Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM
 

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

This review covers


PAGE 2

» Image Quality «


PAGE 3

» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «


Table of contents

Image Qualityhide all test shotsshow all test shots

Note: the test shots for each of the image quality tests can be compared directly amongst all tested lenses. Within the test box click on "Choose lens to compare with..." to add a lens to the comparison. Then use your mouse to hover over the lens thumbnails. If all those test shots are a little too overwhelming consider clicking on "hide all test shots" above this paragraph.

Sharpness / Resolution

If you are buying a prime lens you expect it to be sharper than most zoom lenses. And the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM certainly is: compare the test shots below with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM to see how well the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM performs. It outperforms the zoom lens both wide open and stopped down. Compare the Siemens star (3) and the pattern banners (4) to see the dramatic difference in detail resolution. The lens is much sharper than the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM, still a little sharper than the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and similar in sharpness to the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (compared at same apertures). Overall it's a sharp lens indeed from the image center right to the corners.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark III
Sharpness / Resolution

Distortion

The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM shows only a small amount of barrel distortion which is nothing to really worry about. The lens's performance is very similar to the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM and it is much better than zoom lenses such as the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM or the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM who offer a similar (but not the same!) focal length.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark III
Distortion
Aperture:
Irrelevant

Crop from top of image (downsized)

Crop from bottom of image (downsized)

Best case: the line between the black and white boxes is completely straight in both test shot crops

Color Errors Transverse Chromatic Aberrations

The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM shows quite visible color fringes in focused parts of the image at high-contrast transitions. Note that this type of color fringe is worse towards the corners of the image and is not really visible in the center. It is best compared at f/8 where those other color fringes that are affected by aperture are less dominant. The lens's performance is similar to that of the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM but evidently better than that of the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (at similar focal lengths).

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark III
Color Errors

Crop from lower image border
(in landscape orientation)

Color errors in focused parts of the image (upscaled)

 

Best case: no color fringes

Crop from left image border
(in landscape orientation)

Beauty of blurred image parts Bokeh and Axial CA

The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM uses 7 aperture blades to create a nicely round aperture shape. That's important to make background blur pleasing and even. At the transition between in-focus and out-of-focus image parts color fringes do occur with the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM but they are not too bad and they fade with higher f-stops.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark III
Beauty of blurred image parts

The way blurred parts of the image look depends on several things such as focal length, aperture setting, aperture shape, distance to the background, distance between foreground and background as well as the texture and dynamic range of the background. With so many things to consider it's very difficult to compare different lenses. Moreover the beauty of blurred image parts is also a matter of personal taste.

In general blurred image parts should be as uniformly blurred as possible and ideally not show any artifacts. Out of the above mentioned criteria only the shape of the aperture cannot be influenced by the photographer and thus this test will show you the shape you are dealing with (left test image). To minimize artifacts there should be no bright line around the edge of the aperture shape. To get uniform blur the aperture should be as circular as possible (which depends on the number of aperture blades used and their individual shape). Furthermore there should be no color fringes in out-of-focus areas of the image (middle and right test shots).

Aperture Shape

Number of aperture blades:  7
Type: circular
Best case: circular and evenly bright

Color errors in out-of-focus areas of the image (upscaled)

before focal plane

behind focal plane

Crops from the center of the image
Best case: no color fringes in out-of-focus areas

Curvature of the focal plane Field Curvature

Fortunately the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM does not have any relevant curvature of the focal plane.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark III
Curvature of the focal plane

Crop from the corner of the image
focused at the image corner

 

Best case:
no difference

Crop from the corner of the image
focused at the image center

Corner Shadow Vignetting

When used with a fullframe camera wide open the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM shows a massive amount of corner shadow. Stopping down helps but it doesn't completely remove the shadow (part of which is just plain physics and cannot be avoided). In-camera vignetting correction or post processing can further help to get rid of it (in case you actually bother). Even with an APS-C camera you can still notice some corner shadow. The lens is much worse than the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM (compared at the same aperture). It is actually even worse used at f/2.8 than the other used at f/1.8 which is a stop and a third wider. Note however that many photographers are not bothered by corner shadow at all because of the particular look it has.

-Test shots

Full FrameAPS-C    tested with 5D Mark III
Corner Shadow

Crops (100%)

Corner

Center

Best case: no difference in brightness

Test shot (downsized)

Corner

Center

Best case: perfectly even brightness

Result-Chart

Best case: no color gradient

EV

0

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-5

PAGE 1

Handling

PAGE 2

Image Quality

PAGE 3

Conclusion

 

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