Well, I haven't owned this lens in a couple years, but after someone favorited a photo taken with it on Flickr, it reminded me that I never wrote a review before I sold it. If you do some reading on the internet, you'll see many different opinions about this lens. The majority of the reviews complain about this lens being soft, but I'm here to hopefully prove that wrong.
First off, let's talk about size and build quality. It's small, light, and fairly solid. Metal mount with sturdy plastics for the construction. It's small size and weight makes it wonderful for street photography. It fits nicely in most jacket pockets, unlike the Canon 35mm f/1.4L or 24mm f/1.4L. Most of the time I would pair this with a 50mm lens, allowing for quick swapping of lenses on the street. Although it is not weather-sealed, I've used this lens many times in light rain without any issues.
While the lens doesn't come with a lens hood out of the box, it does have a rectangular plate behind the front element to reduce flair and ghosting. How much it actually does, I have no idea, but I never had too much problem with lens flair. A lens hood is available from Canon for extra money. I bought one, but most of the time, I never used it as it just made the lens bigger.
So let's talk about the sharpness issue that some people bring up. Yes, it is not as sharp wide open as it is stopped down. That's also true of most lenses. From about f/2.8 and smaller, sharpness is even across the frame with good detail. At larger apertures, it does take a small hit in sharpness on the far outside corners, but it really isn't too bad. The center wide open sill remains sharp with great detail. Wide open at f/1.8 is more than usable and looks great. Having that flexibility and extra light can be critical for low light photographs.
Stopped down, things of course get nice and sharp. Very little vignetting and beautiful color rendition.
Fast apertures on wide angle lenses. If you aren't shooting low light, why would it matter? Environmental portraits with subject isolation. Getting shallow depth of field on wide angle lenses can be difficult, especially since most are f/2.8 or smaller. There's some vignetting wide open, but I've always been a fan of it and the way it can focus the viewer's attention.
Let's talk about auto focus. It's actually pretty good. I never shot sports with it as normally a wide angle lens isn't super useful for it, however It was always responsive for street photography and live music. Snappy, quiet, and accurate thanks to it's ultrasonic motor. Like all USM motors, it allows for full-time manual focus override.
There are some the alternatives as I mentioned earlier. Canon 35mm f/1.4L or Canon 24mm f/1.4L. Sigma also makes a 24mm and 35mm, both of which are f/1.4. Of course, these lenses are larger and much more expensive. If size or money is an issue, than the 28mm is a better option at half to a quarter to a third of the price of a fast 24mm or 35mm from either Sigma or Canon. The Canon 28mm f/1.8 can be found on the refurbished market for about $400, and new for closer to $500. A fast 24mm or 35mm can range from $900-1500. There is also the Canon 35mm f/2 of which there are 2 versions, the first with terrible auto-focus, and the second for a lot more money, but with image stabilization.
Now we come to the end, or at least closer to it. I used the 28mm as my main wide angle lens for a couple years, then I bought the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM II. I simply needed a faster lens. Of course the 24mm is wider, and for some situations was too wide. So I bought the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, which became my new favorite wide angle lens. So then I was "stuck" with 3 fast wide angle lenses, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm. I realized that out of those lenses, I wasn't using the 28mm anymore as my shooting style changed. I preferred the speed benefits of the 24L and 35L, and the majority of the things I photographed, size and wieght didn't matter. Shortly before moving to Dallas from Bloomington, IN, I sold the 28mm. (hence why all the photos are from Bloomington).
In summary, the Canon 28mm f/1.8 USM is a great lens, but if you've got the money and aren't set on 28mm focal length, the Canon and Sigma versions of 24mm f1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 are better. If you need the low light advantage, that 2/3rds of a stop can make the difference.
Katie and I headed to Shreveport, LA and Caddo Lake in Uncertain, TX for the Fourth of July. Had a blast checking out some antique stores, the small towns, and the lake was beautiful.
While we were down there, brought the Mamiya M645 1000S and shot a couple rolls of film. In addition, Katie and I did a short travel blog combined with a small review of the Mamiya M645 1000S. At some point I might go and do a more in depth review on it, as well as on some other cameras. This was essentially just a kind of test run. Check out the video below, as well as some of the photos of the area!
Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip.
As far as film equipment goes, I brought along the Mamiya M645 1000S, the Mamiya-Sekor 45mm f/2.8, the Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/1.9, and the Mamiya-Sekor 210mm f/4.0. Shot 3 rolls of film. One roll of Kodak Portra 400, one roll of Fujifilm Pro 400H, and one roll of Kodak Ektar 100. Out of the films, Portra is my favorite for it's warm tones. Ektar is my second favorite because of its very unique color rendering. The Fuji Pro 400H is nice, but is fairy flat in color compared to the other film stocks.
Overall, it was a really great trip. The small towns are really quite lovely, and Caddo Lake was very beautiful. I plan on doing some more video reviews at some point covering the Hasselblad 1000F, and a 1933 Rolleiflex TLR.
I had the pleasure of taking one of my colleagues daughter's graduation photos. Here are some of my favorites from the day!
I had a wonderful time photographing Rebecca & Jeff's wedding last month at White Rock United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Here are some of my favorite photos from their day.
As some of you may know, I have a thing for unique cameras. About a year ago, I wrote a blog post on the Epson R-D1, the worlds first digital rangefinder camera released in 2004. I don't get the chance to use it as often as I'd like, but when a friend of mine asked me to do some street photography in Dallas, I knew which camera I was taking.
For those of you who don't remember, this camera is pretty ridiculous. 6 megapixels, limited ISO range, terrible dynamic range, 2 frame buffer, manual focus, manual shutter advance, etc... It seems like a pretty terrible camera. However, the experience of shooting one of these cameras is quite unique, as it feels and handles like a film camera. Even with all the "limitations", this camera still produces wonderful photos. Here are some of my favorites, all taken with the Voigtlander Super Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical on the Epson R-D1s. (One of these days, I'll write a full review on this amazing lens)