A big surprise from the gallery...

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by blw777, Jun 28, 2007.

  1. This weekend I went through the exercise of putting together an online gallery. I gathered a bunch of my better images and fiddled with the pages. When I got finished, I noticed that I had a fair number of images from the 18-200VR in there. I went back and actually counted, and I was floored by what I found.

    The 18-200 was indeed well represented - in fact, it was the top producer, with 19% of all images. After that were the Sigma 10-20, Nikon 35-70/f2.8 and 200/f4 Micro, and the 10.5mm took 5th place, each with about 9%. 19 lenses had at least one in the collection.

    The interesting thing about this is that I almost never bring the 18-200 when I am going out on a photo expedition. If I'm headed to Yosemite for the week, the 18-200 stays home. If I go to a baseball game, there's no point to bringing it unless it's a day game. And it isn't suited to some sorts of work, such as birding. And even with that sort of a disadvantage, it still produced almost twice as many in the gallery as the next closest lens. That surprised me. A lot.

    The particularly salient thing here is that these weren't chosen from of all the shots that weren't the back of the lenscap. These were chosen from the ones I like best, and I chose the approx 0.8% based on how good the image looked overall - composition, image quality, processing, the whole chain. I put a whole bunch into the gallery, and then I removed ones that weren't up to par.

    Bear in mind also that I have a lot of good glass - 35-70/f2.8, 80-200/f2.8, 200/f4 Micro, 135/f2, Tamron 90/f2.8, 35/f1.4 are all in the category of "I haven't heard anything negative about these" and I have confidence in most of the rest (eg Bigma, 55/f2.8 Micro). And as noted, that's what I take when I'm bent on producing good images.

    Oh - and I've only owned the 18-200 for about half the period that contributed to the collection. If I'd have had it throughout the whole period, the proportion might have been even higher. (Note that the same could also be said of many of the other lenses that I've acquired relatively recently, especially the 35/f1.4 and 80-200/f2.8.)

    Interestingly, I own four 50-something mm lenses, and the three non-macros collectively struck out: a total goose egg. I constantly see people told that the 50/f1.8 is a must-have, and I've always been skeptical. Now I know why: I don't use it much and I produce fewer keepers from that length.

    The 18-200VR demonstrated its versatility, too: in ten categories, it placed in every single one except one, namely birds.

    This tells me a few things:

    - There are opportunities all the time, and a lot of them come when I don't have a lot of other gear with me.

    - The 18-200 definitely is not embarrassed in good company. Sure the copies on the web are only 1024 pix on a side, but I've just spent a week with the originals. I can easily pick out a couple of the lenses by their sharpness (notably the 200/f4 Micro and 35/f1.4) but not many of the others.

    - I need to think of the 18-200 in a different light, at least if there is enough light...

    If you're interested, the gallery is at http://images.blw.net/ngallery.
     
  2. cali-kid

    cali-kid

    191
    May 26, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Good for you. I am kinda second guessing my decision abuot selling my
    18-200 vr. It was (is)a great lens. I never knocked it. I was just following the crowd and bashing it. Shame on me. :-(
     
  3. Brian

    It's good to see an objective fact based perspective in life every now and then to challenge our opinions.

    I have been spending a lot of time reading lens reviews and thinking about the lenses I want, but unfortunately much of these decisions come down to opinion. Sometimes even our own opinions about what we want are not fully informed by what we are really interested in.

    Your story is one that I will remember every time I get the urge to buy another lens. i.e. go back and see (from my images) what I truly like to shoot and what are the circumstances that allow me to get the shot.
     
  4. Brian, thanks for that honest and interesting assessment. The 18-200VR was my very first lens but being swayed by some of the negative reports from time to time I've been tempted to sell it for "better" glass. But the fact is I'm the limiting factor most of the time, not the lens. Anyway, I'm encouraged by your post and will redouble my efforts to learn how to get the most from my 18-200VR.

    Gary
     
  5. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Very good gallery set up. Well done
    Wonderful images as well
     
  6. Dave

    Dave

    Feb 7, 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    Good to hear that you're enjoying the 18-200 VR. If I ever purchase another body for myself, I'll be getting an 18-200 VR to permanently sit on my D50 so that my wife can just pick up the camera and have a decent zoom range and use it to take pictures. I think it is a great lens for what it is. Is it pro-quality, probably not, but that doesn't mean that it can't take good pictures that are pleasing to the eye!

