Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Lab Test Results
A mid-range zoom on 35mm cameras that can substitute for a long zoom on a digital camera, the EF 28-135 IS USM was already a popular lens design. Its chief benefit is its Image Stabilization, which allows users to shoot handheld two to three stops lower than normal without significant motion blur
Because its widest angle starts about 10mm into the telephoto range of the Digital Rebel's 18-55mm kit lens, the EF 28-135 is an excellent choice as an alternate lens that will complement rather than replace the kit lens. Its image stabilization helps offset the resulting blur potential from zooming out to the equivalent of 216mm. It's a good quality lens that comes in a bit cheaper than the EF-S 17-85mm that was designed to replace it.
This lens was a bit of a pleasant surprise when we tested it. One of us (Shawn) was quite familiar with it, as it had been a primary shooting lens for him for some years, first on film, and then on a Digital Rebel. As a result, we expected fairly positive results, but were nonetheless impressed by its sharpness at all but its maximum telephoto focal length/wide open, and by its relatively broad "sweet spot" one or two stops down. Chromatic aberration is moderate at the wide and tele end of its range, but quite low in between, vignetting is very low across the board, and Geometric distortion is on the low side of average. (About 0.6% barrel at maximum wide angle, dropping to about 0.2% pincushion at 60mm, and 0.3% pincushion at 135mm.) All in all, quite an impressive performance.
While its 28mm maximum wide angle translates into an equivalent focal length of 45mm on the Rebel and 20D models, the 28-135mm IS makes for an excellent medium-long tele zoom, and the benefit of optical image stabilization is hard to overstate. If your photography tends more toward the tele end of the scale, this would make an excellent "second lens" as you add to your dSLR toolkit.
Full-Frame Test Notes:
As was the case when we tested it on the EOS-20D, the EF 28-135mm IS USM pleasantly surprised us when we tested it on the full-frame EOS-5D. It does get a little softer in the corners at wide angle with the larger sensor, and chromatic aberration , geometric distortion, and vignetting are all more pronounced, but for the money, it's a hard lens to beat.
Sharpness and vignetting improve markedly when you stop down by one or two f-stops, to the point that even fairly fussy shooters would likely be satisfied. On the downside though, the lens' geometric distortion and chromatic aberration results betray its modest lineage. Barrel and pincushion distortion are on the high side at wide angle and telephoto focal lengths respectively, and chromatic aberration is rather high in the corners across the board (that is, regardless of aperture or focal length.) Still, this lens is an excellent value for the money, offering quite decent sharpness and IS at a bargain price.
One thing that obviously changes as you move from sub-frame to full-frame is the angle of view of your lenses, and the 28-135's character changes quite markedly between sub-frame and full-frame bodies. On a camera like the 20/30D, this is a great lens for normal to mid-tele focal lengths, great for shooting amateur sports with. On the 5D though, its 135mm maximum focal length is only a relatively mild tele, not long enough for many sports shooting situations. Not that this is in any way a knock against the lens, it's simply a change that Shawn was particularly struck by when he first went out shooting with the 28-135/5D combination. He'd been quite familiar with the lens on his Digital Rebel, and grown accustomed to the focal length range it represented there. Moving to the 5D resulted in a very different visceral experience of the optic.
We generally caution readers considering making the move to full-frame that it really brings with it a hidden commitment to excellent glass, because full-frame is so unforgiving of cheap optics in the corners. That said though, the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS amounts to a pleasant exception to the rule, as it's an inexpensive lens that does surprisingly well with the larger sensor format. With its coverage from medium wide-angle to short/medium telephoto, it would make a great "starter" lens for someone looking to get into full-frame on a budget.
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM User Reviews
9 out of 10 points and recommended by rfwilliams (3 reviews)Focal Range, weight, ISAperture
Not a bad lens. It deserves a better rating than it is getting.reviewed July 1st, 2013 (purchased for $325)
I use this lens in Av mode, and when I can I zoom to 135mm, set the aperture to 8, and get pretty sharp pictures at just about any focal distance.
This is one of my favorite treking lenses
8 out of 10 points and recommended by dugong5pm (52 reviews)price, focal range, IS, lightnone
This is the best walkaround/travel lens for fullframe users. I prefer this than the more expensive 24-105L. Yes, the L-series will give you (slightly) better results, but for more money and weight (duh).reviewed October 20th, 2012 (purchased for $250)
I love this lens because of the portability. It's lightweight while provides a very good and usable working range (from wide to medium telephoto). It almost can do anything from landscapes to good portraits. the IS also comes in handy for the longer focal lengths. I bought this lens for $250 used (mint). For that price, it's totally a bang for the buck!
