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02-03-2010, 10:36 AM   #1
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can you tell

If I only print photos from my k-x up to A3 size using more or less the full frame is it possible to tell whether the lens is a 'kit' lens or something better?

02-03-2010, 12:16 PM   #2
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For shots at f/8 in good light, the difference wouldn't be noticeable unless you really looked closely - more closely than one would normally examine a print that large.

The limitations of the kit lens really aren't so much about "good" the lens is when taking exactly the same shot as with another lens - the difference is in thr shots that the kit lens can't take at all (not wide enough, not long enough, can't focus close enough, etc), or can only take by requiring a slower shutter speed or higher ISO than you would like (due to its "slow" maximum aperture).
02-03-2010, 12:47 PM   #3
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For some photos, no one could tell unless they had another print to compare to, done with a better lens. Let's say you have a photo taken at 28mm, f8, ISO 200, and exposed well enough so you didn't have to alter it in processing. The kit lens is good enough in that range to fool anyone. (The biggest giveaway would be out of focus highlights in the shape of hexagons - some better lenses might have different shapes.)

At the extremes of the kit lens, it may show other anomalies that a really sharp observer might pick out. At 18mm and f3.5, you'll see darker corners and some distortion. At 55mm and f5.6, the sharpness is not going to be great, especially in the corners.

The really sharp observer would be helped in advance if he knew what your aperture and focal length settings were, or if your photo happens to have a resolution chart in the frame. I find that the only person who looks that closely at my prints is my wife, to see if she looks "fat".
02-03-2010, 02:11 PM   #4
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Iím a beginner, but my favorite shots recently have been head and shoulders portraits of my kids with my DA70 wide open at 2.4 to completely blur the background. Itís those sort of shots that canít be done well with a kit lens. Iíve taken enough photos now that I can immediately spot whether a photo has been taken with my Sigma 17-70 or my DA70, the DA70 is completely in another league. As a previous poster said, itís not so much about what size you blow it up to, itís what situation and type of photo you take, and f8+ in good light is about the only time you will struggle to spot a difference.

02-03-2010, 03:42 PM   #5
Damn Brit
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If you are using the zoom and you can get your subject further away from the background, you can still blur it with the zoom wide open even though it's a smaller aperture. Obviously it's more restrictive but it can still be done.
02-03-2010, 06:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mohb Quote
If I only print photos from my k-x up to A3 size using more or less the full frame is it possible to tell whether the lens is a 'kit' lens or something better?
The question shouldn't be "can you tell", but rather "does it matter". For some cases, the answer is "not really", but in others, it may be important.
02-03-2010, 11:23 PM   #7
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The kit lens should be fine

You've probably heard the phrase, it's not the camera but the photographer that makes the difference. If you're asking now, you're probably not yet ready to take advantage of the better resolution and focusing capabilities of more expensive lenses. My first camera, a Roliflex double lens reflex. had one focal length. I took thousands of image with it, including lots for my college newspaper. Do the same with your kit lens. Use it until you know it won't do what you want it to do. Then get another lens and learn it. And so on...

Sometimes a more expensive lens is actually worse. A lens reaches greatest sharpness around 3 stops above its maximum aperture. For a super fast lens that is often around f 5.6. A kit lens that only opens up that wide will achieve maximum sharpness around f-11, which will give you more depth of field. So there can even be an advantage in some situations in using the kit lens. I'm not saying that a more expensive lens isn't worth the cost, just that without understanding the capabilities of each lens, you can waste a lot of cash collecting lenses without improving your photography.

michael mckee
My Port Townsend Ė A City in Photographs Ė 365
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