Kit lenses. Not much I can add to the huge inventory of opinion and test data. The important question is can they produce images that are not "reduced" by flaws in the lens or produce too many misses through poor mechanical application (much the same as any lens, but add a barrel full of "crappy kit lens" doubt). Yesterday I went wild with a 4 year old Pen camera and the kit lens. Part of the experiment was curiosity and part practical.
Ctein once wrote in his "very unscientific lens evaluation" (The Online Photographer blog), that even though he could see (pixel peep) a difference between the various lenses tested**, he saw no reason to take his (1st gen) 14-42 or Panasonic 45-200 kit lenses off the camera in most normal photographic situations for a better lens. Ctein is a seriously top end fine art printer, with a long history of impeccable images, from medium format film and M43 cameras.
Ok, the pre amble out of the way, lets look at some quickly taken snaps using the above kit. The camera was set to AF with the middle 9 AF boxes activated. The camera was attached to a 30" Gordy shoulder strap and many of the images shot from the hip*.
Note; see also the images in the previous three posts.
My feelings after using the lens for the morning;
It is lightning fast and accurate enough in focus. It is sharp enough through the range (at f5.6 anyway) and could certainly produce pro grade work with some care and respect. It feels crappy, but that never got in the way. It went under the radar, giving zoom convenience without bulk (or lens speed). It has nice colour, but mixed bokeh on the occasions it showed up.
The future for this lens? I will carry it as a back up for my street and travel kit as it slightly expands the range and offers me an alternative to primes or using more precious lenses in some circumstances. If it bites the dust I will see that as a sacrifice made to save a better lens, a bit like a protective filter.
I can honestly say that it can do the job, as the last 4 posts were fed by the 80 or so images I shot that morning. The cross frame quality in particular was a pleasant surprise. I am not really surprised. I have had experiences like this before with the brilliant Fuji 16-50 and 18-55 lenses and the old kit Panasonic 14-45 has a great reputation.
*I found it hard to use a fixed screen camera in this lighting, so many images were simply missed from poor technique, including not shooting straight.
** Top tier Olympus 4/3 lenses, Leica and other M43 glass mixed in with his own patchwork quilt of lenses.