Canon EF 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 II

Lens Number 15 joined my lens stable today. It came in the form of EF 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 II, an old SLR kit lens dating back to 1999. Since it is on EF system, that means it can be used on the newer DSLR by Canon too. I am pretty fond of collecting Canon’s "oldies" lens and also in the name of testing it for IR Photography compatibilty (Infra Red). This is an EF, so it is compatible with my EOS 5D Mark II & my cropped bodies like the EOS 500D & EOS 350D-IR (with corresponding increased range to 45-128mm) . Best of all, it can also be used on my film SLR EOS 5 & EOS 88 (3000QD)!  

* picture: Canon EF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 II

If you surf the net, you would have came across numerous articles about this lens. Made as a "cheapo" kit lens (1999 mass consumer market), the "plasticky" build is very similar to the current kit zoom lens the EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS. Now you know where the lens designers took the cue from. Of the famous 3 "cheapo" range (and their Mark II & Mark III versions), the EF 35-80mm series, EF 28-80mm series & EF-S 18-55 series, I would safely say this EF 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 II is definitely not the worst here. I own all 3 series and felt that the worst are the 35-80mm series. The plastics are similar to those made-in-God-knows-where cheap plastic toys and they simply looked too fragile to be used as a lens!

* picture: Canon EF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 II

Externally, this lens is really not too bad. Though the lens feels a little filmsy, one can easily mistook this lens as the 18-55mm brother. The design, the weight, the size, the handling are uncannily similar. Picture quality are (of course) expected to be the same too. This 5 apeture blade lens performed reasonably well on SLRs, however when used on the DSLRs, the pictures turned soft. Even at F10, subject shows inconsistent shades and lines. However the magnification is really good (0.29x) so this lens can double up as the low budget (near) macro lens.

On IR, hotspotting is random. Not sure if this is caused by flares from the sun (not using any filter and without a hood), but the photos are definitely more consistant than the EF 35-80mm which I tested for IR and it didn’t performed too well and hotspotting were too often on photos.

However, all is not lost, like every other Canon’s cheaper kit lenses, this lens needs a little understanding from the photographer to be put to good use. Now you know (too) why Canon kit lenses are known as "good beginner lenses" – it made the photographer learn the limitations of the lens and forced the user to work around its flaws. I have seen photos that were shot with kit lenses, some will even shamed professionals.

Sometimes, it’s the user, really.

* picture: Canon EF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 II

Some User Facts/ Information:
(If you are looking for the specs, please google yourself, it’s all over the internet.)
– Filter Size 58mm
– Lens Hood EW-60C (Sold separately/ same hood for the EF-S 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 IS).
– Average lens for Infra-red Photography (IR), Random Hotspot.
– AF Runs on medium-fast mechanical motor – (and you get medium-level focusing noise). 
– Focal Range when used on bodies with smaller APS-C sensors – 45mm to 128mm.
– Canon EF-Mount is designed for use on Canon’s EOS Full Frame & Cropped Bodies (with corresponding increase x1.6 APS-C or x1.3 APS-H).
What I Like:
– Good walkabout range when used on any EOS Bodies.
– Light & small.
– Lens Build feels more expensive than it cost.
– Good magnification ratio.
– Nicely Priced.

What I Hate:
– No Distance Scale Meter.
– Focusing is not very fast.
– Hood not supplied.
– Inconsistent results.
– Plastic mount.

*Picture Source Internet.

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