8 out of 10 points and recommended by MartinM (31 reviews)Accurate and decent fast AF, IS, focal length, decent sharp resultsno hood, no leather case
I have this lens on my 5D Mark II.reviewed April 4th, 2012 (purchased for $400)
It delivers a very usable focal range. Nothing similar available as L lens, which is a pitty.
IS does well and image quality is very good for its price. I feel that 90% of the shooters out there would not notice the difference between the 24-105L and a 28-135 in terms of IQ.
I have really seen worse lenses than this one. Who is going to complain for that price.
Very usable for filming too!
Only drawback is the lens hood which is not included and need to be purchased separately.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by davidmarquesneves (2 reviews)Price, all purpose, not rotating filter, AF ring overideZoom ring not smoothly, not so sharp
Considering the price, is a fantastic lens.reviewed September 13th, 2011 (purchased for $490)
Not so sharp, but enough.
Is the MID, MID,MID in price, sharper and focal range.
The first step to 24-105 L F/4 IS.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by chlky0001 (1 reviews)zoom range, IS, Image Quality, Price, Construction, USMA bit wider would have been perfect, Color fringe
I have been using this lens on 5D for travelling. The light weight, zoom range, image stabilization and USM make this lens very handy to use. The image quality of thins lens is very good, center sharpness may rival many L lens once you use a smaller aperture. corner is also very good when small aperture is used.reviewed June 14th, 2010 (purchased for $300)
Although the lens is primarily constructed with plastic, the build quality is not as bad as it looks like. I accidentally dropped the lens on rock from about 1.5m above ground. Nothing happened to the lens while my Hoya filter broke.
The lens produces neutral color, not so vibrant to my taste, but can certainly be post processed in photoshop. There is also color fringes easily visible. Also I wish it could start from 24mm.
For the price, this lens is great on full frame. On crop sensor camera, it's too long for normal use but too short for tele.
6 out of 10 points and not recommended by jt354 (9 reviews)Lightweight, USM, ISOptical quality, zoom creep, zoom range on 1.6x
I received this lens with purchase of my 40D, and sold it on ebay within a few months. The focal range is impressive, but 28mm on the wide end renders it nearly useless as a walkaround/landscape lens on crop. Image quality is nothing spectacular. The zoom creep is very annoying, and the manual focus ring is trash. For a $200 surcharge, the 28-135mm is a reasonably good lens. For $400 retail, it's a waste of money.reviewed May 9th, 2010
10 out of 10 points and recommended by amqp (1 reviews)Good speed and optical qualityHood is extra
To take the best pictures you cannot just put this lens on and go to shooting. This lens needs time and if you spend some time with it this lens will be your best friends. It is a great budget lens for people like me.reviewed March 26th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
10 out of 10 points and recommended by ifi (3 reviews)Good built, good range, USM is quiet, Focus ring is easy to use, IS worksNone
This was my very first lens. I still use it and it works great. This is my default walk-around lens. I like the colors and sharpness.reviewed March 25th, 2010 (purchased for $350)
6 out of 10 points and recommended by J Thompson (1 reviews)Auto Focus and Image StabiliserZoom creep
I bought this lens as a 'walk around' for my film SLR and crop-sensor DSLR.reviewed March 16th, 2010 (purchased for $450)
On my film camera it works fine, with an ideal zoom range and fast/accurate auto focussing. I now only use 100 ISO slide film and stop down to at least f5.6 so it needs reasonable light.
On my DSLR zoom range is 45-215 - not the most exciting! - and image quality even stopped down is disappointing.
This lens is now permanently attached to my film camera. I've invested in an EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS and EF 70-200 f4 L IS for my DSLR.
5 out of 10 points and not recommended by Chazz D (4 reviews)Build quality ok, end of lens does not rotate during focusing, Ring type USM,End of lens a bit wobbly, IS mechanism is older generation and loud, Image Quality
I used this lens for a few months on a Canon 20D and finally decided it was not worth the money. I know some people brag like there is no tomorrow about the image quality of this lens. But I can say that the copy I had was nothing to brag about. I get consistently sharper and clearer pictures with my 18-55IS kit lens. If you are lucky and you get a good copy of this lens then it might be worth it. Otherwise I would look at other lenses.reviewed December 17th, 2009
Also if you are using this on a crop camera, like most people, the 28mm (44.8mm on a crop camera) will often leave you wanting a lens that will go wider. So for me it does not make an ideal walk around lens even if the image quality was great.
