Another Kit Zoom Rant

I just finished watching a lighting tutorial over at Max Yuryev’s YouTube channel where he shows the difference between using a slow kit lens vs. a moderately fast prime. He was limited to f/5.6 on the variable aperture zoom, meaning he had to crank up the ISO to 1000, whereas with the prime, he was able to record at ISO 200 at f/1.8 (or something like that). And unsurprisingly, not only was the image cleaner at the lower ISO setting, but he was able to throw the background pleasantly out of focus. I also see many other vloggers with nice production values routinely using fast primes, including Hugh Brownstone, who used the Leica 25mm f/1.4 wide open on a recent episode. I also tested the Leica 12mm f/1.4 at f/2.8 using single point focus for one of my YouTube videos, but it would have been even better at a wider aperture. And if vlogging from home is something you’re considering, I would still recommend either avoiding slow variable aperture kit lenses altogether or picking up a fast prime as well. Several in the online community have talked about Hollywood filmmakers preferring to shoot at f/4 or f/5.6, but we’re not Hollywood. If you host a YouTube channel about photography and your face is on the screen for  thirty minutes, pixel peepers will without question be looking at every hair and wart on your face and will want to know which lens you were using, for better or worse. Another factor aside from mere resolution worth considering is the lens’s color rendition. The variations of color reproduction between different manufacturers’ lenses can be dramatic. And in my opinion, the Leicas have a more pleasing color than the yellowish looking Panasonic lenses. In any case, a fast lens gives you the option of shooting wide open or at a narrow aperture, whereas a slow lens is going to dictate the aperture and ISO settings to you. And even with the fastest kit lens, a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at 12mm does not offer a wealth of creative possibilities for playing with depth-of-field.

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