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Aid for Choosing the Right Lenses

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Theo, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    I have used Micro-4/3 system and kit lenses that came with my E-PL5 for a little while. The Olympus 14-42mm and 40-150mm zoom lenses are good lenses for outdoor use in good lighting but indoor photos have not turn out consistent with these lenses due to their small apertures. I have done research on many lens models available to this system and came to the conclusion that a bright compact prime lens would nicely complement the kit lenses. However, from all the research, the only thing I came up with is that there exists a wide selections of M4/3 lenses of various focal lengths and aperture ranges. As a newbie, I didn't know how to choose.

    Some members suggested that the best way to determine what lenses to buy is go through one's library of photos to see which focal lengths one tends to shoot in the past. Great idea but how would I do that systematically? I have over 20,000 photos accumulated over 13 years.

    To effectively tally what focal lengths and apertures I have been using most in order to choose the right lenses, I need software to tally up all these usage statistics. I couldn't find any such software that does this effectively so I rolled my own application. It has helped me to find my trinity prime set of 14mm/25mm/45mm the scientific way.

    I realize that the program I have written may help other users to select the right lenses for their kits. If you wish to give it a try, you can download it from my website at http://www3.telus.net/lens-gas. This software is a labor or love from this hobby. It is and will always be free and you can share it with anyone you wish. Give me feedback as you please.
     
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  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Heh wished I'd known about this earlier! I did it manually after importing all my previous photos into Picasa, starring my favourite shots, and looking at the EXIF data for them. I was kind of surprised that 28 mm came out overwhelmingly on top, followed by 50 mm. My first fast prime actually ended up being the PL25 though, since I found a used one for a good price - I think most of my shots since getting it are 50 mm equivalent :tongue:
     
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  3. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    705
    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Daros
  4. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    Its very nice of you to share the fruit of your labor with us all. I did it manually myself, of course limiting the photos I compared as there was no way for me to manually compare all my photos in a reasonable time frame. My analysis indicated that I used my zooms primarily at the extremes. So, I used my 14-42 mostly at 14 and 42. But that was true of all my zooms both in u4/3 and my old Canon gear. More than half my photos were at the zoom extremes, with the rest spread about quite a bit over the rest of the range. So, of course I started with the P14 and O45.

    What I am beginning to think, though, is that while looking at what focal length you shoot most with your zooms can be helpful, you can actually train yourself to see and use most any focal length. What I mean is that I find that for people shots I almost always use the 045 over the P14 and where in the past I might have zoomed to 30mm on the zoom, since I only have the 45, I adapt what shots I look for and how I position myself to work with the 45.
     
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  5. gsk3

    gsk3 Mu-43 Regular

    124
    Jan 29, 2012
  6. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
  7. SS76

    SS76 Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Nov 2, 2013
    You are a gem. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am a complete rookie with interchable lenses and waiting for my EPL5 to arrive with the kit lens. I figure for my daily good light outdoor use the kit lens will do the job, but indoors I was thinking the 17mm 1.8 would be best. I scanned my main folder and this is what your program told me.

    80% of my shots are 23 - 27mm in focal length (35mm equiv). So now I'm wondering, am I better off with the 25mm 1.4? Or maybe I am misinterpreting this....perhaps its the 12mm f2 I should be looking at (24mm at 35mm equivalent)?

    I should be clear, all my pictures are taken with a travel zoom that I used this tool for, so the f number wasn't helpful as they wouldn't be lower than 3.5, but what it did tell me was that most of my photo's were at f3.5. Lots of indoor shots where the faster lens would have really helped.

     
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  8. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    I agree with this, if I were to look at my previous most used focal lengths, it would also be at the ends of the zoom (most commonly the wide end). This can sort skew the data, particularly if I were to use data from my earlier days of using a DSLR, where I had no concept of what focal length does to the image.

    Another common way to assess what focal length suits you best is to sticky-tape your zoom at the desire focal length, so it acts like a prime. See which focal length you find most comfortable to shoot. Also compare the differences between wide angle and telephoto to see the difference in compression and exaggerated foreground.

    For myself, the 17mm 1.8 is my all round low light lens. I often am using the 17 for indoor low light photos where there can sometimes be limited space. The 17 makes it easier to fit in largish groups of people. At 17mm, I find the wide angle distortion is not overly noticeable.

    I've used the 25mm (50mm equivalent) focal length before. I've found sometimes it is hard to fit in large groups of people. Hard to use if want to take complete photos of buildings/architecture. I like the focal length for 2-3 people half body shots, though.

    I like the 45mm for individual head/half body shots and the compression and bokeh it delivers.
     
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  9. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Thank you so much! Your work is greatly appreciated. I had no idea how many of my shots were predictably within certain ranges. I think it might be really cool to try and shoot with many fewer lens choices. I think that I might just be able to reduce my collection of lenses quite a bit. Sell many zoom lenses and purchase a few more good prime lenses. I had forgotten that back in the day I shot my old konica exclusively with a 50mm f1.8 and a few times with a borrowed 150mm lens for the occasional portrait...
     
  10. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
  11. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    Your most used range is 23-27 means, in m43 term, either the 12mm/2.0 or the 14mm/2.5 is suitable.

    There is no surprise that your most used aperture is f3.5. Everyone wants brighter lenses for low light and indoor photos, and narrow FOV to isolate subjects and for more 3D results. However, for landscape shots or in good lighting, larger aperture is not as important.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  12. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    Glad to hear that the app is useful. It has helped me to buy as few lenses as possible and maximize my lens usage. I also found some of the app results predictable. I took it as validation of my choices.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  13. SS76

    SS76 Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Nov 2, 2013
    Thanks. Figured that out as I relooked at the data. The 12mm f2 for indoor low light and the kit lens for all around carry lens in good light. If I have fund's then a portrait 45mm as a nice to have.
     
  14. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    Lens Usage Analyzer
    Version 1.3 now available.

    v1.3
    *** Bug fixes
    *** Tested for compact system cameras from Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, Sony, Canon, Samsung, Pentax, and others
    *** Added option to skip sub-folders in scans
    *** Fixed a bug in focal length report generator - now produces more accurate focal length reports
    *** Added delete button in "Crop Factor Table" editor
    *** Added button to delete scan result log file in log viewer window
     
  15. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    Lens Usage Analyzer
    Version 1.4 now available.

    v1.4
    - Fixed rounding error in producing focal length usage and file reports - improved accuracy.
    - Files are skipped after editing? Some photo editors move JPG parameters from default EXIF to embedded XMP area without notice.
    - Added limited support for embedded XMP metadata in JPG files so that more edited files remain parsable.
     
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