Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, Still Is a Great Lens

The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras is a “standard” zoom lens that was introduced in February, 1998. The lens has a 4.82x zoom range and is based on the EF Lens Mount and works with all film and digital EOS cameras that support this mount.

The lens features 2nd-generation image stabilization (IS) technology, ring-type USM with full-time manual focusing and a non-rotating front element. The lens uses a six-blade aperture. Closest focusing distance is 20 in. (50cm). From WikiPedia.Org

Here’s the complete Specification from the Canon Website
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, low light, indoor and 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. (50cm)..



Focal Length & Maximum Aperture 28-135mm 1:3.5-5.6
Lens Construction 16 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View 75° – 18°
Focus Adjustment Inner focusing system with USM
Closest Focusing Distance 0.5m / 1.6 ft.
Zoom System Rotating Type
Filter Size 72mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight 3.1″ x 3.8″, 18.9 oz. / 78.4mm x 96.8mm, 540g

Why I bought this lens?
I bought this lens primarily as an addition to my EF-s 18-55mm IS kit lens and the Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro( I sold this lens). At that time, the 18-55mm Kit lens, seems not enough as a walk around lens, and the range of the 28-135mm seems perfect for me, on a crop sensor I have 44.8mm on the wide end, and 216mm on the long end. Everytime I go out, I have three lenses with me, my 28-135mm as my primary lens, and if I need to shoot at wide angle, I switch to the 18-55mm kit lens, and if I go indoors and in low light situations, I use my EF 50mm F/1.8 .

My Opinion:
The Good Ones:
I love this Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, compare to my Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens it’s more durable, build quality is way much better than most EF-S lenses. The IS image stablizer really works. In the examples below, I was able to get some beautiful natural low light shots without using a tripod. This lens also has a neat macro capability.

The Bad :
Zoom Creep. This lens creeps alot. But that is to be expected on most zoom lenses.

Recently I upgraded to the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 VC which is excellent on all aspects. Compairing the EF 28-135mm in terms of build quality, image quality, sharpness and low light performance, the Tamron beats the 28-135mm hands down. I still use my Canon 28-135mm IS, on most ocassion, it’s a great all around lens.

If you are looking for an all around lens with a better build qualily in the 28-135mm range I’d say buy it, but if you’re in the market for a lens with a exceptional build and image quality, go for the more expensive Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM
is built more solidly to professional standards, it has a fixed F/4 aperture, has the latest IS generation and it will give you 4mm extra on the short end.

What Others think about this lens:

  • The Digital Picture : If you are looking for a good value 28mm-something zoom lens and your budget limits you to the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens’ price range, look no farther. The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens provides a great focal length range, reasonably sharp images and IS at a very low price point and in a relatively small package. This is a very popular lens– and for good reasons.
  • Bob Atkins : The 28-135 is clearly the winner from an optical and functional viewpoint. Optically it’s as good as or slightly better than the 28-105 at equivalent settings, plus it has an extra 30mm of reach. Like the 28-105 it has a ring USM motor, full time manual focus, distance scales and IR focusing marks. The IS function really works and allows you to handhold at 1/8s at 28mm, whereas without IS you might need 1/30s for sharp images. If you’re stuck without a tripod this could be the difference between getting a shot and losing it. The downside of the lens is its extra cost (about $180 more than the 28-105) and its significantly increased size and weight, as well as the need for a larger (and more expensive) filter (72mm vs. 58mm). If size weight and cost aren’t an issue, it’s the better lens. I got this lens in a deal where I bought a camera and this lens came with it. I had intended to sell the lens, but after using it for a while I’m quite reluctant to part with it! The IS feature is really nice…
  • PhotoZone.De : Similar to the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 proved to be a solid performer without any spectacular strengths nor weaknesses except a positive peak at its 28mm setting. The level of distortions is pretty low for such a lens and vignetting isn’t overly pronounced. Due to the 1.6x cropping factor on APS-C DSLRs the range is quite unexciting here but if you’re looking for a compact short tele-zoom with IS to compliment an ultra-wide zoom … why not ?
  • Ken Rockwell :If you want a midrange zoom for Canon full-frame digital and EOS 35mm film, this is my favorite lens. This is the lens I take if I need a do-it all lens for all shots in daylight, and still subjects in dim light.

Where to buy:

Below are photos of the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard and some photos taken with it.

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