For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you

Started Apr 3, 2013 | Discussions
Sovern
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For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
Apr 3, 2013

You can read the full article here

So after responding to thread after thread of photographers asking what lens they should upgrade to and a lack of love for the kit lenses I decided to write up an article on why I think that the kit lens is more than good enough for most photographers and how it does 95% of what the lenses that cost $1-2K do.

Basically I go into detail of why the lens used in a particular photo is is only the icing on the cake when it comes to how well your photos look and how the photographer and his set of skills determine how his photos look......not the lens.

I also talk about a few strategy's on how to make the kit lens better the primary one turning the kit lens into a non variable aperture zoom lens keeping your exposure/lighting (whether it be flash or not) consistent by setting your kit lens to F5.6 no manner what (of course in some situations you wouldn't want to do this).

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the kit lenses (18-55 paired with 55-250) offers the most bang for the buck and that most photographers would benefit more from reading books, asking for photo critiques, learning about lighting, and learning more about post production?

Share your thoughts.

All the best.

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Don Daugherty
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

My observations:  It feels like you express your opinions as fact.  I'm not inclined to read when you use words like "most", "always" and other generalizations without any supporting facts whatsoever.  Those are opinions, not fact.  You use a lot of emphasis with capitals and bold, but again you don't seem to support anything with facts.

Nothing personal, but the photos included don't make me feel that your point about the kit lens any stronger.   They're just not my cup of tea and I'm not compelled to feel that the kit lenses are great based on them.

I'm curious why you feel like adversarially "educating" people when you've admittedly been practicing photography for "over 1 year"?

Sovern wrote:

You can read the full article here

So after responding to thread after thread of photographers asking what lens they should upgrade to and a lack of love for the kit lenses I decided to write up an article on why I think that the kit lens is more than good enough for most photographers and how it does 95% of what the lenses that cost $1-2K do.

Basically I go into detail of why the lens used in a particular photo is is only the icing on the cake when it comes to how well your photos look and how the photographer and his set of skills determine how his photos look......not the lens.

I also talk about a few strategy's on how to make the kit lens better the primary one turning the kit lens into a non variable aperture zoom lens keeping your exposure/lighting (whether it be flash or not) consistent by setting your kit lens to F5.6 no manner what (of course in some situations you wouldn't want to do this).

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the kit lenses (18-55 paired with 55-250) offers the most bang for the buck and that most photographers would benefit more from reading books, asking for photo critiques, learning about lighting, and learning more about post production?

Share your thoughts.

All the best.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

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MaxCh
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

interesting article. thanks

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Guidenet
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Don Daugherty, Apr 3, 2013

Don Daugherty wrote:

My observations:  It feels like you express your opinions as fact.  I'm not inclined to read when you use words like "most", "always" and other generalizations without any supporting facts whatsoever.  Those are opinions, not fact.  You use a lot of emphasis with capitals and bold, but again you don't seem to support anything with facts.

Nothing personal, but the photos included don't make me feel that your point about the kit lens any stronger.   They're just not my cup of tea and I'm not compelled to feel that the kit lenses are great based on them.

I'm curious why you feel like adversarially "educating" people when you've admittedly been practicing photography for "over 1 year"?

Sovern wrote:

You can read the full article here

So after responding to thread after thread of photographers asking what lens they should upgrade to and a lack of love for the kit lenses I decided to write up an article on why I think that the kit lens is more than good enough for most photographers and how it does 95% of what the lenses that cost $1-2K do.

Basically I go into detail of why the lens used in a particular photo is is only the icing on the cake when it comes to how well your photos look and how the photographer and his set of skills determine how his photos look......not the lens.

I also talk about a few strategy's on how to make the kit lens better the primary one turning the kit lens into a non variable aperture zoom lens keeping your exposure/lighting (whether it be flash or not) consistent by setting your kit lens to F5.6 no manner what (of course in some situations you wouldn't want to do this).

