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A photographer in the act of "chimping".

Chimping is a colloquial term used in digital photography (especially when using a digital single-lens reflex camera) to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera display (LCD) immediately after capture.

Some photographers use the term in a derogatory sense to describe the actions of amateur photographers, but the act of reviewing images on-camera is not necessarily frowned upon by professional or experienced photographers. [1]


[edit] Origin of the term

The term 'chimping' is attributed to Robert Deutsch, a USA Today staff photographer, in September of 1999 when writing a story for the SportsShooter email newsletter.[2]

The phrase is most likely derived from comparison between the sounds and actions some make while reviewing images and those of an excited primate (Oooh! Oooh! Aaah!), or when a photographer is completely absorbed in the act of analysing, admiring or proudly displaying a shot to others.

[edit] Views on chimping

Stephen Johnson, in his book on digital photography, writes:

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.

He further points out that using the LCD panel effectively means that a light meter can be left at home and if the shot isn't right, it can be tried again. Therefore, the idea that only "wannabe" photographers need to look at the LCD and check the exposure, image, or both may be unreasonable.

However, this activity can lead to missed photo opportunities, especially in fast-paced action scenarios. A photographer can be occupied looking at the previous shot rather than actively photographing a scene unfolding in front of them. This activity may also be a symptom of the photographer not understanding what they are doing and relying on instant feedback to see if they guessed well enough or not, hence possibly its association with "newbie" photographers.

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