Dries Buytaert

Analyzing my photography history

Hello
Leica M10-R

I have over 10,000 photos on my website. All these photos are managed by a custom Drupal module. I wrote the first version of that module over 15 years ago, and continue to work on it from time to time. Like this weekend, when I added a new feature.

Digital photos have EXIF data embedded in them. EXIF data includes information such as camera model, lens, aperture, shutter speed, focal length, ISO, and much more.

My module now extracts the EXIF data from my photos and stores it in a database. Having all my EXIF metadata in a database allows me to analyze my photography history.

For example, over the years, I've owned 11 different cameras and 10 different lenses:


SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT(camera)) AS count FROM images; 
+-------+
| count |
+-------+
|    11 |
+-------+

SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT(lens)) AS count FROM images;  
+-------+
| count |
+-------+
|    10 |
+-------+

Here is a SQL query that shows all cameras I have owned in the last 22 years, and the timeframe I used them for.

SELECT camera, MIN(DATE(date)) AS first, MAX(DATE(date)) AS last, TIMESTAMPDIFF(YEAR, MIN(date), MAX(date)) AS years FROM images GROUP BY camera ORDER BY first; 
+---------------------+------------+------------+-------+
| camera              | first      | last       | years |
+---------------------+------------+------------+-------+
| Sony Cybershot      | 2000-01-01 | 2003-08-01 |     3 |
| Nikon Coolpix 885   | 2001-11-13 | 2004-04-11 |     2 |
| Nikon D70           | 2004-04-03 | 2006-11-19 |     2 |
| Nikon D200          | 2006-12-31 | 2012-06-17 |     5 |
| Panasonic Lumix GF1 | 2011-10-11 | 2014-10-26 |     3 |
| Nikon D4            | 2012-07-01 | 2018-08-26 |     6 |
| Sony Alpha 7 II     | 2015-02-25 | 2019-01-09 |     3 |
| DJI Mavic Pro       | 2017-07-23 | 2019-01-18 |     1 |
| Nikon D850          | 2019-03-16 | 2021-04-24 |     2 |
| Nikon Z 7           | 2019-04-07 | 2021-08-31 |     2 |
| Leica M10-R         | 2021-11-18 | 2022-06-09 |     0 |
+---------------------+------------+------------+-------+

Finally, here is a chart that visualizes my camera history:

Chart that shows my cameras and when I used them
The timeframe I used each camera for. The white numbers on the blue bars represent the number of photos I published on my website.

A few takeaways:

  • I used my Nikon D4 for 6 years and my Nikon D200 for 5 years. On average, I use a camera for 3.3 years.
  • I should dust of my drone (DJI Mavic Pro) as I haven't used it since early 2019.
  • In 2019, I bought a Nikon D850 and a Nikon Z 7. I liked the Nikon Z 7 better, and didn't use my Nikon D850 much.
  • Since the end of 2021, I've been exclusively using my Leica.

I shared this with my family but they weren't impressed. Blank stares ensued, and the conversation took a quick turn. While I could go on and share more statistics, I'll take a hint from my family, and stop here.

— Dries Buytaert