How Far Does an 18-55MM Lens Zoom?

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One of the first lenses you might get as a photographer is an 18-55mm kit lens. An 18-55mm lens opens up a lot of possibilities such as the ability to zoom in and out of scenes. Before you use it you should find out, how far does an 18-55mm lens zoom?

How Far Does an 18-55mm Lens Zoom?

An 18-55mm lens can zoom 3x. If you use the 18mm length you can reach subjects as far as 5 feet away whereas using the 55mm end allows you to reach subjects that are 18 feet away from you. Its magnification allows you to zoom in and out of photos and gives you this zoom range.

An image of Canon camera with 18-55mm lens

Calculating the Zoom Rate

To calculate the zoom rate, you can simply divide the higher focal length by the lower one. Here, you divide 55 by 18 and you get 3x.

What Can a Kit Lens’s Zoom Be Used For

The kit lens can be used for a wide variety of purposes ranging from portraits to wide angle landscape photos. It is a great camera for beginners getting into photography as it offers them a lot to learn.

When to Shoot at 55mm

The 55mm focal length allows you to capture great portraits. At this range, the field of view of the camera is very similar to that of a human eye. It thus captures more of the subject. Although the aperture is not very wide, it is still good enough to capture good portrait photos.

A narrow aperture does not give you a shallow depth of field preventing you from capturing Bokehs. However, with this aperture you can capture contextual portraits where both the subject and background are sharp and focussed.

When to Shoot at 18mm

This lens has a wide field of view at the 18mm end which allows you to capture landscape photos. The aperture at that end is f/3.5 which allows you to capture sharp pictures of the whole landscape. Also, its light weight allows you to easily carry it while traveling.

Advantages of Using a Kit Lens’s Zoom

There are several advantages of using a kit lens’s zoom feature which include:

  • Easy to learn: This lens provides ample learning opportunities as photographers can experience both wide angled and portrait lens in one. This again is great for people who are starting out as photographers.
  • Portable: Despite the zoom feature, this lens is compact. With a weight of  7.1 ounces and dimensions of 2.8 x 2.7 inches, this lens is very compact and lightweight compared to the other lenses.
  • Versatile: Since this is a zoom lens, you can use it for more types of shoots. You can take landscape photos when zoomed out, and portraits when zoomed in.

Disadvantages of Using a Kit Lens’s Zoom

Despite its many uses and versatility, a kit lens’s zoom has the following disadvantages:

  • Bad in low light: This lens is a poor performer under low light conditions due to a narrow aperture. A narrow aperture does not allow a lot of light to enter the camera. Therefore, the photographer has to resort to high ISO levels that ruin the quality of the image.
  • Lens distortion: You would notice lens distortion at the 55mm focal length. This refers to the dark spots at the edge of the photos. This tends to ruin portraits.
  • Variable aperture: There is a variable aperture and the f/3.5 aperture at the 55mm focal length is not good for portraits. It is a narrow aperture and it does not give you a shallow depth of field to capture a good Bokeh. Also, this aperture might mean you have to use high ISO levels, which will further reduce the quality of photos.
An image of two Canon camera

Related Questions

Which Lens Is Better: 18-55mm or 50mm?

A 50mm lens is better because it captures better quality photos. Also, a 50mm lens has a wider aperture which allows you to capture Bokeh. Moreover, this wider aperture is great for capturing photos in low light settings as it allows a lot of light to enter the camera.

Moreover, a 50mm lens has a faster and more accurate autofocus that allows you to capture crisp and smooth images.

Is the 18-55mm Lens’s Zoom Good for Sports Photography?

The 18-55mm lens’s zoom is not good for sports photography. You can only zoom at a rate of 3x which is not enough for sports photography. Also, it does not have the ability to capture high action photos in sports due to poor quality.


An 18-55mm lens can be used for capturing portraits and landscape photos. However, it has some downsides such as lens distortion and subpar build quality.