If mine had the image quality of even my kit lens I would have kept it and went with a 10-22mm or something for the wide angle stuff.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by twmagoo (4 reviews)Fast USM, IS works good, IQ is goodnone
I found my copy of this lens went beyond my expectations. It is sharp enough in its category and price range. IS works good in some low light situations. Would highly recommend the lens to anyone.reviewed July 24th, 2009 (purchased for $200)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by f43tgv (16 reviews)Cheap, sharp, ISnot much
I bought my first copy of this lens quite recently, secondhand to use as a longer lens on my 30D, I have the 10-22, and as a lens to use on my Eos 1 with film.reviewed February 18th, 2009
I dont pay to much attention to lens reviews in magazines, the disparity in their conclusions does make me wonder if they do actually test them at all, preferring to draw my own conclusions.
For not a lot of money this has been a pleasant surprise, giving the equivalent of 216 at the long end on the 30D, long enough for me , and usable IS of about two stops which is very useful.
Results on film are very good too. This may be an old lens but a very good one, excellent value for money which is important at the moment and in view of its versatility a keeper. Dont underestimate this lens!
8 out of 10 points and recommended by MrAdventure (6 reviews)Convenient focal range, Image Stabilised, Ultrasonic Motor, Light WeightWobbly telescopic rings, No lens Hood, Slight softness at 135mm
I've spent 3 months with the 28-135mm IS USM and it's always worked as expected in a variety of shooting situations and conditions. While it doesn't have the background blurring power of my 50 and 85mm 1.8 primes, it's not half bad. If the subject is far enough away from a busy background you can get a pretty smooth blur.reviewed July 1st, 2008 (purchased for $300)
The USM is fast and AF is accurate and quick even in low light where most lenses will hunt for a second or two.
Image stabilisation is pretty good for an older implimentation. My pictures are more sharper from frame to frame than not.
Nice to have a metal mount!
I was very annoyed to have to pay $35 for a separately sold lens hood.
Conclusion: This is a very good walk-around lens. It will capture expansive landscapes while delivering tightly framed portraits from a decent distance.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by touristguy87 (33 reviews)nice zoom range, allows the 400D to stretch its legsthe IQ and focus quality was just horrible under ~50mm
This was my third attempt to find a good lens for my new 400D, my first DSLR...I found this to be a real hard lens to shoot while walking around downtown, it just clashed with my instinctive shot-vision...I ended-up having to leave a good # of shots alone and shoot only at scenes that were a block or two away, at least. It is just not very good for short-range work. The focus reliability is not very good. It seemed to come into its own beyond 50mm, and I got some very nice shots at 100-135mm that really made me have second thoughts about taking it back and not buying one. Even with the F3.5-F5.6 it was fast enough at night for handheld shooting, incurring a penalty of about a stop relative to the 17-55 F2.8 that I had at the time. Plenty of handheld 133mm shots at ISO800, no problem. It's a good midrange zoom. Just goes to show what Canon could do if they tried to make a "superzoom". But it is way too tight to shoot wide-angle of anything like a building inside of 30 feet. Very difficult to use close-up neglecting the focus reliability issue. I would just walk away and then shoot longrange and got much better results that way.reviewed August 6th, 2007
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Toco1980 (5 reviews)zoom range, IS, fast and silent auto focus, image qualityzoom creep, some wobbling, a bit soft at long end, hood is extra
I just bought this lens a few weeks ago, and so far I find it to be a very good walk-around lens.reviewed May 2nd, 2007 (purchased for $500)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by hitendra (11 reviews)Image Stabilizer.Jerky zoom ring.
Check the results here…reviewed April 15th, 2007
7 out of 10 points and recommended by random (10 reviews)very convenient (almost 5x) zoom range, ~2-stop IS, decent build quality, fast & quiet AF by ring USM, decent image qualitypoor corner sharpness especially at wide angle, very obvious geometric distortions at both ends of the focal range
Pros: very convenient (almost 5x) zoom range, ~2-stop IS, decent build quality, fast & quiet AF by ring USM, decent image quality in terms of sharpness & contrastreviewed January 15th, 2007 (purchased for $490)
Cons: poor corner sharpness especially at wide angle, very obvious geometric distortions at both ends of the focal range, some CA & vignetting wide open
Been using this lens since the film days, and it was fantastic during that time. In today's digital era, the flaws of this lens becomes apparent even on a 1.6x FOVCF sensor body. It somehow loses a bit of color & contrast when used on a DSLR, maybe because of the lack of digital-optimized lens coatings. Barrel distortions on the wide end of the range is still obvious even on a cropped-sensor body.
