I first bought the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Zoom Lens to use with my Canon 10D along with the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM telephoto zoom lens. About three years later I now have a Canon 20D and sold off the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM for a better lens. As for the Canon EF 28-135mm, I still have it and get plenty of use from it.
This is not an L lens, but that is no reason to avoid this lens; no matter what level you shoot at. The construction is sturdy and consists of 16 elements in 12 groups. The focus type is the standard twist zoom, and permits for auto or manual focus depending on how the switch is set.
The Canon EF 28-135mm lens is compact measuring 3.8 inches long and lightweight weighing in at about 1.2 lbs/540 g, and accepts 72mm filters. Since my other lenses accept 77mm filters, I use a step-up adapter ring to limit the number of filters I have when I can. The f/stop ranges from 3.5 - 22 on the short focus range and 5.6-36 on the long with the f/5.6 starting at about 90mm. The closest focusing distance is 20 in/50cm. In addition, the lens has a USM drive mechanism for optimum AF performance, and the pulse control diaphragm (EMD) ensures precise aperture control.
The IS system is composed of a pair of gyro sensors to detect vertical and horizontal motion and a microprocessor that compensates for it by shifting special lens elements in parallel with the perceived movement. It is recommended that the IS be off when shooting on a tripod. I have used the IS on my Bogen 3231 professional monopod with deatchable legs successfully. A monopod is not as stable as a tripod though, with or without the legs. Using the IS, you can obtain sharp pictures two stops below where you normally would. This is a huge advantage in dim light or places where flash is prohibited. Just keep in mind, the IS attempts to eliminate camera movement, not the movement of the subject being photographed.
A distance scale ring sits below the focus ring. Turn the distance scale ring all the way to the left and you are set for low magnification close-up photography. Turn it to the right and you are able to set for infinity compensating for changes in temperature as necessary. The distance scale includes figures in red as an infrared index to use when shooting black and white infrared film. Shooting infrared is not available on all cameras. If this feature is a must, make sure this lens is compatible for infrared photography on your camera body.
The Canon EF 28-135mm includes a 1 Year US Warranty and the front & rear lens caps. The EW-78BII hood and LP1116 soft lens pouch is sold separately. Depending on your set-up, the case may not be that important, but get the hood as it will decrease lens flare and increase metering accuracy. If you use filters, Canon recommends against stacking.
As I add new lenses to my collection, this lens will probably be sold. I don't see myself selling this lens in the next couple of years though. Depending on what subject I am shooting, I get heavy use of this lens. It is a great starter lens at a good starter price with plenty of versatility.
Update: Having come into some cash, I sold this lens May '06 and upgraded to the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens. The 24-105mm was not available when I originally wrote the review of the 28-135mm lens. If the price difference isn't an obstacle, consider purchasing the 24-105mm instead. Otherwise enjoy the 28-135mm lens.
PROS: A compact, lightweight standard IS zoom that can be a workhorse Versatile landscape lens
The Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with Image Stabilization is a very capable, and more importantly, affordable lens,and is perfect for times when you just want to have one lens on the camera but you also want to have a lot of options with your focal range. While you get the benefits of a slight wide to telephoto range in one handy package, you do lose in light stops as you move through the focal range (the maximum aperture stops down as you move toward the telephoto end of the range). This is where … more
The standard lens that accompanies the EOS range is a 18 to 55 mm lens and this really has a limited range. Newcomers will be tempted to buy a larger lens next but this one is the way to go. Yes the ranges overlap, but with the 28-135 mm lens you have all you need when you need it. Capable of landscape to portrait and you will never need to change it. The 28-135 mm will be your primary lens for sure. On a technical note, this lens is the fastest and most silent lens I have … more
Equipped with an Image Stabilizer and high zoom ratio, the Canon EF 28-135mm standard zoom lens delivers sharp, natural-looking pictures virtually ever time. The lens is particularly handy for places where flashes are prohibited, as it excels in dim lighting without requiring a flash or a tripod. Other features include a ring-type USM for swift, silent autofocusing and full-time manual focusing; a close focusing distance of 20 inches; and a maximum aperture of f/3.5 to 5.6. The lens carries a one-year warranty.
Focal length: 28-135mm
Maximum aperture: 1:3.5-5.6
Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 75 to 18 degrees
Focus adjustment: Rear focusing system with USM
Closest focusing distance: 1.6 feet
Zoom system: Rotating type
Filter size: 72mm
Dimensions: 3.1 inches in diameter, 3.8 inches long