After a year... my most frequently used focal lengths

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    Over the year, I've ingested about 4500 photos into my Aperture library. I extracted the metadata using this tool and then plotted my most frequently used focal lengths into the attached bar chart.

    Over most of this time, I've owned this equipment:
    - Canon 7D
    - Canon EFS 10-22mm
    - Canon EFS 17-55mm
    - Canon EFS 60mm macro
    - Canon EF 70-300mm

    A few observations:
    - Nearly 25% of my pictures were taken at 17mm which is the wide end of my 17-55mm walk around lens. This makes me wonder if I'm settling for 17mm on a lot of these shots when I should be switching to my 10-22 for an even wider angle and just being lazy or this is an appropriate focal length for a lot of shots. I guess I should separate the overlap in the 10-22 and the 17-55 to see what that reveals.
    - Perhaps not surprisingly, other lens limits are popular focal length choices... for example 10mm, 55mm, 60mm, 70mm, and 300mm, which also makes me wonder if I'm often making do with what I've got to work with at the moment.
    - Outside of the lens limits, I seem to use a fairly even distribution of focal lengths.

    One of the reasons I did this was to evaluate if I might benefit from upgrading my 70-300mm lens which is perhaps the weakest lens in my kit to something like the 70-200 L or new 70-300 L. What this tells me is that 15% of my photos (or 683 out of 4500) are at 70mm+ and 200 are in the 200mm+ range meaning if I upgrade, the 70-300 is probably the better choice.

    Anyone else have any thoughts or observations on this?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Big Sky country
    #2
    Virtual, thanks for the extractor tool link. I am doing an analysis right now, but most of my pictures in my Aperture library were old ones from iPhoto which were a combo of my old P&S camera, and uploaded pictures from my daughters' cameras-a Canon 5D, a T1i, and another P&S, as well as my present T1i. So the info may not be relevant to my present usage. However, i will soon library my iPhotos to my backup HD, wait several months, then recheck. Anyway, thanks again for the tool. Your reasoning regarding a possible new lens seems sound.
     
  3. B.A.T macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    Idaho
    #3
    Thanks for the program I'm going to check that out.

    What you are saying about your photos doesn't really surprise me. It seems natural that for many shots you are most likely to zoom in or out as much as the lens on the camera will allow. I just bought a 11 - 16mm wide angle lens and I bet after a few months most of the shots will be at 11mm but it will be interesting to find out.
     
  4. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #4
    I did a very similar thing recently, as I have been looking at a new lens and was curious what focal length(s) I tend to shoot most often at. I own the Nikon 18-200 and 12-24 lenses, and have on occasion rented/borrowed a couple others like the Zeiss 35mm f/2, 70-200, and the 70-300.

    The line graph shows the focal lengths in divisions of 1mm, the bar graph is where I binned each group into a 10mm range.

    It's pretty clear I am a wide angle shooter, with <24mm being the large bulk of my shots. I found it interesting that I saw spikes at 35, 50, and 70mm- I think I tend to shoot in "pseudo-zoom" mode where I tend to zoom to the labeled numbers on my lens.

    I also noticed that I don't really shoot much between 70 and 200mm- probably because my 18-200 is relatively slow at those lengths and I always am a little let down by the quality. If I am shooting long it seems I just rack it out to 200mm and go- one of the reasons why I am looking for a new lens in fact. I want to replace my 18-200 with something a little better in optical quality and am willing to sacrifice the extended zoom range as I don't often use it anyways. For the future I will just buy a 70-200 because another problem I have at 200mm is that when I shoot that long I usually want a fast aperture anyways.

    P.S. as I use lightroom there is no way (that I have found yet) to sort by specific focal length. You can search by lens and perhaps even by aperture but not focal length. What I did was to use the OS X spotlight function, which can search the metadata in the images by focal length. I just put in say 10mm, and recorded the number of results, then went to 11mm, and so on. It was a little bit of manual work but only took maybe 10 minutes or so. With the spotlight instant searching the results show up really fast.

    Ruahrc
     

    Attached Files:

  5. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #5
    It's interesting, it seems your favorite focal length is 24mm. If so, how much would you estimate that is from the narrow end of the 12-24 vs the wide end of your 18-200? What lens is on your camera most of the time? Also, are you shooting crop or full frame?

    I find this fascinating. Anyone else have any data to share?
     
  6. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Big Sky country
    #6
    How do you get these graphs? I just a list on the left and numbers running across the page that were meaningless like l0.1.2.
     
