Photography Explained

What Is A Kit Lens? What You Need To Know Without The Irrelevant Detail!

May 04, 2021 Rick McEvoy Episode 60
Photography Explained
What Is A Kit Lens? What You Need To Know Without The Irrelevant Detail!
Chapters
Photography Explained
What Is A Kit Lens? What You Need To Know Without The Irrelevant Detail!
May 04, 2021 Episode 60
Rick McEvoy

What Is A Kit Lens? What You Need To Know Without The Irrelevant Detail!. Hi and welcome to Episode 60 of the Photography Explained podcast.

I’m Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience. Not Google. Well there might be the odd thing that I had to look up but mainly this is stuff that I know.

Here is my answer
A kit lens is a camera lens normally sold with a camera body as part of a starter kit. The most commonly sold kit lens is the 18-55mm lens, although other focal length kit lenses are sold. Kit lenses are at the lower end of the price and quality ranges, and are aimed at new photographers looking to upgrade from phones and fixed lens cameras. There is no formal definition of what a kit lens is.

Listen for more, or check out the transcript and even the blog post - so many ways to find out more!

What’s next?
Glad you asked! In Photography Explained Podcast 61, Should I Buy A Prime Or A Zoom Lens? This Is Exactly What I Think.

What to ask a question?
Head over to the Want Me To Explain Something? page on the Photography Explained website and fill the form in and you are done!

Check out my my blog
Check out my photography blog where you will find lots more photography stuff all written by me.

Did you enjoy this episode?
If you did please do the following, which will help me and not take too much time.
·         Rate and review my podcast
·         Subscribe
·         Tell anyone you think might like my podcast

Thank you very much for listening and see you on the next episode.

Rick McEvoy – Photography Explained Podcast


Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Rickmcevoy)

Show Notes Transcript

What Is A Kit Lens? What You Need To Know Without The Irrelevant Detail!. Hi and welcome to Episode 60 of the Photography Explained podcast.

I’m Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing in plain English in less than 10 minutes (ish) without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience. Not Google. Well there might be the odd thing that I had to look up but mainly this is stuff that I know.

Here is my answer
A kit lens is a camera lens normally sold with a camera body as part of a starter kit. The most commonly sold kit lens is the 18-55mm lens, although other focal length kit lenses are sold. Kit lenses are at the lower end of the price and quality ranges, and are aimed at new photographers looking to upgrade from phones and fixed lens cameras. There is no formal definition of what a kit lens is.

Listen for more, or check out the transcript and even the blog post - so many ways to find out more!

What’s next?
Glad you asked! In Photography Explained Podcast 61, Should I Buy A Prime Or A Zoom Lens? This Is Exactly What I Think.

What to ask a question?
Head over to the Want Me To Explain Something? page on the Photography Explained website and fill the form in and you are done!

Check out my my blog
Check out my photography blog where you will find lots more photography stuff all written by me.

Did you enjoy this episode?
If you did please do the following, which will help me and not take too much time.
·         Rate and review my podcast
·         Subscribe
·         Tell anyone you think might like my podcast

Thank you very much for listening and see you on the next episode.

Rick McEvoy – Photography Explained Podcast


Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/Rickmcevoy)

 

What is a kit lens? What you need to know without the irrelevant detail?

Hi, and welcome to Episode 60 of the Photography Explained Podcast. I'm your host, Rick, and in each episode I will explain one photographic thing in plain English in less than 10 minutes without the irrelevant details. What I tell you is based on my lifetime of photographic experience, not Google. Well there might be the odd thing that I had to look up, but mainly this is stuff that I know.

You would hope so wouldn't you?

Okay, one of those terms that's been around for quite a while. I've never known what it really means, so I decided, let's find out. And let's share that knowledge with you.

Okay, what is a kit lens?

Right. A kit lens is a camera lens normally sold with a camera body as part of a starter kit. The most commonly sold kit lens is the 18-55mm lens, although other focal length kit lenses are sold. Kit lenses are at the lower end of the price and quality ranges and are aimed at new photographers looking to upgrade from phones and fixed lens cameras.

There is no formal definition of what a kit lens is.

And that's the killer in all of this. There is no formal definition of what a kit lens is.

Is there only one type of kit lens?
Yeah, again, it's one of those isn't it? The most common kit lens is the 18-55mm lens, often sold with camera bodies, but also available to buy separately, I do believe.

Now if you look at this on the internet, you will find that there are answers in Google to the question “What is a kit lens” which say a kit lens is an 18-55mm lens.

Really? Is it?
Let's keep on going, shall we? In theory, you could say that any lens sold with a camera is a kit lens? And that really does blow the arguments out of the water, doesn't it?

What kind of cameras come with kit lenses?

To use my universal photographic question answer, it depends. In theory, any lens sold with a camera (kit) is a kit lens.

But it really means an 18-55mm lens to be perfectly honest.

18-55mm?
18-55 millimetre lenses tend to be sold with cropped sensor cameras. Now saying tend to be sold, I'm pretty sure they aren't sold with full frame cameras – that wouldn't make any sense post episode note – of course they are not sold with full frame cameras).

Check out previous episodes about crop sensor and full frame cameras if you want to know more about that (which I hope you do).

Or drop me a line and I can tell you.

Kit lens = starter lens?
Okay, so it's not unreasonable to think of a kit lens as a starter lens. Not unreasonable.

Let's talk about the 18-55mm lens. Why is it so popular?

18-55mm is a great focal length range. For a beginner, it's a great beginners focal length range.

