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Old Oct 10, 2013, 12:02 PM   #1
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A small experiment to explain why one has to upgrade their kit lenses supplied on lower end DSLR's...
A humble "nothing " pic of the back of a pub near where I live.
One shot with the "Kit" 18-55 VR lens zoomed to 50mm and one shot with Nikon's 50mm f/1.8 prime...
Both shot in aperture priority at f/5.6 and iso400
Which do you think is the "prime" crop..!!!
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 12:51 PM   #2
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While true, that 50mm lens doesn't work too well if you need 18mm. That's the real rub - whenever you "upgrade" you are almost always getting a more restrictive focal length. So, you have to understand what it is you really want. And, let's say you want f2.8 zooms - those are expensive and heavy.

so, what are some suggestions in nikon land if they still want 18mm wide?
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 2:54 PM   #3
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Oh I wasn't suggesting swapping the 18-55 range for a 50mm prime- merely demonstrating how poor the quality of the kit lens is... and an upgrade would be a very good idea if one wants to get the best out of their camera.
As for the suggestions- I'd like to hear some myself as my 50mm isn't exactly a "walkabout" lens...
I wonder if Nikon's older 18-70 f/3.5-4.5 would be better...?
Is Nikon's own 18-105 any good...?
Maybe Tamron's 17-50 f/2.8 (with or without VC) or the 28-75 f/2.8 if you don't need to go wide...?
Sigma's 17-70 f/2.8-4 might be an option...?
All of the above cost a few quid.. but hey,what can one do...??

Seriously- if one's budget doesn't extend to a lens upgrade on the entry level kit, I'd seriously question the merits of purchasing it- after all,the idea of a DSLR is for improved IQ over the compact/bridge/smaller sensor cameras- and with the lens on offer, much of that gain is compromised...

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Old Oct 10, 2013, 3:23 PM   #4
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That's not a great example.

We can't see the full EXIF info with intact maker notes, because Photoshop stripped some of it out.

IOW, we can't tell things like focus point, VR on/off, etc.

Because the softer image was taken at a very slow shutter speed (1/60 second, which is slower than desired with that focal length on a camera with an APS-C size sensor), that raises concerns about the lens being the entire issue, especially without a link to the original image showing more of the information about it.

So, I'd suggest using a better example that takes the potential for focus error and blur from camera shake out of the equation when demonstrating how one lens may compare against another (IOW, one with faster shutter speeds, full maker notes info intact in the EXIF data, etc. -- with links to the original, unprocessed, uncropped images). ;-)

Otherwise, at shutter speeds that slow. an unknown focus point, and without full maker notes information, it's hard to tell how the lenses may compare
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Old Oct 10, 2013, 6:17 PM   #5
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The focus point was the satellite dish on both lenses- and given that the kit lens has VR (and was on...) 1/60th sec at 50mm shouldn't be a problem- and in fact I took a couple of shots with the kit lens- both with he same result. I have a steady hand and I was leaning on a wall.... in fact,my concern was that I might get shake on the prime...!
You can see from the images that softness is the issue,not shake/blur...

The reason I made this comparison was because I have consistently been disappointed with images taken with the kit lens,in a variety of shooting scenarios- with fast shutter speeds,various AF settings,aperture settings etc... in fact,I've been going crazy trying to figure out the best way to get a decent shot out of it- and the truth is I can't- it's crap.
Not so with the prime lens- nailed focus and sharp 99% of the time (1% allowing for my error... )

So- anyone offer pointers on a decent kit lens replacement- and I'd sacrifice a few mm at the wide end for a couple on the long end....

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Old Oct 10, 2013, 6:54 PM   #6
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Another example....
Tripod mounted. All shot in Manual mode...
All at 1/100 sec, f/5.6, iso 400.
AF (centre point) was on the clock face for all 3 shots...

Pic 1 with the Kit 18-55
Pic 2 with Nikon 50mm f/1.8
Pic 3 with Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 (manual focus used with AF confirm light)
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Old Oct 11, 2013, 5:46 PM   #7
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G'day Simon

With your first posting, I was going to be cheeky and say that image #2 was the prime lens ...

but the second set of comparisons are excellent - the sort of thing I do from time to time with various camera / lens options

To see a side-by-side example taken a) under controlled conditions and b) by someone who knows what they're doing, is a very good way of illustrating these differences

Also - the bottom line with all this stuff, is that the photographer needs the $$ to upgrade. Sometimes it's just not possible [when juggling household bills on a small income] and so for many of us around the world, one just has to do one's best

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Old Oct 11, 2013, 6:39 PM   #8
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It's not that the kit 18-55 lens is a bad lens; it's just that, at 50mm, another relatively inexpensive lens is better. But at 18mm, the 50/1.8G isn't worth a hoot.

What matters is having the best tool for the job for the money.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 12:23 PM   #9
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TCav- the shot's above are shot at 50mm for obvious reasons... but believe me, the kit lens is just as bad at 18mm- no fine detail (say in a typical landscape shot) regardless of aperture setting.
I feel sorry for anyone who has a D3200 with this lens on board- all that resolution consigned to the dustbin- it might as well be a D50...!!
The usual range of a typical kit lens I have no problem with on an entry level DSLR- it's okay as a walkabout lens,for general use- but not if it's optically poor...
One of the many benefits (and arguably the main benefit) of a DSLR over say, a bridge/compact camera is it's sensor/IQ... but not if it's being compromised by a poor kit lens.
I had a similar experience with a 600D's kit lens- though the problem there was chronic fringing across the whole frame...!
Oh, and a Sony A37 kit lens- backgrounds behind focal point were bizarre...

I'd agree that one should strive to have the best tool for the job for the money- I'm just not sure that an entry level DSLR with a kit lens is the best tool,for ANY job at their prices...!
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 12:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
... but believe me, the kit lens is just as bad at 18mm...
True, but at a focal length of 18mm, the 50/1.8G is worse. That was my point.

There aren't a lot of lenses that can survive the scrutiny possible with a 24MP sensor. But knowing that, and stopping down to f/8 or f/11 would help. ... or upgrading to something that's up to the challenge, like the unstabilized Tamron 17-50/2.8.
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