Canon should discontinue this

Started Sep 22, 2014 | User reviews
LMCasey Contributing Member • Posts: 852
Canon should discontinue this

This doesn't even reach the level of mediocre in my opinion. Does it ever get sharp? Try f8, f11, and it's still not that great. The build quality seems about as cheap as any other lens I can think of (wait a minute, the original efs 18-55 kit lens is even worse). In addition, these days, the range of this lens is not tremendously useful IMO. For me personally, a walkaround lens needs to start at 24 on the wide end. To each his own though; plenty of people have a fondness for this lens, and that's fine with me.

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Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM
Zoom lens • Canon EF • 2562A002
LMCasey's score
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Average community score
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Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 12,004
Re: Canon should discontinue this
3

I agree that this lens is pretty obsolete. It was engineered for a film world that did not anticipate APS-C sensors. In fact, I was outright puzzled to see it bundled as a "kit" lens with so many APS-C bodies over the years.

I've actually owned several different copies over the years. The last was actually, optically, very, very good. It came with a used camera I bought from an individual, and I only used it here and there for personal stuff. But I was very impressed with the color, sharpness, and even AF performance. With other good L lenses in my stable, it wasn't worth me keeping.

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Lee Jay Forum Pro • Posts: 56,227
Perhaps you missed it
2

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/0082658045/canon-introduces-ef-400mm-f-4-do-is-ii-usm-ef-24-105mm-and-ef-s-24mm-f-2-8-lenses

"EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM – Smooth Quiet Focus in a Versatile Lens
The new EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens is the first EF-series zoom lens for full-frame sensor cameras to include a lead screw-type stepping motor (STM) that provides virtually silent AF while shooting video. The 24-105mm is one of the most versatile focal range options in the EF lineup as it can be used as a wide-angle lens while out on the town as well as a portrait-length zoom when trying to get closer to your subjects."

I look at this lens as the 28-135's replacement.

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Lee Jay

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OP LMCasey Contributing Member • Posts: 852
Re: Perhaps you missed it

Actually I did miss this. Sounds like it's a good alternative to the 28-135;  a bit more expensive though. I'm not too up to date on Canon since I've started running a second system (Nikon D800). The last EF lens I bought was the 17 TSE which is a wonderful, and fun lens.

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Ken Christie Senior Member • Posts: 1,278
Re: Perhaps you missed it

I used the 28-135 extensively on film bodies. Always reasonably happy with it. Served me well for quite a while

When I moved to digital D30 it fell into disuse as the crop factor killed the wide end. I come from the era when a 35mm was a WA, and 28mm extra wide, all pre zoom of course.

As things moved on and I picked up a 1DmkII, it got some use, and dusted off properly again when I added FF. I still quite like it, although for serious use nowadays I've other options.

I'll hang on to it for casual  one lens days on a 6D.

It seems to have "dropped off" Canon's UK site, but retailers still seem to have new stock.Still listed in the USA I believe.

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KenC

Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this

When my house was broken into and thieves stole all my camera equipment, they left this one lens behind. Really.

Ten years ago this lens was constantly debated! Some said it was as good as an L lens. Others said it was pure garbage. Sometimes I got great shots. Sometimes they were terrible. I eventually figured out that it was decent in the middle focal range but wasn't great at either end. Also, bright light sources tended to reduce contrast in the whole image so I had to avoid them. My best shots were on cloudy days.

This was acceptable performance for a consumer zoom lens back then but not anymore.

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Shamus1
Shamus1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,717
Re: Canon should discontinue this

While I have modern bodies and late model L lenses, I do have an EF 28-135 from the old days, and its not a bad copy.  Its currently the 'mate' for my old 5D.  Matter of fact, to complete the bag, I picked up a used EF 20-35.

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this

Back when this lens was a hot topic (around 2000-2001), National Geographic (the magazine) had an article on what equipment their photographers used. We discovered they still used Canon 35mm film cameras (no surprise at the time) but incredibly most of their fantastic photos were taken with the cheap 28mm-135mm consumer zoom lens.

Yeah, that was a while ago but it was really funny.

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Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 12,004
Re: Canon should discontinue this
3

Scott Larson wrote:

Back when this lens was a hot topic (around 2000-2001), National Geographic (the magazine) had an article on what equipment their photographers used. We discovered they still used Canon 35mm film cameras (no surprise at the time) but incredibly most of their fantastic photos were taken with the cheap 28mm-135mm consumer zoom lens.

Yeah, that was a while ago but it was really funny.

At the time, however, the lens was really unique because (if I recall correctly) it was the only standard zoom available with image stabilization. In fact, wasn't it just one of two lens with the stabilization feature, the other being the 70-300?

When I bought my first Canon D30 in 2001, I also purchased both of these lenses. They spoiled me pretty quickly. I don't recall Nikon having their VR quite yet.

Though we think of this lens as "cheap" today, it was somewhat exotic way back in 2000!

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this

Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:
At the time, however, the lens was really unique because (if I recall correctly) it was the only standard zoom available with image stabilization. In fact, wasn't it just one of two lens with the stabilization feature, the other being the 70-300?

Heck yeah! It was the first EF lens I ever bought and the first zoom lens I had ever used. It sounded like the perfect lens.

