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

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Reviews Views Date of last review
176 535497 Sep 11, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
88% of reviewers $390.30
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.44
8.16
7.8
ef_28-135_35_1_

Specifications:
Standard zoom lens with an Image Stabilizer and high zoom ratio. With the Image Stabilizer turned on, you can obtain sharp, natural-looking pictures in dim lighting without using flash or a tripod. Very handy for places where flash is prohibited. Uses ring-type USM for swift, silent autofocus and full-time manual focus. Closest focusing distance is 20 in. (50 cm).


 


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vishnu.gv
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Registered: Aug 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Review Date: Aug 10, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light weight, zoom range, IS, good IQ and price.
Cons:
lack of weather proof sealing, lens rattle ..

I got my 28-135mm as a kit lens with my 40D... l recently replaced this for a 24-105mm L F/4..

The 28-135mm was a good lens .. i used it extensively while i had it and it was on my camera 90% of the time.. the reason I replaced it was because i wanted better IQ and constant F stop.. what you pay is what you get, for what the 28-135mm costs it is a very good lens.. reasonably good IQ, good IS, and an almost perfect zoom range for a 'walk around lens'..
The one complaint i had was the weather proof sealing (or the lack of it) .. not sure if this is the issue with all 28-135s but the lens i had was a dust magnet.. after every trip i would have to swab my sensor to remove visible dust even though i did not change lenses..

that apart, if you are on a budget this is the perfect 'walk around lens' ... it wouldn't be fair to compare this to the L series since you pay 2.5 to 3 time more for a comparable L lens..


Aug 10, 2008
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j scott b
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Registered: Jul 14, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 16, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: nice size, nice weight-not too heavy or lite, no drop off on corners on a 1.6x crop body, nice walk around lens
Cons:
not so smooth zoom ring, 72 mm filters are starting to be pricey, wish it had a little more wide angle like 20 or 24 to start and wish long end was upwards of say 150 that would be the best.

I've had this lens as a kit lens w/a 40 d, the camera and lens both were sent to calif. once and new jersey once for color, contrast, focus, sharpness, lens rattle, lens slop. Both times it came back saying fixed "to factor spec's" and still the pictures were no the best. I'am a pretty serious advanced amatuer, so I know how to take pictures. I don't have the money for a "L" lens, so I spent the money on a 55-250 IS efs lens just to make sure it's not the camera. And whoa what a difference the new lens makes ! So now I may sell both to get the 70-300 IS so I can get a metal mount full frame lens. So the 28-135 IS is just an old ok lens w/ old IS technology only good for 1 to 1.5 f-stops the 55-250 IS is at least good for 2.5 to 3.5 f-stops from what I have seen in my shots. The 28-135 IS is an ok kit lens as an upgrade for a total amatuer over the standard 18-55 non-IS lens. I'm just not happy with it.

Jul 16, 2008
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Tim Dollear
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Registered: Sep 11, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1168
Review Date: Jul 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very good walk around lens. Especially for the price. IS give you an extra stop. Relatively sharp for the price and because front element doesn't rotate, polarizers are easy to use. FTM focus is nice so you can touch up focus after AF lock in one-shot mode.
Cons:
a bit wobbly (at least mine is). 72mm filters are unusual so you don't get to re-use your other polarizers. Lens hunts in low light and max aperture of f5.6 at 135mm is suboptimal indoors unless there is a lot of light, you have a flash or you jack up the ISO. The focus ring is not ergonomical at all.

This lens takes a bit of a beating from many reviewers on this site and elsewhere. I think part of the reason this lens is under-appreciated is that the market is flooded from kits (people buy the bundled kit and then sell the lens to net a lower price on the camera body). I certainly don't blame anyone for doing it but because of this trend I think you will never get back what the lens is actually work.

While this lens will never be mistaken for an L lens, it's a great mid-level walkabout lens that's surprisingly sharp esp at the mid to longer focal range. I have found this to be a good people lens.

Sample pics with this lens:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2640499281/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timdollear/2640482715/


Jul 15, 2008
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foxorian
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Registered: Jun 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Great value when bought with a 30D/40D Kit. Definite step-up from a stock kit lens. Useful focal length. Satisfactory resolution and performance. Image Stabilization works very well to reduce shake at 135mm end. Nice tele-macro.
Cons:
Wobbly front element that can slowly extend on its own while walking around. A supplied hood for this particular lens would have been great.

