How to Increase the Performance of Your Canon Kit Lens

This is your standard kit lens that comes with most entry-level DSLRs from Canon. It does an okay job for most things, but here’s how to make it better.

Here’s a list of things you’ll need:

Step 1: Use masking tape to cover up the lens around the silver ring:

Step 2: Paint the silver ring with red paint

You’re done! Enjoy your new high-def L lens. You can also add a lens hood for added effect:

Here’s a before and after comparison of how your photos will look:

You can also view, download, and share this amazing tutorial as a single image.

About the author: Nicolaj Ma is an artist based in Denmark. You can view his work over on DeviantArt.

  • Confused

    I tried this on my Nikon lens as I don’t have a Canon. Now the lens won’t fit on my camera. Can anyone help me or do I need to buy a Canon body now?

  • Nerdie McSweatervest

    I tried this, and while spherical & chromatic aberration, contrast, color, and focus speed all improved, now my lens back-focuses.

  • Alvonsius Albert Nainupu

    Somehow it’s looks better with the red ring ^^

  • Joey21

    Screw the humor!  I actually followed the directions and I swear my lens is much sharper now.  It really worked.  Absolutely amazing!!!!!!!

  • Mantis

    Step 1:  Shoot in RAW

    Step 2:  Tighten up the sharpness & contrast in Lightroom, and maybe one of NIK software’s great plug-ins.

    Step 3:  Save a $1000 bucks on not buying an L lens, because non-pixel peepers will never be able to tell the difference anyway.

  • Danmix

    so the silver ring gives my hdr’s that halo?

  • gotaclue

    Thanks for letting me know what you used, it was bugging me, because it does look like a 2.8 aperture.  The nearest fence post is nicely out of focus. The house in back has a sharp window, but a blurred tree that is in the same depth of field as the window.  I thought maybe a tilt-shift for a minute and then settled on the PhotoShop.  I prefer to not read any exif and try to guess at this kind of thing.  Thanks again.

  • David

    I can see that doing that. Chris Rock is pretty hot.

  • David

    If I paint a red stripe on my old Beck and Focal brand lenses, will that make them perform equally well as an L-series lens?

  • Boylid

    o้ my god ————> lens L

  • Lovisa

    HAHAHAH. Genius.

  • Wishing this were true

    You can also convert it to 18-600mm by affixing a simple round magnifying lens 6mm in front of the first element. You lose one stop in speed, but the reach more than makes up for it.

  • blahdeblahdeblahblah

    I already replied to you once and you have deleted it for some reason and made the same comment with a different user name??? WTF. Like I said first time.. Of course it’s a joke, it’s called “deadpan” humour and it’s precisely because it’s said with a straight face that makes it funny. Also helps if you know what an L lense is. Did you check out what an L lens was before you deleted your original comment or did you just make the same comment again!!!

  • blahdeblahdeblahblah

    Well perhaps then you are in the right place after all because if you knew what an L lens was you wouldn’t need the joke explaining to you but now because of the discussion the article has prompted, you should know what an L lens is. So you’ve learnt something. Hurrah!

  • blahdeblahdeblahblah

     oops no you didnt delete, you just changed your name. Doh!

  • Daniel Fealko

    You come to PetaPixel to learn how to use a camera!?!

    You really are Chris Rock!

    Do you also follow lolcats to learn how to spell?

  • Adrian

    OMG i need to get this kit i currently use a 17-55 and my 18-55 is collecting dust.

    I currently use a 17-55 and my 18-55 is collectign dust I never knew a simple upgrade could give it such stellar performace.

    I’m going to reccomend this to all my friends, this is amazing!

  • Bill Pytlovany

    Well, there’s part of my day wasted that I’ll never get back

  • Colin

    I’ll explain.  “L” lenses and the red ring thing are a marketing gimmick.  It doesn’t automatically make lenses better, and there are great Canon lenses that don’t have a red ring.  This joke is making fun of people who only buy what the Canon marketing department tell them to buy, without any regard as to whether or not it’s the best tool for the job.

    I’m guessing you own several “L” lenses. 

  • Fenris Oswin

    Does it matter what paint you use? The one in the photo looks like a gloss paint and that sharpened up the images. Would a matt paint allow me to take infra-red photos?

    If so, it might be worth me selling my Nikon D3 and getting a Canon instead.
    *whistles innocently as he walks away*

  • Photo trail

    Use lipstick instead of paint if you want to shoot boudoir.

  • Sinan Eldem

    Not so funny but so so.

  • Honestly?

    Its a joke, plain and simple. If you dont think its a joke, jog on, there are plenty of other web pages out there. Maybe even some that will teach you how to spell.

    its Entire, moron, not Intire.

    When you grow a brain, and read a book, you have earned the honour to come back to the internet.

