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  1. #1
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    $125 glass vs $800 glass how does it compare?

    Today the USPS brought me a Canon 28-105 f3.5-4.5 USM Macro, that I purchased for a friend who is doing me a GIANT favor. This lens is very highly regarded on sites like fredmiranda.com, and the samples on PBase seem to back up the lens' reputation as a solid performer. Mine has a few small specks of dust inside, which garnered me a huge discount. Total cost: $127 shipped. These can typically be had from reputable used lens dealers like KEH for about $200.

    Build Quality:

    Out of the box, the lens is built similarly to the other middle range Canon lenses (i.e. far better than its price tag would indicate). It has the Canon flat black plastic finish of the 17-85, and 28-135 IS'. It is light weight but doesn't feel cheap like the newer batch of digital and film kit lenses. It is nice and compact, mating quite nicely with the Digital Rebel XT.



    I compared it to the only lens that I own that covers a similar focal length, the Canon 28-70 f2.8L. Compared to the heavy plastic of the L lens, this lens feels dwarfish and lightweight, but then again, the L is a bit unwieldy on the small XT.




    Performance:

    This lens features Canon's USM for fast, quiet, accurate AF. When testing these two lenses against each other, they both seemed to focus just as fast and locked onto the soda can the first time. They were both virtually silent.


    So far the $125 lens is keeping up with the $800 one, but what about image quality...?
    Last edited by jamison55; 11-14-2005 at 08:15 PM.
    www.jamisonwexler.com

    Canon 5dII|Canon 5D|Canon 40D|Sigma 15 f2.8|Canon 35 f1.4|Canon 50 f2.5|Canon 50 f1.8|Canon 85 f1.2|Canon 17-40 f4|Canon 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS|Canon 24-105 f4 IS|Canon 28-105 f3.5-4.5|Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS|Canon 75-300 f4-5.6 IS|Kenko 1.4x TC|Canon 580ex X3|Canon 380exII |Canon 420ex|Sunpak 383 x4|Sunpak 120j x2|Sunpak 622|Elinchrom Skyports

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Jamison - I think you've heard me rave about the 28-105 3.5-4.5 before (in fact, it's sitting on my XT right now.) For the most part, mine is a very good performer and I always recommend it. I wish it was a little wider at the bottom end of the zoom but I did use it when I had the 5D and was very impressed (I'll be posting some of those shots soon.) It almost had a fish-eye effect on close ups on the 5D. Mine was $229 new but worth every penny. Build quality and focus are quite good on this lens.
    Canon A720 IS, 40D w/ BG-E2N, 28 1.8, 50 1.4, Sigma 70 2.8 macro, 17-40 F4 L, 24-105 F4 L IS, 70-200 F4 L IS, 430 EX, Kenko 2X TC & Ext Tubes, AB strobes and more...
    View my photo galleries here: imageevent.com/24peter

  3. #3
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    Image Quality

    For the image quality tests, I took shots at all of the focal lengths marked on the lens barrel: 28, 35, 50, and 70mm. Where appropriate, I also threw in an image from the 35 and 50mm consumer primes I own. Since the 28-105 is, for all intents and purposes an f4, I shot all lenses at f4. For my test object, I shot a Mountain Dew can on the railing of my deck. I put the gatorade bottle in the background to see how the bokeh compares. The 28-105 features a 7 blade aperture, which, on paper, should lead to really nice bokeh. All shots are handheld at 400 ISO, small jpeg, Rebel XT, 100% center crops.

    28mm


    35mm


    50mm


    70mm



    As expected the 28-70L comes out on top in all of the tests except for the 50mm, where the cheapo 50 f1.8 again proves its worth. The 28-105, however, is no slouch. It is nearly as sharp at all focal lengths as the much more expensive L, though the L seems to have a touch more contrast throughout. Despite the 7 blade aperture though, the bokeh was a bit of a disappointment. The L is the clear bokeh winner (no surprise, it's the best bokeh lens I own), but the bokeh on the 28-105 is no better then the cheap consumer primes.

    The 28-105 also seemed to go downhill at 70mm. Realizing that f4.5 was the max aperture for the 28-105, and that most lenses are softest at their max aperture, I stopped both lenses down to f5.6. Much better - my eyes might be deceiving me, but the 28-105 seems a bit sharper...



    So bottom line, the Canon 28-105 seems to represent a great value in a sharp lens with fast, quiet AF.
    Last edited by jamison55; 11-14-2005 at 08:17 PM.
    www.jamisonwexler.com

    Canon 5dII|Canon 5D|Canon 40D|Sigma 15 f2.8|Canon 35 f1.4|Canon 50 f2.5|Canon 50 f1.8|Canon 85 f1.2|Canon 17-40 f4|Canon 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS|Canon 24-105 f4 IS|Canon 28-105 f3.5-4.5|Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS|Canon 75-300 f4-5.6 IS|Kenko 1.4x TC|Canon 580ex X3|Canon 380exII |Canon 420ex|Sunpak 383 x4|Sunpak 120j x2|Sunpak 622|Elinchrom Skyports

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    16
    so do you think this would be a good walk-around lens for doing wildlife, as well as landscape pics? Im looking for a new lens for my rebel xt, but on a college student's budget good lenses are hard to find.

