There are a lot of incredible Black Friday camera deals already doing the rounds but, no matter how great the savings, the best approach is always to work smarter – not harder!
Saving money on a product is great, of course. However, if you're investing in a camera for the first time, there is a better approach to trying to find a camera deal and then trying to find a lens deal to match it – and the answer is to buy a twin-lens kit.
If you're unfamiliar with the term, this means a bundle that includes a camera (usually with an APS-C sensor) and two "kit lenses". These are general-purpose optics that cover one of two focal ranges: standard and telephoto.
A standard kit lens typically covers something like 18-55mm, which is the equivalent of 27-82.5mm in full frame terms – or 28.8-88mm for Canon, whose APS-C sensors possess a 1.6x crop (rather than the standard 1.5x crop used by Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and others). This is great for everything from wide-angle landscape shots, to street photography and reportage, to portraiture.
A telephoto kit lens picks up where the standard leaves off, usually covering something in the range of 55-250mm, which is 82.5-375mm or 88-400mm for Canon – perfect for long-range photography of subjects like wildlife.
Usually a camera comes bundled with just one of these kit options (typically the standard as that's the most widely used). Looking for a twin kit lens option offers great value, but more than that it means that you won't need to buy another lens unless you really, really want to – after all, you have an enormous 18-250mm range, covering pretty much all the photography bases!
Kit lens limitations
So what's the catch? Well, historically, kit lenses weren't great quality – they were made to create budget-friendly kits with entry-level cameras, so performance came second to price.
These days, however, kit lenses are by no means bad lenses! They often boast great optical performance, and they are super compact and lightweight, making them the perfect companion to a starter or intermediate camera system.
Still, in order to maintain that size, weight, affordability and quality, the tradeoff is speed. Kit lenses are not very "fast", which means the aperture usually only opens up to f/3.5 or f/4.5. In simple terms, this means that they don't blur the backgrounds as much as faster lenses (with apertures like f/2.8 or f/1.8), and you need to shoot with a slower shutter speed in order to work in low light conditions.
There are ways around both points. You can, for example, increase the amount of blur by increasing the distance between your subject and the background. And to compensate for the slower aperture (without raising your ISO, which degrades image quality), many kit lenses offer image stabilization (IS) that counteracts the effect of camera shake while shooting at slower speeds.
Many people who buy these kinds of cameras don't actually end up buying more lenses. However, there are some things that kit lenses simply can't do.
Macro photography is one of them, so to shoot super close-ups, you'll need to invest in a macro lens. If you want to shoot at extreme distances, a super telephoto lens will be necessary. To cover fast action, like sports or birds, you'll need a fast aperture, which means a dedicated lens for sports or lens for birds. And for portraiture with the most buttery-smooth backgrounds, you'll have to look at a portrait lens.
That said, those are the kinds of specialisms that come further down a photography journey. The first thing you need is a camera with lenses that cover all the bases – and the best way to achieve that from day one is with a twin lens kit!
The best twin lens kit camera deals
Canon EOS R100 twin lens kit |
$829 | $729
SAVE $100 (B&H) With a 24.2MP sensor, a viewfinder and advanced autofocus, the R100 is a great entry into the EOS R system. The RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 and RF-S 55-210mm f/5-7.1 lenses are both image stabilized, for smooth shooting.
Nikon Z30 twin lens kit |
$1,196.95 | $946.95
SAVE $250 (B&H) Nikon's 20.9MP Z30 offers live streaming in 4K 30p or Full HD 60p, making it great for creators. The Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 and Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 have stabilization and cover a very impressive focal range.
Nikon Z50 twin lens kit + extras |
$1,146.95 | $1,351.75
SAVE $204.80 (B&H) Not only does the 20.9MP Z50 come with stabilized Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 and Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 lenses, this B&H bundle also includes a camera bag and 64GB memory card – everything you need to get going!
Canon EOS Rebel T7 twin lens kit + bag |
$668 | $599
SAVE $69 (B&H) This tried and tested 24.1MP DSLR comes with the greatest reach of all these options, thanks to the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II (stabilized) and EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III lenses. This bundle also includes an official Canon bag.