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the kit lenses (18-55 paired with 55-250) offers the most bang for the buck and that most photographers would benefit more from reading books, asking for photo critiques, learning about lighting, and learning more about post production?

Share your thoughts.

All the best.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

Sovern, I have to agree with Don here. What's going on? You've got a year of experience and some of your viewpoints and ideas show it. Some is just made up. Your blog is filled with bad spelling, poor grammar and horrible sentence structure. Some is so poor it's almost impossible to reason out what you're trying to say. Why are you attempting to educate others in this manner?

Even your signature tag line makes little sense. "The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around." What in the world does that mean? The old saying is something on the order of "The photographer makes a great image, not the gear," but whoever heard of the way you put it? You don't make the gear. Canon did. In fact that brings me to the point where it seems all you know much about is the entry level Canon gear. Do some research.

You and your girlfriend bought a new Canon Rebel and you're attempting to set yourself up as a professional with no clients and a blog with no experience. I actually do like some of your photographs and do think you may have talent, but you don't seem to have much experience yet and I'm not sure you really know photography as a craft yet. By your writing skills, I think you're going to make yourself look worse not better, unfortunately.

Why not get someone to proof-read your work for grammar and structure? Run it through a spell checker and let a couple of friends check it for errors in logic. As Don says, lose the adversarial style as well. You don't need to bold things up to make a point or type in caps. Try outlining first with some top level down reasoning. Here on these forums, we're casual and make typos all the time. It's different when you blog. You're posing as a professional or expert. You've got to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Suggestion: Rather than post an advertisement here for your blog, why not request people here to proof read it and contribute prior to public consumption? Be humble about it. I'm thinking the only reason you've not yet run foul of DPR's anti-advertising (for free) policies is your blog is not professional enough to consider.

I was really hoping you'd get better. It's always nice when a novice has passion like what you seem to have, but it's not getting better and if you're trying to inspire people to hire you, you have some serious work to do. Good luck, really.

Take Care.

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Cheers, Craig
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Toedtoes
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Don Daugherty, Apr 3, 2013

I agree with those comments.

Also, you state:

"just that the main people that will gain anything from these lenses are the ones that are shooting often, professionally, and are being paid, as they are the ones where the little bit of extra speed/quality will help them as their photos already look excellent and a good photographer will take good photos with any gear."

That last bit "a good photographer will take good photos with any gear" is canceling out your statement that only the pros will gain from the lens.  If they can take good photos with any gear, then why do they need to spend the money on the more expensive lens?

I do understand your attempt.  It's true, as a beginner, it is far more helpful to learn HOW to shoot before putting money out on upgrading your lens.  But, you take it way beyond that and imply that no one really needs the expensive lenses at all.

You also ignore the other major reason for buying a more expensive lens:  IQ.

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scorrpio
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Frankly, all that typing looks like you were desperately trying to occupy your hands with something to prevent them from clicking 'check out' on that 17-55 f/2.8 in the shopping cart.    If typing all that indeed got you convinced that you totally, REALLY, *ABSOLUTELY*  don't need that out of your budget lens(...wonder what my baseball card collection is worth...), then I guess the "article" is a success.

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hirejn
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

I already have two articles on buying cameras and lenses on my blog. What beginners should learn to do is take gear out of the equation. If you were in a jam and someone handed you a 10-year-old used 4-megapixel DSLR that shot at 1 frame per second with a kit lens and the auto exposure modes didn't work, could you make a picture, or would you freak out because you don't actually know photography? The equipment doesn't change the principles of photography, but principles aren't sexy enough for beginners.

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Sovern
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Don Daugherty, Apr 3, 2013

Don Daugherty wrote:

My observations:  It feels like you express your opinions as fact.  I'm not inclined to read when you use words like "most", "always" and other generalizations without any supporting facts whatsoever.  Those are opinions, not fact.  You use a lot of emphasis with capitals and bold, but again you don't seem to support anything with facts.

