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Noob question on new camera stock lens.

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by blondie_hunter, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. blondie_hunter

    blondie_hunter Member

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    I have purchased a few digital cameras over the years, the first one is a Sony H9 I think, then a Nikon D3400, then the Panasonic FZ80 I'm having now. Which I purchased on Amazon on a sale, with $417 deliverd.

    I have noticed almost all big cameras come with the 18-55mm stock lens. As a noob who doesn't know anything about cameras I don't understand why. Is it becuase they are the most crappy and cheapest ones? Which has the worst image quality? So the companies can sell you better and more expensive ones?

    All the different lens are so damn expensive, some even cost more than the cameras themselves, it is ridiculous.
     
  2. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    They are good for what they are, they are jack of all trades lenses. For the kits they are usually sold with, they tick the boxes of what the general user would want and need whilst learning or using that specific camera body. They compromise on the materials used to make, as well as the performance of the lens itself. Every consumer still has the option of just buying the camera body and then a better lens to go with it.

    Photography is an expensive hobby/profession, you can pick whatever path you want to with it. You can buy older quality gear that is cheaper and put up with the flaws they may have, or you can dive down the rabbit hole of having the latest and greatest and enjoying all of the benefits that has to offer. You also have the technical application of what certain gear affords you, and being able to match the peak performance with your intention as a photographer.

    I think once you do understand the ins and outs of photography though you can definitely appreciate the different levels of equipment and the value in them (not just $$$). That last statement is a little short sighted :)
     
  3. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

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    If they sold you a better lens in the kit, the kit would cost more. Sometimes there's an option to purchase such a kit!

    18-55 is an OK "standard" range on a crop-sensor camera, and it has a number of qualities to recommend it as a kit lens that are directly related to the short zoom range and middling focal length:
    1) It's compact and light
    2) It's optically simple so it can be cheaply manufactured while maintaining quite high optical quality
    3) Focus tends to be quite snappy because of (1) and (2)

    Not that it's a lens without drawbacks, even for what it is:
    1) 18mm at the wide end is just SLIGHTLY frustrating. Even 17mm feels a lot better, and 15mm much better. However, I believe this to be engineering-driven - on DSLRs pushing wider than 18mm seems to be optically complex due to the long back-focus distance. This is no longer the case for mirrorless cameras, and some of the mirrorless kits go 16-50 or 16-55 in reflection of that.
    2) Variable-aperture lenses are fundamentally confusing for beginners - it's hard to explain to a beginner why they need to zoom out when trying to get a decent shot in the dark.

    As for the price of lenses: they're extremely complex to design and build, and pretty much all of them sell in much lower volume than entry-level camera bodies. The economics is what it is.
     
  4. herzeg

    herzeg Iron Photographer

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    Expensive cameras don't come with an 18-55mm at all, and the one that comes with the D3400 is optically and functionally excellent and matches the body perfectly. It's just a "standard lens" in terms of range and operability, but also results; it's no ploy to suck you into expensive glass, certainly not at the entry level, that's for sure.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    blondie_hunter

    blondie_hunter Member

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    Just took some night photos in the city, used IA+ mode, and they look miserable...

    https://imgur.com/QTLnNjO
    https://imgur.com/YlDjFWL
    https://imgur.com/s6VvOhB
    https://imgur.com/qi21dVG
    https://imgur.com/KP4EMWU
    https://imgur.com/z8zguHS
    https://imgur.com/iEpx5yR
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
  6. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

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    Link goes nowhere I'm afraid.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    blondie_hunter

    blondie_hunter Member

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  8. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

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    Could you post versions with EXIF intact somewhere? I presume these are from the FZ80 you mentioned?

    Frankly I wouldn't expect much from that camera. Honestly I don't see why you started this thread about 18-55's if that camera is what you actually want to talk about....it's an all-in-one superzoom, highly compromised optics welded to a tiny sensor.

    A 1/2.3" sensor is the same as many modern smartphones. At just 6.17 x 4.55 mm (28.5 square mm) it's less than 10% the light-gathering area of the APS-C cameras (332 square mm) you mentioned in your OP.

    And where I mentioned that an 18-55 has a small 3x zoom range which allows the lens to be cheap, light, compact, and still fairly high quality? The FZ80 has a 60x (!) optical zoom which is still compact, light, and cheap...so guess which parameter has to give?

    Perhaps that's the conversation you wanted to have - why do DSLR / mirrorless kits only have a 3x zoom when you can buy a 60x zoom for less money? Well, I feel like I've kinda answered that question - you're comparing apples to subminiature oranges.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
    Deftone2k likes this.
  9. lonewolf1983

    lonewolf1983 Member

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    ^^ What he said.

    As far as the 18-55 - they're cheap and designed to be a starting point (or finishing point if it serves your purposes).
    Some are pretty decent (the Fujifilm one is excellent), but yes any serious photographer moves on from them when they want better images and more options (like background blur, sharpness, low light ability)
     
  10. Pinkeh

    Pinkeh Member

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    It's good enough as a starter. And then you discover a 35mm or 50mm prime.
     
  11. Ben Smooth

    Ben Smooth Member

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    They are night photos, so low light and therefore requires a bit more experience and knowledge on how to get a great image. Are you using a tripod because that will help nail your settings to improve on the quality. Are you shooting in manual mode and RAW format, lastly many photographers edit their images in post with software such as Lightroom.

    All these factors make a difference. There is nothing wrong with the kit lens nothing good about them either but its capable, learn how to use your gear first and then you will see the need to upgrade to a more expensive lens. Learning the basics of photography will take you much further than buying expensive gear.

    One immediate skill to learn is composition and that literally has nothing to do with gear.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  12. rifraf

    rifraf Member

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    G'day blondie_hunter,
    stop buying cameras or you'll end up being a collector (of cameras) rather than someone who take photos.

    It really is easiest to start off by just learning to use one camera properly. The money you spent on the FZ80 would have gotten you a great starter lens for night work, in the Nikon AF-S 35mm f1.8 lens.

    Pick a camera to learn and start by sitting down with the camera (with lens on) and manual and read it. When your sitting down to watch tv, have that camera and manual close to hand so you can read it whilst the ads are on and practice changing the settings.

    There will be somewhere in the manual, how to get the best shots the camera is capable of doing nightshots or low light.

    To be honest, the manufacturer manuals often aren't intuitive but many popular cameras have "How to" guides written for them, which often good libraries will have copies (so don't panic and buy the first one you come across).

    I'm biased and of the "opinion" that you be able to get the best looking pics from your D3400.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2020

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