Review of Canon 28mm f1.8 Lens
This is a real world review of the Canon’s 28mm f1.8, released in 1995. At the time of this review, it sells for $480 new. All shots in this review were captured using the 28mm lens.
The lens is easy to use, easy to carry, and well built. It has a fast 1.8 aperture and the 28mm focal length is highly usable on both full frame and crop cameras. On Canon’s 1.6x crop camera, the lens serves as a “normal” walk around lens with an equivalent 45mm focal length. On full frame cameras the lens allows for a medium-wide angle of view.
This is a fun, fast lens! It creates beautiful bokeh when shot at wider apertures. Vignetting is strong but it’s very attractive and can be easily removed in post processing. This lens lets in a ton of light, and it can therefore be used in very low light situations.
This is a prime lens – you cannot zoom, but that allows you think less about your camera and more about shooting. At a fixed focal length, the shot either works or it doesn’t. You zoom with your feet.
This lens is soft.
“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.“, Ansel Adams.
That being true, a soft image of a great concept can leave a lot to be desired. Pixel peepers will quickly find this lens to be soft everywhere in the frame and at all apertures.
Is it too soft? Softness can be flattering for portraits, something this lens is very good at. f1.8 makes the background absolutely melt away. The viewer can better focus on the subject, made all the more attractive by the softness of this lens. Great looking environmental portraits can be created with this lens.
Sometimes super sharp doesn’t matter. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if a lens is soft or not – as long as your shot is in focus, you can sharpen the details in post processing and create the illusion of sharpness for the purposes of printing. The above image demonstrates this. Trust me, it’s sharp enough.
Low light capabilities. This lens is useful for handheld, no-flash shooting in low light. The above image in Jaipur, India demonstrates this. Details are present in the cement, contrast is good, and the shot was handheld. This lens allows you to capture images you wouldn’t be able to with other, slower lenses.
Overall I like this lens a lot despite it’s shortcomings. This lens is on my camera quite a bit, especially when I need a fast aperture walk around lens for low light shooting.