Nothing personal, but the photos included don't make me feel that your point about the kit lens any stronger.   They're just not my cup of tea and I'm not compelled to feel that the kit lenses are great based on them.

I'm curious why you feel like adversarially "educating" people when you've admittedly been practicing photography for "over 1 year"?

Sovern wrote:

You can read the full article here

So after responding to thread after thread of photographers asking what lens they should upgrade to and a lack of love for the kit lenses I decided to write up an article on why I think that the kit lens is more than good enough for most photographers and how it does 95% of what the lenses that cost $1-2K do.

Basically I go into detail of why the lens used in a particular photo is is only the icing on the cake when it comes to how well your photos look and how the photographer and his set of skills determine how his photos look......not the lens.

I also talk about a few strategy's on how to make the kit lens better the primary one turning the kit lens into a non variable aperture zoom lens keeping your exposure/lighting (whether it be flash or not) consistent by setting your kit lens to F5.6 no manner what (of course in some situations you wouldn't want to do this).

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the kit lenses (18-55 paired with 55-250) offers the most bang for the buck and that most photographers would benefit more from reading books, asking for photo critiques, learning about lighting, and learning more about post production?

Share your thoughts.

All the best.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

I've been practicing photography for well over a year but have been shooting for video for over 8 years.....the two have a lot of similarity's and why not share the passion and love a long with your opinions with others on the internet?

I will be doing a photoshoot on the beach this Sunday for my kit lens review and I want to show novices and most enthusiasts that they do not need to upgrade their lens right away.

If I told you that the photos that I shot on my article were done with a $2,000 Canon 24-70L II I don't think that you would feel any differently either.......they're good solid photos taken with good lighting and technique.

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The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

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Sovern
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Guidenet, Apr 3, 2013

Guidenet wrote:

Don Daugherty wrote:

My observations:  It feels like you express your opinions as fact.  I'm not inclined to read when you use words like "most", "always" and other generalizations without any supporting facts whatsoever.  Those are opinions, not fact.  You use a lot of emphasis with capitals and bold, but again you don't seem to support anything with facts.

Nothing personal, but the photos included don't make me feel that your point about the kit lens any stronger.   They're just not my cup of tea and I'm not compelled to feel that the kit lenses are great based on them.

I'm curious why you feel like adversarially "educating" people when you've admittedly been practicing photography for "over 1 year"?

Sovern wrote:

You can read the full article here

So after responding to thread after thread of photographers asking what lens they should upgrade to and a lack of love for the kit lenses I decided to write up an article on why I think that the kit lens is more than good enough for most photographers and how it does 95% of what the lenses that cost $1-2K do.

Basically I go into detail of why the lens used in a particular photo is is only the icing on the cake when it comes to how well your photos look and how the photographer and his set of skills determine how his photos look......not the lens.

I also talk about a few strategy's on how to make the kit lens better the primary one turning the kit lens into a non variable aperture zoom lens keeping your exposure/lighting (whether it be flash or not) consistent by setting your kit lens to F5.6 no manner what (of course in some situations you wouldn't want to do this).

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the kit lenses (18-55 paired with 55-250) offers the most bang for the buck and that most photographers would benefit more from reading books, asking for photo critiques, learning about lighting, and learning more about post production?

Share your thoughts.

All the best.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

Sovern, I have to agree with Don here. What's going on? You've got a year of experience and some of your viewpoints and ideas show it. Some is just made up. Your blog is filled with bad spelling, poor grammar and horrible sentence structure. Some is so poor it's almost impossible to reason out what you're trying to say. Why are you attempting to educate others in this manner?

Even your signature tag line makes little sense. "The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around." What in the world does that mean? The old saying is something on the order of "The photographer makes a great image, not the gear," but whoever heard of the way you put it? You don't make the gear. Canon did. In fact that brings me to the point where it seems all you know much about is the entry level Canon gear. Do some research.

