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Thread started 15 Dec 2006 (Friday) 07:41
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28-300mmL 'Perfect Partner' - A Tiny Test

 
fWord
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Dec 15, 2006 07:41 |  #1

To begin with, I have to admit that I'm not qualified to test lenses. I don't shoot charts or brick walls. But the results I got from this lens surprised and excited me, and I thought to share them with you. These are just preliminary observations and updates may be added as I get the chance to try the lens in varied situations in real life.

The photo tests were controlled as best as I could. Turns out that this super-zoom isn't a bad performer after all. I got this lens second-hand just yesterday night, and it's in mint condition, as far as I can tell. Initially I wanted to jump straight for the 24-105mm f/4L during the revamp of my lens setup. But when this one popped up, I couldn't resist the urge to try it. The 28-300mmL is quite rare on the local market, and seemingly quite unloved.

It closely resembles the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L functionally, in the sense that both of them are push-pull zooms. The 28-300mm is even weightier, perhaps feels a little better built and operates just as smoothly. But because the angle of view changes so much throughout the zoom, getting the 'right' framing does take a degree of control.

Here are some 100% crops taken indoors, using a 1D, remote release, mirror lockup, and a naked lens (ie. no filter) with IS off. In some pictures, moire may be visible and this is courtesy of the 1D's sensor. Photos shot in RAW. Converted with DPP. Neutral picture style, sharpness +2. In all cases, only the center focusing point was used, and this was centered over the 'T' in the word 'Centrum'.

28mm @ wide open aperture

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28mm @ f/8

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50mm @ wide open aperture

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50mm @ f/8

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105mm @ wide open aperture

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105mm@ f/8

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300mm samples coming up next...

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fWord
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Dec 15, 2006 07:47 |  #2

300mm @ wide open aperture

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300mm @ f/8

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Subjectively, and to my untrained eye, stopping down to f/8 yields improved sharpness but this is more pronounced at the wider end, especially at 28mm. Throughout the range, stopping down does however, improve contrast.

I'd take this lens out for a duck shot and real world photos as soon as my schedule allows. But for now, this lens is excellent on a 1.3X crop camera such as the 1D and may just be its 'Perfect Partner'. The few issues are its weight and its color. It creates one of the heaviest P&S cameras in the world...absolutely muscle and gut-busting. The size when extended also doesn't make for stealthy shooting on the street.

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MDJAK
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Dec 15, 2006 09:13 as a reply to  @ fWord's post |  #3

Good test and review. This lens has always intrigued me, and if I had every lens I wanted already, that'd also be one I'd opt for, for flexibility alone.

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fWord
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Dec 15, 2006 09:44 |  #4

MDJAK wrote in post #2403374 (external link)
Good test and review. This lens has always intrigued me, and if I had every lens I wanted already, that'd also be one I'd opt for, for flexibility alone.

mark

It's an unusual and interesting lens. In fact I went for it largely because I wanted to try it out for myself instead of relying entirely on what I was reading.

When you get to that stage in lens nirvana, do try out this lens too! I don't think it'll be a hit with everybody, but as you say, the flexibility is something to be reckoned with. On the 1D the range would be incredible. I don't shoot too wide anymore, so the lens still goes wide enough for me.


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sjafari
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Dec 15, 2006 09:52 |  #5

thanks for the review. This is a lens that i have also wanted to try out for a long time. I am reminded of how much i liked shooting with the old tamron 28-200 and 28-300, super flexible, but relatively poor image quality. I would expect a lot more out of L series glass, and hope to get my hands on one sometime soon to play with.


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AdamJL
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Dec 15, 2006 10:13 |  #6

Ditto - I'm another who has always been interested in this lens. It doesn't get much love to be honest, but looks like a good performer.
If it wasn't so heavy, it would be a perfect travelling companion.
Stopping down looks like it really gives an impact, even at the telephoto end (I know you think it's not as noticeable compared to 28mm, but it's still quite noticeable.)
I'm seriously intrigued by this lens.... I just don't know what I'd use it for...


