Lens Usage in Percentage Terms

Screen shot 2011-12-03 at 10.21.46 AM

It is sometimes useful to determine, in percentage terms. So using metadata filters in Lightroom, I did a quick estimate of how often I use various lens. The chart above records the breakdown in the last two years. The chart below displays usage in 2011:

The breakdown per lens (or lens group) is as follows, with red referring to usage in the last two years, and blue to just the last year:

K & M Glass: 39%, 39%. This refers to older lenses that don’t identify themselves to the camera, so I can’t determine how much of each lens that I’ve used. There are four such lenses in my arsenal that get regular use: the M 20/4, the K 28/3.5, the K 35/3.5, and the K 50/1.2. As a rough guess, I suspect I’ve used the K 35/3.5 the least, the K 50/1.2 the most. These are all manual focus, manual aperture lenses. The M 20/4 and the K 35/3.5 were only added in the last year, so I’m surprised the percentage for the last year isn’t greater than the last two years combined.

DA 12-24: 20%, 15%. This refers to the DA 12-24 f4 ultra-wide angle zoom lens, which, overall, appears to be my most used lens in the last two years, but which I have used less in the last year, and haven’t used even once since my trip to Colorado early in autumn. This lens no longer fits my shooting style and I’m planning on selling it.

DA 10-17: 9%, 12%. This refers to the DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, a fisheye zoom lens. It’s usage is slightly on the rise, and it performs much better on the Pentax K-5, a camera I purchased earlier this year.

DA* 300: 16%, 18%. This refers to my DA* 300 f4 telephoto lens, which I refer to as my “critter lens,” because that’s it’s primary use. My most used lens in 2011. Given that it’s my most expensive lens, it ought to be my most used lens.

DFA 100: 7%, 8%. This refers to the DFA 100 f2.8 WR macro. Usage of the lens has remained fairly constant. Nonetheless, given the stunning quality of the lens, I feel I should use it more often.

A 35-105: 8%, 8%. This refers to the A 35-105 f3.5 zoom lens, an old lens first released in 1984. This lens has an odd place in my kit. It’s the one zoom lens that I almost always take with me when I go shooting, but rarely use. I’m surprised it scored as high as 8%, because I didn’t believe I used it that often.

One more type of chart is useful to evaluate lens usage: i.e., which lenses are producing one’s best images. The following chart indicates how many images from each lens (or lens group) produced images which I have rated three stars or above:

The strong score for the DA 12-24 is a bit misleading. It’s a lens that has gotten a lot of use on various trips to Oregon and to Glacier National Park. I also used it quite a bit on the first part of my trip to Colorado, but much less on the second part. I rarely ever use it when I shoot locally.

What can be learned by such statistics? They are merely a glimpse into shooting habits, providing partial insight into what lenses are being used and what lenses being neglected, as well as which lenses are producing and which aren’t. They can give a partial indication of which lenses need to be weeded from the herd and which might need to be updated to something better.