Zooming to the end...

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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New Day Rising
New Day Rising Senior Member • Posts: 1,737
Zooming to the end...

I have recently been selling off my DSLR gear and moving to a combination of Sony FF and m4/3. Trying to think a bit strategically about lens purchases, I had a look at the camera information in Lightroom to get a sense of which focal lengths I tend to favour. I had an idea of what I might find, but the results still surprised me.

In recent years I have used everything from phone cameras to compacts to Nikon 1" to m4/3 to APS-C to FF, so the range of focal lengths was broad and confusing. I have a good idea of my telephoto wish list, so I decided to just concentrate on my use of wide-short tele zooms on APS-C (the format I have used most).

Here is a couple of graphs showing my use of these lenses. As is pretty obvious, I tend to use the two ends of the zoom and not much in between. So on my Sony 16-50mm, I used 16mm 29.3% of the time and 50mm 27.9% of the time. The next most used was 23mm, which was only 2.7% of the time.

The pattern on my Tamron 17-50mm was much the same, but wide was used less (25.0%) compared to the tele end (33.9%). On my Nikon 18-55mm (second chart), the effect was more pronounced again - 18mm was used 15.2% and 55mm was used 42.5%. I also have an old Nikkor 28-80mm - that was 11.0% at 28mm and 48.0% at 80mm.

On each of these lenses the focal lengths in between the ends hardly got used (for the 18-55mm, Lightroom seemed to not capture many of the odd-numbered lengths for some reason). What I cannot know with any of these lenses is whether I would have used even wider or longer if available (ie, if I had a theoretical 14-50 on APS-C, would 14mm have received all the attention - I suspect so...).

So, it looks to me like I should forget about zooms and just get a nice prime or two - ideally at the moderately wide end!

I wonder if anyone else has looked at their zoom usage and found anything similar?

Sorry about the different scale on the x-axis on this one (ie, only showing every second point).

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Happiness lies in thinking or doing that which one considers beautiful - HIK

 New Day Rising's gear list:New Day Rising's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro Nikon D50 Canon EOS 700D Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +4 more
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