Christmas camera shopping hack: Buy a twin lens kit and bag a bargain!

Nikon Z30 twin lens kit deal
(Image credit: Nikon)

A lot of the best Black Friday camera deals have now been and gone - but there are still lots of great offers around at the moment, so you can still grab a bargain.

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. 

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! 

The best twin lens kit camera deals

Canon EOS R50 twin lens kit |

Canon EOS R50 twin lens kit | was £1,099 | now £899
Save £200 at Amazon
With a 24.2MP sensor, oversampled 4K, 15fps bursts and advanced AF, the R50 is a great all-rounder. 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. 

Sony A6100 twin lens kit | £919

Sony A6100 twin lens kit | £919
Buy at Clifton Cameras
The popular A6100 boasts a rich 24.2MP sensor with powerful autofocus and 4K video. It comes with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom and 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 lenses, both of which are image stabilized.  

Nikon Z30 twin lens kit |

Nikon Z30 twin lens kit | was £1,049 | now £869
Save £180 at Clifton Cameras 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 |

Nikon Z50 twin lens kit | was £1,249 | now £1,069
Save £180 at Amazon
The 20.9MP Z50 comes with stabilized Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 and Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 lenses, giving you everything from wide-angle to telephoto without any gaps.

Panasonic Lumix S5 + 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 + 50mm f/1.8 |

Panasonic Lumix S5 + 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 + 50mm f/1.8 | was £1,999.99 | now £1,480.76
Save £519 at Amazon If you want a bigger full-frame sensor,  the original Panasonic S5 is well worth a gander. The S5 can record internal 4K 4:2:2 10-bit 30p, 4K 4:2:0 10-bit 60p or unlimited 4K 4:2:0 8-bit 30p. This kit comes with the 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 and 50mm f/1.8 so you’re ready to start shooting.

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! 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.