You and your girlfriend bought a new Canon Rebel and you're attempting to set yourself up as a professional with no clients and a blog with no experience. I actually do like some of your photographs and do think you may have talent, but you don't seem to have much experience yet and I'm not sure you really know photography as a craft yet. By your writing skills, I think you're going to make yourself look worse not better, unfortunately.

Why not get someone to proof-read your work for grammar and structure? Run it through a spell checker and let a couple of friends check it for errors in logic. As Don says, lose the adversarial style as well. You don't need to bold things up to make a point or type in caps. Try outlining first with some top level down reasoning. Here on these forums, we're casual and make typos all the time. It's different when you blog. You're posing as a professional or expert. You've got to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Suggestion: Rather than post an advertisement here for your blog, why not request people here to proof read it and contribute prior to public consumption? Be humble about it. I'm thinking the only reason you've not yet run foul of DPR's anti-advertising (for free) policies is your blog is not professional enough to consider.

I was really hoping you'd get better. It's always nice when a novice has passion like what you seem to have, but it's not getting better and if you're trying to inspire people to hire you, you have some serious work to do. Good luck, really.

Take Care.

-- hide signature --

Cheers, Craig
Follow me on Twitter @craighardingsr : Equipment in Profile

No offense but I am a working photographer. I have two shoots lined up for the weekend and have future clients lined up a long with past events shot that I got paid for.

Also, I'm not understanding the whole grammar argument as I spell checked it twice and the sentence structure seems good enough to me or else you and others would not be able to discuss what I talked about in my blog.

I don't know where you got this "you bought a rebel" nonsense from which is untrue as I shoot with a 40D and she's my assistant.

I really don't have much work to do when it comes to "inspiring people" to hire me as like I said I have a bunch of paid work lined up....I just think you're jealous ;).

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Sovern
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Toedtoes, Apr 3, 2013

Toedtoes wrote:

I agree with those comments.

Also, you state:

"just that the main people that will gain anything from these lenses are the ones that are shooting often, professionally, and are being paid, as they are the ones where the little bit of extra speed/quality will help them as their photos already look excellent and a good photographer will take good photos with any gear."

That last bit "a good photographer will take good photos with any gear" is canceling out your statement that only the pros will gain from the lens.  If they can take good photos with any gear, then why do they need to spend the money on the more expensive lens?

I do understand your attempt.  It's true, as a beginner, it is far more helpful to learn HOW to shoot before putting money out on upgrading your lens.  But, you take it way beyond that and imply that no one really needs the expensive lenses at all.

You also ignore the other major reason for buying a more expensive lens:  IQ.

You missed out on the point that I made about the lens being the icing on the cake. I mentioned that but you either skipped reading it or forgot it.

I said that once a photographer has good technique and knows what they're doing (IE they can take good photos consistently) only then should they upgrade the lens as it's the least important thing when it comes to image quality yet it is the most expensive.

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Toedtoes
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to hirejn, Apr 3, 2013

I disagree.  It's not about taking the gear out of photography, it's about understanding how the gear AFFECTS photography.  A faster lens, a longer lens, a full-frame camera, a crop camera, etc. - they all affect your final image.  Knowing how they do so is important.  You can't just ignore all that.

Yes, there are techniques and knowledge that will follow across everything, but one must know when those techniques and knowledge DON'T cross over from one piece of equipment to another that is important.  It will enable you to make an educated decision on whether the kit lens is sufficient for your needs or if you need a faster lens, a longer or wider lens, a flash, a prime, etc.

It's not an all or nothing - a kit lens is not ALWAYS the right tool, but it may be the right tool for THIS INSTANCE.  The trick is learning when.

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Toedtoes
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Sovern wrote:

Toedtoes wrote:

I agree with those comments.

Also, you state:

"just that the main people that will gain anything from these lenses are the ones that are shooting often, professionally, and are being paid, as they are the ones where the little bit of extra speed/quality will help them as their photos already look excellent and a good photographer will take good photos with any gear."

