Although it was released during January 2004, the Canon 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 L IS USM lens is still an excellent choice for serious amateurs, semi-pros and professional photographers.
One of the best reasons is that it provides a wide focal length range for just about all types of photography, from landscape to portraits to travel to nature to sports. Experienced digital photographers will tell you that the simple act of changing lenses is often a major reason the best shots are missed. Somewhat amazingly, it also has a .3x maximum magnification, so it is capable of capturing a nice variety of macro images, even though it is not a macro lens.
Just as important, the Canon 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 delivers exceptional image quality. Manufacturers of similar lenses must often exchange some image integrity to build a lens with most all the focal lengths any photographer would need.
Canon’s build quality is also clearly evident in this lens, since the company constructed it with solid, high-end components, so it could easily withstand a professional’s constant use. This quality can be felt as soon as you hold in your hands. Plus, many photographers like the 28–300mm’s distinctive design in white with black rings and Canon-red accents.
This Canon lens is not small or lightweight, at 3.6” x 7.2” (92mm x 184mm), maximum dimensions, and 3.7 lbs. (1,670g). A lens of this quality and versatility requires a bit of room and weight to accommodate a sterling optical array of 22 elements in 16 groups and a ring USM, or an ultrasonic motor auto-focusing system. This lens has proven to be quick and silent during focusing and the front element doesn’t rotate.
Some less-experienced photographers may not be thrilled initially with the push/pull zoom function, but with a bit of practice and familiarity, most of them will find it comfortable and easy to operate.
The Canon 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 telephoto lens also features Canon’s image stabilization technology. Thousands of photographers have proven that Canon’s claim of being able to capture sharp images at 3 f-stops less handheld is accurate. The IS technology is also capable of detecting other vibrations other than those caused by the photographer. The lens activates a secondary IS mode when using a tripod or with excessive mirror slap or shutter vibrations. When either panning mode is used, IS also contributes to a steady platform and clear photos.
Although the Canon 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 telephoto lens couldn’t be considered a fast lens with its minimum aperture of f/3.5 at 28mm, it does deliver good center sharpness at this narrow aperture and throughout the entire range. Corner sharpness for both the full-frame and APS-C sensors is also quite exceptional for most of the focal length range, exhibiting some softness from 200 to 300mm.
Barrel distortion is evident at 28mm, but there is much less of it at 35mm. Then, as longer focal lengths are used, pincushion distortion starts to appear.
Overall, the Canon 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 L IS USM lens offers one of the best combinations of convenience and image quality for an all-purpose lens, and has all the features and capabilities to serve virtually all of your digital photography needs.
Photo © 2012 Adorama Camera, Inc.
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