Are Kit lenses really that bad?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Gregidon, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Gregidon

    Gregidon TPF Noob!

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    I just got a Canon Digital Rebel XTi, or 400D to some of you:D

    Anyway, I've been reading a little about the camera and looking at photos and everything. Anyway, the general consensus is that the kit lense it pretty bad. I was wondering what exactly is lacking about it. It is just a jack of all trades master of none sort of thing? What sorts of problems do you get with a kit lense? What is it that i will find myself struggling to do over lets say a better 18-55mm lense? Thanks everyone!
    -greg-
     
  2. hyakuhei

    hyakuhei TPF Noob!

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    Mechanism Construction and Optics may be lacking, or so I'm told....

    Either way, the kit lens will have to do for me for a while, its about all I can afford!
     
  3. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    most of my students use only "kit" lenses , or third party lenses, very few use high end pro equipment.

    we use a projection method to review the images that end up about 4x5 feet in size. There images if exposed properly look fine, only a very experienced pro would perhaps notice some differences.

    I am not fond of those lenses with variable fstops and favor 2.8 lenses on everything, but that is a personal decisions.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You have to take into account that most of what you read on the internet is written by gear heads and gear snobs. It's always easy to say something is inferior when you are comparing it to top of the line gear.

    In actual use, the kit lens isn't that bad. Part of the reason why I think it gets a bad rep is that it's so light...it feels like a toy. This means that it's made with more plastic, where metal might have been used in better lenses. It's not the most robust design or construction...so it's not made for rough use like the expensive lenses are.

    When used in good conditions, that lens is perfectly fine. If there is enough light to shoot at F8 or smaller...it's actually pretty darn good.

    The problems start when the light is low and you have to shoot at the maximum aperture...where the lens isn't at its best. Also, it doesn't have a large maximum aperture...especially at the long end of the zoom...which makes it hard to get good shutter speeds in low light...which makes for unsharp photos (when shooting hand held).

    As Ann mentioned, zoom lenses with a maximum aperture of F2.8, though the whole zoom range...are much better....but much heavier and more expensive.

    When it come down to it...it's up to you to decide if that lens is good enough for your needs. I used it for quite a while, until I finally purchased a better lens. I shoot weddings, which can be in low light situations and I needed a lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8...so that's what I got. Also, lenses with bigger apertures are often optically better because they are designed to be high quality...where as the kit lens was designed to be light and cheap.

    Bottom line...for $100, it's a darn good lens. If you find that the lens is limiting your photography, then you may need to upgrade...but if it works for you...then don't the let the gear snobs get to you. :lol:
     
  5. Gregidon

    Gregidon TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I'm a gear snob as well in other hobbies. I'm just getting into photography and I appreciate the comments! Bottom line is that i don't really have the cash on hand right now to upgrade anyway.... but i wanted to know what it was that i was missing out on! Thanks again for the comments!
     
  6. Karsten V

    Karsten V TPF Noob!

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    Actually I think that the lenses themselves in the Canon kit-lens is made of plastic instead of real glass, just like most P&S and cameras in mobilphones.

    That is also why the feel so light.
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    they are easier to break ... definitely... seen several canon kit lenses which were physically broken, with cracks ... just from falling to the ground with the camera attached.

    also they sometimes distort more at both ends of the zoom range and chromatic abberation is more visible in magnification. Some of them need to be stepped down considerably to give acceptably sharp images.

    but all that does not make them unuseable or bad ... just there are better lenses around.
     
  8. Stretch Armstrong

    Stretch Armstrong TPF Noob!

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    Just like Nikon/Nikkor does with their low end/entry level cameras and lenses. Right? You did mean to include them too. Huh?:meh:
     
  9. Karsten V

    Karsten V TPF Noob!

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    Hmm no, since he own a Canon camera and not a Nikon.

    What other manufactors does isnt the subject.
    Besides the new Nikkor DX/ED lens kit is made of glass all the way through.
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just bought a D40 wit it's 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G ED II lens, and it is not bad. I read a review in a magazine last month (I will have to dig around and find it) where they compared the quality of the kit lenses against each other. None were of the quality of build/clarity, but none were rated unusable. The Nikon 18-55 was rated, by far, the best. I don't remember where the others were rated (although I do specifically remember they were pretty hard on the Canon lens, saying it was a real shame that most people would only use that lens on their camera, which cripples the fine image making abilities of the body)... they were also fairly harsh, as I recall, on the Sony lens. It was a magazine from the UK (I read a lot of magazines...). If anybody actually cares, I will dig through the stack of magazines and try to find the article...
     
  11. Stretch Armstrong

    Stretch Armstrong TPF Noob!

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    I thought this was about the Canon lens. What does what Nikon does have to do with it?:confused:
     
  12. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

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    Depends on how they are to be used. For the family photographer who typically will use the kit lens for family photos vacations etc. Kit lenses will do just fine. I would even say that for an in-experienced amateur, kit lenses would be fine as well. Understand that the engineer's designs kit lenses at a low price point to make camera body and lens purchase attractive. In doing so, compromises have to be made and the compromises are overall optical quality and lens mechanical construction. Having said that, it takes a trained eye to see the difference optically and as far the construction of the lens goes, because the intended users such as the family photographer typically are not heavy users of their equipment, mechanically they do not have to be up to the same standards as a "pro lens". This does not make them bad lenses.
     

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