That last bit "a good photographer will take good photos with any gear" is canceling out your statement that only the pros will gain from the lens.  If they can take good photos with any gear, then why do they need to spend the money on the more expensive lens?

I do understand your attempt.  It's true, as a beginner, it is far more helpful to learn HOW to shoot before putting money out on upgrading your lens.  But, you take it way beyond that and imply that no one really needs the expensive lenses at all.

You also ignore the other major reason for buying a more expensive lens:  IQ.

You missed out on the point that I made about the lens being the icing on the cake. I mentioned that but you either skipped reading it or forgot it.

I said that once a photographer has good technique and knows what they're doing (IE they can take good photos consistently) only then should they upgrade the lens as it's the least important thing when it comes to image quality yet it is the most expensive.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

Actually, you did NOT say that.  You imply it, but then you add a comment that counters that implication (as the sentence I quoted above).

Also, in regards to the comment about proofing your article, the problem isn't the spelling, it's the grammar.  For example NON SENSE.  Those are both perfectly legitimate words, but in the context you but them, they should be the single word NONSENSE.  Likewise, you wrote "asking about Post Production Technique’s" - Technique's is possessive.  What you mean is plural Techniques.  Both spellings are correct, but they have two different meanings.  Same with "photographic ability’s" - ability's is possessive.  You want abilities (plural - although the singular ability would be acceptable).  You also use the word "than" when you should use the word "then".  Than is used to compare (such as rather than than, you want then).  Then is the linear affect (if you use then, then you will be correct).

None of this is meant to knock you, but you asked for opinions.  You are getting some good feedback.  If you can take your initial defensive reaction (we all have it - some just have learned to ignore it better) out of the picture, then you can take the additional knowledge and improve your product (in this case your article).

Also, I have to agree about the "the photographer makes the gear, not the other way around" tag.  It doesn't make sense.  I'm guessing you are trying to personalize the standard line, but you're better off using the standard or coming up with something altogether different.  Otherwise, people will assume you're misquoting.

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Sovern
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Toedtoes, Apr 3, 2013

Toedtoes wrote:

I disagree.  It's not about taking the gear out of photography, it's about understanding how the gear AFFECTS photography.  A faster lens, a longer lens, a full-frame camera, a crop camera, etc. - they all affect your final image.  Knowing how they do so is important.  You can't just ignore all that.

Yes, there are techniques and knowledge that will follow across everything, but one must know when those techniques and knowledge DON'T cross over from one piece of equipment to another that is important.  It will enable you to make an educated decision on whether the kit lens is sufficient for your needs or if you need a faster lens, a longer or wider lens, a flash, a prime, etc.

It's not an all or nothing - a kit lens is not ALWAYS the right tool, but it may be the right tool for THIS INSTANCE.  The trick is learning when.

So would you recommend that a new photographer or a photographer that is mediocre upgrade his kit lens to a $1,000 17-55 2.8 and a $1,000 70-200F4 IS because it "effects the final image"?

After all, that's the main point in my article.

The kit lenses are highly versatile lenses and in the right hands they can photograph anything.

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Sovern
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Toedtoes, Apr 3, 2013

Toedtoes wrote:

Sovern wrote:

Toedtoes wrote:

I agree with those comments.

Also, you state:

"just that the main people that will gain anything from these lenses are the ones that are shooting often, professionally, and are being paid, as they are the ones where the little bit of extra speed/quality will help them as their photos already look excellent and a good photographer will take good photos with any gear."

That last bit "a good photographer will take good photos with any gear" is canceling out your statement that only the pros will gain from the lens.  If they can take good photos with any gear, then why do they need to spend the money on the more expensive lens?

I do understand your attempt.  It's true, as a beginner, it is far more helpful to learn HOW to shoot before putting money out on upgrading your lens.  But, you take it way beyond that and imply that no one really needs the expensive lenses at all.

You also ignore the other major reason for buying a more expensive lens:  IQ.

You missed out on the point that I made about the lens being the icing on the cake. I mentioned that but you either skipped reading it or forgot it.

