Today I came across an interesting Adobe Lightroom tool. Cheyne Wallace at Lightroom Dashboard is a Software Developer based in San Fransisco and an avid photographer in his spare time.
LR Dashboard was built to better understand your habits while shooting and as it turns out perhaps enlighten you with what gear you really need to buy or keep. Its an interesting tool to give you insight and I believe Cheyne has more new features and fixes coming over the coming weeks.
Let’s get started. Firstly let’s get something out of the way, you are NOT uploading your Lightroom Catalog over the internet to their site. The site simply reads your Lightroom Catalog to provide you with the generated graphs. While I’m sure the LR Dashboard application won’t do your LR Catalog any harm I would highly recommend creating a copy of your current catalog and use that to load.
NOTE: There are some users who have had problems with loading large catalogs and Cheyne has noted this and is working on a tool to read your catalog locally and then use that in the Dashboard site.
Now that it’s generated the graphs let’s take a look through them. I should note that the graphs are based by default on the last 2 years of data found in your catalog however this can be changed from 1 month to 12 years. Obviously the longer the time period you select the more time it takes to compile the data and generate the graphs however I never found that it took more than a couple of minutes total to generate 12 years of data.
First graph shows you your monthly photo volumes. In my sample catalog you can see I had a busy time in November.
Camera Statistics is interesting and confirms that I really do grab my Canon gear more than any other gear in my arsenal.
Now, this is where things start to fall apart for me. While I have 11 cameras in the above chart I really do wish I could select 1, 2 or 3 different cameras and have the remaining charts generated from those selected cameras only.
Having the ability to select specific camera bodies would allow me to better understand the lens apertures and focal lengths. I know for a fact I shoot differently with my Canon gear vs. my Olympus gear. To have all the stats blended together doesn’t provide me with enough meaningful information. I’d also like to see “lens equivalents” in perhaps a base measurement of 35mm equivalent. This would more accurately show where I really shoot. Having a focal length reported at 100mm is different depending on the body/sensor you are using. For example:
- Canon 1DX Full Frame – 100mm on lens IS 100mm focal length.
- Canon 1D Mark IV 1.3 Crop – the same 100mm on lens is 130mm focal length equivalent (in 35mm terms).
- Olympus OMD E-M5 – 100mm on lens is approximately 200mm focal length equivalent.
I’m surprised the Dashboard doesn’t report any shutter speeds, perhaps that’s coming yet.
Similar to selecting a certain camera body, I’d like to select a specific lens and LR Dashboard generate graphs based on that camera/lens combination.
Overall LR Dashboard is a very well thought out application and for basic use yet. When I loaded my complete LR Catalog the Dashboard reported 54 cameras in 12 years (that’s probably about right) however like I mention above unless I can filter the data down to specific bodies and/or lenses the data quickly became less useful.
NOTE: I took a LR Database copy and removed all reference to any bodies and lenses that I didn’t want to have graphs generated on, I found it quite useful. Extra work and extra caution required but it can be done.
I’m certain we’ll see Cheyne enhance the Dashboard in the future. Cheyne has a great app here and I’ll certainly be coming back to check it out again.