Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Analysing focal length data in Lightroom

I occasionally want to analyse a set of images to work out what focal lengths I used most to create them; typically they will be in a collection in Lightroom. There is no easy way to do this within Lightroom (up to v2.5 at least) other than to laboriously look at each image's metadata or search in the text for specific focal lengths. ImageReporter allows you to do this and this posting gives more details.

Recently I selected 247 of my favourite images and placed them in a collection. I wanted to know which focal lengths I used most to produce these images to inform me where I should spend any spare cash on lens upgrades.

For some reason there is no quick way to do this in Lightroom. Marc Rochkind, however, has written a free utility called “ImageReporter” that allows me to query Lightroom for this data. It is available from [ here] along with a short description/tutorial of how it works by Marc [ here ].

The screenshot below shows the user interface:

The selectable search criteria are pretty limited, but you can choose from several file format types via a dropdown (see screen shot above), star rating and rough time periods. You can also search the whole catalog, picks or the quick collection.

To search my top 247 images in their collection I simply put them into the Quick Collection in Lightroom, ticked the appropriate box; hit the report button and a few seconds later the results came back – see below for a sample of the output.

It produces a whole range of reports grouping the data by lens make & model, camera make & model, cropping factors, the average focal length for each lens, ISO setting and more.

There is no print function in ImageReporter so I saved these reports (via the option in the File drop down menu) and opened them in Notepad – you can use Word or pretty much any text editor I guess.

ImageReporter rounds all focal lengths reports to the nearest 10mm which personally I find irritating, but it does allow for some brevity in the report and is much better than the alternative manual methods for extracting the data.

No doubt Adobe will get around to including this sort of data reporting in Lightroom one day, but until then ImageReporter is a very useful and simple to use piece of software –especially good as it’s free.