Don’t Hate Your Kit Lens

Wait what? You heard me. Your kit lens, that 18-55 (or a 3rd party one) lens that came with your camera. The one everyone says is garbage. Well it’s not nearly as bad as you think.

This all came about as I was stitching together a few photos I had taken in Yellowstone earlier this year. I had taken these with my kit lens and started realizing how impressed I was with it.

When I went to Las Vegas earlier this year on a business trip, I didn’t want to pack a bunch of equipment. Photography was secondary to why I was going – my day job takes precedence. So, I brought my cheap travel tripod, my 18-200mm Tamron (f/3.5-f/6.3) lens, my plastic fantastic 50mm f/1.8 (it’s small) and that was it.

What did I get from it? Well, I could have left the 50 at home, I took a couple of shots with it, but it just wasn’t wide enough. The 18-200 was great at the wide end. It shines around f/8 – f/11.

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What about the other end of it? The year before I found myself in San Fransisco on business when we decided to check out the Muir Woods. This time, I was limited by available light and the lens. However at 200mm and f/6.3 I managed to snag some shots of an Owl.

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“Hey, that’s not a real kit lens” you say, well it’s true, it’s a 3rd party lens, but the price (under $200) and the variable f stops would beg to differ, but it’s alright. I’ll show you some examples from years ago when I had a Canon 20D and the 18-55 kits lens (no Image stabilization either). These are all 9 to 10 years ago.

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I hope this helps you realize, your kit lens is useful. If you’re just starting out, don’t let anyone tell you that’s it’s junk – it’s a cheap way to learn and as LeVar Burton would say “You don’t have to take my word for it” , here are some other blog posts that talk about it.

Professional Fashion Photographer Jingna Zhang

Professions Photographer Steve Huff

So get out there with your kit lens and take pictures of what you enjoy – the world is beautiful, capture it!!!

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