Kit Without Being Kitsch - the Fujifilm 18-55 lens

on September 19, 2016

Sometimes you look out over the vast heaving sea of camera lenses and all you can see to the horizon is...kit lenses. Whether they are attached to Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, or Fujifilm digital cameras*, they are there in serried ranks - ready to head out to take the initial shots.

People sometimes think of them as stop-gap measures...lenses that you use until you can purchase something bigger and longer and faster and more lenses, if you will. Well, as a camera shop we would never discourage you from buying more lenses, but we can let you into a litle secret at the outset...kit lenses are very good.

It's percentages really - you can say that, for an average shooter, the camera set at factory defaults and on an automatic setting will deliver the picture they want about 85% of the time. It's the same for the kit lens - Average Joe or Average Jane will get what they need 85% of the time with the kit lens - particualrly if it is an 18-55mm focal range for an APS-C camera.

Of course as they advance in knowledge and skill, they become Excellent Joe and Excellent Jane and find they need wider, faster, longer, closer, etc in their lenses. And they can expect to pay more money and we can expect to take it. Isn't nature wonderful? But there is still a solid foundation of goodness in that kit lens.

The 18-55mm f:2.8-4 R LM OIS lens from Fujifilm can be clapped onto a new X-T2, X-Pro2, X-E2s, X-T10...or any of their older cousins...and for the most part stay clapped on there. It would be a very hard choice to beat for family pictures, casual portraits, landscape trips, holidays, car shots, pet shots, and product shots.

I could do a great wedding with one - I use flash for weddings - and the people who use the higher ISO settings on the newer cameras could do pretty much as well. The facility of not having to change lenses between shots would be priceless. For the techno-geeks out there who point out the inherently higher distortion percentages of any zoom lens vs any prime lens my answer would be: " When was the last time you saw a bride who was made up of right angles? ".

The OIS is the key to most of what this baby can do on the run. Lots of camera systems now have some form of stability aid - some are in the lenses and some in the bodies. This one goes with the Fujifilm idea of having it in the lens - whatever type, the effect is to allow you to use two shutter speeds slower than you could normally hold without paying a picture penalty. It won't take the place of a tripods for some work but it'll get you closer to that decision line than before.

As a trip lens it would be perfect if you were going to do urban and semi-rural pictures. I'd not hesitate to use it as the ONLY lens for a European or North American tour if I was not out in the bear-and-mountain-goat belt. Everything else would be well within the reward zone. Note: for wildlife you need longer lenses and for little life you need the Fujifilm 60mm macro lens. But you knew that already.

The one clincher for a kit lens is the price - they are often significantly less expensive than the exotic lenses in any manufacturer's range. Combine that with their utility and you've got a combo that you can't really beat! They're easy to pickup...( groan...)

*No, Virginia, you can't attach the same lens to all the cameras. At least not without a hammer and bad language...