This Website Helps You Choose Lenses Based on Photos You Like

Finding the right lens for your project just got a whole lot more interesting.

Have you ever looked at a photo and thought, "I want to shoot something like that! What lens did that photographer use?" Well, a new website called What the Lens is aiming to help you choose lenses based on images that you like. Created by photographer Willie C, What the Lens is a tool that allows you to scroll through their library of landscape, macro, wildlife, portrait, and travel photos, choose 20 of your favorites, and then uses its magic to pick a lens based on your preferences.

According to PetaPixel, the site works by sourcing photos from 500px and examines the EXIF data of your 20 selected photos to choose up to three ideal lenses for you.

Is this a perfect tool for choosing lenses? Not by a long shot. Choosing 20 photos is kind of tedious, especially when all I want is to know which lens was used on one photo in particular. There's also no way of filtering suggested lenses based on price, so What the Lens may show you three lenses that cost tens of thousands of dollars. And even though the site's creator has big plans for What the Lens, as of right now it's limited to those made by Canon. Also, and I hate to nitpick, but "images" is misspelled at the bottom.

However, it's still entertaining to go through a bunch of photos, click on ones that you like, and see which lenses pop up once you've chosen your 20. Hopefully Willie C rolls out with a bunch of cool updates to make What the Lens more powerful and awesome.     

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Your Comment


about the test results... does it consider full frame equivalent focal lenght right?

March 1, 2017 at 2:17AM, Edited March 1, 2:24AM


Pretty nonsensical endeavour – only the most technically minded, compartmentalised lens nerds will be able to separate their feelings towards the wildly differing subject of these images, the compositions and photoshopping from any strict "lens characteristics". We aren't "subconsciously responding" to some subtle lens quality when picking a robin on a branch over lingerie models (which covers about 75% of photography, it seems).

The way to pick one lens above another is by shooting the same thing with the lenses you're considering.

March 1, 2017 at 3:30AM


This is pretty dumb. Oh hang on, what lens gives me a pretty picture of a fox?

March 1, 2017 at 3:44AM

Jonathon Sendall

I set out to pick a telephoto portrait prime and sure enough I got the 135mm f2. Am I clever or is this dumb?

March 1, 2017 at 4:52AM

David O'Shea

It might be having problems? It kept asking me to select more images every time I selected another. It was a self realization though, I should get myself a macro lens.

March 1, 2017 at 11:12AM

David Prokopchuk
Photographer / Film Maker

I'm guessing this is for beginners who don't have a good grasp of what lenses can do in relation to what they like to shoot.

Tried the experience several times once choosing far landscapes, once portraits and, once concentrated on extreme closeups. Each time, I feel, an appropriate lens was suggested. Not very useful for professionals, but as I said earlier, could be useful for those early in their image grabbing experience. A little self-awareness exercise.

March 2, 2017 at 12:17PM

Tom Montvila
TVProduction supervisor

Thanks a lot for publishing the new good stuff for us

March 3, 2017 at 12:59AM


It does a terrible job of it.

March 6, 2017 at 12:36AM


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January 11, 2021 at 5:50PM