The love of Kit Lens (18-55)

In the current day scenario, photography has become portable and easiest way to express our feelings be it on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or Twitter. And a big share of credit for the rise in photography awareness amongst people around the world goes to Smartphones. Smartphones these days have put a camera in hand of every toddler, and in a way, it is good that photography as an occupation and hobby has gained a lot of acclaims.

My story of being a photographer as a hobby began in 2010 when I started using my Nokia N-97 mini as my primary camera. As time passed my smartphones changed and I started devoting more time to photographing my surroundings from my point of view. And in 2012 I got myself a DLSR (Canon EOS 550D) in a hope to capture photographs as I saw in photography sites like Flickr & on Facebook photography pages. I could not hold the excitement when I held my DLSR in my hand and started clicking photographs as if I was a professional photographer. And within few minutes of using my DSLR, my dreams were shattered, the bokeh effect which I wanted in every photograph of mine was nowhere to be found. I was cursing myself for purchasing a low-end DLSR which could not give me a simple bokeh effect which was present in every photograph I saw in those days.

Soon I learned, it was the fault of my Kit lens (18-55mm) which could not afford to give me an aperture value as low as 2.2 or 1.8. And the quest to purchase a lens with low aperture began, and as every other armature photographer, i got myself a 50mm F 1.8 lens which provided me that bokeh effect which could easily woo my friends and colleagues. I was finally happy. But as I grew being a photographer, I found myself bound to a certain style of photography and one fine day in 2013 I decided to remove the dust from my 18-55 Kit lens and use it for getting a different perspective. And it is 2017 but that 18-55mm Kit Lens still retains the #1 spot of my go to lens for quick photography sessions (be it landscapes or portraits).

Since I have been a pretty active photographer in my friend circle, I have been questioned by many as to which is the best lens for a DSLR?, what lens should I buy to get good photographs?, and my answer every time remains 18-55 Kit lens. Though I think everybody has a different approach when it comes to photography and maybe everybody eventually learns the importance of Kit Lens, but till date, i have seen no one appreciating the Kit Lens as much as I do. The 18-55 lens has all the qualities of producing a perfect photograph but it depends on the photographer to utilize it to its full potential.
Following are some of the qualities of 18-55mm Kit Lens:

1. Wide Angle: It provides us with a wide angle at low focal lengths (18 mm) thereby enabling us to click landscapes in the best possible manner. Following are some of the photographs I have clicked using the low focal length of Kit Lens to my advantage:

2. Zoom Capability: We have a tendency to think that Prime lenses produce better photographs, and no doubt they do. But they also limit our ability to change the perspective. I have been constrained to take certain shots when I was using my 50mm prime lens in past. But this limitation has gone with me using my 18-55 lens. The 18-55mm Kit lens is like having two lenses in one body (a short telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens)Some of the pics below illustrate this:

3. Macro: Since the minimum focus distance is very less (0.25 m) in this lens, it helps us to focus on objects just millimeters away from the lens. If used creatively, this enables us to get splendid macro shots without having to purchase a macro lens. I am not saying that 18-55mm lens can replace a macro lens, but it can serve the purpose in many scenarios. If mounted with a macro adaptor, the macro capability of this lens is further enhanced many fold times. The pics below illustrate this:

4. Sharp Picture Quality: Since the Kit lens has a small aperture (higher f-stop value), your picture will have a huge depth of field. This is a blessing for a beginner since the subject will not go out of focus as compared to the lenses with a large aperture which limits the depth of field to very low value thereby increasing the chance of blurring out the subject. Moreover, the Kit lens has image stabilization which acts as an icing on the cake. 

5. Focal range: It is the special focal range (18mm to 55mm) of this Kit lens which covers almost all aspects of photography. Be it landscapes or be it portraits. This lens can do it all. The only place where it falls short is in nature (birds and animals) photography. 

The final verdict is that 18-55mm Kit lens might not be as good a lens (technically) as many others in the market, but it will help you grow as a photographer. It is the restrictions this lens imposes on us which force us to grow creatively and become better a photographer and ultimately understanding the worth of an 18-55mm Kit lens, respecting it for what it is. It is like a dark horse which will win your heart in the end.     


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