooting in darker conditions and keeping your eye near the viewfinder. My Minolta 7D has a nice feature: a sensor that simply senses when you have your eyes near the viewfinder and turns off the LCD or keeps it turned off. Sony has kept this feature in their development of the Minolta cameras. Simple and very smart.


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