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Thread: Kit Lens Capability?

  1. #1

    Default Kit Lens Capability?

    Hello all, I'm using a 18-55mm DX VR Lens that came with the D60. I've been exploring with its capabilities. Shooting outdoors under the sunlight is fine, but I'm not sure about the other situations.

    I usually try to shoot at shutterspeed 1/125 and above outdoors to get clear sharp shots, but it's difficult if I'm shooting in an area covered by a building's shadow? It drops to like, 1/50-1/60, and I can't get the contrast and sharpness as compared to the previous scenario? Is this normal if I'm using ISO 200?

    Whenever I shoot without the bright afternoon sunlight, it would drop in quality drastically and I'ld have to use photoshop to make it good(same if I shoot indoors). I'm not sure if this is because of my technique or the lens or the camera? How do I get good contrasting shots if I should be faced with conditions with relatively low light at shutters 1/40- 1/100(Besides using a tripod)?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    Expensive high quality lens can help a bit with contrast, but the scene has to be contrasty to begin with. So "bright afternoon sunlight", if too harsh, will give bad contrast anyway. Contrast is caused by light. Bad light = bad contrast. Can increase contrast in photoshop later if you want.

    1/50 sounds ok for indoors at 18mm. Sticking to 1/focal length or 1/(focal length x crop factor) should be fine. ISO 200 is normal for indoors. In fact so is 400, 800, 1600...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    I once shot a magazine's full colour center-spread with a consumer camera that didn't even have manual controls (Nikon EM), and a Series E lens which 'every Nikon user knows produces inferior results'.

    During the old days, IIRC, even Nikon admitted that they were dumbfounded that an AI lens with 'known' design faults, producing crappy results (the 43-86mm zoom) was one of their biggest selling lenses.

    Never underestimate 'cheapo' or beginners' lenses.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    Quote Originally Posted by icebox View Post
    Expensive high quality lens can help a bit with contrast, but the scene has to be contrasty to begin with. So "bright afternoon sunlight", if too harsh, will give bad contrast anyway. Contrast is caused by light. Bad light = bad contrast. Can increase contrast in photoshop later if you want.

    1/50 sounds ok for indoors at 18mm. Sticking to 1/focal length or 1/(focal length x crop factor) should be fine. ISO 200 is normal for indoors. In fact so is 400, 800, 1600...
    Hmmm, does it mean that most photographers using normal lenses(like the kit lens) will photoshop the images to make it sharp and stuffs? I see their pictures, it's so sharp and Wow! but I don't know what's wrong on my side because I'm really using the best settings i can =\ haha, my friend says 1/focal length is still relatively slow and can still have camera shake leh, but do most people overcome it? haha, i have to admit my camera holding technique's not very firm though

  5. #5

    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    at web size, you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between a kit lens and a "sharp" lens.

    unless you have gotten a serious lemon..

    most dslr outputs posted online involve a step called USM, which sharpens the picture. or any other form of sharpening. the processing done in-cam by dslrs tends to be less than that for consumer cameras, precisely because it allows one to work on it the way he wants it to be.

    what you need to know is that most kit lenses tend to be at their sharpest at f/8 to f/11. so if you msut have extreme sharpness keep it in that range. it is entirely possible that because of the darker scene your camera has ended up tweaking the aperture to a larger one, and thus since this is not what one would call the "sweetest spot" (the sharpest aperture setting for the lens) of your kit lens you might end up getting soft images. the upping of iso will not help either.

    to get the best out of your kit lens, use a tripod or learn good handholding technique, set the iso to be the lowest possible, and shoot at f/8 to f/11. many people have gotten superb results out of kit lens.

    this is not to say that kit lens is not without its limitations. range is one. 18 is wide, but can be wider, and 55 is ok for length but can be longer. for low light situations where it is even more challenging, and depth of field, these are other limitations too.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    at web size, you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between a kit lens and a "sharp" lens.

    unless you have gotten a serious lemon..

    most dslr outputs posted online involve a step called USM, which sharpens the picture. or any other form of sharpening. the processing done in-cam by dslrs tends to be less than that for consumer cameras, precisely because it allows one to work on it the way he wants it to be.

    what you need to know is that most kit lenses tend to be at their sharpest at f/8 to f/11. so if you msut have extreme sharpness keep it in that range. it is entirely possible that because of the darker scene your camera has ended up tweaking the aperture to a larger one, and thus since this is not what one would call the "sweetest spot" (the sharpest aperture setting for the lens) of your kit lens you might end up getting soft images. the upping of iso will not help either.

    to get the best out of your kit lens, use a tripod or learn good handholding technique, set the iso to be the lowest possible, and shoot at f/8 to f/11. many people have gotten superb results out of kit lens.

    this is not to say that kit lens is not without its limitations. range is one. 18 is wide, but can be wider, and 55 is ok for length but can be longer. for low light situations where it is even more challenging, and depth of field, these are other limitations too.

    yeah, it's true. Using 55mm most of the time, my smallest aperture is f5.6, could hardly get the shallow depth of field effect =\ It's an issue with the lens uh..

  7. #7

    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    Quote Originally Posted by deckb5 View Post
    yeah, it's true. Using 55mm most of the time, my smallest aperture is f5.6, could hardly get the shallow depth of field effect =\ It's an issue with the lens uh..
    well, ultimately it depends on what subjects you tend to shoot. you have to make the decision eventually. best to think carefully, because it is easy to purchase, easy to get rid of, but the money also very easy to fly away.


    unless of course, you have a lot of money to burn.. then i bo wei gong.

    many people have posted up links to beautiful images taken with various brands' kit lens. i will not try to paint you a pretty picture that it is the best lens you can get, that is just plain silly.. but it is a good platform on which to decide what sort of shots you like, the subjects/topics you prefer.. and then from then on go on to make well-informed purchases. the fact that it is not expensive as well makes it a boon.

    not everyone needs limited dof either.

    cheers.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Kit Lens Capability?

    if you want nice DOF, the cheapest possible lens has got to be 50mm f1.4 and make sure you learn how to MF.

    else you go just make do with the 50mm f1.8 for the moment and pray hard that nikon comes out with the af-s version of 50mm.

    MF is a must for marco and perhaps also easier if you try it on still-life objects.

    of course there's a AF lens like the sigma 30mm f1.4 HSM which comes at twice the price of the nikon af-d 50mm f1.4

    i'm also using the 18-55mm vr so far this lens is way better than the last version II-ED i'm been using formerly.
    Last edited by Simon_84; 15th July 2008 at 09:13 AM.

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