After “Which Camera should I buy?”, “What lens do you suggest me?” is a frequent question. People are often confused about which lens they should go for, which again is a subject of interest about your favourite genre. Lenses are one of the most important pieces of camera equipment you can own. A good lens, well looked after, should last you decades, much longer than any digital camera body. That’s why professional photographers spend thousands on glass, and why so much has been written about which lens or lenses you should buy.
In this particular blog, I want people to recognize the importance of their Lens which they have used for a particular time and have later got frustrated when they compare their images with other professional works. If you are like most photographers, you buy your first ‘serious’ camera (i.e. the one with interchangeable lenses) with the manufacturer’s kit lens. Most kit lenses are, by their nature, inexpensive (a polite way of saying cheap). That’s understandable – all the manufacturers are in competition with each other and they keep the prices of their camera kits down by creating inexpensive kit lenses. A kit lens will get you started, and you can buy other, better quality lenses when you outgrow it.
If your only lens is a kit lens that does not mean you should go out and buy a better one straight away. No matter what anyone says, or how much you lust after expensive glass, your kit lens is a great lens to get started with. If you are in a position where you can’t afford to buy another lens, or you simply just don’t know which one to buy, don’t sweat it. You will be surprised at just what you can do with your kit lens once you know how to get the best out of it.
Getting the Best out of your Kit Lens-
My approach is to think of the lens as two lenses in one. If you have a kit lens of typical focal length, 18-55mm, then treat it as an 18mm and 55mm lens in one. The 18mm is a moderate wide-angle that is great for landscapes, architecture and environmental portraiture. The 55mm end is a short telephoto details. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the in-between focal lengths, and there are times when you can’t avoid it, but by sticking with the shortest and longest focal lengths you will learn how those focal lengths behave. Lenses are the ‘eye’ of your camera system and your photos will improve as you learn the characteristics of each focal length.
Some kit lenses also have another useful feature – an Image Stabilizer!
An Image Stabilizer lets you take photos at slower shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible. So, theoretically, you could hand-held the camera, set the focal length of the lens to 18mm, and take a photo without camera shake at 1/4 or even 1/2 second. That’s awesome in low light and lets you explore the creative potential of taking photos in the evening or at night.
The other use I make of my kit lens is Panorama! Shooting multiple frames at your widest focal length and later stitching those images into photoshop or other softwares, gives you wider images so that you don’t need to invest in other ultra wide or fisheye lenses.
Use of creative lighting and composition, color schemes in your frames, extraordinary angles and vantage point, are also the factors that define good photography and can do it good with your kit lens. I myself have used my kit lens ( Nikkor 18-55mm ) for more than half of the shots I have shot till today for studio portraits, landscapes, streets and weddings and believe me, the results aren’t stunning.
Following are the images that I have shot on my kit lens, 18-55mm on Nikon D90