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Thread: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

  1. #1
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    Default Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

    Managed to lay my hands on one of these for a few days - no pictures yet, but I'll give my first impressions.

    28mm used to be one of the most commonly-used primes in my youth - it's a reasonable wideangle on 35mm (and thus full frame) and the lenses can be made relatively simply, and thus cheaply, especially at this sort of maximum aperture. Canon's approach to this focal length has been a little odd, in some ways - there's never been an EF L verstion, for starters; the original 28mm f2.8 was introduced at the start of the EOS range and continued until this lens was introduced, and although there is a faster version, the 28mm f1.8 USM, it belongs to what we used to consider the mid-range of EOS lenses.

    Of course, most standard zooms cover this focal length, and many are as fast or nearly so, so it rather raises the question as to the point of such a lens. Equally, many people consider IS on a wideangle unnecessary. These are the issues I hope to address over the next few days of actually using the lens.

    But I'll start with my history of using 28s with EOS cameras. I bought the old 28mm f2.8 about 15 years ago; it was relatively light and compact, and had reasonable performance. Indeed stopped down a little, it was pretty sharp across the frame. Construction was typical of the early EF lenses, which is to say OK, but not great, and focus was very noisy, due to the old motor. At the time, I was using an EOS 3 as my main camera, but I also had a 300 that was used for more lightweight options, and one thing I loved was using it with an old-fashioned trio of lenses, the 135mm f2.8 SF, 50mm f1.8 II and this 28mm. Fast forward a few years, and I went digital with the 10D; the lens then became a decent (if slow) standard lens, with a focal length equivalent to 45mm. However, it was slow. Moving on to the 5D, I bought a 24-105, and suddenly it had just a 1 stop advantage and no IS, so it rather lost any real purpose, especially as it wasn't that much better than the zoom (except in terms of distortion). So I sold it and replaced it with the 28mm f1.8 USM. This is a little soft wide open, but otherwise respectably sharp, focuses quickly and quietly, and feels more solid, with build quality typical of the first wave of consumer USM lenses - decent, but not spectacular. I like this lens, despite its faults, and have used it for church and museum interior shots where tripods are not allowed very frequently - it's a lens I always find space for when travelling.

    So on to the new lens. First impressions are of the build quality - it's very nice, much better than the previous 28s. The body is in engineering plastics with a crackle finish - similar to the 40mm STM at the cheaper end, but also the 100mm f2.8 L IS Macro at the other end of the scale. I like it a lot - it looks and feels like a high-quality bit of kit. The focus ring is not large, but has a very nice feel to it - not as loose as many others. There are only two other controls, the AF/MF switch and an IS on/off switch, both of which feel solid. And there's a focus distance window, with fairly useless DOF markings - just f11 and f22, and an IR dot. The whole thing looks rather smart, too, withna silver ring around the front of the focus ring breaking up the all-black look, and the wording and focal length being clear but not too distracting. It's a nice, modern-looking lens.
    Sizewise, it's a little bigger than the old 28mm f2.8, but not massive - it looks and feels really good on my 6D and 5D II.
    So it feels good, pretty much as good as an L lens - but L lens it is not, and that's most obvious when you see it's not supplied with a lenshood or case. Canon, this lens is fairly expensive - please don't skimp on hoods! Further, it's not weather sealed, which might limit my opportunities with it this weekend!
    Focus seems fast and relatively quiet, and the image stabiliser seems remarkably quiet compared to some others.

    So, first impressions are very good. Price has now dropped a little from the high introductory levels, but it's still showing as a best price of 419 on camerapricebuster - the key thing is how does it perform? Over the next few days, weather permitting, I intend to try it out on full frame and APS-C DSLRs, the EOS M, and also check if it gives hotspots on IR. More to follow...
    Please don't ask about my kit, it's embarrassing!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

    Look forward to hearing how you get on with this lens, particularly on FF.

  3. #3
    Member AndyA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

    But I'll start with my history of using 28s with EOS cameras. I bought the old 28mm f2.8 about 15 years ago; it was relatively light and compact, and had reasonable performance. Indeed stopped down a little, it was pretty sharp across the frame. Construction was typical of the early EF lenses, which is to say OK, but not great, and focus was very noisy, due to the old motor.
    I think I have one of these, quite a buzzy motor but the lens feels to be quite of sturdy construction. I haven't tried it on this camera yet though.
    Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 135mm F/2 L, EF 16-35mm F/4 L, EF 50mm f/1.8, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 28mm f/2.8
    http://www.aveyardphotography.co.uk
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/aveyardphotography
    https://www.facebook.com/AveyardPhotography

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    Default Re: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

    Quick update - poor weather and illness have rather limited me so far, but I've got it for a little longer...

    So far, I can state there are no bright spots on IR - looks rather good, in fact.

    More to follow...
    Please don't ask about my kit, it's embarrassing!

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    Member* colin C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

    That brings back memories.

    With a 28mm, 50mm and a 135mm and you could do nearly everything with that. Then it was decisions time: do I go for the 200mm, or save up big time for a 300mm?
    Colin



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    Default Re: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS

    It is an old-fashioned sort of lens in some ways - a 28mm f2.8. Who buys such a lens these days? And yet the 4 stop image stabiliser, USM motor and circular aperture are pretty modern features.

    I'm beginning to get a picture of it. It's pretty sharp wide open, and across the field. It's a nice lens to use - balances really well on my 6D. In truth, it's not really wide enough for me - I would prefer the 24mm, or better yet a 20mm, but it's actually not a bad walkabout lens for my tastes. It's Canon's fastest 28mm option with an image stabiliser, and the sharpest 28mm option, too. So if 28mm is your thing, it's a great choice. But - who buys a 28mm lens these days? It's perhaps telling that Canon don't offer an L prime at this focal length.

    I'll sort some pictures out and get them up - not looked at the APS-C or IR ones yet - and come to some sort of overall conclusion when I've worked it out for myself!
    Please don't ask about my kit, it's embarrassing!

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