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Thread: Help for determining what lens to get next

  1. #1

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    Help for determining what lens to get next

    A common question is "what lens should I get".. "Well that depends"

    I found something that I want to share that I think will help some people on where to start.

    A bit of info first. I have a Nikon D7000 with two lenses.. the 16-85 DX and the 70-300.. so I pretty much have full coverage from 16-300mm. What I want is some fast glass where I tend to take the majority of my pictures..

    I use LR3 for my basic photo organization and most minor tweaking. I found an awesome plugin for LR3 that plots info from your pictures.. For example if I want to know what lens to get next.. perhaps it might be helpful to know what your shooting habits are currently. This plugin http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/data-plot does that and more. Here is it plotting the focal length of all the approximately 30,000 pictures I have taken. Help for determining what lens to get next This tells me that 48% of my pictures are taken between 16-23mm. I know I love shooting landscapes.. and this solidifies that my tendencies are to shoot with a wide angle.. so perhaps a fast lens around 10-16mm might be a great choice.

    The counter argument might be.. well why do I not shot as much at the other focal lengths? perhaps it's because my glass is not fast enough . I have spent the last six months or so trying to pick my next lens.. and my personality keeps me second guessing my choices.. but perhaps this may help someone.

    -Devoh
    Last edited by devoh; 9th November 2011 at 04:02 PM. Reason: img missing

  2. #2
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Hi Devoh, will this plugin tell you which lens you were using at the faster apertures? you might use you shorter lens at smaller apps to get depth of field. so the question needs to be which focal length are you using at in low light conditions, or do you want the faster glass for reduced depth of field? sooo many questions, so few answers What do you consider fast?

    mark

  3. #3

    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    This question is rather like: “Why do I need a food processor, computer, cell phone, ATV, motorcycle, pressure cooker, garlic press or whatever…?”


    And now, you cannot imagine life without “the thing.”


    Therefore, how do you know until you get the new lens and try it out?


    If it does not prove useful and you take care, you can sell it with little loss.


    I have a 105mm f/2.8 VR
    Micro-Nikkor that I use for macros and portraits; not nearly as often as I use my standard lens, still; it sure is nice to have when I need/want it.


    That said, most people have too many lenses and only use a very few. I still have film equipment and far too many computers. Nowadays, so many lens effects can be accomplished via PS processing. Cheaper and lighter too.


    Less, is definitely more in the digital age.


    I am coveting a super telephoto lens that I shall probably only use a few times a year. Does it make sense to spend big bucks? Probably not, but renting is not cheap. So, in my opinion one is better off buying and then selling if it does not work out.

  4. #4

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    ahhh well my 16-85 only opens up to f/3.5 uggg.. I did get to play with my neighbors "Nifty 50" a Nikon 50mm 1.4D... I must say I really like f/1.4.. naturally just not the cost of fast glass.. sigh..


    And yes the plugin could be better with more info.. but I found that info interesting in itself.

    -Devoh
    Last edited by devoh; 9th November 2011 at 07:09 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Fast Glass is certainly not a criteria for landscape photography. Unless you need better lenses (not necessarily faster); I would seriously consider a tripod instead of a new lens. Tripods are night and day improvers of landscape imagery. Shooting at f/8 or f/11 on a rock solid tripod can make even a consumer grade lens competitive with top-line glass.

  6. #6

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Actually I am really looking at the Tokina AT-X116PRDXN AT-X PRO DX 11-16mm Ultra-wide Angle Lens.. It's a f/2.8 which is a little bit faster than my f/3.5 max telephoto's. I really like architectural and landscape pictures.. So I think that would be a good fit for me. I must admit that going with third party lenses makes me nervous.. but Nikon really doesn't having anything like it in price that I could even remotely afford.

    I did take some amazing shots with that "Nifty 50 f/1.4" of the night sky. I was amazed at the stars that came into view..

    I've played with some time lapses of clouds.. LOVE them.

    Have you "guys" seen this guy's work https://www.facebook.com/TSOPhotography ? This video's leave me speechless.

    My interests are so broad that matching lenses to them is challenging on a budget.