The zoom range is also not optimal for general-purpose use on a 1.6x FOVCF body; I find that it's not wide enough on the short end, especially indoors.
IQ-wise, it's better than most of the other consumer-level zooms, which is to be expected given the price. 1st-generation IS is good for 2-stops at most, but it's still better than nothing.
Overall, it's still a good lens to have for walkaround purposes, but on 1.6x FOVCF bodies, consider getting the slightly-more expensive EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM if the wide-end is more important than the tele-end.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by eosphoros (2 reviews)A great walk-around lens. Mine is quite sharp. Better than expected.None. Should come with a hood.
This was my first Canon lens. The IS is great, giving two stops. I had some reservations about buying this lens because of reports of softness and loose barrel. My example suffers from none of these problems and talking to other users of the same lens, they too have no complaint. The sharpness is surprising, rivaling that of my 'L' lens. Good color and contrast. And it's light too and won't wear you out carrying it around all day.reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $410)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Lee Jay (16 reviews)Good optics, low price, IS, great rangeA little long as a walkaround on 1.6 crop, slow at the long end
Pretty good lens. I only sold mine for the 24-105 for the extra stop on the long end and the extra 4mm on the short end.reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $330)
7 out of 10 points and not recommended by adobo (17 reviews)Cheap alternative/upgrade path from kit lens.., IS for a cheap price (relatively)Too wide from crop, Wobbly double barrel design
Except for the IS, there is nothing really special bout this lens.. Well if you are a collector I believe this lens pioneered a lot of firsts..reviewed January 7th, 2007 (purchased for $440)
Anyway, back to the lens.. The IS is *still* effective, image quality is good enough.. on its own I LIKE this lens.. But when you start comparing it to others.. bah..
I guess its the cheapest in the general purpose bunch (17-40 f/4L, 17-50 f/2.8 IS, 24-105 f/4L, 24-70 f/2.8) But you decided on whether buying this lens (and then selling it later on when you upgrade) is worth the hassle.. I mean, of course you lose money on the resale.. but it's your call..
If you're planning to get something better than the kit lens and then never upgrade again.. then yeah, this is good enough..
But if you are a serious shooter and plan to invest on better lens later on.. just skip this..
7 out of 10 points and recommended by Wolfini (10 reviews)Range, IS, AF, close distanceContrast, long distance
This is a little difficult to review, as I have many different experiences with the optical performance.reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $450)
To concentrate on the good things first I can say that the range is very useful for some applications, the build quality is absolutely satisfactory for my needs, AF is fast and accurate, and IS can be quite useful at times.
IQ is a mixed bag. After shooting with the lens for about 3 years, I have the feeling that results at close range are really great. So for portraits and walks with family and friends this is really a very good lens with great IQ. Also the focal length range is ideal for this purpose.
On the other hand long range results are often quite disappointing, with low contrast and resolution, dull colors and some decentering flaws appearing here and there. So although this would be a great kit together with an Ultra-WA, I prefer to leave the lens at home for landscape outings, as I know I might be disappointed (although some shots may still turn out very nicely).
Perhaps I should also add, that I have very high demands about IQ, and compare this to some of the best glass out there (85/1,8, 200/2,8L, Sigma 18-50/2,8).
8 out of 10 points and recommended by crmorse (11 reviews)IS works great, good pricelower price means some compromises, weight
This is my main walkaround lens although it's too long for most indoors use on crop-factor digital cameras.reviewed January 5th, 2007 (purchased for $450)
* Probably one of the best price/performance ratios in Canon's lineup if you don't mind paying for IS. It's not L glass but it's a big step up from the bargin lenses
* IS works as advertised. The only limition is motion blur if your subject is moving. For still lifes I have successfully shot 135mm @ 1/8 second!
* Very good range for a walkaround on full frame cameras although crop factor users will find it a bit long
* CA and sharpness are both good.
* Contrast is execellent compared to 3rd party lenses.
* Colors seem to have very good saturation and punch.
* Its heavy by comparison to non-L lenses. L users will probably not notice a difference
* Soft at the corners at 135mm even at f/8 even on a crop factor (at least my copy is)
* Slow. At 135mm its f/5.6 which rules out all but daylight shooting unless a strong flash/lighting is used.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by silverbluemx (16 reviews)Sharp, good build quality, IS is efficient.Cant replace the kit lens because 28mm is too long on a DSLR.
I've had this lens quite a short time, because I found that the Sigma 18-125 was a lot more convenient than the 18-55 + 28-135 couple, but after some tests I think that it can be a great lens if you don't need wide angle on a DSLR.reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $350)
Image quality is quite good wide open at 28mm, but needs to be stopped down a little at the long end. I found the colors to be a little different than those from my other lenses but I liked them.
