If you value small size and weight, this is a great standard zoom for full frame

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47872Mike Regular Member • Posts: 208
If you value small size and weight, this is a great standard zoom for full frame

I've had several of these over the years as I always end up buying another one after a while! Let me tell you why I like them so much:
OK, so it isn't an L lens. It's not big, heavy or expensive - and it isn't an amazing optical performer wide-open, particularly at short and medium focal lengths. It doesn't have IS.
But, guess what? It's really, really good stopped down a bit. A good example gives super-sharp consistent results across the frame at 5.6 and 8, and even right into the corners, at all focal lengths. This is much better than the best examples of the cheapest Canon zooms (like the 28-105 4-5.6. 28-90, most 28-80s, 35-80 etc). There are in-camera optical corrections available with cameras from the last 10 years or so. These reduce fringing and vignetting with my 6D. With newer cameras, distortion will also be compensated for.
Things to be aware of (in no particular order):
1. The duocam construction is not very tough and play between the different components can develop easily with a mistreated one. 2. Not necessarily because of 1, there is significant optical performance variation amongst the lenses in circulation. 3. Filters will easily induce mechanical vignetting at or near 28mm - it would have been better if Canon had chosen a bigger filter mount - but the lens would have been less compact! 4. Optical distortion is higher than I'd like at 28mm. 5. The basic optical and mechanical designs of all versions of 28-105 3.5-4.5 are the same - the only important differences are that the Mk II versions and some later examples of the Mk I have 7 aperture blades rather than 5. 6. After a lot of use, the lubricant in the zoom ring wears or dries and zoom feels less damped. Creep is not normally a problem as it is for many heavier Canon zooms. 7. The USM AF motor (like L lenses have) is smooth, fast and quiet but does eventually tend to fail - like all AF motors. 
This lens is often compared to the 24-85 3.5-4.5 USM which cost a little more and had a shorter production run. That's also a very good lens indeed, and you may prefer its focal length range. But it's not as easy to find a good one of those cheaply, and the two I've had over the years have had slightly less good extreme corners than the 28-105. If you're a perfectionist (how many users of old zooms are perfectionists?), the 28-105 is a slightly better lens.
These lenses work fine on cropped sensors but it is on full frame that they really make sense.

 47872Mike's gear list:47872Mike's gear list
Canon EOS 10D Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 50D Sony SLT-A37 Canon EOS 6D +8 more
Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM
Zoom lens • Canon EF • 6469A005
Announced: Aug 30, 2000
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Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Canon EOS 6D
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