18-55 MM : Kit lens that I loved to hate but made me a better photographer!!
Image sourced from Nikon USA

18-55 MM : Kit lens that I loved to hate but made me a better photographer!!

I was introduced to my first kit lens Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6. The most important piece of your camera is the glass that is put in front of it, also known as Lens. A lens is the central piece of equipment that makes our photo special. So like many other photographers when I took my jump into the world of serious photography (read my previous blog on The Girlfriend connection and Nikon D3100).

Why this 18-55mm

Well, kit lens as you know leaves a lot to be desired. Most camera companies like Nikon and Canon pair up the camera bodies with the inexpensive kit lens to keep the price competitive and obviously, you will not want to just buy a camera body for starters.

As many beginner photographers, I too felt like being stuck with 18-55 mm kit lens. Kit lens doesn’t produce the kind of images you see on Pinterest, Flickr or Instagram. It is meant for you to just start your road to photography with fewer frills and thrills. But as you grow your skills, it is imperative to buy a better glass. Yes, I understand that in the age of social media where many people are producing brilliant pictures. Then when you see the kind of image an 18-55 mm kit lens produces, you would surely want to upgrade as fast as possible. And that’s where I was looking sad after every click. Missing those smooth bokeh of prime lenses with big apertures or the ultra-wide lens.

See the problem in life will start if you are stuck in the middle. Being a middle class sucks since you have to pay all the taxes on time and all the rules and regulation are meant for us. Mid-life crisis is also something to talk about. So yeah 18-55 mm is somewhere in the middle of the way, leaving you to think that the grass is greener somewhere else.

The relationship takes a new turn with 18-55mm

Every photo opportunity would suck with 18-55mm and it had come to a point that I had become disinterested in photography. But since hashtag photography is life, I continued my struggle. And after many agonizing shoots, an epiphany happened. I realized that all this while I was hating this kit lens it was forcing me to improve my photography.

The same way Rocky Balboa used to struggle against his better opponents in every sequel. Although I was not getting up 5 Am in the morning, popping in a few raw eggs and then running up to the nearest park to take some shots. It came to me that I was wrongly putting up this lens with the like of primes and zooms. 18-55mm is a class of its own. It covers the range from taking a decent zoom shot to a decent wide-angle shot. Since there is not much room, you will adapt and better your skills.

So, how do you get the best out of an 18-55mm? The focal length of 18mm is a moderate wide-angle that is great for architecture, landscapes and nature photography. The other end that is 55mm is a short telephoto lens for compressing perspective and taking portraits or macro shots (believe me this baby can get real close). Don’t just shoot in the extremes but try to find other focal lengths to mix it up. You can try 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm. You need to walk around and sometimes change your perspective. Don’t shoot from the eye level but sometimes go high or even lay on the ground.

Some technical blah…blah

18-55mm
Image sourced from Nikon USA

The one which I have is a Nikon Nikkor 18-55mm. It is an all-plastic lens constructed to be lightweight and compact. Only the back end of the lens has the metal ring for mounting

purpose.18-55 mm, the lens has a retracting mechanism. There are two small buttons on the outer barrel. One is for exposure locking Automatic and Manual. The other one is for VR (Vibration Reduction). See this guy has some features to impress.

When you rotate the lens will protrude in the front. The earlier version of this lens had an internal mechanism for changing focal length, as in the outer body will not move at all. Talking about the optical system, it contains 12 lenses in 9 groups.

This lens has variable aperture length meaning that as you change the focal length, the minimum aperture size will also change. It works like the below:

18mm – f/3.5
20mm – f/3.8
24mm – f/4
28mm – f/4.2
32mm – f/4.5
36mm – f/4.8
40mm – f/5.0
46mm – f/5.3
52mm – f/5.6

The maximum aperture on this lens is F/36 which is at 55mm and F/22 at 18mm. Don’t act smart by trying to take pictures in the rain since this lens is not weather
protected. Your heroism would mean foggy lens for days and repair bills.

Wide angle shots with 18-55mm

18-55mm wide angle

18-55mm architecture photography

18-55mm

The above photos were taken with the very lovely 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6. I hope your preconceived notions will also change now.

Close-up photography with 18-55mm

Yes, you heard me right you this lens can do a bit of tight focus photography as well.

Watch photography with 18-55mm

Watch photography with 18-55mm

Nature photography with 18-55mm

Conclusion

The Nikon 18-55mm AF-P VR costs around Rs. 9,950 (as per Nikon website). At this price range, Nikon has produced a solid performing lens. If you can pair it with a
better camera body like D3400 or D5600 or D7100 then you will have a knockout photo. Lastly, this is a lightweight and ultra-portable standard-zoom lens that will easily fit into your pocket and budget. I hope looking at the above photos might also make you think more compassionately about your first lens rather than just treating it just some other useless lens. 18-55mm became my mentor into the world of photography.

If you liked this article, do comment and share it with your friends and family. Your valuable feedback will keep me motivated to produce better content in the future.

Thank you!!

 

Hi there!! thanks for stopping by.
I am Manas, a budding photographer and a full time IT consultant. I love exploring new things, travelling, reading and riding bikes. In my free time, i enjoy taking care of my beloved plants and i sometimes talk to them !!

Manas Vatsal

Hi there!! thanks for stopping by.I am Manas, a budding photographer and a full time IT consultant. I love exploring new things, travelling, reading and riding bikes. In my free time, i enjoy taking care of my beloved plants and i sometimes talk to them !!

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