Monday, February 13, 2012

The Kit Lens and Other Techniques- Part 2

So, the kit lens. As you zoom in, the maximum aperture gets smaller. On Canon cameras, the focus ring turns, it extends, and has a super short throw; even the slightest touch can make it go out of focus (in manual focus mode). They’re often buzzy and plasticky. Even though these are negative aspects, they can translate to very positive uses.

Aesthetically speaking, they are pretty small when compared to more expensive zooms, and the fastest primes lenses are about the same size, if not larger. They are very light, so attached to a camera body they are a joy to carry around all day. Then there’s the noise. Consider the kit lens as a piece of charcoal. In the wrong hands, there’s an awful, smudgy mess. In the right hands, works of art can be created if you’re willing to visualize and get your hands dirty. Onlookers will consider you just another tourist or newbie, never thinking that you’re creating a beautiful image that includes them as central characters.

Having a very short focus throw means that in Auto Focus mode, focus is fast. There isn’t a lot of glass to move inside the lens, so this aids in quick focusing in ‘good’ light. Another awesome aspect of kit lenses is that they have a pretty good ‘close focusing distance.’ This means you can get pretty close to what you’re photographing. Though not as close as a dedicated macro lens, it’s usable and only as weak as your creativity.

The Pillar

Kit lenses nowadays often have built-in ‘Image Stabilization,’ also known as IS or VR. This means the lens itself is trying to make up for your shaky hands. So, with the IS turned off and your shaky hands, you might have to have a shutter speed of, let’s say, 1/125th of a second at ISO 800 (indoors, wide angle, static subject). With IS turned on, you get up to 3 stops of stabilization (8 times more light). So you could, in theory, bring your ISO down to 100 for a much cleaner image. Uses for this include food and still-life photography.

Ice Cold

Fried Goodness


In Part 3 of this series, I'll be covering a little more information regarding Image Stabilization, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Thanks again for stopping by!


  1. Thanks for taking the time to publish this information. Happy shooting!

    1. It was may pleasure, thanks for stopping by!