Way way way back and the beginning of my professional photography career, I was looking for the best all around do anything lens to have on the camera and just leave there. Something that would work for all circumstances and I wouldn’t be left wanting a different lens for the shot all the time. It was then that I first spied the Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM Lens on B&H photo. Yup you read that right, it was a zoom that went from 28mm wide all the way to 300mm in a L series Professional lens! Well I said to myself other than the 3000+ dollar price tag, what is not to love! This could be the one lens that I would have on the camera and just be good for everything right!?

Well not quite… It is a SLOW ass lens at f/5.6 on the long end and being that back then we were shooting dark weddings in dimly lit banquet halls with cameras that had useable ISO’s that really topped out about the same as film at ISO1600. So if f/2.8 was hard shooting then f/5.6 was just not going to cut it.

So this ‘almost’ perfect lens was left to sit in the wishlist and I instead spent the next 12+ years slugging about 2 camera bodies one with a 24-70 and the other a 70-200 (or some variation of basically those lenses) but I was always wondering about the possibilities of shooting with an everything and the kitchen sink focal length lens.

Well Fast forward almost 20 years and not only do we have cameras that have useable ISO’s of 10quadrillionbillionzillion coupled with the fact that I long long long ago retired from shooting all those dark weddings in all them poorly lit banquet halls. Maybe now that Doogie is at the Leica Hospital for who knows how long it might be time to dust off ye’olde Canon Camera and pick me up a used 28-300 from some fine gentleman on the internet?

This lens is a beast, but not in a wholly untenable way. It is slightly smaller the the 70-200 IS but I think it is a hair heavier. After using it for the past few days I would have to say that it isn’t to shabby in the optical department either.

Two photos taken one after the other in the same location with the two extremes in terms of focal length
Two photos taken one after the other with the Canon EF 28-300mm IS USM L in the same location with the two extremes in terms of focal length

Let’s be fair it isn’t some super sharp prime lens in terms of quality, but having ‘rented’ some from London drugs it is certainly not the shit quality of the cheap Sigma versions of this focal range. I mean it is still an L series lens after all. I think that the first thing I was super impressed with was the super close minimum focus. It has an impressive 70 cm Minimum focus distance which at the 300mm end of things makes this almost a macro lens.

Two photos taken one after the other with the Canon EF 28-300mm IS USM L in the same location with the two extremes in terms of focal length
Two photos taken one after the other with the Canon EF 28-300mm IS USM L in the same location with the two extremes in terms of focal length

I have thus far been impressed with the photos and I have been super happy with the one lens to rule them all aspect of it. Being that 90% of the photos I take are out and about in the daytime outside in the world the f/5.6 hasn’t been an issue really and the Usable ISO’s on the Mark IV are pretty damn high (at least as compared to my Mark II of yesteryear) so time will tell if it is too slow I suppose. I think that this will come more into play if I am to use this lens for filming on the Ursa Mini Pro for example with it’s circa 2003 era ISO ranges but thus far It has been great for a walk about lens.

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