The kit lens, an 18-55mm to be precise has received support and faults in equal measures by different types of photographers. While the majority vouch for moving to other types of lenses such as the prime, zoom, macro, tilt and shift and other speciality lenses to improve their photography, the question is, should the kit lens be completely discarded? Should you replace it with better lenses**** to achieve mouthwatering product snapshots?
Perhaps you are wondering what a kit lens is. Well, it is typically the lens that comes tagged alongside the camera, normally characterised by being at the lower price end and quality too. This is especially true for entry level cameras. Does this automatically mean that it is a bad lens that should be instantly replaced? Well, if someone built it, then it must have some capabilities even if not comparable to high end lenses. We are going to be objective here and look at the advantages and downsides before answering this question.
One of the greatest advantages of the kit lens is affordability. Its low price makes it great for those starting out on a shoe string budget. Also known as a starter kit, it is suitable for amateur photographers starting out. You do not want to pour lots of money into something that you still have a long way to go to get to perfection.
With a kits lens, there’s room for lots of learning and it is easier to grasp the basics of product photography settings as well as handling it with comfort due to its small size and light weight nature. At least until your hands get used to the idea.
In addition the focal length range is wide enough (18-55mm), making it ideal for shooting versatile subjects that require short, medium and long focal lengths. As a product photographer, this variety is much needed when learning how to manipulate these settings especially in manual modes so as to capture different subjects properly.
Kit lens has a limited aperture -the light inlet into the lens. As a result, it doesn’t do well in low light conditions as what is allowed in is too little. Wide aperture is very critical to product photography which relies on well lit images. For the same reason, blurred background effect to keep the main focus on subject matter only is difficult and sometimes unachievable because when the aperture is small the resulting depth of field is wide.
Its build doesn’t leave much to be desired. Some kit lenses come in plastic bodies while most are not even weatherproof making them highly vulnerable to damage. The glass quality is not the best either. While the resulting soft images are acceptable, sharpness is compromised. Sharp photos are the cornerstone of successful ecommerce product photography
The kit lens is not the best lens out there, maybe even nothing close to midrange lenses. However it can serve the purpose and there’s really no need to replace it instantaneously. Most of the picture quality flaws can be easily dealt with by a photo editing service provider. It can still serve as a backup lens in case anything happens to your other lenses for instant your macro lens. The kit lens does an equally good job with close up photos
Not unless you’ve reached the point where you’ve mastered the skill of product photography, explored enough and defined your shooting interest and style, only then can you upgrade to a prime, macro or whatever lens that befits your needs. However, do not discard that kit lens yet.
Still don’t have one? Well, there a couple decent kit lens models in the market. If you are ready to move to the next level up from your starter lens, here are a few recommended models****. At the end of the day, it is the passion, zeal, creativity and imagination that goes into making an amazing product photography shoot.