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

Started Dec 19, 2016 | User reviews
(unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 578
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.
3

I purchased this lens a a fill in until I could afford something better, here is my review.

These lenses are now great value on the used market. I recently picked on up s/h from Japan arrived within a week and was in excellent condition. Date code indicates it was built in 2012. I conducted basic iso tests and, at 28mm from wide oped f4 to f11 the image was great accross the frame, at 70mm the center was good from f5.6 but the corners took until f11 to be acceptable. At 135mm the center was good by f8 but the corners took until f11 to be fair.

The zoom ring is quite jerky, but given the price I paid, $150 usd, I can live with it.

Overall for what it is, this lens is quite good and, great value for money. The performance at 28mm was a surprise to me although it does have heavy barrel distortion.

Kelvin
http://fineartamerica.com/artists/kelvin+williamson

Canon EF 28-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS USM
Zoom lens • Canon EF • 2562A002
JesseC's score
4.0
Average community score
3.4
Henry Alekna Photography
Henry Alekna Photography Regular Member • Posts: 402
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

Thanks for the review!  I have been looking at some old inexpensive EF glass on eBay and found one of these really cheaply, ($3.25 AUD currently).  Have you tried this lens on a APSC camera by any chance?  Seems like a very cheap way to get some more zoom reach!

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OP (unknown member) Contributing Member • Posts: 578
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

No Sorry I don't have a Canon apsc camera.

Kelvin
http://fineartamerica.com/artists/kelvin+williamson

Steve Balcombe Forum Pro • Posts: 13,902
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.
2

Henry Alekna Photography wrote:

Thanks for the review! I have been looking at some old inexpensive EF glass on eBay and found one of these really cheaply, ($3.25 AUD currently). Have you tried this lens on a APSC camera by any chance? Seems like a very cheap way to get some more zoom reach!

I don't have one so please take this with a pinch of salt, but it's a very old design from the film era and optically it is not really up to the demands of modern digital sensors. The IS is also a very early version and not as good as in today's IS lenses.

Another point to bear in mind is that it's not a standard zoom on a crop camera - you would have no wide angle, though perhaps you already have that covered.

If you want something inexpensive to supplement an existing standard lens to give you more reach, I would recommend the EF-S 55-250 IS - preferably the STM version, but the older one is good too.

If you want to replace a standard lens with something better and with more reach, there is no very cheap solution but the 18-135 STM is often recommended.

Henry Alekna Photography
Henry Alekna Photography Regular Member • Posts: 402
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

Steve Balcombe wrote:

Henry Alekna Photography wrote:

Thanks for the review! I have been looking at some old inexpensive EF glass on eBay and found one of these really cheaply, ($3.25 AUD currently). Have you tried this lens on a APSC camera by any chance? Seems like a very cheap way to get some more zoom reach!

I don't have one so please take this with a pinch of salt, but it's a very old design from the film era and optically it is not really up to the demands of modern digital sensors. The IS is also a very early version and not as good as in today's IS lenses.

Another point to bear in mind is that it's not a standard zoom on a crop camera - you would have no wide angle, though perhaps you already have that covered.

If you want something inexpensive to supplement an existing standard lens to give you more reach, I would recommend the EF-S 55-250 IS - preferably the STM version, but the older one is good too.

If you want to replace a standard lens with something better and with more reach, there is no very cheap solution but the 18-135 STM is often recommended.

Thanks Steve, I will give that one a miss then and pickup a 55-250 at some point.

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 Henry Alekna Photography's gear list:Henry Alekna Photography's gear list
Canon PowerShot G16 Canon EOS 80D Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM +1 more
zerored Regular Member • Posts: 273
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.
1

After I bought my first DSLR ( a Rebel 300D) many years ago, I bought this lens.  The combination produced good images.  I used the lens on a 350D and a 400D.  Got good results with both cameras.  Later gave the lens to my daughter when I gave her a Rebel T5.  Still provides decent images.  But wide angle requires another lens.

Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,707
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

A couple of years ago there was a bad review of this lens posted here with comments like "Why does Canon still make this awful lens?". This was the first EF lens I bought and I still have it even after burglars stole all of my other lenses. I thought I'd test it out on a full frame camera to see how bad it is.

At every focal length the center is very sharp. At 135mm it is just as sharp in the center as my 135mm f2 at f5.6, but the corners aren't just soft. They are a complete mess even at f8. Even more disappointing, the edges of the entire frame are soft to a degree I have never seen in a Canon lens.

For a 1.6X crop camera, this would be acceptable for most people. The color and contrast are great and if you kept the images in small sizes probably no one would notice the soft edges. Some people would think the edge softness looks artistic.

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canonaimer
canonaimer Regular Member • Posts: 320
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

I must have gotten a good copy. I just put it on the 7dII, took it out to the brick wall. At 28 F4 some distortion and a half step darkness in the corners. At 35 on at F8, it is sharp across the frame: very good at 135.

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Scott Larson Veteran Member • Posts: 6,707
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

This lens is much more suitable for crop cameras than full frame.

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Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 12,012
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.
1

When I recently picked up a really cheap second hand 5D (original), this lens was basically thrown in for free. ($360 for both body and lens... not bad.) I've owned several of these over the years, but it has been years since I last had one on my camera.

The chief advantage of this lens is versatility. It's a generous zoom range, and includes stabilization, too, making it appropriate for a large variety of settings and conditions. Plus, being full-frame compatible, it's not terribly large nor heavy.

The chief disadvantage is the f3.5-5.6 variable aperture. This certainly isn't a bright lens. On the other hand, that upper telephoto range wouldn't be available on any bright mid-range zoom in the first place.

Optically, I find this lens still surprisingly good. No, it's not L quality. But this is a far more general use lens than an L zoom; for non-critical work, sharpness is just fine. I worry less about distortion these days because raw conversion software addresses the issue sufficiently. There is distortion, and it is easily corrected.

The build is middle of the road. The barrel on every copy I've owned shows play and creep. Again however, this is a lens for general use, not shooting in a war zone for AP.

In summary, this is not a lens that one should compare to modern L glass. It never was that, and especially isn't today. But it's still a fine lens for what it is and what it is meant for, and probably is now actually underrated given how low the prices are going on it. I would easily use this lens in combination with an old 5D for travel in places where more expensive gear may not be prudent.

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Steve Balcombe Forum Pro • Posts: 13,902
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.

Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:

When I recently picked up a really cheap second hand 5D (original), this lens was basically thrown in for free. ($360 for both body and lens... not bad.) I've owned several of these over the years, but it has been years since I last had one on my camera.

The chief advantage of this lens is versatility. It's a generous zoom range, and includes stabilization, too, making it appropriate for a large variety of settings and conditions. Plus, being full-frame compatible, it's not terribly large nor heavy.

The chief disadvantage is the f3.5-5.6 variable aperture. This certainly isn't a bright lens. On the other hand, that upper telephoto range wouldn't be available on any bright mid-range zoom in the first place.

Optically, I find this lens still surprisingly good. No, it's not L quality. But this is a far more general use lens than an L zoom; for non-critical work, sharpness is just fine. I worry less about distortion these days because raw conversion software addresses the issue sufficiently. There is distortion, and it is easily corrected.

The build is middle of the road. The barrel on every copy I've owned shows play and creep. Again however, this is a lens for general use, not shooting in a war zone for AP.

In summary, this is not a lens that one should compare to modern L glass. It never was that, and especially isn't today. But it's still a fine lens for what it is and what it is meant for, and probably is now actually underrated given how low the prices are going on it. I would easily use this lens in combination with an old 5D for travel in places where more expensive gear may not be prudent.

There isn't much I would actually disagree with there, but do you know the expression "damning with faint praise"?

Funkyd3121 Senior Member • Posts: 1,659
Re: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Review.
1

I got mine in 2003 when I switched over from FD to EOS - Never had Any problems with it, except it hunts at 28mm.  It has come in handy when my 24-150L IS lens has crapped out twice!!!

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