6 Reasons Why You Should Keep Your 18-55 Kit Lens

There was an article recently here in DIYP about 5 reasons why you should own at least one prime lens, I strongly agree to this. I normally tell the new photographers that the next lens they should buy is a prime lens. Here is the thing though,  after buying a prime lens make sure not to sell your kit lens too fast. Here are my 6 reasons why you should keep your kit lens. I am a Nikon shooter, so expect Nikon examples, but everything here is true for Canon too).

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Kit lenses

Both Nikon and Canon has sell a standard 1855 kit lens. There is the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR for Nikon and the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II for Canon. Both are around $200. considering that those lenses come bundled with entry level cameras for as low as $400 (lens included) you can get the general ball park those lenses aim for.

1. For Backup

You never know when your main lens will break, so it’s nice to have a small & lightweight lens for backup.

For Backup
2. Near Focusing Distance

From time to time I still go back to using my kit lens because of the near focusing distance it had, I still regularly use my kit lens for food photography and product shots because I can go very close my subjects. Now, you can get a macro prime lens (both the 105mm and the 60mm are good options, but they come with a price tag when you are starting out)


Focusing distance Setup

3. After All It’s A Pretty Sharp Lens

When I’m shooting inside a studio, I normally shoot at f8-f11, and the kit lens is as sharp a lens as any. Probably even more than some when shooting at this apertures.

I kinda hate to be doing this, but this shot of the D3 was taken with a D7000 and kit lens. (while the D3 was shot with the 24-70). All were shot in the same lighting at ISO 200, 1/160 @ f8. Can you tell the difference?


Shot using the D7000 with kit lens

Shot using the D7000 with kit lens

Shot using the D3 with 24-70

Shot using the D3 with 24-70

4. Fast Focusing

Focusing with the kit lens is actually pretty fast compared to some lenses. Probably becasue it is small and simple. Here is a tip, make sure you know where to focus, it’s better to focus on areas that have texture and contrast. You will focus faster.

Fast Focusing

5. It’s Cheap!

No need to worry too much if you lose it. (or if it burns for some reason)

6. You Are Only Limited By Your Imagination

The last but I think the most important thing about keeping your kit lens is you’re only limited by your imagination (forgot who I got this from). It will not be about the gear but about how you use what you have which will make you a better photographer. Don’t get me wrong, the holy trinity of lenses and prime lenses will be a big help in your photography, just don’t let having a kit lens stop you from getting the shot you want. All the photos below were shot using a kit lens.

kit lens

kit lens

kit lens

Do you use a kit lens? Share your photos below

  • http://www.IdeasandImagesorg.uk/ Dave Kai Piper

    I use and love the Kit Fuji lens for sure !!

  • https://www.facebook.com/ian.brace.31 Ian Brace

    No.7 You have a lens for your camera when you sell it for an grade.

  • Guest

    Pentax DA18-55

  • http://www.hkphoto.com/ Ken Tam

    Pentax DA18-55 …

    • http://www.diyphotography.net/ udi tirosh

      you must have a really good camera to be taking those photos 😉

      • http://www.hkphoto.com/ Ken Tam

        Is that the “old joke” 😉

        • http://www.diyphotography.net/ udi tirosh


  • Guest

    My D200 came with the 28-200mm AF-G, still using that setup for b/w on more “tough” events 😉

  • innovatology

    There is nothing wrong with zoom lenses. There is nothing wrong with prime lenses. They sometimes serve different purposes. Choose the tool that is right for the job.

    • Jim Johnson

      This isn’t about zooms, it is about the “low end” cheaper kit lenses that most pros turn their nose up at.

  • https://www.facebook.com/SyntaxX.3rroR Jonathan CK

    too bad, mine is broken =P

  • Guest

    Nikkor 18-55

    • http://slowclouds.com/ Forrest Peaker

      This is a beautiful image. Nice work.

  • https://www.facebook.com/andrew.sible Andrew Sible

    Macro! Dirty environments! Light weight! It will break instead of your camera body! Parts are cheap you just buy a new one! :)

    I don’t agree about fast focusing though… Out of all my lenses the af-s in my 18-55 is probably among the slower if not the slowest. If it hunts just kiss your shot goodbye if your subject was moving. My 28-80 from film days is quick though.

  • Martin

    pentax k-50 18-55

  • Guest

    pentax k50

  • https://www.facebook.com/carlos.serrano.756 Carlos Serrano


  • https://www.facebook.com/ralph.hightower Ralph Hightower

    The kit lens that came with my Canon is the 24-105 f4L.

  • Just Me

    It’s not that I’m a DOF snob but seems like there’s something missing when I see a picture without it (depth). The picture seems cluttered, overly busy, without a frame to focus on decided by the photographer. There are instances where that’s important so yes, use the tool you need to get the shot you want – but when it’ll only go down to 4.5; seems very limiting when my bag is already stuffed to the gill in better options. I can always increase the F…

  • http://stevepellegrino.com Steve Pellegrino

    Here’s another reason – real estate photography. When I was selling my house last year the agent took very bad photos, so I went back and reshot the entire house with the Nikkor 18-55mm that came with my old D3200. It was perfect for that. 18mm is wide enough to get a room in without distortion. I’d never done real estate photography before, but that cheap $99 lens got the job done and the house sold!

  • Guest

    Wirh a few acessories and photoshop, but i took this photo with my kit lens

    • Joao

      Btw: the real photo is only the right half, i just did the symmetry

  • Karlie Robinson

    I let my 9 year old use my Nikon D5200 set to auto with an AF-S 18-55mm lens. This is what he got.

  • dbltax

    Seriously tempted to buy one of those new smaller Nikon 18-55mm VR mkII ones just to stick on my unused D90. Would make for a nice lightweight walk around camera compared to my D800 and 24-70!

  • Yves Yvezz