How Far Can a 18 55mm Lens Shoot?

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Lenses with a flexible focal length or zoom lenses allow you to zoom in and out of scenes. They have a certain range within which you can shoot, and one of these lenses in an 18-55mm lens. So how far can a 18-55mm lens shoot?

How Far Can a 18-55mm Lens Shoot?

With a maximum focal length of 55mm, this lens can shoot objects up to 18 feet away, whereas if you use the minimum focal length of 18mm, it can help capture objects that are five feet away. It offers 3x magnification when you are fully zoomed in.

Camera lens on a wood surface

18-55mm Lens

The 18-55mm kit lens is often underappreciated because it comes free when you buy your camera. It usually comes with a variable aperture range of f/3.5-5.6 which is considered a wide aperture.

It is one of the entry level lenses and is inexpensive because it comes as a bundle. It is light, and you can use it to take pictures all day long without getting tired.

It allows you to zoom in and out of scenes, allowing you to capture pictures from a distance and not move too much. This flexible focal length allows you to capture both wide angle and zoomed in pictures.

What Is an 18-55mm Lens Used For

The flexible focal length, wide field of view, and a flexible aperture range can help you in several situations. Some of these include landscapes, portraits, and macro photography.

Landscape Photography

The 18-55mm has a flexible focal length which allows you to capture photos at 18mm. This focal length gives you a very wide field of view, making it apt for capturing landscapes.

These lenses are not necessarily sharp and can cause the landscape photos to come out a bit blurry. You can get around this by using a faster shutter speed of below 1/200 seconds or using a tripod and shutter cables.


At a focal length of 50mm, the 18-55mm can be used for portraits. The 50mm focal length field of view is similar to a human eye and can be used as a great alternative for a medium telephoto lens. Thus, it is great for capturing people from the waist up.

However, at 55mm the widest aperture you get is f/5.6. This does not blur the background, and thus does not focus on the person whose portrait is being captured.

To get the best portraits, make sure to keep some distance between yourself and the person. Also, make sure that you have a lot of light because, at 55mm, the widest aperture is f/5.6 which does not allow a lot of light to enter the camera.

Camera lens on a white surface

Macro Photography

Although the 18-55mm lens is not made for macro photography and you would not get the details a macro lens can shoot, it can still be used to capture macro photos. You can do this by using a focal length of 55mm.

At this focal length, the aperture is at f/5.6 which can cause a blurry photo. Thus, switch to manual focus, use a fast shutter speed of around 1/200 seconds, and move closer to the subject. This would make sure that you capture a detailed and smooth photo.

Advantages of Using an 18-55mm Lens

  • It comes with a variable aperture range between f/3.5-5.6, and you thus get both a wide and a narrow aperture in a single lens. This gives you a lot of flexibility when capturing pictures with the 18-55mm lens.
  • This lens comes with a very low price tag. For someone starting out on photography, the budget is very important and thus these lenses are the way to go.
  • The 18-55mm lenses are light and you can use them throughout the day without feeling tired at all.
  • If you are someone who is just starting out, the 18-55mm gives an exceptional learning experience. You get to shoot at both wide and narrow fields of view. Also, its shortcomings give you the chance to come up with creative solutions, thus improving your photography skills.

Disadvantages of Using an 18-55mm Lens

  • The variable aperture means the exposure of your camera changes depending on the focal length you choose. Hence, if you switch to 18mm from 50mm, you will have to change your shutter speed and ISO levels accordingly too.
  • The 18-55mm lens has a poor sub-par build quality. To keep costs low, they are made with plastic which is not durable and needs to be changed on the smallest wear and tear. Hence, if your photography involves a lot of pushing around, these are not the right lens for you.
  • The autofocus on these kit lenses is slower than those on more expensive lenses. This can make the photos blurry unless you adjust the exposure settings accordingly.
  • These lenses are slow lenses which do not come with a wide maximum aperture. This is because building a wider aperture pushes manufacturing cost up. The maximum aperture at 55mm for example is f/5.6 whereas on a 50mm prime lens it is f/1.8. This sets you back.
  • These lenses can be prone to image distortion because of the flexible focal length. This results in poor quality and inaccurate images.
  • Although this lens gives you both a wide (at 18mm) and a narrow (at 55mm) field of view, it is not the best of either field of view. Hence, for professional photography in either field of view, you should go for a different set of lenses.
  • The aperture range of f/2.8 to f/5.6 does not allow you to capture photos in low light conditions.
An 18-55mm lens

How Can You Get the Most Out of Your 18-55mm Lens?