I got this lens with my EOS 40D kit. I technically paid only $200 for it since that's exactly how much more the kit cost versus the cost of just the body.

I'm perfectly satisfied using this as my general-purpose walk-around lens. It covers some good focal length and has pretty normal "no-complaints" optics. CA, corner softness, and vignetting all aren't too big of a deal that I feel my shots are being ruined by this lens (I've never actually thought this about any lens, really.) It's performance is just fine and it's served me well for the time I've had it so far. It reminds me of a bigger, better, [quieter,] more useful version of the 18-55mm stock lens I used to have with my old Rebel XT. I don't really have any complaints about the build quality. It feels solid except for the slightly wobbly front element.

I only do photography as a hobby and I am by no means professional. However, attending an art school, I'm surrounded by aspiring professional photographers every day. Many of them tell me they don't fully understand the obsession with having to own L-series glass, or comparing everything to L-series glass. Many of them tell me that as an artist, it's your duty to take what you have and make something spectacular with it. I've seen some amazing photos pulled off by students with just disposable cameras. The things I see created with lenses and cameras subjectively worse than I have make me think that most people have an unhealthy obsession to have the absolute best.

[At the same time, I'm the kind of person who finds that imperfections can make things more intriguing.]

Overall, the lens is a worthwhile investment if you're severely lacking something within the range this lens offers.

I also strongly recommend this lens as a first stop for upgrading from an 18-55mm stock lens. If buying or upgrading to a Semi-Pro body, spend the extra $200~$250 to get this lens in the kit. [Versus the $400~$500 retail.] Later down the road, adding the 10-22mm EF-S to your collection beautifully fills in the wide-angle end.


Jun 6, 2008
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Mark Ormerod
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Registered: Aug 14, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 20, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Image stabilisation, good build quality.
Cons:
Soft even stopped down (at least my copy was), dull colours and contrast. 72mm filters. Old IS could be better. Not wide enough on APS-C.

The build quality is good - better than the 70-300 IS although not up to "L" or "EX" standards by any means and the lens takes 72mm filters - so you'll need to buy a separate set or use extension rings. The focus and zoom rings feel solid as indeed does the lens as a whole. The lens features a distance scale and the front element doesn't rotate. Its also capable of full time manual. Quality wise this is an alright lens - whilst it doesn't feature any specialist glass stopped down to F8 it produces acceptably sharp images with good to middling contrast and colour - which is fine for well lit outdoor photography. The IS is equivalent of up to two stops - which combined with higher digital ISO's helps make up for the slow aperture and the need to stop down.

The image quality isn't anything special - I can spot the difference between an image taken with this and with my other (non "L") lenses without a problem. My 70-300IS is consistently better. I have had the occasional sharp image but the majority of the time its been too soft for me. I find the colour flat and contrast equally so. I really noticed the difference when I switched to a 24-105. The move highlighted just how poor the images were that I was getting from the 28-135.

I've found that in terms of image quality the photos are fine for non-photographer friends - but blown up to 10" x 8" or larger for me, the image softness and flat colour begin to show up.

This is a "compromise" lens that dissapointed me. Save your money for better glass.


May 20, 2008
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cookedart
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Registered: Apr 27, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Apr 29, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Focal Length Range, Price, IS, Image Quality, FTM, Fast USM-based Focusing.
Cons:
Aperture fairly slow, may not be wideangle enough for some on a 1.6X crop body.

After having laboured over the choice of a one-lens walkaround solution, I eventually settled on this. I compared this with the Canon 24-105L and 17-85, as well as the Sigma 18-200.

Personally the 24-105L was too expensive and did not yield markedly better results (and the huge price difference would allow me to me to buy two other good lenses). I just cannot justify the cost of the 24-105L, even if I did have the money for it. One thing to note though is that it is a constant aperture lens - and the 28-135 is not. That being said, I don't personally find either lens is very fast aperture-wise.

The 17-85 I found a little short for a walkaround (and found the distortion to be very high on the wideangle as well as slower wide-angle aperture, and the EF-S designation limited future lens use),

The lack of HSM, slow aperture @ 200mm, and the higher cost of the Sigma 18-200 (almost double that of the 28-135) turned me off that last choice.

