So I'm about to buy my first DSLR (definitely a Canon, probably the 700D) and my original plan was to buy the one with the included 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.
At the same time I was thinking about picking up the 50mm f/1.8 on account of the fact that it's cheap and I love taking photos of people with a shallow depth of field.
A couple of friends who are big into photography both suggested that the kit lenses aren't that good and produce blurry, distorted and drab imagery. They also both suggested that I should use the money saved by just getting the body to offset the cost of a decent prime lens.
At this point their views differed:
One suggested that I should get the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. This works out at only £12 more expensive than the kit. They said it takes much better photos than the 50m f/1.8 for only a small amount more and it's very light.
Another suggested that I go directly to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 as it's a lens that I'll never ever need to replace. This works out at £150 more expensive than the kit, although I can take (very small) comfort in the fact that I'm saving £80 by not buying the f/1.8 as a stepping stone to the f/1.4.
Both also suggested that once I'd had some lessons, learnt how to use the camera and absolutely must have a zoom lens, then I save up and look to buy something decent at that point in time, rather than use the kit lens.
Should I drop the kit lens and pick up a decent prime? Will I be missing out on some types of photography without the kit lens? Or should I start off with the kit and nifty-fifty and upgrade each component over time?