The CANON 28-135MM – The Ultimate Hobby Lens

Whether you’re a budding student or a seasoned photography professional, the CANON 28-135MM belongs in your kit bag.

Not only is it a Canon classic, but it comes loaded with benefits you won’t find in many higher-end lenses. In fact, we believe it’s the ultimate hobby lens. Overstatement?—We don’t think so. Here’s why:

Why the CANON 28-135MM Is the Ultimate Hobby Lens

With so many great cameras on the market, what makes the CANON 28-135MM the ultimate hobby lens? The CANON 28-135MM is the ultimate hobby lens because of its good price and extreme versatility.

Not only is this lens great for the seasoned photographer with a sky-high budget, but this lens is also perfect for the photographer who appreciates good quality but also has a tighter budget and/or doesn’t want to deal with changing lenses during an event.

Imagine being able to shoot an entire wedding, hike, or sporting event without ever switching lenses? The Canon 28-135MM makes that absolutely possible.

So how can an affordable lens also be the ultimate hobby lens? Sure, “ultimate” sounds expensive, but when discussing good photography equipment, it’s important to understand that the best cameras and lenses on the market aren’t necessarily the most expensive or the most powerful. The best equipment meets a specific need and does so at a reasonable price.

The CANON 28-135MM fits the bill.

What Is The Canon 28-135MM Lens Good For?

The 28-135MM lens is ideal for someone who is documenting sports, taking photos in nature, or shooting any event that requires a decent telephoto reach. It’s also a good lens to use in scenarios where flash photography is prohibited, since—with the Image Stabilizer switched on—you can get great, natural-looking shots without the flash in dim lighting.

The 28-135MM is a good zoom range and is more than adequate for most shooting scenarios. For the general photo hobbyist, there are very few situations in which the 28-135MM won’t meet the need.

Here are a few helpful stats from the manufacturer:

  • Focal length: 28 to 135mm
  • Maximum aperture: 1:3.5-5.6
  • Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
  • Diagonal angle of view: 75 to 18 degrees
  • Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM
  • Closest focusing distance: 1.6 feet
  • Zoom system: Rotating type
  • Filter size: 72mm
  • Dimensions: 3.1 inches in diameter and 3.8 inches long
  • Weight: 18.9 ounces

Pros of the 28-135MM Lens

What’s not to love about this lens?

In our opinion, here are some of the best features of the 28-135MM lens:

  • Great zoom range
  • Image stabilization
  • Good image quality
  • Quick, quiet focus
  • Affordable price
  • Light weight
  • Great walk-around lens
  • Great for seasoned or beginning photographers

Cons of the 28-135MM Lens

The 28-135MM lens is well-loved, so admittedly, cons are hard to come by, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Color not as vibrant as captured with more expensive lenses
  • Zoom creep (where the angle of the lens changes slightly when the lens is help upwards or downwards, due to gravity) known to happen, especially when pointing the camera down
  • The front feels loose when extended
  • Doesn’t come as an “L” lens (also known as a luxury lens), so some minor distortion may occur at apertures and settings
  • No lens hood is included

Common Alternatives to the 28-135MM Lens

While it’s hard to match the quality and price of the 28-135MM lens, here are two well-known alternatives on the market:

1. Canon EF 24-85MM f/3.5-4.5 USM Standard Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

If you’re able to buy this lens it will likely be used, but it’s a good lens for the money and has a wide range.

2. Tamron 28-75MM F/2.8 for Sony Mirrorless Full Frame E Mount

A good, low-cost alternative, this lens has less reach and a slower focus, but it is sharper than other lenses in the same price range.

Frequently Asked Questions

Considering this lens is ideal for scenarios involving a long zoom range, is it also good for food or self-photography?

Yes! This is what makes the CANON 28-135MM a good all-around lens. It works well in multiple situations. Many careered studio photographers have used this lens in and out of the studio with absolute satisfaction.

Is this lens considered a wide angle lens?

ANSWER: At the 28MM end, this lens could be considered a wide angle lens—although that isn’t typically its primary selling feature. To be sure, there are wider lenses if you are in the market for a truly wide angle lens.

The Canon EF 17-40MM f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens is one of the best Canon wide angle lenses on the market. That said, it is twice the price of the 28-135MM.

The 28-135MM is a great choice for fairly wide shots and for medium telephoto shots, too. Some might look at this as the best of both worlds for half the cost.

Can you use this lens with an onboard mic without picking up the sound of the autofocus during the recording?

The focus motor on the 28-135 lens is one of the quickest and quietest—if not the quietest—motor you will find. Though this lens was released decades before video became so popular, this lens is a great option for video enthusiasts.

Which cameras are compatible with the Canon 28-135 lens?

The 28-135 lens is based on the popular EF Lens Mount. As such, it works well with all EOS cameras (film and digital) that support this type of mount.

Final Thoughts

Released by Canon in 1998, the 28-135MM has been around for over 20 years and remains a popular option for good reason. Built for longevity, this lens is good for all kinds of photography—studio, commercial, nature, portrait, etc.—it is unparalleled in its versatility for this price point. Many photographers who bought this lens 20 years ago are still happy using it today.

Here are the three biggest reasons we believe you should add the CANON 28-135MM to your kit—

1. It’s very affordable. You will get your money’s worth with this lens. Its performance is impressive and reliable.
2. It’s extremely versatile. The wide zoom range will enable you to shoot a variety of scenarios without any problem.
3. It’s good quality. The impressive image stabilization enables you to lower your shutter speed and still get quality images.

Bottom line: This lens has an extremely good value-to-performance ratio, which is why we believe it is the ultimate hobby lens.