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04-10-2014, 12:10 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
Cameras then weren't sold with 'kit' lenses
You sure about that? Most (all?) cameras could be had body-only, but most were also available retail bundled by the maker as several available "kits". That is where we got the term "kit" lens. Prior to about 1980, the kit lens was usually a 50mm at various maximum apertures. During the 1980s, the kit was often a moderate-range "walk-around" zoom though prime lens kits were also still generally available.

That being said, it was not unusual for mail-order dealers to break up kits and sell the lenses separately. The bodies would then be sold body-only or with a cheapo no-name replacement for the maker's lens. Yep, bait and switch. I learned the hard way back in 1970* to always check the fine print in the ad and confirm in writing both price and lens bundled.


Steve

* An Auto Rexatar 50/1.8 was slipped in as a replacement for the Auto Rikenon 50/1.7 kit lens for my Ricoh Singlex TLS. There was a note in the box telling me I could upgrade to the Rikenon for an additional $25. The same note told me that they shipped me a black body knowing that I would like it and that I owed them an additional $30 for the color change. I decided (foolishly) to split the difference and keep both the lens and the black body. I don't remember who the vendor was though the Rexatar was a very poor substitute for the very nice Rikenon 50/1.7 I currently own.


Last edited by stevebrot; 04-10-2014 at 12:25 PM.
04-10-2014, 02:45 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You sure about that? Most (all?) cameras could be had body-only, but most were also available retail bundled by the maker as several available "kits". That is where we got the term "kit" lens. Prior to about 1980, the kit lens was usually a 50mm at various maximum apertures. During the 1980s, the kit was often a moderate-range "walk-around" zoom though prime lens kits were also still generally available.
A 'kit' lens to me is a lens that's bundled with a camera body (in the same box) that isn't available on it's own in the lens line-up. These lenses are most often built down to a price - so much so that the kit only cost slightly more than an equivalent 'body only' price. I first came across this when super-cheap AF film SLRs arrived (for Pentax this would have been the MZ-30 time period).
04-10-2014, 03:43 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
A 'kit' lens to me is a lens that's bundled with a camera body (in the same box) that isn't available on it's own in the lens line-up. These lenses are most often built down to a price - so much so that the kit only cost slightly more than an equivalent 'body only' price. I first came across this when super-cheap AF film SLRs arrived (for Pentax this would have been the MZ-30 time period).
Well, that is a fairly limited definition. I learned the term "kit lens" in the late 1960s and that is not what it meant at the time or for the next 20 years or so and for the most part into the present time.


Steve
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