I can't help thinking that without a bit of chimping it would be very hard to get to a stage where you can take pictures reliably enough to not need to chimp - modern cameras are too hard! Rapid feedback is a good way to understand everything from whether or not the AF was actually enabled, or to learn how much exposure compensation a given picture is likely to need given the ISO setting, hightlight tone widget value, metering mode, etc etc...
I have been using an old manual-focus SLR of late and it is quite liberating to find that the only camera settings to worry about are aperture and shutter speed (though I agree that the processing costs are a bit steep!).
That's why I use mine as manually set as is possible with the exception of work that's just out of the range of expected reality: Auo ISO country in available darkness, but still manual focussing.
But thatís the point: digital photography has become a more complex matter (if allowed so to do) because of the digital failures Ė the peaks and troughs donít function as smoothly as they do with film and, so, you get dreadful cut-off in bright areas and noise at the other end, both something quite ugly to behold. The answer Iíve found for myself - using Nikonís Matrix metering which is very accurate Ė is that one simply estimates the subject and increases or decreases exposure a smidgen, manually.
Even film, unless in a controlled studio/lab situation isnít going to cover the brightness range thatís out there: the medium ainít yet invented! But, what does exist, is the backlog of habit that allows certain types of over-exposure to be acceptable depending on where they impinge on the subject. Take a sunny, backlit head and shoulders: you accept, totally, that blonde hair is going to burn out around the edges, so the halo becomes a definite aesthetic plus, even: it adds to the 3-D effect and isolates the subject from the background, unless youíve picked the wrong one! And itís not confined to blondes, that effect, either. It works, to an extent, with all hair colouring. In fact, that was one of the main used for the Zeiss Softars: creating a light halo around the subject. And digi can ruin that, too. In my website Iíve got a shot of a girl sitting on a rock in a Japanese (might have been Chinese Ė I canít remember the nationality for sure) garden in Singapore. Sheís holding a can of lager (well, it was a lager calendar) and I used a Softar on the Nikon just to create that very effect of a light surround. So, the minute you attempt to sharpen a little bit for the web, the damned effect vanishes almost to zero. Yet, to publish sans sharpening it all looks too soft, which isnít how a Softar works. Of course, were it more important, one could mask and mask and mask, but this is meant to be just for fun. But thatís simply my opinion, and if you want to see good use of the backlit effect turn to Bokelberg and look at his head shots.http://www.bokelberg.com
Digital seems to have brought about an obsession with so-called quality in the sense of technique overtaking artistic merit. I see lots and lots of great technical work around but not any increase in great photographic content
. Without that, we may as well stay with the brick walls and save a packet on travel...
(Just for Slobodan: that falls in line with my credo regarding validity ;-) )
In the end, neither film nor digital are going to give you the best until you, as photographer, know what youíre doing Ė more or less. And donít forget: even the greatest snappers in the world still eff up now and again. Itís called reality.