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Dec 15, 2006 10:15 |  #7

sjafari wrote in post #2403500 (external link)
thanks for the review. This is a lens that i have also wanted to try out for a long time. I am reminded of how much i liked shooting with the old tamron 28-200 and 28-300, super flexible, but relatively poor image quality. I would expect a lot more out of L series glass, and hope to get my hands on one sometime soon to play with.

Most welcome. Super zooms can make SLR photography a little more fun because it takes lens changes out of the equation. To be frank, I didn't expect great quality out of this lens as well, but the results really surprised me. At 28mm and stopped down (which I will always do for landscape photography) the quality is more than acceptable.

The 50mm and 105mm samples seemed to 'pop' out at me. Very nice. At 300mm things seem to take a little dive with a bit of softness creeping in. That said, it's still well-defined.


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Dec 15, 2006 10:23 |  #8

AdamJL wrote in post #2403575 (external link)
Ditto - I'm another who has always been interested in this lens. It doesn't get much love to be honest, but looks like a good performer.
If it wasn't so heavy, it would be a perfect travelling companion.
Stopping down looks like it really gives an impact, even at the telephoto end (I know you think it's not as noticeable compared to 28mm, but it's still quite noticeable.)
I'm seriously intrigued by this lens.... I just don't know what I'd use it for...

That's right. It's an unloved piece of glass, but from these preliminary tests it appears that the lens is indeed very good, especially considering the 11X zoom, 3-stop IS on top...it's a very complicated device.

Buying it first-hand isn't probably such a good idea because the price is just exhorbitant. Working pros can afford it, but people like us who are just curious to have a play with it will need to get it from the 2nd-hand market, and I think I found a bargain here at a local forum.

I think you'll know what to do with the lens when you finally buy it. It's so versatile that it'll do almost everything for you. In the lens world there is something for everyone, and I think this lens would be excellent for landscapes...this usually doesn't demand a fast lens to start off with, and the lens will usually be tripod-mounted. Even if handheld (which I tend to do), I like to stop down a lens for DOF, so the IS would really come in handy.

I don't do sports/ fast action stuff, so I won't miss a lot by using this lens. Wildlife is about the fastest I will go to, and at the zoo, those things don't move very much at all.


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Dec 15, 2006 10:32 |  #9

But it's hard to justify the purpose of this lens when I have a 24-105 and a 70-300 on the way... if I use the 28-300 I'll know I'm not getting my money's worth from the two other lenses.
Saying that, if I see it decently priced on the second hand market, I might take a peak. I've seen it brand new and it's way out of my current budget. But I've never really seen a second hand Cano lens go cheap. They have great resale value.


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Dec 15, 2006 10:41 |  #10

AdamJL wrote in post #2403633 (external link)
But it's hard to justify the purpose of this lens when I have a 24-105 and a 70-300 on the way... if I use the 28-300 I'll know I'm not getting my money's worth from the two other lenses.
Saying that, if I see it decently priced on the second hand market, I might take a peak. I've seen it brand new and it's way out of my current budget. But I've never really seen a second hand Cano lens go cheap. They have great resale value.

That's good thinking. I suppose if that were the case, then it may not be necessary to have an all-purpose 28-300mm. I'm assuming you're going for the 70-300mm IS? The 24-105mm and 70-300mm IS would have made a lovely setup and I was considering it as well...this was after I decided that I'll blow my budget after all and not get the Sigma 70-300mm.

Funny thing here was that I realized the 28-300mm zoom was even cheaper than those two lenses combined. Plus, it's weather-sealed, has great build-feel and can potentially free me from ever needing to change lenses again.

Canon lenses usually don't lose much of their value, but you may chance upon someone who's either giving up the hobby or is desperate/ impatient to get the cash back. And when you do, you can probably nab a reasonable deal. ;) If you approach online sources then you open many more avenues for hunting. But personally, I wouldn't trust anybody online with such a big sum of money.