    Im looking at the 50mm f1.8 for portrait shots, as I have heard that one is a real bargain too.

    Nice pics
    Thanks
    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Looks like a decent lens, Jamie. 'Twould make a good walkaround at, say, an amusement park with the family - with no fears of smacking it against things due to low cost of replacement.

    BTW I think your L and the 28-105 are about the same at 70mm f/5.6. I can't say with certainty whether one is any sharper than the other.
    Last edited by cdifoto; 11-14-2005 at 07:14 PM.
    Ouch.

  6. #6
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    Hey Matt, welcome to the DCRP.

    I think this lens would make a fine walkaround as long as you can live with the lack on the wide angle side. Remember, you need to multiply the focal length of any lens by 1.6 on your XT...so the focal length of the 28-105 would be 45-168mm.

    Definitely, not too many $200 lenses make pictures this nice!
    www.jamisonwexler.com

    Canon 5dII|Canon 5D|Canon 40D|Sigma 15 f2.8|Canon 35 f1.4|Canon 50 f2.5|Canon 50 f1.8|Canon 85 f1.2|Canon 17-40 f4|Canon 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS|Canon 24-105 f4 IS|Canon 28-105 f3.5-4.5|Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS|Canon 75-300 f4-5.6 IS|Kenko 1.4x TC|Canon 580ex X3|Canon 380exII |Canon 420ex|Sunpak 383 x4|Sunpak 120j x2|Sunpak 622|Elinchrom Skyports

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,175
    Quote Originally Posted by dsg2003gt
    so do you think this would be a good walk-around lens for doing wildlife, as well as landscape pics? Im looking for a new lens for my rebel xt, but on a college student's budget good lenses are hard to find.

    Im looking at the 50mm f1.8 for portrait shots, as I have heard that one is a real bargain too.

    Nice pics
    Thanks
    Matt
    It's a good walkaround lens, but I would imagine it being a terrible wildlife lens unless you are always very close to the wildlife you are capturing. Wildlife usually involves longer telephoto lenses that end up in the 200-500mm range. You might want to take a look at the Sigma 70-300 as a cheap telephoto that does the trick.

    Quote Originally Posted by cdi-buy.com
    BTW I think your L and the 28-105 are about the same at 70mm f/5.6. I can't say with certainty whether one is any sharper than the other.
    I think the same too. Can't really see a difference. I'm surprised at how much stopping it down from 4.5 5.6 helped.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    16
    Quote Originally Posted by jamison55
    Hey Matt, welcome to the DCRP.

    I think this lens would make a fine walkaround as long as you can live with the lack on the wide angle side. Remember, you need to multiply the focal length of any lens by 1.6 on your XT...so the focal length of the 28-105 would be 45-168mm.

    Definitely, not too many $200 lenses make pictures this nice!
    gotcha, forgot about the 1.6 thing.

    all right, so I could do this 28-105 and then the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM for the wide angle stuff....

    i can pay $800-$900 for both the lenses if they are pretty good.

    promise..thats the end of my hijack
    Last edited by dsg2003gt; 11-14-2005 at 07:34 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 24Peter
    Jamison - I think you've heard me rave about the 28-105 3.5-4.5 before (in fact, it's sitting on my XT right now.) For the most part, mine is a very good performer and I always recommend it...
    No one can argue with your shots Peter! Can't wait to see the 5D shots - and I promise not to hijack
    www.jamisonwexler.com

    Canon 5dII|Canon 5D|Canon 40D|Sigma 15 f2.8|Canon 35 f1.4|Canon 50 f2.5|Canon 50 f1.8|Canon 85 f1.2|Canon 17-40 f4|Canon 18-55 f3.5-5.6 IS|Canon 24-105 f4 IS|Canon 28-105 f3.5-4.5|Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS|Canon 75-300 f4-5.6 IS|Kenko 1.4x TC|Canon 580ex X3|Canon 380exII |Canon 420ex|Sunpak 383 x4|Sunpak 120j x2|Sunpak 622|Elinchrom Skyports

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamison55
    ...and I promise not to hijack
    LOL. You know I said that just because I was jealous. You da man!
    Canon A720 IS, 40D w/ BG-E2N, 28 1.8, 50 1.4, Sigma 70 2.8 macro, 17-40 F4 L, 24-105 F4 L IS, 70-200 F4 L IS, 430 EX, Kenko 2X TC & Ext Tubes, AB strobes and more...
    View my photo galleries here: imageevent.com/24peter

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