The Image Stabilisation is efficient, I've been able to shoot sharp pictures at 1/30s at 135mm (more than 200 equiv.).
Build quality is good, I never experienced zoom creep on my copy.
I have never tested its EF-S equivalent (17-85) so I can't say how it compares with it.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by llbeanie1 (17 reviews)
is works great, good walk around lensreviewed January 1st, 2007
6 out of 10 points and recommended by boysennumba5 (3 reviews)Cost, sizeBuild Quality, aperture
This lens makes a good walkaround lens for somebody who wants something with a longer reach than a kit lens. The IS feature works well for this kind of use, but the slow aperture (especially at the long end) pretty heavily limits it to pretty bright situations if anything is moving.reviewed December 28th, 2006
My personal experience showed that the largest problem with this lens was primarily the build quality. I don't baby my gear, and in the course of scrambling some rocks in Utah the camera swung (it was on the strap around my neck) into the rocks. While it was moving somewhat quick, the scratches on the barrel appeared to be essentially surfacy.
Shortly thereafter, in extremely difficult to predict situations, I noticed massive blurring issues on the left side of my frames (this is on a 20D, so I'd hate to see how bad it was on a full-frame). It made the lens almost completely unusable for serious work, and later sold it as-is.
If you shoot in pretty comfortable situations, this lens ought to serve pretty well. The cost makes it a good choice for a walk-around lens for a non-pro, especially if there is any sharing between film and digital bodies.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Xtian (6 reviews)Great walkaround lens. good focal length range. ISnot really that good in low light of course
This is a great lens to have when you're just walking around... during daylight. Take candid shots, take city shots, take landscape. But as any other mid-end zoom, it is a general purpose lens that can't do any one thing well, but does everything decently. And I recently moved to a sub-frame digital from film so it has become a 40mm-215mm lens which is still useful in that regard, as I shoot mostly narrow than wide.reviewed December 25th, 2006 (purchased for $400)
I am more of a prime lens shooter (35mm 2.0, 85mm 1.8) because I need fast lenses for low-light indoor photography without being able to use a flash (church events such as a Christmas banquet). I definitely can't use this lens without a flash indoor even with the IS.
But this lens was made to be taken everywhere and if there's only one lens I can take where I need a wide range, then this is the only thing I have.
Sharpness is adequate. My comparison comes from my 85mm 1.8 which is currently the sharpest thing I've got.
Colors are muted also compared to my 85mm 1.8.
I maybe use this lens 10% of the time. Most of the time I just go for my prime lenses. I'd recommend you figure out where you do most of the shooting and get a prime lens that has better image quality and speed.
But if you haven't figured out what you like to shoot, this would be a good lens to start then you'll know if you like to shoot wide/narrow, macro/close-up/far, action/portrait... once you get that figured out go get one or two good prime lenses =D
8 out of 10 points and recommended by jraNL2 (6 reviews)relatively small, IS, focal range, relatively good image quality, priceaverage build quality, not top glasses used
My - second hand purchased - copy of this lens must be dated from the earlier release period, so around 1998/99. The serialnumber at the bottom says in faint digits 2702xxxE. Nonetheless it's a fine lens with not so great build quality. It's a true midrange in everything. There are a bit wobblings all over its duo-cam construction and a faint squeak sound of plastic against plastic when zoomed out. Strange enough I find this lens rather sympathetic with its useful range of zoom and relatively good image quality, which is just below that of the L image quality. Let's see a sample here:reviewed December 25th, 2006
The IS is a useful factor and can be a "life" saviour between having a good shot and just a blurry (n)one. Its zoom range is great when used with either a 35mm film or FF DSLR camera to function as a pleasant walk around lens. This doesn't automatically mean with a crop factor DSLR, in this respect 1.6x, it suddenly becomes worthless. Far from it. With its 35mm equivalent 45-216mm and combined with the EF-S 10-22mm this 28-135mm lens makes a very useful duo for travelling around with just two relatively small and light lenses which can handle almost anything photographable without having to pay a visit to a physiotherapist after getting home.
Still a pity that Canon doesn't want to invest a bit more in this useful lens. With a better build quality and a better glass, this would surely be a top lens. Of course there's still a EF 24-105mm L, but the price is nearly three times over the 28-135's.
