Advice on wide angle options

Started Aug 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 4,734
Suggestion - do you use lightroom?

One of the best things I ever did for myself in terms of understanding where I should be spending on lenses and where I shouldn't, was to use Lightroom's filtering capability to analyze what lenses and what focal lengths I shot - most frequently, and which focal lengths were used for my best work (meaning competition winners and good sellers.) I analyzed my DSLR data for the first time back when I had my D2X, and have re-done the analysis about every year since - most recently looking at what I shot with D700, D300, and then in micro4/3.

It stopped me from spending much at all on telephoto capability over 100mm - one long zoom is more than enough for someone who shoots less than 10% of images at 100mm or longer. The reduction in spend made it pretty easy for me to justify spending for quality. When I looked at mid-range and wide, I found I shot almost nothing between 35mm and 70mm. Most 35mm tended to be street work, often at night; most 70mm and up to 100mm tended to be studio work or macro work. For travel, I'd often reframe subjects at a couple of different wide focal lengths when working an image. That's convinced me to not pay much attention to wide primes other than for ultra-dim light street shooting.

Because I have confidence that when I buy a lens, it's going to get used heavily, I'm very comfortable saving up and buying great glass. It's also given me good insight on specialty lenses, lenses that aren't going to get used a lot but when they're needed, they're needed. I keep my 105mm macro on the upgrade for quality path, but as little as I used the 60mm once I had a 105mm, I'll probably never have another 60mm. Having the Sigma 105mm macro (a gift from my wife, who isn't familiar with my analysis) seemed to me a wonderful idea... if 105mm is good, wouldn't 150mm be better? What I learned was 150mm seemed to only come out to play for butterflies or skittish or dangerous subjects - 105mm was what my eyes saw.

Looking at your ratings of images with different lenses is also very instructive. Many of my best selling images were shot with focal lengths shorter than 24mm equivalent, as were almost every prize winning image. Almost all my portraits were either 24 or 35mm environmentals, or 85-120mm head shots.

It didn't protect me from the 16-35mm purchase... I still think the range is right, it's the lens that isn't.

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