A few days ago I came across an article on a photography magazine website about some photography lecturer who did not allow their students to use the kit lenses that came with their cameras, under the arguable premise that they’re poor quality. Yeah, I know, if I only had a dollar for every time I heard that statement. The article went to great lengths to show that actually, modern kit lenses aren’t that bad, objectively speaking. While I’ll be the last to say that what lens you use doesn’t matter, I think this whole quest for some unattainable “perfect” image quality, if that can even be defined, misses the whole point of the exercise. I rather prefer John Paul Caponigro’s view that the lens you pick is the brush you choose to paint your picture. Of course it makes a difference, but if you apply it with skill and intent, there is really no wrong answer. What I think would be wrong is to pick the wrong tool for the job, but I suppose that’s more a statement of user error than any inherent issue with the tool itself.
The photo I’m sharing today shows a flowering chicory plant (Cichorium intybus), known as Ċikwejra in Maltese. I came across this, I think for the first time, on my last walk this last cool-weather season, in Wied Speranza, Mosta. I deliberately only had my small mirrorless camera with me, with (you guessed it) its kit 15-45mm lens. Thankfully, that lens can focus close enough to get the view I wanted, so it could do the job. Its optics also give a somewhat dreamy quality to the image, which I find works well on this photo. Would the result have been different if I had my usual full-frame camera with the 100mm macro lens? Undoubtedly. Would it have been better? How can I say? I don’t think there exists a meaningful answer to that question.