Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens Review

Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens Review

The Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens holds a very wide focal length range in a compact and inexpensive package. But, image quality delivered by this lens is ... well ... poor.

In addition to the wide focal length range, the Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens features a wide zoom ring. Actually, the zoom ring encompasses most of the lens and is its biggest physical feature. For the casual photographer, that is a good thing.

What the more discerning photographer will notice is that zoom ring is stiff and not real smooth. And the focal length does not actually change much in the last (upper) 30mm or so on the zoom ring. With the large size of the zoom ring, the manual focus ring is - by necessity - tiny (and not easy to use). There is no distance window (or space to have put one).

Overall, the Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens' build quality is mediocre. It sports a metal lens mount like the best, but the rest of the lens is just average for a consumer grade lens.

ModelWeightDimensions w/o HoodFilterYear 
Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens21.0 oz(595g)3.1 x 4.4"(78.6 x 111.8mm)72mm2008
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)67mm2006
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 28-135mm 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 Lens59.0 oz(1670g)3.6 x 7.6"(92 x 194mm)77mm2004

The Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens feels short, fat and hefty. It is not a heavy lens, but heavy for its compact size.

Canon Telephoto Zoom Lens Size Comparison

From left to right in the picture above are the Canon EF 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens, the Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM Lens, the Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens, the Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM Lens and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM Lens. The same lenses are pictured below extended to their maximum length.

Canon Telephoto Zoom Lens (Extended) Size Comparison

AF (autofocus) is not silent, but is reasonably fast. That is except in some of the medium-low light situations I encountered when using this lens. I found a couple of situations that the 28-200 would not lock focus. These were situations I felt should have been adequate for the 28-200 (on a Canon 1-Series Digital SLR using the center focus point only) to obtain focus lock. The Micro-USM (Ultrasonic Motor) on the 28-200 does not include FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing.

The Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens is a slow lens with an aperture that starts at f/4, goes to f/4.5 around 45mm, to f/5 around 55mm and to f/5.6 somewhere in the 80mm neighborhood. The 28-200 aperture is a lower-end 6-blade design.

It is hard to argue with the excellent focal length range provided by the Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens. There are a lot of subjects that fit between 28mm and 200mm.

ModelMFDMM
Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens17.7"(450mm).24x
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 28-135mm 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)

At 200mm, the short 17.7" (450mm) MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) creates a nice MM (Maximum Magnification) of .28x. So, close subjects are included in the 28-200's capabilities.

Overall, the Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens optically disappoints.

The 28-200 has reasonable but not great center sharpness at some focal lengths with a wide open aperture. Good sharpness generally requires at least f/5.6 or f/8 with this lens. Corners are soft at most focal lengths and aperture settings - with some being extremely soft. 50mm full frame corners are a blurry mess even at f/5.6.

The 28-200 exhibits some of the worst distortion I've seen in any lens. At 28mm, it is strong barrel distortion. The barrel distortion is corrected at around 40mm, but strong pincushion distortion is apparent at 50mm and remains present through 200mm.

The 28-200 also exhibits some of the worst CA (Chromatic Aberration) I've seen in any lens. CA is visible in the corners from 28 through 35mm, disappears by 50mm and comes back with a vengeance at 135mm through 200mm. The 28-200mm ISO 12233 Lens Resolution Chart results clearly show this attribute. Look at the bottom (corner) crop for the 200mm focal length at f/8. See the pretty colors?

The Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Lens vignettes moderately at wide open aperture and strongly at the wide end of the focal length range. Stopping down 1 or 2 stops corrects this issue (as usual).

I can't think of many scenarios that this lens would be ideal for. Ok, maybe none. If there was one, it would have something to do with the focal length range. If you can use f/8 for most of your applications, use a 1.6x FOVCF body and can live with the optical flaws, the 28-200 might be an economical one lens solution for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend considering one of my other recommended general purpose lenses.

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