What does 18-55mm on a cropped sensor camera actually mean?
Don't forget with a cropped sensor camera, the focal length isn't what you see really.

On a full frame camera 50mm is called the standard focal length, or I call it the standard focal length, because a 50mm lens is a standard lens.

When you look through a full frame camera viewfinder, roughly speaking, 50mm gives you the same perspective that you or I see.

Okay, that's why it's called standard (roughly speaking).
So, on a cropped sensor camera, the focal length giving you that same standard (50mm) view is (actually) 33mm.

So, if we take our 18-55mm lens, 

18mm is wide angle, in the middle 33mm (is the) standard view, and 55mm is telephoto, just about. 

You go from a bit wider to a bit nearer, wide angle to telephoto. And if you've never used a zoom lens before, yes this is a zoom lens, which I talked about in the last episode (so check this out to find out all about zoom lenses).

(Check out the episode on cropped sensors)

See I this is put together with some logic.

Zoom lenses
If you use zoom lens, you've got this range of focal lengths. And if you've not used one before, this gets you into getting your head around what wide angle is and what it can do, what it can do for you, and what telephoto is.

So it's a good range to start with, which is why an 18-55mm kit lens is, is provided.

Do pro photographers use kit lenses?
Yes and no. It depends. Again, there's no definition. Does it really matter?

Canon DSLRs are often paired with a 24-105mm lens? I don't think we call the 24-105mm a kit lens.

So yes and no.

I don't use an 18-55mm lens, but I did do when I started out with my cropped sensor Canon cameras.

Digression time
Now when I bought my first camera, I'm digressing here. This is not on my notes, but it's wholly relevant. So bear with.

When I bought my first Canon DSLR, it was, I think it was a Canon EOS 1000FN. And I'm pretty sure that came with an 18-55mm lens. 

I bought another camera which I took on an exhibition, expedition, easy for me to say, to Chile, South America, I climbed a mountain.

I had a Canon EOS, I can't remember what it was. (Post Episode note – according to Lightroom metadata it was a Canon 350D with 18-55mm lens – see I was right!). It was a quite basic cropped sensor camera with a kit lens.

And I've got some great photos, let's not forget that.

There's too much snobbery around gear. I went to Chile, climbed a massive mountain and I've got some great photos (using a basic camera and kit lens).

So let's not forget that.

I don't use an 18-55mm lens now, but I have done in the past.

Do I need to worry about this?
When I say I, I mean you really (not me). There's bigger things to worry about in life than actually what a kit lens is and is not.

The point I wanted to make is that there is no formal definition of what kit lenses are. Just be aware that this generally refers to the 18-55mm lens, but can also be used for in theory any lens sold with a camera.

Are kit lenses any good?
Well they are pretty good, but as ever, it depends. Remember this - in general terms, the more expensive the lens, the higher the quality, in general terms.

That is what matters. If you think about this, if you're buying a camera body, and for an extra 50 quid, you can get a kit lens, this is better than no lens.

But a kit lens costing you 50 quid will not be better than the lens costing you 500 quid or 5000 quid, or 50,000. I'm being ridiculous now.

Do I use kit lenses?
Not the 18-55mm. But as I said my Canon 6D came with a Canon 24-105mm lens.

So yes, yes I do.

Or do I?

Basically, the term itself is not that helpful.

This term can only cause confusion and waste people's time, so let's not worry about it. The term kit lens has no definitive definition.

No one has said what is and what is not a kit lens. There isn't a list anywhere. There's no defining definition.

Let’s not worry about this.
So let's not worry about it. Let's not worry about this term too much – okay? Concentrate on the other important stuff.

This is one of the points in my podcasts, to explain things in just enough detail to help you and I with our photography and no more.

And that includes explaining things and telling you that you don't need to worry about them. 

So, last point on my script. Yes, I have a script would you believe.

If we got rid of the term kit lens what would happen?
Silence. Nothing would happen. Nothing would change. No one would care. So if when. So sorry. I'm going to go on to my final one line explanation which I changed to this.

My one line explanation
There is no definition of what a kit lens is and the term is not helpful. So if we never use this term again, nothing will go wrong.

Right? No more on the term kit lens. Next episode.
Sticking with lenses, I want to get through lenses. So by the end of this series, you will know as much as you need to know about lenses, not everything. I'm not that clever.

But you'll know enough. So Episode 61. Should I buy a prime or a zoom lens? Not a kit lens, a prime or a zoom lens? This is exactly what I think.

Nearly done
Okay, if you enjoyed this episode, please leave a nice review and rating wherever you get your podcasts from. And subscribe so you don't miss an episode. And if you'd be kind enough to share my podcast with anybody who you think might be remotely interested in it, please do. And if you do, I say thank you.

Thank you
I will also say thank you for listening to my small but perfectly formed podcast. I wrote that bit all by myself.

My websites
Yeah, finally my websites. Check out Rick McEvoy Photography to find out about me and my photography blog. It's very good you know! And also, of course, the Photography Explained Podcast website where you can find out all about this podcast and ask me a question of your own.

Brought to you by…
This episode was brought to you by the power of Diet Pepsi and a spam sandwich with no pickle.

How could I?

I've been Rick McEvoy. Thanks again very much for listening to me and for giving me less than 12 minutes of your valuable time, and I will see you on the next episode.

Cheers from me, Rick.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

kit lens, millimetre, lens, full frame camera, focal length, photographic, crop sensor camera, term, episode, podcast, telephoto, zoom lens, camera, bought, sold, formal definition, canon eos, crop sensor, definition, rick