In fact the ultimate in chimping happened in the movie business.
For years now when shooting a movie in film, the director and DPs would shoot a video assist that they could play back to see if they liked the shot, the blocking, the acting, the lighting etc. It saved them a ton of money on extra takes and hours of time.
They simply mounted a digital video camera with the main camera and captured the identical shot on both cameras.
Then they'd have a "group chimp".
The Leica came about to CHIMP exposure and lighting of movie sets. Hear that, Leicaphools? ;)
Originally Posted by blansky
The OP was about learning photography with film or digital, not working at weddings. This thread risks becoming another "digital vs film" thread if we abandon the original question (a horse already inhumanely punished by the way ;) ).
"Chimping" is bad when it is performed as a matter of fact, in ordinary situations, and in substitution of understanding certain aspects of photographic technique.
Beyond that, it's as good as any tool, for there's no tool on earth which doesn't serve a purpose.
Photographers who chimp "instead of" visualise the results apply a bad technique and this will certainly worsen the general quality of their production, coeteris paribus.
Photographers who chimp as a technical necessity for a good work do the right thing. Studio works requires spending maybe days in the chase of one image, that can obviously involve chimping, or great use of Polaroids, lots of bracketing, different films and voodoo rituals ;)
That's a hard question... I learned with an Exa 1b (very primitive SLR without light meter) and 50mm lens and it tought me a lot. Firstly, you need to really understand shutter/aperture/ISO with a camera like that, secondly it tought me to properly compose an image before taking the photo and not take 100 photos and select the single one that might be ok.
However, if I needed to teach someone photography today, I'd use digital. Being able to view the pictures right away can be very useful. For the very beginning (until the exposure is properly understood), I'd set it to manual exposure and probably even use an external light meter. Most people who only know automatic cameras don't understand the basics, though they're very important. A 1000+$ camera is no good when you have to ask "how do I make the background blurry?" or "why do all the pictures look shaky?"
If you want to learn something you need think clearly and it's a very bad idea to let a computer do all the thinking for you.
Later on, the automatic modes are very useful (I shoot mostly in aperture priority or program mode with Canon EOS), but they're no good, when you don't understand what they do.
The best method would probably be large format with polaroid, but that's got little to do with the kind of "mobile" photography that most people are into. It combines the completely manual aspect with being able to see the results right away, but lacks the possibility for experiments, unless you have all the time and money in the world.
Learning photography is completely different from being a professional photographer. If you shoot weddings, you probably know how to use a camera and what all the settings do. It's the results that count. As a beginner, the results don't really matter, but it's about understanding the technology.
On the topic of chimping and polaroid: There's a difference between deciding "I need a preview, because the lighting situation is rather difficult" and looking at the display after every shot to decide if you'll keep an image, probably missing a dozen good opportunities while doing so. With my d*g*tal camera, I turned off the automatic review screen, so I'm not even tempted to do it. When I'm not sure about an exposure, I can still look, but it's not like the involuntary habit of "chimping"
That isn't entirely correct. Motion picture film has so much latitude that we would never use the assist to make any decision regarding exposure or lighting and would roundly berate anybody that did. Assist pretty much exists so directors can second guess what they saw the first time around. As a director of photography/cinematographer I never looked at it. The dailies were where the rubber met the road.
Originally Posted by blansky
Different strokes. All the movie shoots I worked on they used them for what I mentioned. Didn't say anything about exposure, but light placement. Also used in tight location shots where the director has a hard time being in the same room.
Apparently Jerry Lewis was the first to use it to direct himself and get instant feedback.
Actor-director Jerry Lewis invents and makes first use of a video assist system on The Bellboy,
an idea that Francis Ford Coppola perfects on One From the Heart (1982).