By now you’ve probably seen the uproar over a professor banning the use of 18-55mm kit lenses in a college photography class. My colleague Kevin Ames recently wrote his opinion on this, and I wanted to see just how far I could push using a kit lens, too. For this experiment, I used a kit lens with an older micro four-thirds camera.

The gear

For this test I’m using a Panasonic Lumix GX85 with a 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 G Vario lens. This is a 16-megapixel camera I got about four years ago. I believe, for a new photographer or one on a budget, this kit has a lot of bang for the buck. It comes with a 14-150mm lens as well.

Large file technique

A smaller chip size and kit lens doesn’t mean you have a small file. Nine images were captured for a panorama. The stitched file is capable of being printed at 14-by-54 inches at 300 DPI without upscaling.

The camera was placed on a leveled tripod in a vertical orientation. This gives the panoramic image a little more height than if you were to shoot horizontal.

I shot in RAW format for best results. When making panoramic images, you will want to set your exposure in manual mode. Using Aperture or Shutter Priority changes exposure between frames, which can be enough to throw off your software. Those changes can lead to funky stitching.

This is the panoramic photo created using Photomerge in Adobe Photoshop after initial color correction in Adobe Camera RAW. In another post I’ll detail processing. After cleaning up the sensor spots, I ran Photomerge again.

Adobe Photoshop is my post-processing muse. It is an extremely powerful tool. I’ll show you the work in a later article.

Use your tools whatever they are

You can make good things happen with a kit lens. Is it possible to have more options with a more expensive lens? You bet! But creating with what you have available — and can afford — will yield stronger lessons for the up and coming photographer.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob