The Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM lens was introduced in 1998 as a standard focal-length zoom lens for the Canon’s EOS 35mm cameras. With the second-generation Image Stabilizer, you get a 2-stop advantage on shutter speed to reduce shake-induced blur. The lens also has a ring-type USM (ultrasonic motor) for quieter and faster autofocus as well as full time manual focus. Most recently, we saw the 28-135 lens packaged with the Canon 40D as a kit lens, where it has a focal length equivalent of roughly 45-216mm due to the 1.6x crop factor of the APS-C size sensor on the 40D.
If you are looking for a good value 28mm-something zoom lens and your budget limits you to the Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens’ price range, look no farther. The Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens provides a great focal length range, reasonably sharp images and IS at a decent price point and in a relatively small package. This is a very popular lens – and for good reasons.
Similar to the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 proved to be a solid performer without any spectacular strengths nor weaknesses except a positive peak at its 28mm setting. The level of distortions is pretty low for such a lens and vignetting isn’t overly pronounced.
This was the overall best performer of the consumer zoom lenses tested. All things considered, I would have preferred having a lens that was 24-105 than 28-135 because I always want wider angle perspective (especially with a D30 and the 1.6x magnification effect of the small CMOS chip). Image stabilization is a handy feature, although I have rarely needed it. This lens appears to be well built, and it is the lens I usually have stuffed in my briefcase or suitcase when I can only take one lens.
If you are serious about photography but lacking experience I genuinely believe that this is *the* lens you should own to learn from. It is especially well-suited to the cropped sensors as any softness from the corners is lost. Combine that with the luxuries of IS and the silky USM and you’ve got yourself a bargain. Check the internet for prices you can save a fair wad of cash over the high-street prices.
This lens is a pretty good primary lens in any kit. At 28mm, it’s pretty wide for most needs. Going out to 135mm privides some reach, but it’s not going to get into the action if you’re more than about 80 feet away or so. I find it’s a great “walking” lens, despite the weight.
The 28-135 is clearly the winner from an optical and functional viewpoint. Optically it’s as good as or slightly better than the 28-105 at equivalent settings, plus it has an extra 30mm of reach. Like the 28-105 it has a ring USM motor, full time manual focus, distance scales and IR focusing marks. The IS function really works and allows you to handhold at 1/8s at 28mm, whereas without IS you might need 1/30s for sharp images.
One of my favorite lenses when I was shooting film, and still very usable with APS-C DSLRs. It’s quite sharp, the IS works well, though it’s not quite as effective as the current generation of IS since it gives 2 stops of stabilization rather than the current 3.
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices. Additionally, purchasing your gear through these links helps support this site.
[tags]Canon, EF, 28-135mm, f3.5-5.6, IS, USM, lens, review[/tags]