5 Lessons Learned While Using a Kit Lens for Travel Photography

There are many good reasons not to use a kit lens for travel photography. If a kit lens is the only lens you own and you have a photography trip planned, you may be thinking about buying a better quality mid-range zoom or even a prime lens to replace or accompany it.

Why a kit lens isn’t so bad after all

10 years ago I bought my first digital SLR, a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. I had switched systems from Pentax so I didn’t have any lenses to use with it. The camera came with an 18-55mm kit lens, and undecided about what other lenses I needed, I took it with me on an extended trip to South America.

I soon realized that the quality of the lens was not as good as it could be (I nearly used the word horrible). It wasn’t sharp and there was lots of chromatic aberration and purple fringing in my photos. Canon have since discontinued that early kit lens and replaced it with another, better one.

But that lens and camera combination gave me a tremendous amount of freedom. It was light enough enough to carry with me everywhere. I never had to change lenses, which helped keep the sensor reasonably free of dust. I had a wide-angle lens at 18mm, a short telephoto at 55mm, and all the focal lengths in-between.

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