  • You can get an 18-55mm lens to perform in low-light conditions by using tripods to keep the camera still and avoid motion blur. You can pair the maximum apertures with slow shutter speeds to allow more light to enter the camera.
  • When you are using an 18-55mm lens, you should always shoot in RAW format because this format captures a lot of information. The 18-55mm lens has many shortcomings and this format can come in handy when you are editing post photoshoot.
  • You must use manual settings when using the 18-55mm lens. Whenever you change the focal length, the aperture changes too. Manual settings allow you to adjust the other settings to complement the change in aperture.
  • You can get a reverse ring to shoot macro. This ring turns your lens around and uses it in reverse. You can thus use your 55mm focal length with the reverse ring to capture detailed macro shots.

Great Alternatives to the 18-55mm Lens

Although the 18-55mm lens allows you to capture a narrow as well as a wide field of view, it has a lot of shortcomings such as not having a maximum wide aperture, poor performance in low light conditions. All of this can be dealt with by using a few alternatives.

50mm f/1.8 Prime Lens

The 50mm f/1.8 prime lens or the nifty fifty is one of the most common lenses on the market. It comes at a low price and is extremely versatile. Its field of view is similar to what a human eye sees.

Although it has a fixed focal length, it performs well while capturing portraits. This is thanks to its narrow field of view and a wide aperture of f/1.8, which gives you a shallow depth of field and blurs the background, focusing on the person in question.

Also, these lenses perform well in low light conditions thanks to a wide aperture of f/1.8 which allows a lot of light to enter the camera. This paired with a moderate shutter speed (1/200 to 0.5 seconds) and moderate ISO levels (around 500) lets you do night photography.

100mm Macro Lens

The 100mm macro lens has a fixed focal length and is used by professional photographers to capture product photos, for food photography, or cover weddings. They have a very sharp focus and a narrow depth of field (f/2.8).

This lens is fast and quiet, and its image stabilization ensures smooth images. However, this lens is very heavy, and it can be tiring to use them all day long. Also, it is very expensive and only used by professional photographers for very specific purposes.

55-250mm Lens

The 55-250m lens is a very powerful telephoto lens. It comes with a narrow aperture range of f/4 to f/5.6 and is used for specific purposes such as travel, sports, and wildlife photography.

This lens has the closest distance of focusing of 0.85mm that allows you to capture small objects. Thus, if you are at a wedding, you can capture shots from afar, or if you are in a stadium, you can zoom in on the players.

These lenses have a very versatile range and can be used to capture portraits if you use the correct exposure settings or have a nearby light source. However, they are very expensive, heavy and only used by professionals because they are difficult to use.

A close-up image of 18-55mm lens

Related Questions

Which Lens Is Best for a Blurred Background?

The best lens for a blurred background is one with at least an f/2.8 aperture for a blurred background. However, the f/1.8 aperture lens and lower f-numbers create more background blur. Typically the aperture of a lens helps create background blur. Ideally, the wider the aperture, the better the blurred background.

Which Lens Is Best for Wedding Photography?

  • The 50mm prime lenses are one of the most commonly used lenses for wedding photography thanks to their field of view and ability to capture great portraits.
  • The 70-200mm lens allows you to zoom in and out while also capturing amazing portraits. This lens is great for macro photography too.
  • The 35mm lens offers a more wide-angle view, and allows you to capture group photos and the venue.


The 18-55mm lens allows you to capture objects between five and 18 feet away thanks to its flexible focal length. With these focal lengths and the wide aperture range this lens offers, you can capture landscapes, portraits, and a lot more.