8 reasons why cheap kit lenses are the perfect lens

8 reasons why cheap kit lenses are the perfect lens

8 reasons why cheap kit lenses are the perfect lens

Benefits of Cheap Kit Lenses: 05. You’ll learn what you need

It’s always better to buy lenses you KNOW you need, not lenses you THINK you need!

That’s why it’s wise to start out with the basic kit lens and get a feel for what it can do and what it can’t.

You might find that what you actually need to take your photography to the next level is not a top-quality pro-spec kit lens, for example, but a super-wideangle zoom or a telephoto.

SEE MORE: 15 ways to improve your photography in a day

Benefits of Cheap Kit Lenses: 06. Low cost doesn’t always mean low-tech

Don’t be fooled by the price of cheap kit lenses! For a start, they’re made in huge numbers so there are big economies of scale.

Part of the higher cost of more advanced lenses is due to the fact the demand is lower and fewer are made.

And don’t assume that kit lenses always get the cheapest or oldest technology.

This is where makers often try out their latest and best innovations – like Canon’s STM autofocus motors for smoother, quieter video footage, or Nikon’s latest retracting lens design to save both weight and space.

Panasonic, Olympus and Sony have all introduced compact camera style ‘power zooms’ so that their kit lenses are small enough to do justice to their latest super-compact bodies.


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8 reasons why cheap kit lenses are the perfect lensBenefits of Cheap Kit Lenses: 07. You can spend your money elsewhere

You can use the money you save by sticking with a cheap kit lens to buy accessories which can extend your photography so many other ways.

A good tripod will dramatically extend the range of conditions you can shoot in and the kinds of photography you can tackle, and an external flashgun will let you achieve lighting effects you can’t create with ambient light alone.

Investing in the right computer software can improve the quality of your pictures and inspire you with new creative ideas – DxO Optics Pro will correct lens distortion, chromatic aberration and corner shading and make your modest kit lens look like professional glass, while the Google Nik Collection offers an almost limitless array of photo effects and ideas.

The money you save one fancy lens could pay for two, three or even all four of these!

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Benefits of Cheap Kit Lenses: 08. Bigger isn’t always better

Cheap kit lenses may have a relatively limited zoom range, but longer-range zooms don’t necessarily give you the advantages you might expect.

A superzoom lens will give you much more flexibility, but at a cost – and not just financially.

The overall optical quality is likely to be worse, with more distortion and often a loss of sharpness at full zoom. Longer zoom ranges mean more complexity, more compromises and more weight.

You’ll be walking around all day with a much heavier camera/lens combination on the off-chance you need the extra focal length. There is an alternative!

Stick with your regular 3x kit lens and get an inexpensive telephoto zoom to go with it. That way, you can leave it at home (or in your bag) when you know you won’t need it.


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  • QueenPinky

    I dig this article. Just ordered my Canon SL1 and I’ve been thinking a lot about the kit lens that its coming with. This article kinda rounded out my personal ideas about the lens. I especially like the idea that using the kit lens will help you understand what lens you need, if you need another one. There is no way I know, at this present moment which prime lens I need for my style of shooting, but I can observe my focal lengths and f stops with a kit lens and make a prime decision when I’m ready!

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Kirk Billingsley

    I am a lens junkie but I always find a time and place for my kit lenses.

  • pete guaron

    I know it’s rather late in the day to be commenting – your article was published nearly two years ago. But I think I should still mention a ninth reason.

    It is a fact of life that camera manufacturers must make profits, or we wouldn’t have them. And to do that, they must make sales.

    The vast majority of their sales are aimed at amateur photographers – enthusiasts – call them what you will.

    Professionals know they have to make money too, and they are generally constrained to buy only what they need. And of course, the professional market is FAR smaller than the amateur market.

    That is why you see so many “new products” in the amateur market – and years often roll by before you see similar upgrades in professional gear.

    Consequently, while the amateur gear might not be whatever it is people imagine the professional gear is, there’s a HUGE amount invested in turning out good quality cameras and lenses and other gear, for the amateur market.

    And in fact the amateur market is well served with very fine quality cameras, lenses etc. You see it all over – in kit lenses and all the rest of the gear that’s produced for the main market for photographic equipment.

    I have the luxury of being able to use a selection from all “grades” – I use a compact that slips into my pocket – a half frame with a kit zoom – and a full frame with prime lenses (w/angle, standard, macro & tele). And they ALL take good photos. Maybe not the same – and maybe for some purposes one is better than one or both of the others. But they are ALL good, and I get great results from them all.

    I’ll take it one step further. My decision to get a full frame DSLR was not taken lightly, and it was taken for very specific reasons. Reasons which probably have little or no relevance to most amateur photographers. And if circumstances had been otherwise, there would have been no need to go down that path. There are plenty of very good and far cheaper alternatives out there, producing singularly excellent photographs from one end of the world to the other.

    It is wrong and irresponsible to encourage amateurs to spend vast sums of money on high-end stuff that they don’t really need.