Recommended? Yes. Though this lens lacks the L quality in terms of both build and image quality, it remains a sympathetic lens with its good results. Personally, this one will be with me for a long time.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by jlam (4 reviews)Affordable, well built, equiv. 216mm for dSLR users at the long end, IS, quietSlow (aperture), equiv. 45mm for dSLR users at the short end
This is currently the primary lens on my XT (as of 12/06). I’ve had this lens for 1-1/2 years now. The first thing you notice is the weight. There are times when I have to hold and shoot with one hand. That’s hard. This is not a flaw. It’s just fact of life.reviewed December 17th, 2006 (purchased for $395)
The image quality is not noticeably different than the kit lens in practical use which, in my view, is good enough for everyday use. There is always a slight softness in the pictures (I use the max. aperture whenever possible). The saving grace for this lens is IS.
It’s too bad that Canon offers this affordable walkaround lens for 35mm users but for APS-C users, the equivalent (17-85 IS) was $200 more (not to mention the slightly slower aperture) at the time of my purchase. Yikes!
All in all, this is a worthy investment given that there is no other affordable IS lenses to choose from!
8 out of 10 points and recommended by dennisc (6 reviews)Image stabilizerNot wide enough on a cropped sensor body
The choice between this lens and the EF-S17-85 is a tough one if you are shopping for a decent zoom.reviewed December 14th, 2006 (purchased for $570)
I chose this lens over the other because it is cheaper, has a longer tele end and works on full frames. Plus I already have the EF-S 18-55 kit lens so there is no point repeating the focal lengths.
So what is this lens good for?
It is good for covering stage events when you can't get too close. Yes, it doesn't go very wide on a cropped sensor body but it you need the coverage, just take a few steps behind...
It is also good for portrait shots. Get the white balance correct and the skin tones will come out perfect.
This lens is also good for covering field events especially if there is good light. This lens is a bit slow on the tele end but with enough daylight, it will actually do its job.
In brief, a nice lens to have but not an essential one unless you see a great bargain for it...
7 out of 10 points and recommended by SamuelMV (6 reviews)Cheap IS lens, aceptable IQ for a 5x zoomConstruction, 45mm in APS-C (not wide enough), slow and variable aperture
This is the main lens on my 30D, where it becomes a 45-216mm, not wide enough for my taste.reviewed December 14th, 2006 (purchased for $450)
The IQ is aceptable considering that it's a 5x zoom: but it's quite soft until you stop down to f8, and has CA.
The IS is its main selling point, but it's a first generation IS, so only 1-2 stops advantage, no panning suport nor tripod detection.
It focuses fast and has Full Time Manual, but at the tele end I have found that the focal length changes a lot with the focusing!!!
The construction isn't very good: the lens barrel moves a lot and sucks dust inside the lens. It also has some zoom creep.
This isn't a fast lens, the f3.5 at 28mm it's not really usable. It's f5.6 at 135mm, and you *need* to stop down to f8 to have an aceptable IQ. The IS helps, but if you are shooting a moving element you are screwed.
The bokeh and color rendition are ok, maybe a little bit warm.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by mxwphoto (12 reviews)Great walk-around without breaking your wallet28mm on crop camera = 45mm full frame equivalent - not wide enough
For over a year, this lens has been my walk-around of choice. It's light, provides good zoom, and has IS. IS helped a lot when my hands weren't very steady early on, less so now, but still handy to have. The tele end allows for good captures of close by wildlife while the entire range makes for good portrait lengths. It's not as sharp as can be, but for the price, it's not expected to be. The only problem is that as a 45mm equivalent wide, it's just not wide enough sometimes. If you don't shoot a lot of grand landscapes, it shouldn't be a problem - but keep the kit lens close by in case you need it. If you do need a lot of wide but are on a budget, the 17-85 IS might work for you.reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $450)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by sviatoslav (3 reviews)IS, versatile focal rangeColors seem a little bland
Bought this lens over a year ago (nov '05) and it is almost always on my camera! The IS works wonders. If you need fantastic bokeh, get a prime lens... but if you want a great all-purpose walk-around lens this is it.reviewed December 10th, 2006 (purchased for $425)
7 out of 10 points and recommended by terryf (10 reviews)Light weight, low price for an IS zoom.Some problems in image quality.