I said that once a photographer has good technique and knows what they're doing (IE they can take good photos consistently) only then should they upgrade the lens as it's the least important thing when it comes to image quality yet it is the most expensive.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

Actually, you did NOT say that.  You imply it, but then you add a comment that counters that implication (as the sentence I quoted above).

Also, in regards to the comment about proofing your article, the problem isn't the spelling, it's the grammar.  For example NON SENSE.  Those are both perfectly legitimate words, but in the context you but them, they should be the single word NONSENSE.  Likewise, you wrote "asking about Post Production Technique’s" - Technique's is possessive.  What you mean is plural Techniques.  Both spellings are correct, but they have two different meanings.  Same with "photographic ability’s" - ability's is possessive.  You want abilities (plural - although the singular ability would be acceptable).  You also use the word "than" when you should use the word "then".  Than is used to compare (such as rather than than, you want then).  Then is the linear affect (if you use then, then you will be correct).

None of this is meant to knock you, but you asked for opinions.  You are getting some good feedback.  If you can take your initial defensive reaction (we all have it - some just have learned to ignore it better) out of the picture, then you can take the additional knowledge and improve your product (in this case your article).

Also, I have to agree about the "the photographer makes the gear, not the other way around" tag.  It doesn't make sense.  I'm guessing you are trying to personalize the standard line, but you're better off using the standard or coming up with something altogether different.  Otherwise, people will assume you're misquoting.

I fixed a lot of the grammar already and updated it with new photos and fixed the layout. I posted it on here as a rough draft now it's basically in it's final form.

But you are wrong about the whole "you did NOT" say that part as I did say it in the article......I mentioned that professionals and those with the skills/money should upgrade their lenses as the professionals would make good use of the more expensive lenses.

-
The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

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MarkInSF
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Sovern wrote:

Toedtoes wrote:

I disagree.  It's not about taking the gear out of photography, it's about understanding how the gear AFFECTS photography.  A faster lens, a longer lens, a full-frame camera, a crop camera, etc. - they all affect your final image.  Knowing how they do so is important.  You can't just ignore all that.

Yes, there are techniques and knowledge that will follow across everything, but one must know when those techniques and knowledge DON'T cross over from one piece of equipment to another that is important.  It will enable you to make an educated decision on whether the kit lens is sufficient for your needs or if you need a faster lens, a longer or wider lens, a flash, a prime, etc.

It's not an all or nothing - a kit lens is not ALWAYS the right tool, but it may be the right tool for THIS INSTANCE.  The trick is learning when.

So would you recommend that a new photographer or a photographer that is mediocre upgrade his kit lens to a $1,000 17-55 2.8 and a $1,000 70-200F4 IS because it "effects the final image"?

After all, that's the main point in my article.

The kit lenses are highly versatile lenses and in the right hands they can photograph anything.

-- hide signature --

The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

Ah, so that's the point.   Once again, the wrong word.   'Effects'  is both a verb and a noun, but the word you are looking for is 'affects'.

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mobi1
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to MarkInSF, Apr 3, 2013

i agree with the stwtement that kit lens is often very good to start with. once you gain some expertise with composition and stsrt feeling the need for going beyond the limits of kit lens, only then consider an upgrade.

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mike703
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Oh, boy.  Here you go again: a relative beginner posting your prejudices and opinions as facts that everybody needs to learn from.

I notice that your 'Why ETTR sucks' video that you promoted in this thread

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51203186

has been removed a whole day after it was posted.

