Canon L Series Lenses

This was a free two hour class offered by Canon and Keeble & Shuchat with Jennifer Wu about Canon’s L lenses by Jim Rose and nature photography tips from Jennifer. I originally heard about this from Jim when he came to COBA to discuss about CPS membership. As an added treat, Canon brought twenty four L lenses, including the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM and the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM, and five bodies (three 1D Mark IIIs, one 1Ds Mark III, one Canon XSi, and a Canon EOS 5D) for everyone to try. Also Jim brought a pre-production Canon EOS 50D with the new Canon EF 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS zoom lens. Continue reading Canon L Series Lenses

Just Received My Canon Lens Hood

I had picked up a Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM because the price was right and it’s a decent carry around lens, the only problem is that it tends to susceptible to flaring. Unfortunately Canon doesn’t include a lens hood (which helps prevents flares without having to change your physical location) with the consumer/prosumer lenses such as the 28-135mm. Having a lens hood helps protect the front element (having a front filter helps also) from damage in the unlikely event of accidental dropping. Fortunately the lens hood, Canon EW-78B II, isn’t terribly expensive, about ~$20-$30 on Amazon.com.

I was able to find it for a sweet deal, $18.05, on Amazon.com being sold by one of their affiliates: Cameta Camera. With $6.99 for shipping via USPS, the total came to $25.04. I’m quite impressed with the service of Cameta Camera. They shipped my order the next day and within four days I had my lens hood. The only gripe I have is that the packaging they used isn’t very good. They just stuck the Canon lens hood in a standard USPS envelope so the box got a little smashed. Fortunately the hood wasn’t damaged, but I wished they took the extra precaution of putting it into a small box.

So I have a lens hood now for the 28-135mm, fits perfectly, was cheap (for a Canon OEM product), and got it fast. I’m happy.

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Specification

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM on Canon EOS Rebel XTi/400D.

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Introduction

2007-02-11 - Stripes Bui - 006This is the lens that my dad purchased to use with his Canon EOS 5D. This lens definitely wouldn’t be my first choice if I had a 5D, it’s kind of like buying a Ferrari but filling up with 87 unleaded, but to each his own I guess. My dad and I traded lens for a while back (just to try), my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM for his Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM.

I didn’t use the lens as often as I would have liked to, a combination of bad weather days and being busy, but I used it enough to get a general idea of the lens.

Weight and Dimensions

Well compared to the Canon L series lens, this lens feels like nothing. At about 540g, it is almost half the weight of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM’s 950g. It is also smaller, coming in at 78.4mm x 96.8mm. Very easy to carry my Canon EOS Rebel XTi around with this lens attached.

Construction

This lens is made of nothing but plastic. The only metal on the entire lens are the screws and the lens mount. There is some noticeable “wiggle” when the barrel is extended to its full length of 135mm. Turning the zoom room feels ok, not very smooth though. The focus ring is the same.

Unlike the L series lenses, you definitely do not want to drop it at all.

Field Test

The focal range on this lens is excellent! 28mm to 135mm is very nice to have in one lens. I did find starting at 28mm is definitely not wide enough for me, especially on a 1.6 frame of view crop factor, turning this2007-02-11 - Stripes Bui - 026 28mm to 44.8mm. But on the other hand, having a lens that is versatile such as this is great, especially when you have no idea what kind of reach you need to get a shot.

The IS is a great feature to have, as with all the other lenses that have IS also. This lens needs it a bit more so because of it’s maximum aperture of 3.5. IS does drain the battery, so use it when necessary if you need to conserve battery juice.

Because its a small and light lens, but covers an expansive focal range, I find this lens is perfect for hiking or just walking around. This lens performs quite poor in low light because of its maximum aperture. You’ll have to dial up the ISO.

Worth mentioning is that there is some noticeable barrel distortion at 28mm which becomes pincushion after 45mm.

Getting nice bokeh from this lens is difficult for two reasons, f/3.5 and a 6 blade aperture. Easiest way to accomplish it is to stand close to the subject but using a long focal length.

Final Thoughts

This is actually a pretty good lens for the features versus price. You’re getting a great range, 28mm-135mm, ring type USM, limited macro and IS all for under $500. It’s actually quite amazing that Canon decided to include not only IS but ring type USM that is generally found on the more pricey lens such as the L series. For those that don’t know, ring type USM is the super fast and quiet focusing system that Canon utilizes that allows for Full-Time Manual (FTM) without having to toggle a switch. Nikon’s equivalent to this is AF-S.

This lens also has limited macro capabilities like the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, which is great for people who take macro shots occasionally but not enough to spend money on a true macro lens.

The build quality isn’t so great, but perhaps I’m biased and the optically quality is decent. This is a very popular lens with many users from beginners to pros alike, can’t go wrong with it.

A great lens for those on a budget and also a great backup lens.