How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

When you first purchase a DSLR camera, you don’t know what type of lens you need. So you buy the camera with the kit lens. Major camera manufacturers offer multiple DSLR packages with a camera body and a kit lens. Brand new to DSLR photography, a kit lens is a great place to start.

Once upon a time, kit lenses had numerous issues including chromatic aberration and fringing, lack of sharpness, and low built quality with slow, noisy auto focus. Over the past couple of decades, kit lenses have come a long way. While a kit lens doesn’t offer the focus speed and sharpness of a high-level lens, it’s an extremely good value for a $150-$200 lens.

Equipped with an entry-level DSLR and kit lens, you have the tools to create fantastic images. A few tips to maximize the potential of your kit lens will help you transform your good images into polished, professional images.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Use the entire focal length range of the kit lens

The standard focal length range for a kit lens is 18-55mm. It may be tempting to purchase a lens with a much greater focal range, such as 18-200 or 70-300. Unless you’re buying a high-end lens, you’ll compromise image quality for greater focal range. 18-55 is an extremely versatile focal range, allowing you to explore landscape photography, street photography, portrait photography, and even macro photography with ease. If you want to shoot closer than 55mm, extension tubes are an affordable way to get a little more length and can be used with any other lenses you may purchase in the future.

With that being said, the extreme ends of the focal length tend to get a little soft. You’ll produce sharper images shooting at 24mm than 18mm and at 50mm than 55mm. Take care to shoot just under the extreme focal lengths.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Find the “sweet spot” of the lens

Typically, kit lenses perform best with an aperture in the range of f/5.6-f/8. Unless you’re trying to create a shallow depth of field or you’re shooting in very low light conditions, try stopping down your aperture to create sharper images. When you’re shooting at 18mm, stop down from f/3.5 to f/5.6. When you’re shooting at 55mm, stop down from f/5.6 to f/8.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Move to get your shots

When you’re shooting with a zoom lens, it’s tempting to do all the zooming with the lens. Of course, a zoom lens is a powerful tool to create images at a range of focal lengths. However, you should also move physically with your camera to produce great images. If you’re not happy with your composition and can’t fine tune it by zooming with the lens, move your feet. Adjusting 15 or sometimes even five feet can make a big difference.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Review your images

There are a lot of decent images out there that just aren’t great because of an issue such as being slightly out of focus or having a person’s feet getting partially cut out of the frame. Reviewing your images just after you’ve shot them allows you to make corrections on the spot, fixing minor issues and creating stronger, sharper compositions.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Get out of auto mode

It’s easy to leave your camera in auto mode, believing that the camera will make better setting choices that you will. It doesn’t take a lot of time experimenting with manual camera settings to appreciate how much more control you have over your images. Initially, learning to shoot in manual is often frustrating and even overwhelming. However, it’s well worth the effort and will help you take your kit level photos to a whole new level.

Related reading: Making the Transition from Auto Mode to Manual Mode

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Embrace the low weight and versatility of the kit lens

A kit lens is lightweight and offers a versatile focal range you’ll be hard pressed to find in many high-end lenses. The less weight you’re carrying, the more time you’ll enjoy exploring new sites with family and friends. While you won’t have the capacity to shoot at a low aperture like you would with a kit lens, you also won’t have to spend time changing lenses to shoot at different focal lengths.

How to Maximize the Potential of Your Kit Lens |

Do you have any additional tips for maximizing the potential of the kit lens?

Leave your insight in the comments!




Follow me on Instagram | Watch my latest Youtube Video | Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

 Menzie's Penstemon or as the nerds say - Penstemon davidsonii ;) Found these little purple flowers on the way down from Paradise in Mt Rainier National Park and thought they made a nice foreground to the beautiful and still snowcapped peak in the distance. Captured with the GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 Lens #lumixloungegh3
 Rainy Day Reflections of Seattle's coolest public library - I almost said coolest building but the new Amazon spheres are crazy cool. I like living in the future - now if we could just ecotopia this place up all would be peachy!
 Upper Sunbeam Falls - Powered by melting snow(seen at the top of the frame) - Captured with GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 lens 0.4 second exposure.

Want to be a better photographer? Become a Member! $5/Month gets you access to my Lightroom video library the support group and more!

Support this site - Shop for anything through the links below and I earn a small percentage - it costs you nothing extra.


Leave a Reply

seventeen − sixteen =