Here’s my Lightroom tip for the week – Lightroom 3 has a great feature where you can filter your library photos by metadata. I don’t think this was available in Lightroom 2 – I know of some people who have add-ins or scripts to try to extract this data, but Lightroom 3 gives it to you standard.
So what can you do? You can basically browse your library by camera, lens and even by focal length! Just click on the filter dropdown in the top right and choose Metadata to bring up this screen.
From here, it doesn’t take too long to grab the numbers and put them into an Excel spreadsheet to run some reports on how you’ve been taking your photos.
For me, this is invaluable. I’m in the process of moving from a 1.5x crop sensor (DX) to full frame (FX), so I thought I’d take stocktake of my lenses and what focal lengths I use most to help me figure out what lenses I should buy next.
These numbers are from the whole of 2010 – which included a holiday to Japan and Singapore and a couple of event shoots along with normal day to day photos.
Firstly, lets look at my lens usage. It looks like my Nikon 17-55 2.8 was my most used lens. This is no surprise – I have this lens on my camera ALL the time, and was my travel lens too.
The next used was the Sigma 70-200 2.8. This is the lens I use for dance, theatre and music concerts.
As my 17-55 2.8 is a crop lens (I just parted with it), I think I would really need to get something similar for full frame – the 24-70 2.8 I’m guessing.
Although I love the look of my 50 and 85 primes, they didn’t get much time on my camera. And my wide angle Tokina 12-24 had little time too.
But then I had a look at the focal lengths I used on my 17-55. For some unknown reason, there didn’t seem to be any photos at certain focal lengths – not sure if that’s the lens computer or just me. But I found it fascinating that over half of all the photos taken with the 17-55 were at the 17mm focal length! I wonder if I could get away with a wide angle prime, especially if I take into account, say, all the photos from 17-20mm as one bunch. Or maybe a wide angle zoom only.
I think on my holiday to Japan, almost 75% of the photos were at the 17mm focal length!
Using Excel, it’s pretty easy to translate this into full frame focal length equivalent numbers. With a crop factor of 1.5, my 17mm becomes 25.5mm.
It’s made me think – should I go for a 24-70, or should I try to buy just a 24mm prime and 35mm prime to add to my existing 50 and 85?