Wednesday 18 January 2017

2016 Favourite Photos & Thoughts on Lenses & Focal Lengths

Camp on the Cairngorm Plateau, March 14. Sony NEX 7, 16-50 lens @ 16mm, ISO 400, f 6.3@15 sec, tripod

Last year I took 3,500+ images. Here are my 15 favourites - though at another time I might pick a different selection!

Whislt sorting through the pictures I remembered a lens review by Alex Roddie in which he wrote 'when I analysed all the thousands of photos I’d taken with my zoom lens, I found that most of them were at about the 35mm focal length (53mm in full-frame terms). It’s how I see the world.' What, I wondered, was my most-used focal length? Did I see the world in one particular way?

The Cairngorms, January 27. Sony NEX 7, 55-210mm lens @ 210mm, ISO 400, f8@1/1600 sec

Through the wonders of Lightroom I could find out. I knew that most images were taken on my 16-50mm lens as it's often the only one I carry and it's my main one when I take more than one lens. I wasn't surprised then to discover that over 2,800 pictures were taken with this lens. Of these just over 600 were taken at 16mm and at 50mm, which did surprise me a little. I hadn't realised I used each end of the zoom so often. That still left well over half the pictures taken at other focal lengths and here there's not much variation with the highest number being 108 images at 30mm.

Forest, mist & mountains, January 31. Sony NEX 7, 55-210mm lens @ 113mm, ISO 800, f8@1/80 sec

After the 16-50 lens my next used lens are the 10-18mm wide angle zoom and the 55-210mm telephoto zoom. The former I carry on most trips and it's a lens I like a great deal so I was surprised to find I only took 325 images with it, the most popular focal length being 10mm, with which I took 130 pictures. I really must use it more! In competition with the 10-18mm lens is the Samyang 12mm, which I bought for night photos as it's a f2 lens and so lets in more light than the f4 10-18. I took 50 images with this.

Cairngorms camp, February 27. Sony NEX 7, Samyang 12mm lens, ISO 400, tripod

With the 55-210mm lens I took 400 images, many of them of wildlife at or close to home - sometimes through a window! Unsurprisingly over half these were taken at 210mm.

Sparrowhawk, February 24. Sony NEX 7, 55-210mm lens @ 186mm, ISO 100, f6.3@1/250 sec

I also have a Sigma 30mm f2.8 lens which I hardly used, taking just 16 photos with it, and a Sony E 30mm f3.5 Macro lens, which I bought mainly for photographing old slides on a lightbox. I took 98 pictures with it. I intend taking many more this year, again of old slides.

Isle of Rum from Morar, May 13. Sony NEX 7, 16-50mm lens @ 50mm, ISO 100, f8@1/250 sec

My conclusion from this analysis is that I don't have a favourite focal length and that I like zoom lenses - which I already knew. It has made me determined to make more use of the 10-18mm lens though.

Anyway here are the rest of my favourite 2017 photos.

Evening in Glen Feshie, May 21. Nex 7, 16-50mm lens @ 27mm, ISO 100, f8@1/320sec

Rainbow over Victoria Bridge, Deeside. Sony NEX 7, 16-50mm lens @ 42mm, ISO 200, f8@1,000 sec

Glen Doll from Jock's Road, May 23. Sony NEX 7, 16-50m lens @ 17mm, ISO 100, f8@1/20 sec

Young chaffinch soliciting food from a greenfinch, July 5. NEX 7, 55-210mm lens @ 210mm, ISO 1600, f8@1/125 sec

Small tortoiseshell butterfly, September 7. Sony NEX 7, 55-210mm lens @ 210mm, ISO 100, f8@1/250

View from Red Peak Pass, Yosemite National Park, September 24. Sony NEX 7, 10-18mm @ 14mm, ISO 100, f8@1/250

Mirror Lake & Mount Whitney, Sequoia National Park, October 12. Sony a6000, 16-50mm lens @ 50mm, ISO 100, f8@1/250 sec

Guitar Lake & Mount Hitchcock, Sequoia National Park, October 13. Sony a6000, 16-50mm lens @ 20mm, ISO 100, f8@1/160 sec

Strathspey & the Cairngorms, December 27. Sony a6000, 16-50mm lens @ 28mm, ISO 800, f8@1/10 sec


  1. Great set of photographs Chris. Love the one of Victoria Bridge where I once saw a hare running across. Think I'll throw my camera away!

  2. Awesome pictures.. Love the river one! :)