I am quite pleased with the image quality of the lens. After doing some resolution tests it is clear that the lens is weakest (especially in edge sharpness) at 135mm, but I have not really suffered from this in the field. I believe the lens is acceptably sharp wide-open, with this of course improving stopped-down. I generally always use it wide-open and an pleased with the results. As for CA, and Vignetting, not enough has really cropped up in my photos to really be a real-life issue. Flare control is decent but I would definitely recommend a hood for most outdoor shooting. AF is whisper quiet and very fast in all but the worst situations (in almost no light the focus of course swims). Again, I do NOT feel that the 24-105L is a markedly better lens, especially for the price. Buy that for the build quality, faster telephoto aperture, and the wider angle. I do not recommend purchasing that lens over this for image quality alone.

Some may want to know that the IS in this lens is an older version - you will see the viewfinder jump a tad when the IS kicks into gear. Not a dealbreaker by any means in my opinion but important to note. The IS works well enough for me to often shoot at 1/30 speeds, handholding. This of course does not apply to fast moving subjects.

Using this lens on a 1.6X FOV Crop body, you do lose quite a bit of wideangle, but the trade-off is in the telephoto. Quite often I find the wideangle to be wide enough for 80% of the situations I run into, which can be complimented easily with a wider angle zoom such as the Canon 10-22 if you are concerned about shooting wide angle (this was too you can shoot "true" wideangle). Personally, I prefer to bring a specific lens for just wide angle shooting because I will usually plan for shooting this type of photography ahead of time (I usually know if I am going to go out and shoot buildings or landscapes)... Most often, then, especially if I am keeping outdoors, this lens covers almost all of my situations. Most often I end up bringing more than one lens around with my anyways, so bringing an extra wideangle is not a huge concern for me. Thus, if I had to say, this lens is actually a perfect focal length range for me for a walkaround single-lens solution. If you are concerned about the focal length, I recommend trying it out in a camera store or renting it - that is the only way to know for sure!

Build quality is nice. The zoom is fairly smooth with a slight bit of stiffness at the wide angle end. The focus ring is maybe being a little too small and easy to shift. I find the distance travel too short on the focus too for my own tastes, but this means you will be able to focus much faster when using MF (albeit less accurately). The Hood for this lens is fairly large (not as large as some L Hoods but I definitely would not call it small) - I would recommend purchasing a pinch cap instead of the included cap simply to simplify the ease of use while using this lens with a hood. I would not call this lens heavy or large but if you are used to the 18-55 kit lens, this lens is definitely sizeably bigger. I do however find this lens to be very well balanced on even smaller bodies such as the Rebel or Rebel XT. Also if you are used to the kit lens, you will be much happier with the build quality of this lens.

For those looking for a zoom lens that is capable inside and out, you will likely have to settle for shorter focal lengths. Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina all offer lenses in the 28-70 range with a 2.8 aperture that would be more suitable for indoor use. I see this lens as being complementary - a 28-70 would be more appropriate in a two or three lens solution, and the 28-135 is more appropriate if you can only bring one lens with you for the day. Note that this is a very acceptable solution - do not feel you have to do it all with one lens! You will not always need the extra reach past 70mm (especially on a 1.6X Crop Sensor)... when shooting people generally the 28-70 range is perfect for the situations that I have run into. I recommend the Sigma 24-70 or Tamron 28-75 in this case - the Sigma has a wider angle and the Tamron has a longer telephoto - choose depending on which suits your needs better. Tokina's 28-70 is also very nice because of its all-metal body. Lastly Sigma also has a nice 24-60 if cost and size is a big issue. I would generally recommend all these lenses over the Canon 24-70L which is huge and exorbitantly priced. I also find the Canon 17-55 EF-S lens over priced and too short on the telephoto end for a walkaround. If I had to recommend one f.2.8 zoom it would probably be the Sigma 24-70 for its wider angle, but your mileage may vary.

If you truly want as much focal length as you can from one lens, I would recommend the Sigma 18-200 OS instead. It will handle more situations than the 28-135 lens and may be the only lens you ever really need. In my opinion though, the purpose of an SLR is so that you can interchange lenses that are more capable for specific situations, so because of this, I would recommend this lens over the sigma, because of its USM focus, FTM, and guaranteed future use with Canon Full-Frame bodies.