My copy of the 28-135Is may have had more CA that the copy tested by SLR gear. I found it to be frequently objectionable in the corners even on my 1.6x crop cameras. And it was difficult to remove in Photoshop. Another problem with my copy was "zoom creep". There was a lot of looseness in the lens barrel. When I would take a picture at a shorter focal length and then remove the camera from my eye, tilting it so that the lens pointed down - it would zoom out to 135 by itself. For these reasons I sold it and replaced it with the much more expensive 24-70L. Despite these complaints I am obliged to say that I used the lens for 4 years and did obtain many excellent images. While I do rate the 28-135 IS lens as recommended that is beause it provides good value for the price. The IS works well and when the lens is stopped down the image quality is very good. People who feel that they can not afford an "L" zoom should definitely consider this lens.reviewed December 4th, 2006 (purchased for $435)
6 out of 10 points and not recommended by awalker (6 reviews)Lightweight, ISBuild quality poor
Useful FL range on 20D and FF EOS 30 (film). Lightweight with useful IS function. Picture quality not bad, but not outstanding. I sold this lens though - build quality is poor, very plastic, lots of play in the extended barrel and this made it less than a pleasure to use. Replaced it with a 24-105 f4 L (more expensive but, IMHO, worth it!).reviewed November 25th, 2006
6 out of 10 points and not recommended by dccps (13 reviews)IS works pretty well, image resolution is very good, color is trueresulution is not as good as "L" glass, falls off at highest telephoto, occasionally locks up camera
This lens is okay for general shooting if you don't really want or need to go wide, but I typically use other optics much more. I found the range, equivalent to 50-210 (rounded off) less than ideal for shooting for the kind of images I do (landscapes, people in context, architecture... Although I indicate that I would not recommend this lens, it is mostly due to the weak field of view for a reduced size sensor. Images are, typically for Canon, quite definitely good enough to print to the reasonable limits of the sensor.reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $380)
7 out of 10 points and recommended by jeffn (6 reviews)Very good walk-around lens. No glaring deficiencies. IS works well.Consumer grade lens which requires stopping down (f5.6 to f) for best sharpness.
The combination of IS and the 28-135mm range makes this an ideal walk-around lens.reviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
But it's still a slow, consumer-grade, 5-to-1 zoom. So it's a compromise. But a very good one!
I have no technically bad images from this lens but not very many great ones!
6 out of 10 points and recommended by freetoken (9 reviews)very convenient range for FF, decent close focus capabilitydistortion at 28mm
This is my walkaround lens on a 5D. On a FF digital or a film camera 28-135 is an ideal range, less so for an APS-C crop camera.reviewed November 19th, 2006
No need in restating the tested results, but here is how the lens' attributes affect me:
On occasion the distortion at 28mm is bothersome. No issues at the other focal lengths.
Vignetting is noticeable at the wider apertures, but easily correctable in software if needed.
The IS may only be first generation but I find it very useful and effective. IS is a bit noisier than on some other Canon lenses.
Resolution is adequate and indeed I have found (as other members here have noted) that in the middle focal lengths resolution is very good.
Color is a warmer than some Canon lenses and the contrast is a bit less than other lenses I have in these focal lengths, but still capable of high quality results.
Build quality is adequate but the front element wobbles a bit when extended, and there is no lock to keep the lens from extending accidentally.
Close focus ability is useful - it can get to about 1:5 magnification.
Over all it is a very useful though not outstanding lens. I do not feel the need to buy the newer 24-105L zoom as if I really want higher resolution images (or a brighter viewfinder) I just use one of the single focal length ("prime") lenses in this range.
On my 300D I find this still a useful lens but not wide enough for a walk around lens. Those of you with an APS-C camera probably should look at the EF-s alternative (17-85IS).
8 out of 10 points and recommended by amckeown (2 reviews)IS & Image QualityNo Fixed Aperture
I originally purchased this lens used back in my film days. It carried over into the digital world working like a true workhorse on a 10D.reviewed November 15th, 2006 (purchased for $300)
Today this is my main walk around lense on a 1dMkIIn. I can not reccomend this lense enough to the bang for the buck.
6 out of 10 points and recommended by gadgetguy (62 reviews)Image StabilizerWhen on a 1.6x DSLR, not wide enough
When I slap this on my EOS-3 (film!) it's got the almost perfect walk-around range. On a 1.6x crop DSLR, though, it's a little short on the wide end.reviewed November 14th, 2006
Colors are a little flat and lack a lot of 'pop'. It also uses the earlier generation of IS so it's not as effective and a little noisy (you can hear it working).
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Magdy Kamel (3 reviews)Photographer "Moda Inc., France
Very Convenient and easy to use type of lens specially the outdoor projectsreviewed June 25th, 2006
8 out of 10 points and recommended by pj1974 (7 reviews)5x Zoom range, accurate AF, sharp (esp stopped down a bit), USM, useful ISNo f2.8 aperture (but then it would be bigger & more expensive!)