But the second EF lens I bought, the 100mm f2, was such a huge increase in image quality that I couldn't think of using the zoom except in cases where I could stop it down, try to keep bright light sources out of the frame, and accept lower image quality except in unexplainable cases where the lens performed really well.

I was also using the D30.

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Schwany
Schwany Forum Pro • Posts: 10,169
Re: Canon should discontinue this

It's not an L that's for sure. And no it does not get real sharp. I think it might be OK at macro distances. It may be the lens that was responsible for the phrase "Canon veil of grey" used to describe the look of Canon images at one time.

I got one of those with a 40D. I can't say that I was ever able to get an image out of it that held a candle to the worst images I've captured with L lenses. I can understand why the thieves at Scott's house left it behind.

But like everything on the interweb, including slugs and snails, it has a following. And it probably was a good lens on film. But film is not digital.

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borno
borno Senior Member • Posts: 1,297
Re: Canon should discontinue this

Schwany wrote:

It's not an L that's for sure. And no it does not get real sharp. I think it might be OK at macro distances. It may be the lens that was responsible for the phrase "Canon veil of grey" used to describe the look of Canon images at one time.

I got one of those with a 40D. I can't say that I was ever able to get an image out of it that held a candle to the worst images I've captured with L lenses. I can understand why the thieves at Scott's house left it behind.

But like everything on the interweb, including slugs and snails, it has a following. And it probably was a good lens on film. But film is not digital.

I agree. My first canon was a 40d refurb with that lens and I had to return it it was just not sharp at all. I got the second camera with a 70-200mm f4L and what a difference! : )

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garykohs
garykohs Veteran Member • Posts: 4,963
I guess I had a good copy ...

... because that's the only lens that I wish I hadn't sold. I got it as a kit with a 7D and when I sold my 7D the buyer at the last minute opted to take the lens with it. Darned it. I'd like it back.

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this
1

I probably don't have to say this, but if you want to read an unintentionally funny review of the lens, just head to Ken Rockwell's site. You'll want this lens because the zoom and focus rings are so easy to turn.

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FBoneOne Contributing Member • Posts: 591
Re: Canon should discontinue this

I have owned 3 different copies of this lens. They varied dramatically in quality. One was excellent, two quite poor.

As somebody else stated, when it came out the lens was a revolution. A stabilized midrange zoom was nowhere else to be found and it would be years before Nikon would catch up. On my Eos 3 it was ok to great depending in the copy but it seriously did not cut it on digital.

When I switched to the 24/70 f:2.8 I never looked back. I missed the stabilization but colours and sharpness were so much greater on the fuji velvia I shot at the time, there was no going back. When I got my Eos 20D it was all over for the 28-135. Even the best copy which I had retained could not hold a candle to the 24-70...

it just shows how much more demanding on lenses digital sensors have become. What used to be an ok lens on film just cannot do digital justice. It also shows that some of the old days lenses that still cut it today were truly amazing...

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this

FBoneOne wrote:

It also shows that some of the old days lenses that still cut it today were truly amazing...

One example of an old lens that still works is the FD 85mm f1.8. I put one on my Sony NEX 5n (a 16 megapixel 1.5x crop sensor) and found no major differences between that and my EF 85mm f1.8 on my 1D Mark IV. There might be a little more purple fringing and the bokeh may be a little better with the EF lens, but the resolution was no different, the colors no different, and no image suggested that it was shot with a thirty year old lens.

Here's the old lens wide open:

Obviously zoom lenses haven't aged as well as the 28-135mm IS has shown. 

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m224nu Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: Canon should discontinue this

This lens is not listed anymore on the Canon Europe homepage.

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this

I thought I'd dust off my old 28-135mm IS and put it through a cruel and unfair test to show how awful it is.

First let's set an unreasonable baseline: the 135mm f2 at f8:

135mm f2 at f8

Now lets turn the 28-135mm to maximum (I remembered that it was more like 120mm) and see how it also looks at f8:

28-135mm IS at 135mm and f8

Well that doesn't look really terrible except at the top where it gets obviously blurry. It metered darker. I sort of remember that happening with this lens due to lack of contrast.

Maybe wide open (f5.6) at 135mm?

28-135mm at 135mm and f5.6

It still doesn't look all that bad. Let's try the wide angle end wide open:

28-135mm at 28mm f3.5

I should have shot this at f8 because while the bottom of the frame looks OK, the top is pretty blurred. I don't think that's entirely the lens's fault.

So if you don't pixel peep, maybe this lens is still OK. Frankly the 5D Mark II shadow noise bothers me more in the last image than lack of sharpness.

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keithspillett New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Canon should discontinue this

I think there must be discrepancies between different examples of this lens, as the one I have is STUNNINGLY sharp, and every bit as good as the 24-105L that a colleague of mine has, and doesn't exhibit the problems you describe. I use mine on Sony bodies - A7 and A6000 - and the results are very good on both. Because the A6000 uses a 1.5x crop, rather than Canon's 1.6, the wide end of the lens is effectively slightly wider than on a native crop body, but I've used it on a 7D quite happily.

Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,706
Re: Canon should discontinue this

I think the lens is just fine on 1.5X crop cameras. The only significant image problems I found on mine are the edges on full frame which are definitely terrible on mine, and I usually don't mind soft corners.

I was surprised to find that most of the center of the image is as sharp as the 135mm f2 even when the lens is wide open. That is more than good enough for most people.

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