Lens review

Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM

6 July 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

Small dimensions are the first feature that sticks out when you hold the Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM in your hand. For a full frame lens with such parameters, equipped with an USM motor, this instrument is indeed very compact. The following chart, where you can see a comparison between the Canon and its rival competitors with similar properties, proves that point very well. The fact that the Nikkor is bulkier can be explained by its better fastness but, after all, the Sigma offers the same fastness as the Canon and it lacks an HSM motor but still it is heavier and bigger than the tested lens anyway.

Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM - Build quality

Beause of these small dimensions the EF 28 mm f/1.8 is a very pleasant companion of smaller Canon bodies, belonging to the three-digit series. It goes well with a small camera and it makes a very successful tandem in the sense of utility and functionality. I’ve had an opportunity to shoot some photos using the set consisting of a Canon EOS 550D and an EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM and I must admit that while doing so I experienced a very high level of comfort.

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Let’s progress to the build quality now. The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds the rear element. When the lens is set on infinity that element is almost on the same level as the mount, and on passing to the minimum focus it is hidden less than one centimeter inside the barrel. The front element doesn’t move which means the optical system changes its configuration (so the focal length as well) by focusing. As the front element does not rotate you can easily attach some filters to it, which in this case should be 58 mm in diameter.

Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM - Build quality

On the barrel, immediately after the mount and a bit to the left (looking from above), we’ll find a small focus mode switch (AF/MF). Right next to it there is a distance scale window, expressed in both feet and meters. Below the scale we also see depth of field markings for f/22, f/16 and f/8 aperture. Above the scale we encounter a manual focus ring, about one centimeter wide, which has a smooth, well-damped action and allows us very precise settings of parameters we need. Running through the whole scale takes about a 100-degree turn of the ring.

The Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM consists of 10 elements in 9 groups. One element is aspherical and between the fifth and the sixth element we’ll find an aperture with seven blades, which can be closed down to f/22.

Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM - Build quality

Although the tested lens is not a low-end device, its accessory kit is very modest indeed – we get just two caps included in box.

Canon EF 28 mm f/1.8 USM - Build quality