After reading various reviews, tests and most importantly seeing real life photos others had made with this lens, I bought it in November 2005. And have been VERY happy with this lens since then! After over 4 years with digital point and shoot cameras, this was my first lens for my first DSLR.reviewed February 10th, 2006
For me it has a very useful zoom range (with a 1.6x crop factor on my Rebel XT / 350D) - I know this is a personal thing, with many people saying the 28mm (=45mm) is not wide enough for them. However my style of photography tends to go for the medium wide to telephoto end of things more (it's reach gets the equivalent of 215mm in 35mm terms). Anyway I have the kit lens which does a satisfactory job for when I really need 18mm (=28mm) wide angle.
Sharpness is good, especially so in adequate light and stopped down one or two stops. The sharpness of my lens seems to match the test results that this website found - I get good sharpness at all focal ranges and even wide open apertures are very decent at all zoom levels.
Of course I would like it to have a constant f2.8, but then this wouldn't be a decently priced, medium weight consumer lens would it! I'm very happy with it: build quality seems ok (not brilliant, but acceptable by my standards). I've heard of people using it for years as their workhorse lens and I can see the same for me. For low light work I have the 50mm f1.8 mark II.
This 28-135mm lens is on my camera most of the time (about 95% of the time.) It focusses well, has a flexible zoom range, is sharp and has USM as well as IS for added useful convenience too.
For the price I think this is a great lens: I get good edge and corner sharpness and very good centre sharpness. Maybe copy to copy quality does vary as I've read, so I think I definitely got a very decent copy and I'm thankful! Of course if I was a professional with a big budget I'd probably use an L lens, but as it is I find this lens does a great job in meeting the needs for nearly all of the landscape, nature, portrait / people and even some of the close up photography that I do.
Well done Canon with this one!
7 out of 10 points and not recommended by Blackstone (1 reviews)Good allaround lens for the moneyBad blur at 28 mm infinity
Not bad at all when using it from 35 mm above. But awful picture quality at 28 mm! Cannot shoot a picture without a great amount of awful blur at this focal length.reviewed February 8th, 2006 (purchased for $400)
I dont recommend it!
9 out of 10 points and recommended by fabio777 (3 reviews)Image quality, stabilizer.costruction.
Is an excellent zoom for film camera and also for digital camera. Very good price. some dribble in costruction and slow autofocus compare with other canon usm lenses. (probably because is the first canon stabilize lens).reviewed December 12th, 2005 (purchased for $600)
Excellent image quality from 35 to 80 mm good at 28 and 135.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by jyli19 (7 reviews)Useful IS function, good build quality, execellent all around lensOptional Lens hood, no carry bag/case, prone to dust in elements
Excellent image quality when stepped down. A combination of features makes this lens a great walk around lens. When mounted on a 1.6 cropped DSLR, its focal length may not be as useful as when used on a film or full frame DSLR.reviewed November 3rd, 2005 (purchased for $409)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by saudidave (2 reviews)Good image quality, fast focussing, IS is excellentbuild quality is mediocre, annoying lens creep
Excellent all round walkabout lens but on a 1.6x crop, not wide enough in town.reviewed October 30th, 2005 (purchased for $600)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Anakin (5 reviews)range, IS , good AF , lightaperture
I use this lens with my EOS 3 ,reviewed October 21st, 2005 (purchased for $300)
it's a very good range for reportage, walk around, portraits.
IS is good for low light, but not equal with L series
it's a little noisy.
anyway, for the price, it's a good lens, very easy to use.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by andrewc (3 reviews)excellent range, IS, quite sharp if you get a good copy, fulltime manual focusdoesn't feel as solid as I'd like
This lens is the one I use more than any other because of its versatile range and the added security that IS gives me. Knowing the basics such as stopping down a bit to get the most sharpness helps to achieve great results from this lens. It's the perfect general-use lens, and one I've not found a suitable replacement for. I bought mine right when they were introduced in the late 90's, hence the higher cost. I'd love for it to be a 2.8 in addition to the IS, or a 24-135 2.8IS, but then the cost would be rediculous. This is a great lens, one of my favorites for sure.reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $550)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by ggriffith (4 reviews)Decent Built, Sharp Images, Affordable compared to L glassNo Hood included, Plastic Body, Not the "Smoothest" Zoom ring (could be fixed)
I've used this lens for almost 2 years in a personal and professional environment. It has been a handy lens and is a terrific "walking-around" lens. I frequently leave it on my 1D Mark II and use it as a main lens unless I want to shoot ultra-wide or tele. All in all this has been a nice lens with a good zoom range and great images.reviewed October 19th, 2005 (purchased for $446)