Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens Review

Note: The Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens has been replaced by the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.

The Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens is both light in weight and light on your wallet. Measuring 2.6 x 1.7" (66 x 43mm) long and weighing 6.6 oz (186g), this lens qualifies for the tiny lens category.

I found the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens to be similar to the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens and the Canon EF 35mm f/2 Lens in build quality and size. The small size is great. The build quality is not great - though acceptable to me for a lens of this stature.

Lacking USM (Ultrasonic Motor), the 28 f/2.8 is mediocre in focusing speed and very high in noise level. Autofocusing is definitely audible but the speed is adequate for many applications. FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is not a feature in this lens and manual focusing in MF mode is challenging. The focus ring is very small and has lots of play in it.

The 28 f/2.8's MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) is close - 12" (305mm), but not for a wide angle lens. MM (Maximum Magnification) is a near-the-bottom .13x.

Like the Canon EF 35mm f/2 Lens, the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens has a 5-blade aperture that yields pentagram-shaped out-of-focus highlights when the lens is stopped down. The result is not terrible - but is not great either.

The 28 f/2.8 is sharp wide open in the center with little noticeable improvement when stopped down. Wide open corners show softness even on a 1.6 FOVCF body due to a curved plane of sharp focus. Corner sharpness is markedly improved by f/4. Light fall-off is noticeable on the corners when shot wide open even on a 1.6x FOVCF body. Full frame camera body users will still see some corner shading at f/8.

The 28mm f/2.8 has noticeable CA (Chromatic Aberration) and some barrel distortion. Color and saturation are good.

Canon's other current 28mm prime, the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens, is the most logical comparison lens. Even though smaller and less expensive, the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens nearly keeps up with the f/1.8 in sharpness. The f/1.8 obviously has wider apertures available, but even stopped down to f/2.8, the f/1.8 is not much sharper than the f/2.8 lens. The 28mm f/1.8 is sharper in the corners, but at identical apertures, these lenses are not very dissimilar. What is noticeably different is the corner shading on the 28mm f/2.8. Corner darkening is the most significant differentiator when comparing images taken with these lenses. The f/2.8 has a little more barrel distortion than the f/1.8. Of course the f/1.8 is better built and has USM AF with FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing. I regard the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens, as the better lens, but the better performance and build are not lost on the price.

Canon 28mm Lens Size Comparison

Pictured above from left to right are the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens, Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Lens.

The small size of the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens makes it a good travel lens. It certainly does not take up much room in the luggage - and does not cause a catastrophe if lost or damaged.

The EF 28mm f/2.8 also makes a good second lens to carry when using one of the zooms such as one of the Canon 70-200 L Lenses as a primary lens. The 28 f/2.8 also makes a good backup lens to a more expensive primary use lens.

The Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens is a decent lens for the price.

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