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Have you heard the term Chimping, in relation to photography and wondered what it is.

Lets start by saying that its not a complimentary statement, but often mistakenly applied.

Chimping is when a person stops taking photographs in order to look through the images they have taken. It can also refer to checking every photograph that you take on the LCD as soon as taken.  The term comes about through the actions observed, in some, of excitement and the noises Oooh! Oooh! Aaah. Also the habit of some sharing their images with others. The term was first used in an American sports email newsletter in 1999, 'cross chimping' when you compare with others what you have managed each to get was also introduced at the same time.

There is a difference in opinion between photographers about the merits of checking or chimping, some donít like it and feel more shots will be lost through the habit, others see it as a sensible move, and in particular when checking for blown out highlights or curves, as well as using the magnify function to check the focus.

Since this was first used, monitors have greatly improved both in size and clarity and the information available to us has multiplied. Today we can get a far better idea of the quality of the photograph, and in particular the exposure and sharpness of the images.

Our view is that itís a matter of personal choice and we would never criticise a photographer for wanting to check, and in many situations it is wise to do so rather than shooting a whole load of material that is below the quality you could manage or requires a lot of unnecessary editing. On the other hand if you are in a fixed location with unchanging light, then perhaps you only need to check the first few and then one occasionally. Sports photographers and wildlife photographers then may find they can confidently take a large number, concentrating on the photo opportunities without needing to check every shot, and when distracted checking it is when you are likely to miss the shot you were hoping for. With landscape, macro, and many other types of photography, you are unlikely to miss an opportunity by checking and probably are expecting to shoot nearer to perfect images, so perhaps a lot of checking is justified.

Chimping can become a habit, and is made worse by having the camera menus set so that every image is shown on the monitor when taken, rather than looked at when you want.  Wildlife photographers often turn off this function as they donít want a light from the display to light their face when in a hide.


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