By : Nikon School Blog | 30 Jun, 2015 |
Let's face it, the 'kit lens' lens generally supplied by manufacturers, is often not given its due credit. It is common belief that if you're shooting mostly with a kit lens, you're not much of a photographer. Is it really so?
Ever wondered why the kit lens is always bundled with DSLRs ? Look at the focal length of the kit lens. The standard kit lens supplied with film SLRs was the 28 – 80mm. This is still the kit lens bundled with most full frame D-SLRs. If you have bought a DX format Nikon DSLR with a kit lens, it will most likely be an 18-55mm. The crop factor with Nikkor DX lenses is 1.5 times. So, the 18-55 is effectively a 27-82.5mm equivalent.
This focal length range is handy for most photographers. At 28mm, you get a useful wide angle, while at 80mm, it works well as a portrait lens. Most photographers, especially the ones starting out, will operate within situations that can be covered by the range of the kit lens. You can shoot landscape, portraits, group shots, and decent close ups.
The kit lens at wide angle
You can use the wider end of the kit lens for landscapes, interiors, group shots or any wide scene. Keep in mind that at the extreme wide angle of the lens, straight lines tend to get curved. It is wise to keep important elements of the frame towards the centre. In case of group photographs, try to avoid keeping people at the extreme edges of the frame to avoid distortion.
The kit lens at the telephoto end
At 55mm, the kit lens gives an effective focal length of around 80mm. Though this is just the threshold of the telephoto range, it s a good focal length to shoot portraits and close ups. Using the kit lens fully zoomed in, you can shoot a portrait without being too close, resulting in a pleasing perspective. At this end, you can capture portraits, frame filling close ups (not macro) of flowers, museum exhibits, etc.
The kit lens as normal
A normal lens is the 50mm, and kit lenses also have a normal setting, somewhere between the two ends of the zoom. In a full frame 28-80mm, this would be 50mm, but in a DX 18-55, the 'normal' position would be around 35mm. This focal length is most suited to portraiture and still life, as at this position the perspective would be closest to normal human vision.
The kit lens cannot be used as a macro lens, and attempts to turn it into a macro using certain third party attachments will always be of compromised quality.
The kit lens does not have wide open apertures, like f/2.8 . To use it in low light, you may have to go for higher ISOs or tripods, or even both.
Even with its limitations, the kit lens is not to be snubbed in any way, as many successful photographers started out with their kit lenses and developed their senses before moving on to 'better' lenses.
With practice, you'll get to know your kit lens more, and will certainly be able to deliver results pleasing enough to give your 'kit lens' the due respect.