In one of my previous article (read: cheap Kit lenses are amazing), I talked about kit lenses and how amazing they can be. The fact that you own a kit lens does not mean you cannot take excellent photos with it. To me, using a kit lens requires you to think more and work harder to get good photos and that is just as far as it can get.
Basically, a kit lens is the lens that comes with a DSLR or an interchangeable lens digital camera when purchased. A kit lens is stereotypically the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens we are all used to. They are other kit lenses out there like the Sony SEL 16-45mm pz lens, canon 18-200 etc. Kit lenses produce image of inferior quality compared to prime lenses but this should not be a deal breaker for you at all as I am going to show you how to take excellent photos with kit lens. Stop whining about how lousy your kit lens is and how your kit lens produces soft images all the time and read on carefully.
How to take excellent photos with kit lens
Taking excellent photos with kit a lens involves no sort of mathematics or statistics at all, so I encourage you to follow the guide below carefully.
The first thing we are going to put into consideration is ISO. A higher ISO setting results to more noise and a huge drop in image quality. Start by checking the maximum ISO value your camera utilize without the intrusion of noise and loss of image quality. I can use an ISO value of 3200 on my mirrorless camera without any significant drop in image quality but anything above that is a no no.
Kit lenses are generally slow which will force you to crank your ISO all the way up in order to shoot in low light. But be careful not to push your ISO above its breaking point, and that’s why I urge you to find out the maximum ISO setting your camera can use, without a compromise in image quality.
At 18mm, kit lenses have an f-stop value of f3.5, the value increases when you zoom in which makes it practically impossible to use a aperture of f3.5 (18mm) with a kit lens for portraiture. Although you cannot create that razor thin sharp bokeh with you kit lens, but you can get a quite shallow dept of field. Since kit lenses have variable aperture when you zoom in. What you wanna do is place your subject as far away from the background as possible. Set back, yes, step back again, zoom in tight and use the widest aperture possible (lowest f-stop number).
Recall that your lens’ sweet spot lies between f7.1-f8.0. Your kit lens will produce the sharpest image within the f7.1-8.0 aperture range, with a broad dept-of-field and almost every single element in the frame in focus.
Shoot in “Aperture priority” which will let you set your aperture value and everything other thing while your camera sets the shutter speed. After setting your aperture and you notice your shutter speed is too slow, raise the ISO value a bit and your camera will respond by increasing the shutter speed. Remember, don’t over-stretch your camera’s ISO please.
Framing and composition
The next thing you want to get get right is your composition. If you intend to shoot portraits with your kit lens then do not make the mistake of shooting with a short focal length(wide angle: 18mm-35mm), as this will cause severe distortion. Your subject will look warped, short, distorted and just ugly! Whenever I shoot portraits with my kit lens, I usually shoot with a focal length of 45mm and above.
Take your time and compose your shots carefully, be creative with your shots which is the single most important thing after exposure.
Get yourself a lens hood to prevent that stray light from hitting your lens. A tripod will also come in handy since kit lenses are generally slow and not optimized for low light shooting. Make sure all your photos are in focus.
Get yourself a lens cleaning kit which can be very useful from removing dirt from the surface of your lens.
Stop complaining about kit lenses, get out there and play with your camera, take several photos, experiment more with your kit lens and do not let it be a limiting factor at all.
What do you think guys? Do you have a kit lens? We will love to hear from you. Just use the comment box below.