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Dec 15, 2006 10:51 |  #11

fWord wrote in post #2403670 (external link)
That's good thinking. I suppose if that were the case, then it may not be necessary to have an all-purpose 28-300mm. I'm assuming you're going for the 70-300mm IS? The 24-105mm and 70-300mm IS would have made a lovely setup and I was considering it as well...this was after I decided that I'll blow my budget after all and not get the Sigma 70-300mm.

Yes, I purchased the 70-300 IS. Very excited about receiving it.
And to be honest, I only found out about the 28-300 after I'd bought my 24-105. Whether or not I would have gone down the same path had I know about the 28-300 previously, I'm quite unsure about. I'm that interested in this lens.
My current 28-300 has seen better days to be honest, and although I've used it plenty of times overseas as my travel lens, the optical quality is what prompted me to invest in the 24-105.

fWord wrote in post #2403670 (external link)
Funny thing here was that I realized the 28-300mm zoom was even cheaper than those two lenses combined. Plus, it's weather-sealed, has great build-feel and can potentially free me from ever needing to change lenses again.

yes, weather sealing is ultra important, especially for a traveller like myself. The 24-105 is dust/moisture sealed at the back only I believe. And that doesn't really help as I'm using a 350D anyway, so dust likes to get in.

fWord wrote in post #2403670 (external link)
Canon lenses usually don't lose much of their value, but you may chance upon someone who's either giving up the hobby or is desperate/ impatient to get the cash back. And when you do, you can probably nab a reasonable deal. ;) If you approach online sources then you open many more avenues for hunting. But personally, I wouldn't trust anybody online with such a big sum of money.

If you see another one going cheap on your forums, let me know, I'll have a peak! I should be in Singapore next year, so I'm always happy to pick up in person.


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Dec 15, 2006 17:57 |  #12

AdamJL wrote in post #2403706 (external link)
If you see another one going cheap on your forums, let me know, I'll have a peak! I should be in Singapore next year, so I'm always happy to pick up in person.

Wow, so you're pretty keen on this lens eh? ;) It's always nice to try new things of course. The 24-105mm seems to be a stellar lens and I was almost sold on it based on what I read. After using the consumer 28-105mm lens for a vacation I found out how useful that range was, so the 24-105mm is going to be even better especially considering the IS.

I noticed that you're using a 350D. In the end you'll probably still need to keep your widest lens because the 28-300mm doesn't exactly go wide enough on a 1.6X crop camera.

How did you find out that the 24-105mm was only sealed at the back? So far I assumed that it was weather-sealed on its extending portion as well, just like the 24-70mm f/2.8.

I'll keep a lookout for you at the local forums and will get back to you here if I see anything. So far I've only seen perhaps one or maybe two copies of this lens go for sale.


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Dec 15, 2006 18:04 |  #13

Thanks for the review, very interesting lens


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Dec 15, 2006 18:56 |  #14

Buddy you bought it? Wow I cant wait to see the results you get outdoors. So how heavy is it? Like 70-200 f2.8 L weight like? Good hand holdable?


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Dec 15, 2006 19:45 as a reply to  @ cjm's post |  #15

calicokat: Most welcome. Hope to put up some real results soon. At this moment I am still waiting to see if my military camp is going to recall me for an exercise!

cjm: Yup. Pulled the trigger on this baby...being quite affordable (seems the seller was letting it go cheap) it was irresistable. It was screaming to be bought and tried.

The lens is heavier than either the 70-200mm f/2.8IS or the 100-400mm IS, but not by much. However once the camera is added on top the whole setup is quite a lump to carry around. I'm not strong at all but it is manageable if I hold it to my eye level for short periods at a time just to shoot a photo. IS really helps because the viewfinder really jumps around a lot at the 300mm end.

I'll need to work-out and strengthen myself for it. But for the majority of people out there, it shouldn't be too hard to handle. This really makes me glad that I didn't buy a Bigma, hoping to be able to handhold that!

Hope to get some real world pictures here if I manage a trip out this evening.


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28-300mmL 'Perfect Partner' - A Tiny Test
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