    -Devoh

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    ExposurePlot version 1.14 - Freeware, will give for each folder in your computer, the focal length, aperature, shutter speed, and ISO, in both graphical form as well number of times used, for those without the lightroom add on

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    I love this site, and the people!

    @Ken I will be checking that out!

    Thanks

    -Dave

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    As mentioned, there are other tools too that make statistics over lens usage, as ExposurePlot. It does not read RAW, but it performs statistical functions for jpegs.

    However; you might have some feel for what you need. Myself I wouldn't get much valuable information from such a program or plug. My most used lenses don't give away any focal length or aperture data, and they are rather odd. Presenty most of my photos are taken with a Pentacon 29 mm or the shortest focal length of a Tamron SP 24-48, both of them mounted with a tilt adapter on a m4/3 camera. My next lens will definitely be shorter, and I think it will be a Tamron SP 17 mm, also to complement my tilt adapter.

    Most people don even know the benefits of tilting the lens. But having used view cameras in the past as well as Rollei SL66 I have grown fond of the possibility to focus all the way from the tips of my toes to infinity, and that was something that I missed even though small sensor cameras have great DOF.

    So I guess a resourceful photographer would know rather closely what's missing in the equipment bag. And I am quite sure that no program would have told me that my most useful addition was tilt.

    And one could argue that tilt might be less necessary at such short focal length, but with the 17 mm I will have the angle of view that I want for my weed shots, as well as perfect focus from about six inches to infinity. DOF cannot do that.

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    For those on OSX, and unwilling to run ExposurePlot via a virtual machine, there's also Photostats.

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Interesting that the focal lengths plotted by the two programs are fairly different.. hmmmm now which one do I believe. Perhaps that is because I shoot in raw. I see that Inkanyezi said it doesn't work with raw.. so it may just be reading the few jpegs I have.

    Yup.. I went to ExposurePlot home page.. and it says for jpegs only. Well that solves that mystery.
    Last edited by devoh; 10th November 2011 at 12:02 AM.

  12. #12

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Argh... I am driving myself nuts over what to get next. Here is my problem. I am going to Germany next year for two awesome weeks. So I want my camera gear ready for any shot..

    So should I get a flash? The Sb-700 maybe? Then I would be able to take some better shots later in the day. Do I get a lens that would improve what I have in my favorite focal length? ie I love landscapes and architecture.. and have taken 48% of my pictures in the 16-23mm range.. though I also love macro shots.. and astrophotography.. lol sigh...

    Since I have the 16-85mm and 70-300mm lens currently.. maybe the next piece of equipment should be a flash.. then after get a "specialty" lens..

    Anyone have any helpful advice for me?

    -Dave

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    I strongly second Richard's recommendation:
    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    ... consider a tripod instead of a new lens...
    I got mine before a trip to Europe, and I did not regret it.

  14. #14

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Interesting.. I do have a tripod, but it's one of those sub $100 ones..

    Quote Originally Posted by vladimir View Post
    I strongly second Richard's recommendation:

    I got mine before a trip to Europe, and I did not regret it.

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    Quote Originally Posted by devoh View Post
    Interesting.. I do have a tripod, but it's one of those sub $100 ones..
    It's always price vs. function, isn't it?

    Ideal tripod (a) costs nothing; (b) weighs nothing; (c) has a size of a pencil when collapsed; (d) is as tall as you when deployed; (e) is stable like a rock when 10 pound camera/lens is attached to it. (f...g...h... - add as desired)

    It sounds like you are already satisfied with the requirement (a)... If the rest of the features are also satisfactory - I think you are all set.

  16. #16

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    Re: Help for determining what lens to get next

    ok..

    Let's assume I have a good tripod. I also have a 16-85mm and 70-300mm lenses..
    What would you want next to go shooting in a once in a lifetime vacation.

    Flash? or lens?

    Part of me is saying that I wish I had the 18-200mm lens.. That is a really great do everything length.. though it does everything ok and not awesome But the length would prevent me from having to change lenses often. I have a feeling that due to my shooting style I will be using the 16-85 for most of my time there.

    sigh I think I just need to win a lottery..

    -Dave

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