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Do You Really Need to Replace Your Kit Lens?

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Do you suffer from 'lens envy' as a beginner photographer?

Are you happy with the kit lens that came with your camera or do you think that a bigger and better lens would help you take better photos?

I certainly began to think that way and I couldn't get the thought out of my head that I could make better images with a better lens.

My first purchase

Initially, I began to see the limitations of the kit lens for any kind of distance photography so I splashed out on my first 'real' lens, a Nikkon 70-300mm zoom lens - and I was hooked!

Out and about with my first zoom lens.

I can see the appeal of this type of photography - it brings distant 'objects' so much closer and allows the photographer a privilege not normally possible.

Captured with my 70-300mm zoom lens.

Despite the fact that I succumbed to the pressure from within to buy a second lens, I do agree with the words of a photography writer who says, limit your equipment - it forces you to be creative. I don't intend to invest in a huge number of lenses but rather to concentrate on improving my photography technique. But for now I want to enjoy the bit of extra creative freedom I get from being able to zoom in on my subject.

Below are some experiments with the zoom lens.

Many photography writers comment on the flat images returned when using a zoom lens. This is understandable yet there is no other way to get close to a speeding boat or view a bird relatively close-up. I also like the fact that I can capture people engaging in various activities without being intrusive.

I love capturing images of the sea, but the image is so much more powerful when people are added.

my second purchase

Prime lens

My third lens, and final lens for the foreseeable future, is a second hand prime lens, a Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8. This is a fixed focus lens but will allow me to really experiment with bokeh. Below are the first experiments.

I didn't worry about light in these photos but concentrated on getting a bokeh effect. I experimented with getting closer to the subject and further from the background. The 'nifty fifty' lens does give a better bokeh effect than the kit lens and this is an area of photography I am interested in developing.


As I have progressed in my photography journey I have added to my camera and lens collection. I still have the belief that learning photography is not about buying bigger and better equipment, and my priority is still to concentrate on learning techniques for improving my images. However, as I explain in this post, it is good to have a basic selection of lenses to experiment with and use in different ways and for different purposes. If you are learning photography and would like some suggestions for lenses that won't cost a fortune, the following post and its links might be of help.


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