Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

This review covers


» Image Quality «


» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «

Table of contents

The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM combines a very common focal length with a good maximum aperture and - quite unique for a wide-angle prime lens - an image stabilizer. It has been released in 2012 together with the very similar EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM. Read this review to find out about its highlights as well as its downsides.

Intended Use


Lenses such as the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM are ideal for vast landscapes because of their wide angle of view. The image stabilizer helps to allow slower shutter speeds where high f-stops are used e.g. to photograph dimly lit landscapes (such as during a rain storm).


The good maximum aperture of f/2.8 is very useful indoors where you never seem to have enough light. While there are wider lenses available the focal length of the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is certainly wide enough to work for even smaller rooms.


The lens's good performance in regard to distortion (see the image quality tests on page 2 of this review) and - again - its wide angle of view make it ideal for architectural photography. Of course speciality lenses such as the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II are even better suited for this type of photography but they are also much more expensive and don't offer image stabilization.

Street & Travel

While many people prefer the versatility of a zoom lens for travel photography some appreciate the compactness and higher image quality prime lenses have to offer. Of course the compactness fades quickly if you add a normal / standard lens and a telephoto prime to round out your travel kit. But at least you don't have to worry about bringing a tripod if you intend to use the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM's modern and efficient image stabilizer.

Weight and Dimensionstop


The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM's weight is 9 oz.

Lens Weight [oz]  
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM 9

Compare with the weight of other lenses:


Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM 14
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM 20
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM 22
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM 17
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II 7
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS 16
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM 10
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM 28
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM 32
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM 23
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM 11
Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM 19
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM 9
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II 4
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro 10
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS 14
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II 14
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM 12
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM 52
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM 14
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM 21
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM 22
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM 52
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM 83
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM 90
Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 (for Canon) 16


The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM's dimensions are 2.7 " (diameter) by 2.0 " (length).


Compare with these values:

Length in
Diameter: in

Handling and Build Qualitytop

The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is not one of Canon's prestigious L series lenses but it comes with a similar build quality. It features a metal lens mount that is likely to last a lot longer than conventional plastic mounts and its surface material is nicely roughened which both gives it a high-end look and prevents scratches. Like most non-L lenses the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is not sealed against dust or moisture and Canon do not ship any accessories with the lens other than the dust and lens cap. But a pouch and lens hood are available for purchase.

The lens has a rather small focusing ring (0.4 ") but it's positioned where it should be and operates smoothly and precisely. The two switches (AF/MF and IS on/off) are rock solid as well. The ultra sound focusing motor is silent, precise and fast and it allows full-time manual override of the autofocus operation (which is most useful during One-Shot AF mode).

Image Stabilizer

The lens has a modern and hardly audible image stabilizer that compensates camera shake to allow shutter speeds up to 4 f-stops slower. That's great but let's pause here for a moment and do some math. Without image stabilization a 28 mm lens can be used on a fullframe body handheld at around 1/30 s. 4 stops slower means you can use it with stabilization at around 0.5 s handheld. But an exposure time that long will likely cause motion blur with anything but still lifes. It's not a problem for architecture (as buildings seldomly move) but e.g. people never keep completely still and even trees can be affected by the slightest breeze. So be aware that image stabilization generally is less useful with wide-angle lenses than telephoto lenses. In fact the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is among the first two wide angle prime lenses ever to feature image stabilization (says the Canon press release).

The image stabilizer in this lens cannot detect the presence of a tripod and thus should be turned off in this circumstance (according to the user manual). It does however detect panning shots automatically and switches over to an IS mode that compansate either just horizontal or vertical shake.


The lens's front element does not rotate while focusing which makes the use of circular polarizing filters easy (as they have to be rotated according to the angle the camera has to the sun). The 58 mm filter size is a very common size among Canon prime lenses which is good if you'd like to share a filter for several lenses. Small diameter filters (such as here) are also less expensive than the bigger ones.




Image Quality