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Monday, 28 January 2013

Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 USM IS Review


A while back I took the plunge and invested in the Canon 28-135mm prime lens, and now that I've had a chance to use it a bit, the verdict is in.
The Tech Specs
The Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 USM IS lens is technically sound. It feels solidly built in your hand, and it's got a decent weight and length, but nothing that's going over the top. It's a 72mm prime, so you have some nice wide glass that looks and feels professional grade. The focal and zoom rings may take some getting used to, as they're reversed from where they normally are, with the focal ring towards the top of the lens.
The USM (UltraSonic Motor) auto-focus is fast and smooth, providing a crisp focus in a short amount of time, without much noise at all. As you up the zoom length, the lens extends without rotation. This is great for anyone who likes to use polarizing filters, as you don't have to worry about zooming changing how the light passes through your filter.
The only downside technically is that there's some lens creep when the lens is not in use and placed at a downward angle. I use a sling style strap, so my camera hangs at my side with the lens facing downward. I frequently notice the lens has slid out a bit when I pull it back up to take a shot. This can be a bit of an issue if you're looking to fire off a shot quick with your previous zoom and focus settings, but it's certainly not a deal breaker for me. I like to take some time to compose my shots anyways.
As always, Canon's Image Stabilizer (IS) helps you to control camera shake, especially at longer focal lengths. I took some time to play around with slightly longer exposures in a night shooting scenario, and noticed that I was getting crisp results all the way up to 1/4 of a second, which is not always easy to do!
The Artistic Quality
The first thing I noticed about the output of the Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 USM IS lens is the beautiful colors. They're rich, and vibrant, and generally don't require much post processing to fix them.
The focus, both auto and manual, is laser sharp. It takes some time to find the focal ring and get used to using it, but once you do it's smooth and sharp, and I've never had any focal issues with this lens.
Upon taking my first images with this lens, I could tell the difference in the quality, even in my little 3.5 inch viewfinder, and I knew I'd really enjoy shooting with it!
Final Comments
The Good - the Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 USM IS lens has a professional look, feel and weight to it. It takes crisp, beautiful photos with a fast and quiet auto-focus mechanism that is spot on.
The focal range of 28-135mm makes this a great all-purpose lens! It's zoom range is dynamic, and allows for quite a bit of creative zooming. It's not going to be a super telephoto zoom, nor a super wide angle, but it's a perfect mid-range shooting lens.
The Bad - I would love to see a bit more zoom range on the lower end. If you're using a crop sensor, it could limit your framing in smaller areas. If this lens was down around the 15-20mm range it'd be the perfect short-mid range lens.
The Aperture isn't as wide open as I would've liked. An F-stop of 3.5 is decent, but if it were down around the 2.0 range, it'd be absolutely perfect for people shooting.
The lens creep is a bit of an issue if you're looking to pop the camera up for a quick shot, but it's not a huge issue.
The Verdict - The Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 USM IS lens has quickly become my go-to, all around lens! It's output is crisp, sharp, and beautiful, and it's focal range is perfect for all your short-mid range shots. You can shoot anything from people to landscapes comfortably. It's a great intermediate level prime, and for the price, it was definitely a decision I do not regret!
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