The pop ularit y st akes

Nikon’s lens range runs from su­per-wide to su­per-tele­photo, but which are the most popular fo­cal lengths?

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

Take a look through prac­ti­cally any se­ri­ous col­lec­tion of no­table hand­held pho­tog­ra­phy from the first use of 35mm film in the late 1920s right up to to­day, and you’ll see that the great majority of images were, and con­tinue to be, shot with lenses close to stan­dard fo­cal length. Yes,the def­i­ni­tion of what qual­i­fies as stan­dard is vague, but what all th­ese images have in common is that they of­fer views that are easy to imag­ine see­ing with our own eyes.

Of course, what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing in that view is any­thing but or­di­nary in a good pho­to­graph, and that’s a clue to the rea­son why near-stan­dard lenses dom­i­nate the ar­chives of pho­tog­ra­phy. The majority of pho­tog­ra­phers have al­ways con­cen­trated on find­ing in­ter­est­ing con­tent, of­ten to the ex­clu­sion of search­ing for stronger graph­ics from more ex­treme lenses.

Tak­ing a cou­ple of hun­dred main­stream images from a va­ri­ety of sources and ar­rang­ing them from su­per wide an­gle to su­per tele­photo, the re­sult looks like a bell graph with stan­dard fo­cal lengths crowded in the cen­tral peak. This is a bit dif­fer­ent from the im­pres­sion you might get from look­ing at the list of Nikon lenses (or any man­u­fac­turer), but it’s worth paus­ing for thought.

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