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Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 L IS USM

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Thread started 30 Dec 2006 (Saturday) 04:53   
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fWord
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After having this lens for perhaps two weeks, today was the first chance I got to take it outdoors for a shoot. Previously I did some basic tests indoors and on a tripod, and the results were quite surprising in that this lens can produce images with good quality despite its very expansive and controversial zoom range:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=251518

Since a trip to the zoo is quite a big undertaking for me, I instead went to the Botanical Gardens, a nice pocket of peace and greenery. Here I ended up testing the 300mm end almost exclusively, and also shot subjects near the MFD. All these were done handheld, hence the subpar quality in some cases. After today's shoot I made a few observations.

This thing is a beast! It's extremely heavy. On a 1-series body the whole thing feels a little back-heavy but otherwise well-balanced. When extended fully it can be a challenge to handle for the not-so-strong. After handling it and shooting continuously for only three and a half hours, I'm now feeling the strain especially in my right hand.

It is a push-pull zoom, just like the popular 100-400mm. But Canon seems to have (consciously or unconsciously) added something else to the functionality of this zoom. In the past when I used the 100-400mm, I noticed that if I pointed the camera downwards without tightening the zoom friction ring, the lens would extend and finally stop with a hard 'clunk'. In the 28-300mm, there is some resistance between the 200-300mm mark. Hence if the lens is pointed downwards by accident, the lens seems to extend but stop short of hitting its end.

Conversely, once the lens is at the 300mm mark, there appears to be a 'soft lock' and if the camera is tilted upside down, the lens does not retract back even if the zoom friction ring has been completely loosened. This is a very nice feature! That said I always ensure I retract the lens completely and tighten the ring before moving anywhere.

Image quality, although good, obviously doesn't get anywhere near that of prime lenses, but it may be able to rival consumer zooms with much more conservative zoom ratios. RAW images needed slightly more aggressive sharpening (Level 4 in DPP), but once done the images get their 'pop', as can be expected. This lens is impressively sharp at the middle of its zoom range. It appears to be softer at either of its ends, but then again, not consistently. I suspect there's a learning curve involved.

I have no complaints about focusing speed, which is decent by any standards, and particularly impressive considering the zoom range. IS is a beauty...all three stops worth of it. It's especially important when you consider that the weight will eventually tire you, and handshake becomes even more severe. It allowed me to handhold at 1/8s for a photo of a small man-made waterfall...long enough to get a silky water effect.

This lens has excellent close-focusing abilities. While it won't get you frame-filling photos of small dragonflies, it is great for flowers and small animals still. Paired together with a 500D closeup filter, it might make for a good naturalist's lens. This lens, plus a 400mm f/5.6L or 500mm f/4L on a 1D-series is conceivably very nice for a safari.

So anyway, while I'm not sure how long this thread will last, and how long I'll keep this lens (because it's too heavy for me), here's some purely demonstrative (not meant to be artistic) photos from my first outdoor trip with the 28-300mm 'Perfect Partner'.

Fall in love. ;)

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7353.jpg

This dragonfly is pretty small:

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7378.jpg

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7420.jpg

A waterfall at 1/8s:

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7435.jpg

Barrels of cactus at 300mm:

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7448.jpg

A toad at 300mm:

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7455.jpg

And the obligatory duck shot:

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v51/s1ckpuppy/FABE7403.jpg

Post #1, Dec 30, 2006 04:53:57


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G35Driver
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are you the only one with this lens? is this lens that bad or is it that its just too expensive?

Post #2, Sep 12, 2007 04:23:30


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asylumxl
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Too expensive. It's a good lens, but people avoid superzooms, even if it is a good one.

Post #3, Sep 12, 2007 10:34:22


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kahren
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those pics look great

Post #4, Sep 12, 2007 10:42:29



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rajastan5
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I love the waterfall pic. What kind of PP did you use on that one?

Post #5, Sep 12, 2007 20:22:26




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NickSimcheck
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I'd like to have one for the heck of it, but dang it's a lot of money to pay for not getting the best IQ.

But in most situations I'd rather have the image then miss it entirely cause I was switching lenses ya know?

Post #6, Sep 12, 2007 22:20:06


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fWord
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G35Driver wrote in post #3912966external link
are you the only one with this lens? is this lens that bad or is it that its just too expensive?

Nope. There are another one or two on this forum who have used, or are currently using this lens. Look up a member at these forums named 'chancellor', and you'll find its major supporter!

It's not a bad lens as far as superzooms go and I admire the weather sealing, IS and build quality. In practice it's very fun to use, even if a bit heavy. Give me the chance and I'd buy it again.

Post #7, Sep 14, 2007 05:24:59


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fWord
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kahren wrote in post #3914490external link
those pics look great

Thank you for the kind comment. These are just test pics...quite horribly done on top of that.

Post #8, Sep 14, 2007 05:25:29


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rajastan5 wrote in post #3917856external link
I love the waterfall pic. What kind of PP did you use on that one?

Little PP was used on any of these photos. They were shot in RAW and converted to JPEG on Canon Digital Photo Professional. The usual Picture Style and little sharpening was applied. The silky water appearance is a result of the use of a slower shutter speed.

Post #9, Sep 14, 2007 05:26:39


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NickSimcheck wrote in post #3918582external link
I'd like to have one for the heck of it, but dang it's a lot of money to pay for not getting the best IQ.

But in most situations I'd rather have the image then miss it entirely cause I was switching lenses ya know?

It's quite expensive to buy new, but back in the days when I bought mine, I paid relatively little for it on the second-hand market. I regret having sold it to upgrade from the 1D. Now it's so rare I doubt if I could find it again. However, given the chance, I would definitely try it again.

Indeed it's great to be able to use a setup and not worry about changing lenses in most circumstances.

Post #10, Sep 14, 2007 05:28:12


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Lightstream
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Actually, the pics are quite good. Hmmm....... :)

Even changing bodies takes time and god forbid you have different settings on different bodies at that instant of time ;)

I'm sorta-almost-even-tempted..

Post #11, Oct 20, 2007 23:59:40




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MaDProFF
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Would you say that the IQ is as good at 300mm as a 100-400 at 400mm??

Post #12, Nov 03, 2007 16:12:04


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woollyback
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MaDProFF,

What a good question - that is exactly what I was thinking.
Our 100-400 @ 400 doesn't seem too bad mind.

Rob

Post #13, Nov 03, 2007 16:21:26




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MaDProFF
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woollyback wrote in post #4245961external link
MaDProFF,

What a good question - that is exactly what I was thinking.
Our 100-400 @ 400 doesn't seem too bad mind.

Rob

I have a 100-400 as well, and if that 28-300 is as good IQ and sharp as the 400 @ 400 I might be very Tempted, it is dammed expensive though :(

Post #14, Nov 03, 2007 16:41:54


Photographic Images on Brett Butlerexternal link px500external link & Flickrexternal link Some Canon Bodies , few blackish lenses, A dam heavy black one, couple dirty white ones, a 3 legged walking stick, a mono walking stick, and a bag full of rubbish :oops:
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CyberDyneSystems
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With the possible exception of the Cactus (coincedentally) and maybe the duck, even for web sized images these look soft to me.

Post #15, Nov 03, 2007 17:41:12


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