    Regarding the 50mm f/1.8, I also bought into the hype and bought this as my 2nd lens. Yes, it is fun to mess with the low light capabilities of it, but I found the focal length just a little too long for most indoor shots and not long enough for a telephoto, so I just recently sold mine. I was never too fond of the images it produced either, but then again it was only a $100 lens.
     
  7. rlacy

    rlacy

    316
    Apr 22, 2007
    San Diego
    Brian-
    First of all, thanks for providing a lot of data vs. information about the lens. You also have a very impressive gallery. Some very wonderful images. Lastly, thanks for validating what I have thought for a long time. The 18-200 can produce some wonderful images. The fact that it is light weight and has a versatile focal length makes it an obvious choice to take on trips or expeditions. I have always been impressed with the IQ in the right light and I am amazed at its close focus ability. I have not done the research to determine "keepers' photographed with this lens, but I am positive my percentage would be close to yours. I have good cameras, a good selection of lens, I am a reasonably skilled photographer, and I find that I use the 18-200 regularly. I think it is a wonderful lens.

    Thanks again.

    Ron
     
  8. Hi Brian. Nice gallery!

    A quick question: how did you determine the lens used to capture a particular photo? I can get that info on a photo-by-photo basis using a number of photo viewers but is there a way to do that wholesale? Thanks.
     
  9. I used a tool called image-exiftool in a shell script running on my Solaris box. It came as Linux source code, so if your files are on a system is running a Linux flavor or on MacOS you can do the same thing, but I'm not sure what I'd recommend if you're on Windoze.
     
  10. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    i really really enjoyed your gallery..btw, though i didn't look at all your images, one of my faves was of the 'vice and hammer' in your travel gallery..50 1.8 if i remember correctly, iso 640?

    my favorite glass tends to be the one mounted on my camera...;-))
    ...thanks much for sharing this. that's a lot of work, very well done.
    ;-))
     
  11. DBrim

    DBrim

    330
    May 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Great gallery. I love the design for it, too. Your landscape/yosemite photography in particular is outstanding. A quick comment, I like how when you click on the images, it goes to the next one (great, really, I'm considering implimenting that on my gallery), but it doesn't work for all of them (some go back to the index).

    And yes, I just got the 18-200 and I'm finding it mounted on my camera most of the time. I've only had it and the 12-24 for two weeks, which has given me two gallery-worthy images, one from each. We'll see what happens in the future.
     
  12. Why you're right... so they did get Schneider after all. I guess there's a bug somewhere in my script!
     
  13. Thanks for the compliments.

    The gallery software isn't mine - it's JAlbum, which is a freeware. I use the Chameleon "skin", which is also freeware. Setting that up was a matter of tinkering with various settings until it "looked right." Far from having to write a ton of Java or JavaScript code, but also not as simple - or at least as quick - as it sounds.

    As for the click-to-next, it's a bit more complicated than that - if you click on the right side of the image, it goes to the next image. If you click on the left side, it goes to the previous one, and if you click in the middle, it goes back to the index. It had me mystified for a while too...
     
  14. barisaxer

    barisaxer

    278
    Apr 6, 2006
    Albany OR
    Nice Gallery. I agree the 18-200 is so versitile and has a bit of a bad rap in my opinion. I really love mine and produce some great images with it. I have found a high percentage of my favorite images are with this lens. I have sharper glass but this is sharp enough and very versitile. Thanks again for sharing.
     
  15. nykonian

    nykonian

    570
    May 4, 2007
    New York
    Good post and nice galleries! I might need to start spend more time with 18-200VR after I read this.
     
  16. Nice gallery. Always regretted selling my 18-200. Now I am activelly looking for one.
     
  17. Very Nice Gallery

    I really loved the pictures of Yosemite and the flowers. Nice timing on te Vernal Falls rainbow. Over the years, I have photographed yosemite many times. Its one of my favorite places to go for its sheer beauty. Your gallery inspires me to dig out my photos and go back again now that I have a digital SLR (D80)
     
  18. Larlec

    Larlec

    30
    Jun 18, 2007
    northern Colorado
    nice gallery, especially the bird work.
     
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