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Is This the Best Kit Lens Out There?

When you think of kit lenses, you generally do not associate them with the kind of image quality you expect to see in professional-level images. But in the last few years, we have seen some remarkably good kit lenses come to the market, and this great video review takes a look at what might be the best yet. 

Coming to you from Christopher Frost Photography, this helpful video serves as an update to his original review of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, testing how it handles the high demands of the 45-megapixel sensor in the Canon EOS R5. You can watch the original full review here:

I loved my EF 24-105mm f/4L (original version) back in the day. It was not the sharpest lens (though it was good enough), but I have always found 24-70mm lenses a bit limiting, and having that extra reach made it the perfect walkaround lens, meaning it essentially lived on my camera. Now, it looks like Canon has made huge strides with the RF version, which Frost says can easily handle the high demands of 8K video and a 45-megapixel sensor. Check out the videos above for his full thoughts. 

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17 Comments

Troy Straub's picture

I thought a kit lens was supposed to be a lens that you get at a deep discount when buying a new camera. When you have to pay the full price of $1100 to get it how is this a kit lens?

Ryan Cooper's picture

A kit lens is a lens that is sold as a "kit" with the camera. (price isn't really relevant) Canon has a kit featuring this lens with the R5 for an MSRP of $5000 USD.

Troy Straub's picture

So all lenses are kit lenses, just some you can save the manufacture a few bucks in packaging?

Ryan Cooper's picture

Well no, most lenses are not sold in a dedicated kit with a camera. Stores may have deals where if you buy a camera you get a lens for a discount but only a small number of lenses actually are in a kit with its own packaging and separate SKU from the manufacturer. This lens literally comes in a box with the word "kit" on the side. ;)

Troy Straub's picture

I get that it comes in a kit, but what difference does that make? To me (and the intended reader, if it didn't there would be no need to put it in the title) "kit lens" means a budget wide to standard or short tele or a wide to standard fast prime lens that is good enough to make some nice images, but not a pro lens. We're talking about a very wide to fairly tele, constant aperture, image stabilized lens. It seems a bit of an insult to call it a "kit lens" especially when you have to pay full price for it. If I paid over $1000 for a lens and it didn't out perform a kit lens I wouldn't be too happy about it.

Robert Nurse's picture

The mere fact that you have both cameras and mine is STILL backordered, makes me hate on you something fierce! ;)

Ryan Cooper's picture

I have neither camera, I just googled the picture

AJ L's picture

Technically, I guess if the manufacture markers a lens as a package with a camera you can call it a kit lens. But lately that line has been pushed pretty far. This lens is part of a kit but it’s also an L lens. Then there’s the Nikon 24-70 f/4S, the Fuji 23/2.0 and 16-80/4.0 etc. These don’t really say “kit lens” to me the way an 18-55 DX or 28-85 variable aperture lens does.

Ryan Cooper's picture

Yeah, but kit doesn't have any direct correlation to price or quality. It is only whether it is sold in a kit or not. Hasselblad sells bodies with a kit lens too that cost far more than this one. I think a lot of people associate "kit" with "cheap" but I presume that when a manufacturer selects which lens to put in a kit with a given body they select the lens that they presume will be most commonly paired with that body by enthusiasts regardless of whether it is in a kit or not. (it is ultimately fairly arbitrary)

AJ L's picture

Yes, that’s why I phrased it the way I did. So has the term “kit lens” become pointless?

Ryan Cooper's picture

I think it was always pointless. It's just an arbitrary marketing designation.

Adam Rubinstein's picture

Alex, the original 24-105 L was groundbreaking in many respects and was a lens which was loved or loathed. I fell into the former camp and it was a wonderful, high performing, all utility lens with significant reach, IS, and IQ. The distortion was a primary drawback. The new RF version is a refinement and like others have indicated, it's hard to describe it as a "kit" lens in a "traditional" sense

David Stephen Kalonick's picture

This lens is far from kit and I'll have to do some test but it appears way sharper and just looks overall better on my R5 over the R.

Duffy Doherty's picture

My candidate for best "kit kens," is the Nikon DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4. It is equivalent in reach to the Nikon FX 24-120mm f/4, of which it is the equal (and a stop faster) on the short end and sharper on the long end. It handles a crop sensor of up to 24mp like a champ...

Fred Pinkerton's picture

This article highlights a problem with Fstoppers. This article's title is grossly misleading. Someone at Fstoppers had decided the brand is strong enough to "redefine" common knowledge about photography. If Fstoppers had titled the review "another lens that's pretty good", people would read the review and be satisfied. By unilaterally re-defining "kit lens", the headline grabs the attention of lots of people genuinely interested in the best "kit" lens. But that's a universe of many good and bad inexpensive lenses. That's not what was reviewed here. As ANY camera buff knows, a kit lens is one that's included with the camera body at the LEAST possible cost whilst still providing good performance. The Nikon AF-P Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.4G is an example for APS-C Nikons,
Yes, this is apparently the cheapest lens one can get with an expensive Canon in a bundle. But when a lens adds 1000 to 1200 bucks to the cost of a body, it is simply not a kit lens. Fstoppers should ditch their presumptive attitude and concentrate on their strengths.

Bob Locher's picture

I have the Sony 18-135 mm APS-C zoom on my A6500 and it is a fabulous lens. Good at maximum apertures, at f5.6 or f8 it is as good as any of my quality fixed focal lenses. Any time I do something serious with it I remain amazed at just how good it is.