Anyway a few comments since you asked for them:

(i) the plural of body is bodies, not body's

(ii) You wrote:  'The kit 18-55 lens is F3.5 on is wide end. The more expensive 24-70 lenses and 17-55 lenses are 2.8 on the wide end. The difference from F3.5 to F2.8 is only 2/3rds of a stop faster meaning that if you shoot at the wide end of your lens most of the time (such as what most landscape photographers do) you’re only gaining a very small amount of low light capturing ability.  2/3rds of a stop is hardly anything in the grand scheme of things and most would agree that it’s definitely not worth spending $500 or more for……'

But lenses such as 17-55 f/2.8 are two stops faster at the long end.  That is a huge difference and can easily mean the difference between getting the shot or not getting it.  In addition, a lens such as a 17-55 f/2.8 will have much higher image quality than a kit lens, especially at extremes like the widest setting and max aperture where kit lenses generally suffer from a host of problems such as severe distortion and vignetting and poor edge / corner quality.

(iii) You wrote: 'If you shoot Landscape photography, you will be stepping down your lens anyways to at least F8 so that you get enough depth of field which makes the fast aperture speeds such as F2.8 of the more expensive lenses useless for landscape photography.'

It's 'stopping' down, not 'stepping'.  And 'anyway', not 'anyways'.  And it is just possible that the owner of a 17-55 mm f/2.8 lens might occasionally want to use it for something other than landscapes at f/8, no?

(iv) You wrote: 'When you’re in a situation when you can’t use flash having a fast, yet somewhat cheap prime lens will be better than any of these $1,000-$2,000 zoom lenses.'

I'm sure all those misguided professional wedding photographers will immediately stop using their 70-200 f/2.8 zooms and exchange them for a 50mm f/1.8.

I'll leave it there is life is too short.  You have had some good advice above... please read it.

Best wishes

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Guidenet
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Sovern wrote:

No offense but I am a working photographer. I have two shoots lined up for the weekend and have future clients lined up a long with past events shot that I got paid for.

Also, I'm not understanding the whole grammar argument as I spell checked it twice and the sentence structure seems good enough to me or else you and others would not be able to discuss what I talked about in my blog.

I don't know where you got this "you bought a rebel" nonsense from which is untrue as I shoot with a 40D and she's my assistant.

I really don't have much work to do when it comes to "inspiring people" to hire me as like I said I have a bunch of paid work lined up....I just think you're jealous ;).

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The photographer makes the gear, not the other way around.

As you now see, you've made some corrections to the mess you started with. Good. That's a start.

And you didn't start with a Rebel. Ok, my mistake. You started with a used and very old Canon 40D crop model. It's still pretty far from something a professional working photographer might be equipped with even when it was brand new. I'm not saying it's a bad camera, just that it is a bit old and not up to modern standards.

And yes, I'm terribly jealous as I only have one major client. I'm fortunate enough that this one client takes up 40-50 hours a week of my time though and pays rather well along with good benefits. 

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Cheers, Craig
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jrtrent
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Re: For beginner DSLR users.....why the kit lenses are more than good enough for you
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Sovern wrote:

What are your thoughts? Do you think that the kit lenses (18-55 paired with 55-250) offers the most bang for the buck and that most photographers would benefit more from reading books, asking for photo critiques, learning about lighting, and learning more about post production?

While I agree that kit lenses are very good, offer a lot of bang for the buck, and could be the only lenses many people need, I don't like them for beginners.  I've long liked the advice given in an article by Philip Greenspun on assembling a DSLR system.  His advice is to start with a reasonably fast, normal focal length lens.  He has some good reasons for this advice; here are just a couple:

"The novice photographer who starts with a zoom lens typically uses it in lieu of backing up or stepping forward.  An experienced photographer visualizes the scene first, chooses a focal length, then gets into the appropriate position to capture the scene with that focal length.  It is much better to get a lens with a fixed focal length, learn to recognize scenes where that lens can be used effectively, and then add additional lenses once that focal length has been mastered. . .

Being a good photographer starts with the ability to recognize a scene that looks attractive under its current lighting conditions.  You need a lens with a wide enough maximum aperture, typically f/2.0 or f/1.4, to capture that scene even when the lighting is fairly dim, as it will be indoors or near the end of the day. . ." http://photo.net/equipment/building-a-digital-slr-system/?p=2

I also like the way his article suggests specific photographic projects to help focus a person's practice and learning, and that it's a good idea for a beginner to learn software and acquire and use accessories such as a tripod before ever venturing into other focal lengths.

