Discover your lens preferences with WhatTheLens

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by techsplorer, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. techsplorer

    techsplorer Mu-43 Regular

    127
    May 8, 2015
    Townsend, TN
    Rodion "Rod" Molina
    I've been having an internal debate about a new lens acquisition (and consolidation) as I've been getting more familiar with the types of photos I enjoy capturing the most and have been working out the lens kit that best fits my style. One approach I've been using is to look at my own library to sort out my lens usage. While another is to use places like Flickr and 500px to filter through photos shot with specific lenses. From these methods I started getting a better idea of which types of photos appealed most to me, in terms of visual qualities like focal length, depth-of-field, sharpness, etc.

    I stumbled on a site called whatthelens.com via this recent DPReview article: This simple web tool helps you find the lenses you like best

    Great work by the developer on this as it happened to reinforce my own findings on favorite lenses. For me, it primarily suggested the 75mm f1.8 from Olympus and the 35-100mm f2.8 from Panasonic. I happen to already have the 75mm, which coincides with the recommendation, and the Panny 35-100 has been on my radar for a while now (in contention with the new Oly 12-100 f4). As secondary choices, the 42.5 Nocticron & Oly 45 f1.8 were also suggested. So it looks like my style preferences lean into the telephoto range, though one round came up with the Oly 17 f1.8 as a choice.

    Give it a whirl and share your findings!
     
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  2. Drdul

    Drdul Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    216
    May 16, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    Richard
    I was skeptical, but it recommended the only two lenses that I use, the 17 mm f1.8 as the first choice and the 12-40 mm Pro as a second choice. I'm guessing that it's not the outcome that dpreview intended, but they just saved me money as I now have scientific proof that I don't need to buy another lens.
     
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  3. techsplorer

    techsplorer Mu-43 Regular

    127
    May 8, 2015
    Townsend, TN
    Rodion "Rod" Molina
    I was also skeptical but curious enough to find out how it worked. It has some good potential as an anti-G.A.S solution for sure, particularly in cases like yours, where you already have the recommended lenses.
     
  4. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    753
    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    I think it's a little too simple. Those are the lenses recommend to me even though I've owned both and didn't like them enough to keep them. Or the 12-40 comes up as it is a favorite amongst 500px posters so the chances of it being recommend are high.

    If they keep developing this it could be a neat tool. Right now I think there isn't enough variety in gear used on 500px for this to be terribly accurate.
     
  5. techsplorer

    techsplorer Mu-43 Regular

    127
    May 8, 2015
    Townsend, TN
    Rodion "Rod" Molina
    Agreed, which is why I said it has potential. Like any other type of "AI" application, the more data it can learn from, the better and more useful the results...
     
  6. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    753
    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    I agree. Right now I think the real problem is that by the time I had choosen 10 pictures, I was seeing a lot of duplicate images come up. Might be they need to consolidate the Olympus and Panasonic lists into a m43 one.
     
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  7. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Top Veteran

    982
    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    Simon
    My scepticism is based on two things:

    Wrong priority - I've always bought lenses because I have a gap in my line-up that needs filling, not because I have money burning a hole on my pocket. If only it was the other way round - only another 30 years until I can retire...

    Comfort zone - if you pick pictures based on what you like now, you won't ever learn something different. Unsurprisingly it selected portrait lenses for me, but I have everything I need in that category already (and those that I don't have are either on my list or have been discounted already). Henry Ford said "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses" - surely there's something in that for us too.
     
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  8. Well it confirmed my suspicions, it said I need one of each. :biggrin:
     
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  9. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    898
    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    I wonder if its just looking at the lens used, or if it takes the focal length into account as well.
     
  10. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I think you've hit the nail on the head twice here Simon.

    I've always wondered about it when even semi-experienced shooters ask "what lens should I buy next?". Buy the one you need but don't have! That should be somewhat obvious. If it is not obvious you probably don't need a new lens.

    If you are just buying one to play with something new that is fine too, but it hardly requires AI to figure it out for you. When I was early in to this I would often buy the used lens that I hadn't used that was the best bargain. Great way to learn and expand your horizons without going broke.

    Too often people seem to act like the next lens they buy will be the last one they buy and only one they will ever be able to use.
     
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I don't think that site works for me, because I ended up just picking the photos with pretty models! I totally forgot it was about focal lengths! ;)
     
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  12. masayoshi

    masayoshi Mu-43 Regular

    178
    Dec 5, 2016
    Salt Lake City
    Masaaki
    I tried to pick BIF photos in Panasonic/Olympus collections....I couldn't pick 20 because there are almost no BIF photos! :wtf:
     
  13. techsplorer

    techsplorer Mu-43 Regular

    127
    May 8, 2015
    Townsend, TN
    Rodion "Rod" Molina
    I was really curious to see how people responded to a discovery tool like this.

    Like many things, the apparent usefulness of this type of tool can vary based on perspective. If you're simply trying to find out which lenses enabled the shots that you selected, then it does its job well. There's really nothing more that I can tell that it does other than taking your selections and using the EXIF lens data to sort out out the predominant lens, pretty straightforward. I did a similar exercise using Lightroom's "sort by focal length" feature for my own library which unsurprisingly gives a comparable assessment of preferred lenses.

    However, if you're trying to figure out what next lens you "need", then it could work if the selections should probably be based more on imagery that appeal to you, but are less likely to be similar to your own images, perhaps because you lack a particular focal length, sharpness level, or DOF in your existing lens collection. Many times we look at other peoples work, whether it's photography or otherwise, for inspiration and guidance. From a discovery perpsective, an app like this can be very helpful. Too often I've realized that a photo I'm admiring was shot using the equipment (lens and/or camera) I already have, or even with much less. This can be humbling or at the very least, englightening, and can help you shift to improving your technique instead of seeking out new gear.

    I think you can still make your picks based on what you currently like though, without the risk of staying in your comfort zone. It can be that you like a particular style of photo but it may not be a style you're experienced with at the moment but want to explore. For me, I wanted to see more astro-photography, long exposure and light painting images to choose from. This goes back to what seems to be limited depth of photo data that the app is drawing from.

    Anyway, it's an interesting app, at the very least fun. It also reaffirms that idea that choosing things like lenses often isn't as simple as boiling it down to focal lengths and other technical specs. Ultimately, it's personal.