First Impressions: Canon 28mm f2.8 IS (Canon EF)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions product photos (1 of 7)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Canon’s release of the 28mm f2.8 IS kind of had many photographers scratching their heads. For what good reason would a company put IS in such a wide focal length? To get a blur free image, you can shoot down to such a slow shutter speed due to the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds and focal lengths. At a fairly affordable price, one can still wonder why they would do something like that: but then you think about it. What if you wanted to shoot handheld with the aperture stopped down? Then you’ll need a slower shutter speed, right?

Right?

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo Listing of the lens.

Performance
Focal Length 28 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/2.8
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Canon EF
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Canon (APS-C)
Angle of View 75°
Minimum Focus Distance 9″ (22.86 cm)
Groups/Elements 7/9
Diaphragm Blades 7
Features
Image Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread Front: 58 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.69 x 2.02″ (6.83 x 5.13 cm)
Weight 9.2 oz (261 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions product photos (4 of 7)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 1.8

Canon’s 28mm f2.8 IS is a pretty darn small lens. When you hold it, it is synonymous to gripping onto a small fruit–smaller than an apple but larger than a strawberry: think kiwi sized. With that said, the front of the lens follows Canon’s minimalist style and has nary anything jarring.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions product photos (5 of 7)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The finish is made from plastic and has a textured feel: which is deviation from their older smooth finish. We personally like the textured feel more–especially when coupled with the smaller size because it gives a better feeling of having a good grip on the lens.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions product photos (7 of 7)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

When you look right down at the lens, you’ll notice a depth of field scale for manual focusing. This is better than Canon’s previous attempts, but they still don’t have it quite right.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions product photos (6 of 7)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

On the side of the lens is the control layout: here you’ll spy IS and auto/manual focusing. We’re much more used to just having one control on a wide angle lens like this, so the second switch will take some getting used to.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions product photos (3 of 7)ISO 64001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Canon’s 28mm f2.8 IS feels extremely solid and will be comfortable in the hands of most users. The little manual focusing ring though will be quite tough to work with if you want to override the autofocusing and if you have big hands/fingers.

Autofocus

On an older camera body like the Canon 5D Mk II, this lens focusing quickly and accurately with every focusing point. Part of this has to do with the light elements inside not weighing down the focusing motors.

Ease of Use

This lens is as simple as point and shoot: that is of course unless you’re shooting and manual focusing or you’re on a tripod. You’ll need to remember to turn off the lens’s IS.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (12 of 31)ISO 1001-3200 sec at f - 2.8

Upon our first looks, we were quite impressed by this lens. However, it vignettes heavily to the point of a lens correction in Lightroom actually changing the histogram completely in ways that we haven’t seen before. But to be honest, we like the look that the lens delivers when vignetting–it reminds us of something very Zeiss like.

Additionally, Canon’s color rendering with this lens seems to have changed from the output of its older glass. It’s significantly better and delivers richer colors and more punch. Something that many of you will be interesting in though is the fact that there is little to no distortion with this lens that we were able to clearly see. And for the wide angle folks, you’ll be smitten with seeing those images unless you’re particularly going for a distorted image.

Here are some more samples:

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (31 of 31)ISO 1001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (2 of 31)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (3 of 31)ISO 1001-800 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (4 of 31)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (5 of 31)ISO 1001-1250 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (6 of 31)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (7 of 31)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (8 of 31)ISO 1001-3200 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (9 of 31)ISO 1001-1600 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (10 of 31)ISO 1001-2500 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (11 of 31)ISO 1001-640 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (13 of 31)ISO 1001-3200 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (14 of 31)ISO 1001-2000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (15 of 31)ISO 1001-80 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (16 of 31)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (17 of 31)ISO 1001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (18 of 31)ISO 4001-3200 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (19 of 31)ISO 4001-800 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (22 of 31)ISO 16001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (24 of 31)ISO 16001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (25 of 31)ISO 4001-250 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (26 of 31)ISO 4001-6400 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (27 of 31)ISO 4001-3200 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (28 of 31)ISO 4001-2000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (29 of 31)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 28mm f2.8 IS first impressions (30 of 31)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 2.8

First Impressions

We really have to admit: we’re extremely pleased with what Canon is doing with this lens so far. The colors are awesome, the blur free possibilities is an excellent bonus, the sharpness is brilliant, and focusing is like I gave my 5D Mk II steroids. When you consider the fairly affordable price too, you’ll realize that you’re getting quite a sweet deal.

At the moment, we see this lens earning some very high marks in our book. So stay tuned for the full review.

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