Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens Review

Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens Review

The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens is a step up from Canon's econo consumer zooms. Featuring good build quality and good-for-the-price optical quality, the 28-105 II is a lot of lens for the small price being asked for it - a bargain.

ModelWeightDimensions w/o HoodFilterYear 
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens33.5 oz(950g)3.3 x 4.9"(83 x 124mm)77mm2002
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens13.4 oz(380g)2.9 x 2.8"(73 x 70mm)67mm1996
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens23.7 oz(670g)3.3 x 4.2"(83.5 x 107mm)77mm2005
Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens13.2 oz(375g)2.8 x 3.0"(72 x 75mm)58mm2000
Canon EF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 USM Lens7.4 oz(210g)2.6 x 2.7"(67 x 68mm)58mm2002
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens19.1 oz(540g)3.1 x 3.8"(78 x 97mm)72mm1998
Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens17.6 oz(500g)3.1 x 3.5"(78 x 90mm)72mm2000
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens59 oz(1670g)3.6 x 7.6"(92 x 194mm)77mm2004

 
As you can see from the above chart, Canon has made multiple EF 28-105mm lens models. Thus, I make an important note: The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens should not be confused with the now-discontinued, much-lower-end, Canon EF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 USM Lens. These are very different lenses. As expected from the weight difference, build quality is one of these differences.

Weighing about as much as two econo zooms (and 1/2 as much as a pro lens), the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens feels substantially higher-than-econo quality in your hand. The modest weight and small size make the 28-105 II comfortable to use. A metal mount, a distance window and though narrow, a real focusing ring is provided. The focus and zoom rings both have a nice feel to them.

Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor) drives the fast and nearly silent autofocus system. FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is enabled.

The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens likes to hang out at 105mm. Expect gravity-zooming to occur when the objective end is pointing downward - no zoom lock is provided.

Also a notch up from the econo zooms is a 7-blade medium-fast aperture that starts at f/3.5, goes to f/4 around 37mm and then to f/4.5 around 70mm. Stopping down at least 1/3 stop is recommended for good image quality though.

The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens is soft wide open, but evenly so into the corners - the corners are not much softer than the center (full frame body owners take note). Stopping down even 1/3 of a stop improves image sharpness noticeably - until the long end of the focal length range where 70mm does not perform as well and 105mm performs poorly. At f/5.6, images across the under-70mm focal length range are sharp and at f/8, images are even sharper right into the corners. At 70mm, corners are not bad at f/8, but at 105mm, even 1.6x corners are quite soft. If you consider this a 28-70mm f/4.0-4.5 lens, you will be happier.

Vignetting will be noticeable in full frame corners at wide open aperture. At f/5.6, about 1 stop of vignetting remains and except at 28mm, it is mostly gone at f/8. Vignetting is generally recognized as being noticeable at 1 stop of shading. 1.6x FOVCF body users will not likely notice any vignetting at any focal length or aperture (max = .5 stops) as the shading shows up rapidly outside of the APS-C frame.

Some CA (Chromatic Aberration) is visible in the corners at 28mm and a relatively strong amount is present at 105mm. Strong barrel distortion is present at 28mm. By 35mm, a very slight amount of pincushion distortion becomes present. Pincushion distortion is strong from 50mm through 105mm.

This lens is not delivering pro-grade image quality (review it against the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens in the ISO 12233 comparison tool) but the image quality is not bad for the price. As can be expected, the 28-105 II's cost is a notch above the econo zooms, but the notch is not a big one. And much less of a notch than the just-referenced 24-70 L's price.

ModelMFDMM
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens15.0"(380mm).29x
Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens19.7"(500mm).16x
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens17.7"(450mm).23x
Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens19.7"(500mm).19x
Canon EF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 USM Lens18.9"(480mm)
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens19.7"(500mm).19x
Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens17.7"(450mm).28x
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 L IS USM Lens27.6"(700mm)

 
If you are looking for a zoom lens with good close-up capabilities, the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens is probably not a good choice as it can only provide up to .19x magnification natively. Adding extension tubes will help. The 28-105 II is not compatible with Canon extenders.

Canon Normal Zoom Lens Size Comparison

From left to right in the picture above are the Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens, the Canon EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6 II USM Lens, the Canon EF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 USM Lens, the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens. The same lenses are pictured below extended to their maximum length.

Canon Normal Zoom Lens (Extended) Size Comparison

The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens is very similar to the Canon EF f/24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens in build quality. The 28-105 II offers 20mm more zoom range on the telephoto end and sacrifices 4mm on the wide end. Of course, you might want to avoid that 20mm on this lens anyway. Use the mouseover lens comparison tool to see how these two lenses vary in image quality as the differences are easier seen than described.

The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens has a very nice focal length range that includes the normal, general purpose zoom range. Be sure to also consider one of the lenses suggested on the Canon General Purpose Lens Recommendations page before finalizing your 28-105 II purchase decision.

If you decide the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens is the right lens for you, you can be sure that you are not overpaying for what you get.

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Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens
Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM Lens
Bryan Carnathan
by Bryan Carnathan
Review Date:
Manufacturer ID: 6469A005

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