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #7
    I think it is a little of both. I used to shoot my 18-200 a lot at 24 because that was the focal length in which there is the least geometric distortion. And the 12-24 I shoot a lot at 24 because if I have the 12-24 mounted and I want to take a narrower shot, I go to 24. Also the 12-24 is supposedly best at 24mm so I tend to use that lens at 24mm when I want to shoot at 24.

    The spike at 18 I think is more indicative of shooting the 18-200 at min. focal length, rather than shooting the 12-24 at 18.

    I don't know the exact numbers but I think it's almost 50/50 now. I find myself using the 12-24 more than the 18-200, partly because I seem to prefer wider angle shots, and partly because I don't seem to enjoy using the 18-200 as much (partly why I am looking for a new lens).

    This is on a DX body.

    Ruahrc
     
  8. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #8
    After running the tool, under the File Menu, use Save As to create a CSV file. The data you want will be in that file.
     
  9. Hitrate macrumors regular

    Hitrate

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    #9
    OP > I think, more than anything, it's a psychological reason: you say you got a 17-55 lens - and you use 17 and 55 the most. Call me crazy, but I think beyond what kind of images are taken at those focal lengths etc. - it's those boundaries (you can't go wider than 17, you can't go further than 55) ergo you use those two the most.
     
  10. Rogthedodge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    #10
    Does your present 70-300 stop you from doing what you want? Is it not fast enough or sharp enough? Is there anything else it can't do that other lenses can? Then consider a replacement.
     
  11. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Big Sky country
    #11
    thanks
     
  12. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #12
    I agree, but does that mean that I'm lazy and not switching lenses as much as I should, or that those really are good focal lengths for what I'm shooting. I suspect it's a bit of both... I can get the shot I want at either 17 or 55 but some of those shots would probably benefit from a wider or narrower focal length. At any rate, this exercise has enlightened me so that I will pay more attention when shooting at the extremes of my 17-55 to see if I might benefit from a lens change.

    The key problem with my EF 70-300 is that it seems to consistently result in photos lacking in contrast. It's also difficult to tell what other problems it has - it's a classic case of you can't miss what you never had. I have read that this lens is lacking in contrast, and notably soft after 200mm. I might try renting a couple L telephotos to see if I'm blown away with the improvement before deciding to upgrade.
     
  13. Rogthedodge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    #13
    Ahah! I see your point. I don't know what sort of photos you take, but if you take a lot of shots of long distance subjects, there is a loss of contrast due to all the dust in the air.
     
  14. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #14
    There is a metadata filter you can enable to display focal length in the library view. The value is an absolute and not expressed as a '35mm equivalent'.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. SBell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    #15
    In the Lightroom Library module when in Grid view you should see a Library Filter bar at the top of the grid thumbnails (if you don't see it search the help for how to display it). If you select MetaData in the tab you can filter all your images by multiple variables including lens, camera, focal length, etc.
     
  16. TheReef, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

    TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #16
    The program stalls for me, saying project 9, image 1 of 0 :(
    I guess it's a bug where there's a project with no images...somewhere, any ideas how to quickly find such project?

    EDIT: solved, look for "untitled project" :p Program no longer gets stuck :)
     
  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #17
    Oops :eek:

    Anyway I'm glad to see that little project I knocked together is working and providing some interest :D
     
  18. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #18
    It stalled again for a valid photo now. 17 of 17. :(
    Any indication as to what "Project 53" means? In "All Projects" view, the 53rd project doesn't have 17 photos.
    I'm using Aperture 2.0.

    It looks like a very useful tool when it does work!
     
  19. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #19
    The order that the projects are returned to the tool by Aperture does not, necessarily, match the order they are displayed in. I'll see if I still have the source code when I get home. I might be able to improve the readout a bit. If I can find out what the problem is I can try and fix it but right now I can't offer much help!
     
  20. TheReef, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010

    TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #20
    If I could identify what project/photo it was stalling on that'd be a big help :)

    EDIT: I tried again, it's up to Project 177 of 333 now...fingers crossed :p
    Don't you love un-replicable errors :p

    EDIT2: Stalled when I quit Aperture.
    Then it launched Aperture 3.0 trial and wouldn't stop launching it after I continuously quit it (not really a big problem, just need to start again).
    It's late, I'll try again tomorrow.

    EDIT3: It worked :)
     
  21. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #21
    @robbieduncan
    Your neat little tool unfortunately chokes on my library as well. Is there any way I can diagnose the problem?
     
  22. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #22
    At the moment I don't know what's causing it to choke. I suspect it's getting an error/condition it does not expect, quite possibly from the AppleScript part that is talking to Aperture. I'll see if I have time to look at it. I'm pretty sure I posted the source code at some point if anyone want to try and work it out...
     

Share This Page