I spent months trying to decide if I was going to buy this lens.
When I first learned about the lens it struck me as perfect for travel; 28mm for that wide shot to 300mm for the close-up. Not having to switch between my 28-70mm and my 70-200mm was very appealing.
The problem is that the reviews of the Canon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM left me confused. I read every other review I could get my eyes on; you can read a few of my favorite reviews here, here, here and here by professionals who are much more qualified than myself.
In the end, it seemed to come down to 2 things:
Pro: Versatile lengths
Con: Super heavy.
I emailed one expert and he said “versatile lens but you don’t need it, too heavy, try the Tamron”. The problem with the Tamron? I have been disappointed with non-Canon lens before (50mm).
After months of thinking about it .. I decided to make the purchase. I picked it up prior to our trip to India and after a few weeks of heavy use, I present this amateur’s review (Spoiler alert: best lens I have ever bought):
- Weight: The reviews are right – this is a heavy lens. I cannot fathom carrying it around with the traditional neck strap that comes with my camera (it is .6lbs heavier than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8). I have been thinking that I need to get a new strap anyway so I overcame this issue with the BlackRapid Sport. I spent 10 days traveling around with the lens and did not feel the weight. Plus, I wish I would have bought this strap a LONG time ago.
- Dust: The push pull lens will result in dust inside the lens over time. My view? Spend a couple hundred getting it professionally cleaned 2 or 3 years from now. Not an issue for me.
- Chromatic Aberration: There is definitely aberration around the edges so I have added that lens correction to the workflow in Lightroom (along with sharpen 100). Works great as the lens profile is available in Lightroom.
- People noticing the lens: Yes, it is the white lens and I found myself draping my hand over it as I walked to make it less noticeable. At least the change in strap has eliminated broadcasting the camera body type.
- Expensive: Yes. My Leica friend just laughed at me when I mentioned that.
- Now the only real big con in my opinion – the button placement. It is on the left side of the lens and with a push pull zoom, your hand is moving a lot and my thumb/palm was constantly hitting the buttons. More than a few times I accidentally flipped off the image stabilization or slipped into manual focus. I bought the lensband to see if that can fix the problem.
I love this lens.
I will never travel without this lens in the future and probably leave all of the other lenses behind; selling off my Canon 28-70mm f/2.8 USM. The quality is superb.
All of the aforementioned cons are massively outweighed by the convenience. I will keep the 28-70mm for around the house, but other than that – it will be this lens.
A convenience example: Below is a wide 28mm shot …. (note the black specks above the arch at the Taj Mahal entrance – those are parrots)
My next shot was a zoom in to snap the parrots in flight. Amazing.
In the end, best lens purchase I have ever made and worth every penny.
Just make sure you change your strap (The under-the-arm 2nd strap for the BlackRapid Sport makes all the difference). I also stopped carrying my camera backpack. Instead I ended up putting a filter, extra battery, a few cards and a lens wipe in a small Tumi bag with my wallet.
Without my backpack, this is actually lighter.