Another thing to note is that I would definitely hunt around for bargains for this lens. I believe it can go for up to 699 on camera stores in Canada - but can easily be got new for ~$350 on eBay.


Apr 29, 2008
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cemphoto
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Registered: Feb 6, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 30
Review Date: Apr 25, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $375.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Versatility, good IQ, great value relative to performance
Cons:
Focus can hunt a little at low light, lots of plastic in build

After much research here and other forums, this was my first foray into non-kit lens and I am very pleased. The IS is a great help for my novice hands and I like having many options for closeness without having to change lenses. The IQ has been very acceptable at all levels of zoom. As far as my negatives, the hunting could be due to my learning curve with the lens and the plastic doesn't bother me but some high end folks might be a little put off. For someone on a limited budget (can't justify "L" money), I think this is an outstanding choice.

Apr 25, 2008
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marty01_uk
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Registered: Aug 15, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3
Review Date: Jan 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: image stabilizer, light and cheap
Cons:
zoom creep build quality image quality

its an ok lens, i think i was expecting more with the image stabilizer
but the build quality wasn't very good.
Image quality was ok but i did see some purple fringing and it tended to be quite soft at the long end. Italso struggled to focus at the short end, allthough the stabilizer worked well.It didn't last very long in my bag before it was up for sale purely because of image quality! It may work better on a cropped sensor but on my full frame ones it wasn't up to scratch.

If you can't afford some L glass then this is a good alternative,


Jan 13, 2008
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Aaron Fuchs
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Registered: Jan 12, 2008
Location: N/A
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jan 12, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: nice focal range on FF (bad on crop), good walkaround lens
Cons:
IS seems a little bit dated, plastic everywhere, build quality indeed, IQ could be better

it is not a bad lens, but...
...old IS
...plastic
...not wide enough for crop cameras
...IQ not overwhelming
...inconstant aperture


Jan 12, 2008
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Scott Harlan
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Registered: Dec 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice Lens. IS works well. Good Indoors
Cons:
None so far

I got this lens about a month ago and have really enjoyed it. The IQ is quite good and the IS is works very well (I especially like it indoors where there is lower light). The USM is quick and accurate. My only wish is that it was a little wider than 28mm (I have a crop sensor body). Overall, a great lens for the price.

Dec 19, 2007
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Hitendra
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Registered: Feb 15, 2007
Location: India
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 8, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Image Stabilizer.
Cons:
Jerky zoom ring.

I was looking for 70-200/4L but got this one as part of used kit! I try to get rid of it without shooting a single frame!, things couldnt worked out as planed and I reluctantly took this lens on my trip to Ladakh. Yes! you guess it, I love this lens. This is my always on camera lens. Check the results here.
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?x=browse&category=24&pagenum=1
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=21
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=24
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=89
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=176


Dec 8, 2007
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Ben Burnside
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Registered: Nov 7, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 34
Review Date: Nov 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $319.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: IS is cool.. covers a good focal range.. great walk around lens
Cons:
plastic.. need to take time to learn

I took a week to really learn how to use this lens, and now I feel better about it. At first I was a little disappointed because pics came out pretty soft. But after taking time to learn it's strengths it's a good all around lens. IQ is good. Not L but good. I would recommend if you need a good general lens with the bonus of IS.

Nov 25, 2007
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Hitendra
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Registered: Feb 15, 2007
Location: India
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 18, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Image Stabilizer.
Cons:
Jerky zoom ring.

I was looking for 70-200/4L but got this one as part of used kit! I try to get rid of it without shooting a single frame!, things couldnt worked out as planed and I reluctantly took this lens on my trip to Ladakh. Yes! you guess it, I love this lens. This is my always on camera lens. Check the results here.
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=21
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=24
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=89
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?showimage=176
http://www.hitendrasinkar.com/index.php?x=browse&category=24&pagenum=1


Oct 18, 2007
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Bent Mathiesen
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Registered: Jul 23, 2007
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Relative fast, even ok for 5fps/30D. Sharp but a bit soft at 28 mm. Very good colours. Not heavy, not very expensive.
Cons:
A bit soft at 28 mm. The front a little lose. Focus problems at low light.

