Time to rethink the KIT LENS idea?

Started May 30, 2014 | Discussions thread
Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 27,197
Re: Are you certain about that?

Mark Ransom wrote:

Are you saying that F-stop has no bearing on the cost of a lens? That's absurd.

The primary attribute of a kit lens is that it must be cheap. Otherwise the entry-level system is viewed as uncompetitive with the alternative brands. Those that know what they're doing can always buy body-only and build their own kit.

One thing that makes kit lenses cheap is the shear number that they sell (and that you sell a camera body at the same time). Look at the very nice 18-135 lens from Pentax. It is sold as a kit lens for Pentax K-3. You get it substantially cheaper when buying it in the kit than buying it alone. Still, that lens is not cheap.

I think though that you can have a slightly better lens than the 18-55 we get without adding $300. I have three of those 18-55 now, and they are all three mechanical catastrophes with the front part being lose and not focussing the same each time. They take the fun out of photography.

I've always thought that the way to hook people into the lens upgrade path is with the "starter prime" - a prime lens that's so good and so cheap that it's universally recommended. The Pentax DA L 35/2.4 is a good attempt, but it never got the necessary buzz. I don't know if that's because it isn't good enough, or isn't cheap enough - or maybe just because of the competition with the 35/2.8 macro. Personally I've been very happy with the 40mm pancake that came with the K-01.

That is an easy one. Those that want a non zoom as kit lens is in minority. So, a prime lens cannot be the only kit lens choice. Many cameras have a prime lens kit choice as an alternative choice.

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