Chimping vs Metering

Started Nov 21, 2013 | Discussions thread
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quadrox Senior Member • Posts: 1,127
Chimping vs Metering

When manually setting exposure settings and/or flash output, there is two generic ways to ensure the right settings. The first is to meter the scene and/or lights and then calculate the correct settings based on that. The other way to is to start with settings that should be close to right, check the result image and/or histogram and then make any necessary changes. The last approach is apparently called chimping and often regarded as wrong/sloppy/unprofessional.

My question is why?

In both approaches you start with not knowing the exact correct settings, you try something, check the result (histogram or light meter), fix any issues, then take the final shot. They are completely equivalent for all the important parts, except that metering will probably take more time/be more of a hassle.

Ok, you might say, the basic aprroach (try, check, fix, shoot) is the same, but metering is more precise or gives better control e.g. when setting light ratios in flash photography.

Wrong I would say. You know your flash power setting, so you control the ratios on the flash and you have precise control. Ok, perhaps your flash power deviates from what is printed on the box, so you take a reading once(!) to know what your flash does, and then you can compensate for it in the future without ever having to meter again.

What about overlapping lights, you ask, surely chimping won't help you to understand the ratios when your lights overlap?

Well, I say, metering won't help you there either, and it is best practice to keep all your lights separate, so this should not be an issue anyway.

Another argument might be that the histogram is not a RAW histogram, in that case I would refer to Magic Lantern which provides this.

A final argument might be that your flashe power output changes with age, that one is a bit harder to argue against, but currently I don't believe this to have such a big effect to require metering for every single shot.

Please note that I am creating this thread to learn and understand, if I have made a mistake or missed something important, please don't hesitate to point it out, I would be happy to learn something new.

 quadrox's gear list:quadrox's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM +2 more
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