Can you image trying to figure out what lens to buy for your first DSLR camera? There are so many options out there and you’d probably have buyer’s remorse pretty quickly. So, the manufacturers take all the guesswork out of the way and provide you with a kit lens. Kit lenses are a good start for new photographers. They let you test various focal lengths and learn how the camera works.
The advantages of a kit lens when starting photography:
- Usually the “kit” camera will have a 18-55mm lens. This is a pretty good range as it allows you a wide-angle view as well as a portrait length view. For a beginner this is a fantastic range.
- It will help you decide what you need next – whether you need more reach or a wider aperture, etc.
- These lenses tend to be very lightweight and made of plastic. That means no neck pain.
- You won’t break the bank on these lenses even if you find you need to replace yours in the future.
- The versatility of the lens is fantastic and will allow you to explore different areas of photography.
But, as you start to know more about your own style and start to master some of your settings you might find that you’re ready for an upgrade.
You should upgrade from a kit lens if:
- You need a wider view. You find yourself trying to take a large family photo at a wedding and just can’t fit everyone in the frame.
- You need more reach. You enjoy photographing sports and nature and you can’t seem to get close enough to the action.
- You are frustrated with slow focusing. Not a huge problem, but in a low lit area you could be waiting a bit to lock onto your subject.
- You need better low light capability. Photos just keep coming out too dark or with tons of grain.
- You want that lovely bokeh. You see it in other photographs and its just not where you’d like it to be. Better quality lenses do a better job at getting a smooth bokeh.
- You have some extra money and want to buy something new!
- You want a pro lens. There are tons of articles online talking about what the best lenses are and you have decided to invest in the best glass.
- You tested out a few other lenses and love the results. Once you have a chance to borrow a friend’s lens or try some out at a camera store, you may realize you are missing something.
- You want a lens with better optics or better build quality.
- You have mastered your lens and are ready for a new one.
Once you upgrade your kit lens it can work well as a walk-around lens when you just want to something light weight and not too expensive. It also makes for a perfect backup lens. Want to hear MCP’s recommendations on the best lenses for portrait and wedding photographers? Click here.
Tomas Haran is a portrait and wedding photographer based out of Massachusetts. He prefers working with natural light where the world is the background. He can be found working on his website or his blog.