    May god have pity on your sorry ass. you must lead a terribly insigificant life to carry on and on about what is clearly a joke. If you dont think you do, maybe you should consider how much time you have spent on this single page alone….

  • Sequeira De

    Want better image quality?                            Buy Nikon

  • Dave

     Since we are complaining about grammar, if you start a sentence you should use a capital letter (“its Entire, moron, not Intire.” AND “you must lead a terribly insigificant life to carry on and on about what is clearly a joke.)”.

    Also “insigificant” should be spelled “insignificant” and “dont” should be spelled “don’t”. If you are British, then honour is correct but ass isn’t. It should be “honor” and “ass” or “honour” and “arse”.

    So the lesson learned here is; if you complain about how a person spells, you better get it right yourself, AND, if you complain about how sorry and insignificant someones life is for spending so much time on anything, maybe you should spend less time DOING THE SAME THING!!!!!!

  • Jesse Levi Jacobs

    Awesome!! Hahaha

  • Charles “Duck” Unitas

    That’s it. I’m reporting this entire thread of comments to the “Department of Useless Comments” whereby each commenter will be hunted down immediately and forced to watch episodes of Jack Benny, Monty Python and Bevis and Butthead.

  • Michael Allies

    I’m not doing this, I love my kit lens. Shot most of my portfolio with it.

  • James-watt

    well i read the first page got bored jumped to the last page came to the conclusion i just wasted my time reading the comments lol im painting mine green so i can have a “DO”lens

  • Gotnewbusiness

    hahahahahaahahahhaahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaahahaha!!!! gonna do that to all my non L lens!!!! ”troll face” hahahahahahaahhahaah!! nice. oh you guys that thinks its a serious post. ”WHY SO SERIOUS”

  • Jyoshiko JkSiong


  • Mr Brush

    Only if the price on tape and red paint was not that high…

  • Ralf

    everyone not thinking this is funny is just plain dumb.

  • blueeyes


    I know nothing about camera’s, lens or even what and L is AND I got the humor in the post…… it didn’t take 5 minutes. However the last 5 minutes I have spent reading all the comments have me gripping my sides due to the pain caused by laughing. Lighten up you take photography too seriously!

  • GitschlagPhotography

    Colin said it best.  Even the cheapest SLR lenses are sharper than expensive ones used to be, and most lenses and cameras are capable of producing images better images than the photographer knows how to.  In other words, the limiting factor is the skill of the picture-taker, not the quality of the lens.  The misconception is that you need better equipment to make better photos.  I think Kent Rockwell put it nicely when he said “Sales and marketing departments fuel this misconception because it scares people into buying new lenses […] People would make far better pictures if they spent time learning how to make great photos with what they already own instead of worrying about their tools” (in his review of lens sharpness).

    To make a long story short, this page is apparently poking fun (in a not-so-subtle way) at people who think that they need a lens with a red ring in order to take good pictures.  Because of that, I think the page was funny. Happy shooting!

  • GitschlagPhotography

    Two corrections from my previous comment: I doubled up on the word “images” in the second sentence, and it’s Ken Rockwell, not Kent (sorry; I’m a stickler for making mistakes and there’s no “edit” button for comments already posted).

  • Bitch

    omggg I needd to do this!!!

  • Joe

    hahaha..u’re an IDIOT! Enough said! hahahaha!

  • anonymous22200

    did anyone think that maybe the statement being made is, that the only difference between the highdef lens and the regular lens is the look? if that is the point of this, its a false one.

  • Anonymous


  • Nic

    Its great to have some humour injected into the world of photography. We could all do with a lot more humour in the photography world at the expense of the photo nerds.

  • Nic

    Its great to have some humour injected into the world of photography. We could all do with a lot more humour in the photography world at the expense of the photo nerds.

  • Mark B


  • Daniel Gadpen

    Since I saw this article my life changed completely, I lost 12 kilograms and I could buy a sports bike.Thank you!

  • galrinho


  • Mitcha

    what a moron! uhauhahuauhaahu

  • Lekilt

     Green paint won’t give such an improvement in quality, but will give the lens some extra lift an convert it into a DO version.

  • Lekilt

    Canon have been adding features to their lenses. If get the latest 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II, you can remove the glass insert when you’ve finished shooting pics and use it for a cup of tea. 

  • Lekilt

     and by the way Lame, don’t feel bad, GitschlagPhotography has just admitted to reading Ken Rockwell’s stuff, that’s far worse, ROFLMAO !!!!

  • Khoches2000

    115 words in the entire article.  It took you five minutes.  That’s an average of of 2.6 seconds a word.  Maybe you should “waste” more time reading articles on the internet. Then the next time you feel you’ve wasted your time, maybe it will have only take you 30 seconds.