When you bought your first DSLR, you probably got it with a kit lens. These lenses are cheap, and not really top-notch quality. If you bought a prime or a high-end zoom later, you know a kit lens can’t beat it. However, there are still some reasons to use a kit lens. They may not always be the best choice, but they certainly have their purpose. In this video, cinematographer Darious Britt gives you some of the reasons why he loves cheap kit lenses, despite their drawbacks.
Now that you know more about your mechanics and attributes of your kit lens, the time has come to look at the creative use of the wee plastic beasty and we’ll start with macro first, this is by far the longest of the three Kit Lens Masterclass articles so grab a cold drink and some snacks.
In Part 1 we looked at the potential issues and problems relating to kit lenses, now tis the time to turn our attention to the terrific upsides of owning and using the cheap as chips but under-rated kit lens, this section will be the shortest not because there are problems I want to skirt around but because there positives are easily explained.
So your kit lens is rubbish, you know this for a certainty because numerous photo blogs and camera test sites have told you so. It’s been confirmed repeatedly by a wide array of couch based photo experts on all the forums of great repute and finally the first shots you have taken with it seem to be less than fully impressive. Besides that, there was this nice guy in the camera shop told you that you’d really need a better more expensive lens if you were going to get even half serious about your photography.
Don’t worry most kit lenses are not brilliant when measured or assessed in any empirical way, but realistically your kit lens was almost a freebie so what have you got to moan about. In any case, without meaning to insult anyone, most kit lenses are capable of better results than most photographers are capable of delivering.
One of the things that I try getting across to my students is that despite all of its amazing capabilities, the camera is just a box. Yes, it is programmed with a seemingly limitless number of exposure combinations, but when all is said and done it’s just a box. It has no artistic intent. We have to speak its language, telling it what we see, in hopes that the image in our head matches the image in the box. It is a box with a cylindrical window on the world. It’s the quality of that window that is often the subject of raging debate. Nikon or Canon? OEM or third party? Everyone has an opinion. Interestingly enough, the one thing that many– if not most– agree upon is that kit lenses should be avoided like the plague.
I completely disagree. I say go dig that kit lens out of wherever you’ve hidden it and put it to work. For those of you who’ve somehow been convinced that your photography can’t possibly be of adequate quality until you drop money you don’t have on a lens you can’t afford, I say that nothing could be farther from the truth.