Canon EF-S 18-135 IS vs. EF 28-135 IS USM

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by DB83, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. DB83

    DB83 TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking to get the Canon 7d by the end of the year. I'm waiting while I gather some more info about it and the lens choices.
    I guess there are 2 options in lenses that come as a part of a kit with the camera:
    Canon EF-S 18-135 IS
    Canon EF 28-135 IS USM

    I know the 28-135 is older. The 18-135 has newer technology. The owner of a camera shop told me that the 18-135 focuses as fast (or at least almost as fast) as the 28-135 IS USM. Is this accurate? How is the picture quality different between the two? I'm leaning towards the 28-135 because it is EF and could potentially be used on a future full frame, but that's several years down the line and there may be new lenses to consider by then.

    If you have tested either (or even better, both) of these lenses, I'd love to know what you thought about them.
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the 18-135 was just launched by Canon Sept 1st. As such, you will have a tough time finding anyone with any extensive time behind the lens to really give a good opinion of it. Even the review sites for Canon stuff haven't posted a review.

    With that said, I personally would give the 18-135mm IS a chance. I like the 28-135mm IS as a walk around lens and I have recommended it many times in the past.. it is a good lens. On the other hand, the newer 18mm-135mm has the new IS good for 4-stops versus the 10 year old design of the 28mm-135mm. The 18mm versus the 28mm focal length is a HUGE difference as well... this is especially true on cropped sensored bodies.

    As for IQ, who knows... its up in the air because of the lens' recent release. I would surmise that it will be similar to the 28-135mm IS.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This is the big point, IMO.

    I would not be satisfied with only 28mm as my widest focal length on a crop sensor camera. I wouldn't be satisfied with only 24mm either.

    I have the EF-S 17-85mm IS, which is basically the EF-S version of the EF 28-135mm. It's a pretty comfortable lens. I also have a Tamron 17-50mm F2.8, which is a 'better' lens...but I love the range and IS on the 17-85mm.
     
  4. DB83

    DB83 TPF Noob!

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    Good point. I'll wait a while to see if some more reviews on the 18-135 come out. I'm not looking to buy until later this year anyways.
     
  5. ErectedGryphon

    ErectedGryphon TPF Noob!

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    If we were talking Full Frame Sensor, I would say 72mm Diameter (28-135) is better than 67mm (18-135), but were talking EF-S so it may not be that big of a difference, since all the glass wont be used anyway. Q: Are you eventually planing on going full frame? With cost coming down on CMOS tech, it may not be long before we see a <$1000 full frame.

    The 18-135 does look plastic, so may be a little more frail, but if you treat all your lenses like you paid $1000 for them, then that won't matter either.

    The main drawback is the non-USM, for quietness, speed and full time manual focus, the 28-135 will shine. Additionally if your a lens toucher, accidental holding the focus ring won't screw up a USM lens.

    P.S. I have the 28-135 so I'm slightly biased, but it was my first USM, once using it I replaced all my non-USM lenses immediately. Once you experience USM the other seem like they are filled with molasses.
     
  6. DB83

    DB83 TPF Noob!

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    Can you explain the full time manual focus on USM lenses?
    I would like to eventually have a full frame camera like the 5d mark II (or at least a future version of it) and I would keep the 7d and just use each camera where it would excel over the other. As for the EF vs. EF-S, yes, it would be nice to have a lens right now that would work on the future FF camera, but it's probably less of an issue only being a $400 dollar lens that is old. I'm sure I will have better lenses before I get a FF camera, or at least be able to find a lens suitable for it.
     
  7. ErectedGryphon

    ErectedGryphon TPF Noob!

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    Full time Manual focus, will let you use the manual focus ring to change your focus, even with the lens set in auto focus mode. Non-USM would strip the focus gears if you try this.

    The EF-S will not work on a 5D mark 1 or 2, the lens body usually goes deeper in the cavity, causing the mirror to strike it and breaking the camera. In addition the care in producing the glass on the EF-S is not as stringent as the EF, the smaller sensor only uses the center of the lens, full frames use more of the glass so they have to be more diligent on the glass production. Thats one reason for the increased prices.
     
  8. ReoFlex

    ReoFlex TPF Noob!

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    I have the new Canon 7D DSLR. I also have both the new efs 18-135mm lens as well as the older ef 28-135mm lens. Today I was testing both and was surprised to find that the newer 18-135mm lens actually focused faster than the older 28-135mm despite the latter having the USM motor. However, the new AF system on the 7D is beautiful. I sold my 40D to get this new camera and am truly happy I did if for nothing other than how fast the new AF system is and how quickly and tightly it locks onto birds in flight. Tomorrow I'll test the two lenses more thoroughly as to focus times and photo quality. Though in my early testing, the older lens did seem to be just a bit sharper. I'll test more thoroughly tomorrow and get back to the forum with my results. I'm an advanced enthusiast in terms of my ability. Hopefully, I'll help you to make a better choice when considering which lens to purchase with this fine new camera.:thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  9. DB83

    DB83 TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking forward to your findings.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't agree with that. The EF-S 17-55mm and the EF-S 10-22mm lenses are very good. Many people say that they are on par with L zoom lenses, in terms of image quality.
     
  11. ReoFlex

    ReoFlex TPF Noob!

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    Okay, here are the results of my own testing of the two lenses on my new Canon 7D. I took a series of photos of various objects in my own back yard. It was about 4pm today, sunny skies, shaded yard. I took about 10 shots of tree bark, statuary, yard art objects, angel statues, etc. As for the focusing, the difference between the two lenses, despite the USM motor on the 28-135mm lens was imperceptible. The 28-135mm IS USM was quieter, however, this didn't seem to me to be an issue. A little quieter, so what? As to picture quality, I was surprised by this. The results were very different from what I had noticed first time I checked out the images. The NEW 18-135mm IS lens blew away the older 28-135 IS USM. The photos were noticeably sharper with leaves, wood, statuary being markedly clearer. The colors, YES, the colors, were far more saturated on the new lens. The difference is vast. The colors from the older 28-135mm IS USM lens were muddy and indistinct by comparison. The colors on the images taken with the new 18-135mm IS lens popped and this even added to the apparent sharpness and distinctness of the objects in the photos. There truly is no real comparison. The Newer Lens is the way to go. It's no contest at all. I compared the images side by side in Adobe Lightroom 2. Looking at the differences... Well, it's time to retire the older 28-135mm lens. My suggestion. Go ahead and purchase the 7D in kit form with the 28-135mm IS USM lens for the extra $200.00. Immediately upon opening the box, take out the lens and put it up for sale on ebay as new, you'll get about $325.00 - $425.00 for it. Put the extra money you make towards the new 18-135mm IS lens and smile! Here's how I tested both lenses: AV setting at f/11, AWB, as jpg images at highest quality settings, all shots taken on a manfrotto tripod. I only wish I was able to post the differences for you to see. What amazed me even more than the sharpness difference was the remarkable difference in color saturation and clarity! Now how this lens will stack up against the new 15-85mm IS USM, I can not say. Will be interesting though. Hope this helps you.:thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  12. DB83

    DB83 TPF Noob!

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    Hmm. I'll do some searching to see if others have the same findings. Not to discredit your work, I just like multiple opinions. As for buying, I think I'd just save myself the hassle and get the kit with the 18-135 for 2000. The 28-135 kit is 1900, and if I sell the lens even for 400, I'd have to spend 500 for the 18-135 anyways so it'll end up being the same.
     

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