As to your article, first, I would suggest losing much of the bold print and the italics.  It makes it visually painful to look at, and the application seems random rather than drawing the reader's attention to a particular point.  Second, even mild profanity is off-putting to many, and both detracts and distracts from the point you wanted to make.  Third, just a pet peeve of mine, was your statement "If you shoot Landscape photography, you will be stepping down your lens anyways to atleast F8 so that you get enough depth of field."  It's certainly true that a fast lens isn't required for landscape photography, but neither do you need to stop down to F/8 or smaller, even when the desire is to get all elements of the scene in good focus.

I once did a quick survey of the 35mm images in Brian Bower's book Lens, Light, and Landscape, and found that out of about 97 images, with lenses ranging from 16mm to 180mm, he never used an aperture smaller than midway between F/8 and F/11.  26 of the shots were at F/8, but 60 of the 97 pictures were taken at F/4 or F/5.6, and there were 9 shots at F/2 or F/2.8.  All of them had plenty of depth of field, with good sharpness across the entire frame.

I appreciated your point that for specific types of photography where the slow kit zooms would be too limiting, supplementing them with carefully chosen, modestly-priced prime lenses can make more sense than opting for big, heavy, and expensive zooms.  I would only add that while starting with a kit that includes 18-55 and 55-200mm lenses with the crop-sensor body gives you a lot of versatility for the money, a better way to learn photography would be to leave the zooms in the box and start with a modestly-priced 35mm F/1.8 or similar.

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Port Royal Dad
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Some things you failed to recognize???
In reply to Sovern, Apr 3, 2013

Firstly let me say that I somewhat agree with your basic premise that folks should learn how to use their gear, and know the limitations, and likewise grasp the basics around exposure, lighting, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc..... before investing in very expensive lenses.

Heck, just look at the on-going craze with chasing the MP bunny, upgrading the camera body at every cycle... anyway...

What you fail to acknowledge are some of the benefits of certain lens' features above what a "kit" lens offers.

  • Better/improved IS ??
  • IQ
  • Lens construction/durability
  • Focus speed (incredibly important in low light shooting)
  • Constant aperture over focal length
  • Ability and techniques to blur backgrounds
  • Shooting in low light situations

When an indivudual discovers their own path for where they want to take their photography (either as an amateur/hobbyist/professional), that's when they begin self-examining their needs, and use that knowledge to select the proper gear....or in this case a lens.  That's why IMHO, the best response to the question, "What lens should I upgrade to?" is answered back with the question, "What type of photography are you into or want to do?"

  • Birds in flight
  • Wildlife
  • Son's football (sitting high up in the stands)
  • Daughter's high school play/recital in a dark auditorium
  • Weddings
  • Concerts/plays
  • Macro, etc, etc

While I do like the few photos you've shown, you fail to recognize a lot of the benefits of having a lens which has capabilities above what a kit lens offers. Plus your shots are examples where shooting conditions are relatively good.  Sure, you can use that kits lens anywhere, all the time. But in other than ideal shooting situations, could you do better with the "right lens" rather than the kit lens? Of course. Does the right lens have to be a $2000 lens? No, not at all.

Botton line, I'm not using a 18-55mm kit lens for a concert at church when the lights are down low.  I'm not using a kit lens at my daughter's graduation ceremony when I sitting in the nose bleed section and I need that extra reach. I'm not using a kit lens at a wedding where flash is prohibited and I need a wide apeture, I'm not using a kit lens at a low light dance performace, where again, flash is prohibited and I need super fast focusing speed.

Assuming that the target photographer knows their gear inside and out and the limitations, you might do well to rephrase your message to where the photographer selects the right tool (aka lens) for the right conditions, and likewise discuss those shooting conditions that are less than ideal, as-well-as those artistic effects better achieved with a long lens and wide apeture.

Regards, Mike

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