I got this as a deal together with the canon 30D. I am happy about the lense and will keep it for my next ff? camera, unless I change to L quality before that.

Zoom range good, but not that wide for 1.6 factor. I cannot tell how it behave in the corners on a FF - but it is sharp in the cornerrs for almost any situation on the 30D.

Have taken 17000+ pictures the last 6 months and the lense have worked perfectly all the time.

Wish build quality was better - but then you get what you pay for. I will go L at some time (have to persuade my better half to use money for it)


Jul 23, 2007
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Scott Grassel
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Registered: Jul 4, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Jul 4, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Image quality, contrast, color, Excellent zoom range, Image Stabilization, light, and USM Auto Focus
Cons:
none

I did alot of research before buying this lens. When it all came down to the end most people like this lens alot to use it as there main lens for everyday general purpose use. I am an amature and by no means a professional, but when i purchased my Canon EOS Digial Rebel XT to get away from the point and shoot cameras I was very disappointed in the quality of my pictures. The kit lens ( EF-S 18-55mm) that came with my camera just didn't please me at all, picture quality or enough zoom range.

I did my research and found that the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM was highly recommended by alot of people. I ordered this lens and was amazed on the image quality in my pictures. The sharpness, contrast, and color was great. I couldn't believe that just changing lenses would make that much of a difference.

The Image Stabilization feature really works well. I use this feature alot especially when the light starts to get low. It makes it easy to take pictures with out having to lugg around a tripod everywhere you go.

I take alot of pictures of sporting events and the 135mm zoom ( 216mm on a 1.6 cropped sensor) makes a perfect zoom for such events.

I am now pleased with my investment in the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT coupled with the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. I now also use this as my main lens and very rarely have to switch lenses, this gives me the range i need for most everything.

I highly recommend this lens for anyone who takes pictures in this type of range. You won't be disappointed.


Jul 4, 2007
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Richard Bate
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Registered: Mar 26, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Excellent zoom range, IS, USM focusing, good contrast. If you are anywhere between keen amateur to pro I believe that this is the general purpose lens of choice.
Cons:
Softness towards the corners and extremes of zoom range, F/5.6 towards maximum zoom. Does not come with a lens hood - sometimes this lens flares in bright conditions.

I never paid for this lens directly, but considering the circumstances it was something of a bargain. I was just 16 and had recently upgraded my AE-1 to a second-hand Eos 1000F with a 35-135mm lens. Unfortunately this was stolen while I was on holiday and I awaited a replacement - which was surprisingly a new 28-135mm IS USM and a new Eos 300.

I couldn't believe it - the lens looked all new and fancy compared to the rather agricultural equipment that I had been so used to using, and so started my love affair with the lens I would use most for the next seven years.

I was always very impressed with the results I achieved with this lens on film (mainly due to the zoom range) but it wasn't until I turned digital that I started to appreciate just how good this lens was. Bolted onto my 10D I had in effect a 45-215mm zoom range and this covered just about every situation I would normally come across, with guaranteed results when it came to colour and general image quality.

What really makes this lens so good though is the fact it has image stabilisation added to the fast USM-focusing. And I still can't get over how quiet USM lenses are at focusing even though I have been using them for so long now.

Because this is a zoom lens and because this is also "general purpose" there are drawbacks but these aren't really faults. This lens isn't really great for photographing birds on telegraph masts nor is it going to capture an ant carrying a breadcrumb but a lot of the time you can achieve decent results at just about every point inbetween - plus this lens is sharp enough for a reasonably zealous crop.

As with a lot of zoom lenses, it isn't great towards the edges on a full-frame body and the minimum aperture is a bit slow towards the 135mm end but is nicely balanced by the fact that this lens is portable and will not break the bank.

I do not use this lens as my general purpose lens nowadays as I upgraded to the 24-105mm F/4L IS USM - a lens I am not going to compare the 28-135mm to as they serve different purposes.

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.

One final point I must make is that I am disappointed that Canon does not bundle this lens with any of its SLRs. When you see that a camera as excellent as the 30D comes in kits with the truly awful 18-55mm lens my heart actually sinks.


May 3, 2007
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Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
176 535497 Sep 11, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
88% of reviewers $390.30
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.44
8.16
7.8
ef_28-135_35_1_


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