DSLR Lenses

Canon 18-55mm IS kit lens

Written by Gail Bjork

The kit lens that comes with the Canon Digital Rebel XSi/450D is surprisingly good and has been given high marks by professional reviews and users, including me.

Canon XSi Kit LensSome photo enthusiasts recommend buying a digital single lens reflex without the kit lens. For the Canon XSi, I think they’re wrong, particularly for first time DSLR users.

What is a kit lens?

A kit lens is an inexpensive “starter” lens sold with SLRs and DSLRs. Kit lenses can indeed be mediocre compared to their more expensive counterparts. That’s why some purchase the camera body without the kit lens.

When buying the XSi and the kit lens, make sure you kit is the one with Image Stabilization.

Canon kit lens receives favorable reviews

However, professional and user reviews of the XSi kit lens have been favorable. The lens is less than $100.00 of the cost of the XSi body when purchased together.

It’s difficult to find a decent DSLR lens for that price, particularly one with Image Stabilization. If you buy it separately, the 18-55mm kit zoom lens costs almost double than if bought along with the camera.

The lens is a very good deal

I think the kit lens is an exceptional deal, particularly for someone like me who doesn’t want to make a hasty decision about which lenses will serve me best long term. I would much rather begin with a decent but inexpensive starter lens than run right out and buy a lens that costs hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars more.

That’s why I also bought the telephoto equivalent of the kit lens, the Canon 55-250IS, which cost around $300 at the time of purchase. Between the two, I have the equivalent of about 28mm – 400mm.

The kit lens has a focal length multiplier, or Image Conversion Factor as Canon calls it [manual page 34] of 1.6. In 35mm equivalent terms, the kit lens has a zoom range of about 28mm to 88mm. That range will cover wide angle, “normal” and portrait shots.

Popular Photography tested the lens and found that it’s excellent at all focal lengths and has a high degree of sharpness and contrast. They opine:

On virtually every front this useful, light and compact lens shows moderate to dramatic improvements over Canon’s earlier non-IS 18-55mm kit zoom. It’s a surprisingly good lens at an even more surprising price.

Sounds surprisingly good to me.

Visit our Canon 18-55mm Photo Gallery for sample photos taken with this lens.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.