I would like to get a better quality zoom lens, so I’ve started looking around the web for recommendations on replacements. The options seem endless. I’m even considering a couple of primes instead of one zoom.
Background: I only have two lens; the EF-S 17-85mm kit lens that came with my Canon 40D and a Canon EF 80mm 1.8.
Naturally, one of my first questions is… what focal length should I get? The 17-85 is a good range, but do I really use the different lengths? Could I just get a nicer, wide prime and physically move in or out to compose?
That got me thinking… I wonder what focal length I use most of the time?
I use my 50mm 25% of the time
I use my 17-85mm 75% of the time
17mm: 17% of the time (Yes, I double checked the math.)
50mm: 25% of the time
85mm: 14% of the time
Most of the remainder is wider than 50mm (47%)
How do I know?
Phil Harvey has created a really cool command line tool called ExifTool that can scan all your photos and export a list! From there, you can open in Excel and evaluate your data. It works on Windows or Mac.
I think I will look for a better lens in the 17-55 range. And also something longer than 85mm.
Phil’s Website: http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/
How it works: I use Lightroom on a Mac to manage my photos, so I navigated to my Pictures directory in terminal:
then ran this script
exiftool -r -T -filename -focallength -ext CR2 2008 > 2008.txt
That scans all files ending in “CR2” in the 2008 directory (AND all subfolders) and exports them to a file containing the image name and the focal length. The file is named 2008.txt. I opened the txt file in Excel and created a pivot table to find the sum of each focal length (or you could use another method).
Feel free to comment if you want to try it, but need help.