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Saturday, 11 February 2012


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...can't help but wonder why they didn't put the IS in the "L" 24mm instead of this one, seems like they'll be each other's competition...and why no "gold leaf" pattern on this lens...I like that they're maintaining the "stealth" look of the lens.

If that 28 is optically decent, I might be a customer - makes for a useful 45mm-e on APS-C (28mm is way too wide for me) and I regularly handhold into tripod territory. I own the old version but it doesn't really give me decent results on digital.

Well, I'm very much interested in getting the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 - it's a nice and tiny and very sharp lens, and at slightly over 300€, I'm glad that at least Olympus has the IS in the bodies...

Indeed these are full-frame lenses, but when used on crop sensors, they come very close to the 35mm and 50mm standard primes. And you have pointed out on many occasions that with modern high-iso sensors, f2.8 is pretty fast, making these into two medium-fast standard primes, with IS, for crop-sensor cameras.

A modern Rebel with the 24mm and a 50mm f1.4 would be I nice lightweight budget alternative to the kit you prescribed George a while ago.

I've only been shooting seven years and have never owed a 28mm prime. I've got a 35mm f/1.4 L , 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8 and a 135 f/2.0 L. I can't see the 35mm being updated anytime soon but was hoping the 50mm would be. Fine lens as it is, it does hunt for focus in tough light

I guess a 28 would sit better in my set up that the 35mm does, but it's a hard lens to part with.

They're committed to IS in everything...except the $2299 24-70 they just announced. Very strange.

In response to your double star note: As a photographer who came to photography via digital (and now plays with both film and digital), while I don't own a 28mm prime at f/2.8, my standard lens on my Canon 7D is a 24-70 f/2.8. And of the OM lens I have for my OM1, it's the 24mm f/2.8 that's nearly always attached to the camera. But I guess I'm the exception that might prove your rule.

And, yes, I sat up with real interest when I read about these two new lens.

Excellent news for Canon users indeed. Hopefully other brands will follow suit. A Nikon 24/2.8 VR is very high on my wish list.

I wonder if those two little wide primes have anything to do with an upcoming mirrorless system. They have rather useful focal lengths on APS-C.

The 24-70 I have exceeds any practical need for sharpness and resolution. The numbers are impressive on this new version, but it is moe expensive for little practical advantage. Glad Canon keeps innovating, though.

Canon should make two versions of new 24-70, one with IS for those who need IS more than small size.

Obviously, as many things, the two different options (in-body and in-lens stabilisation) have pros and cons. But there is one pro of the in-lens stabilisation that I always find overlooked: they can work (miracles) on film cameras.
With digital modern bodies, we can "stabilise" by increasing ISO and by shooting several frames that Photoshop would eventually merge as a MEAN stack. However, this technique is obviously horrible for film shooters, and in-lens stabilisation is the only marvel available.
Am I the only one left shooting with EOS-5 and EOS-1N bodies together with EF IS lenses? I honestly do not think so! I really like this new 28mm

May I ask if there's any lag-time (even an instant) between shutter press and IS activation? How does IS respond to subjects that require panning (birds in flight, athletes in the field, excited kids, chaotic settings, etc.)? My reason for asking is that SR failure seems like a convenient excuse for haphazard technique, or not really knowing the limits of one's gear. Even with all the camera/lens refinements available today, more often than not, an eye, raw skill and experience seem all that's needed to get the shot.

I'm on board with the first manufacturer to provide kid stabilization, preferably body-integrated.
But seriously, I bought my first DSLR a few years ago (Canon XSI) and picked up the 28mm prime because it worked out just wide of 50mm with the crop factor. Made sense to me, but everyone else who picks up my camera just asks me where the zoom is.

Canon's latest lens announcements seems to hint at a very high resolution 5DmkIII - wanting to boost their lens lineup with optics that can delivery for modern sensors.

I wish Nikon would update their 28 focal length with a "G" series. For some reason a 28 resonates with me much more than a 24 or 35.

I think it's conventional wisdom that IS isn't needed for wide lenses mainly because Canon and Nikon haven't made wide lenses with IS. If you use a wide lens hand-held in dim light on a camera with in-body IS it quickly becomes apparent that IS helps. There are many situations where use of flash or a tripod would spoil the opportunity to get an interesting image or are simply out of the question.

One thing I don't understand, having used Pentax and Canon DSLRs, is why Canon doesn't build in some kind of switch to deactivate IS automatically when you activate MLU or self-timer. I have lost many shots because I forgot to deactivate IS before making a long exposure on a tripod.

I used to shoot almost exclusively with an OM-1 and Canon's 28 mm lens back in the early 80s. Having gotten back into photography in the last decade, I have always dreamed about that 28 mm lens. So, count me in that camp.


And wouldn't you know that just a few weeks ago I bought both the older 20mm f/2.8 and 28mm f/1.8 primes. Good news is that I got both for the price of a single one of the new lenses. I think the lenses are fast enough that I don't need IS.

One of these on an APS-C camera would be a fun lens for those of us who like moderately wide primes. I'd be torn between the two -- a 26mm would have been perfect!

As things stand, I don't know whether I will end up with the new Canon 24mm on my 40D or the new Sigma 19mm on a mirrorless Olympus of some kind. It will all hinge on the quality of the bokeh. In recent years, Sigma has been ahead in that regard but Canon also has at least one lightweight prime that I like (the 85mm f/1.8), so these two new lenses look promising.

Either "entry level" has changed definition, or I'm getting old (probably the old part), but it seems to me that camera makers like Canon have fewer and fewer "affordable" lenses in their line. If you want a prime these days, you either have to buy used, or pay out the nose for the latest gee-whiz versions of the lenses.

What is "SR?"

Could it be that we're going to see continued interest in new prime lenses as digital sensors reach and surpass the resolving ability of even high-end zooms?

Now that Canon is offering a 24 and a 28 with IS, it's getting harder and harder to accept the explanation that there is no need for it it the 24-70.

Jim - "Canon have fewer and fewer "affordable" lenses in their line."

Depends - if you are using full frame, and like primes

85mm f1.8
50mm f1.4 or incredibly cheap f1.8
35mm F2

Makes a nice line-up and won't break the bank. Means you can maybe splash out on a 5D - and want require physiotherapy if you carry them around all day..

"What is 'SR?'"

Shake Reduction, Pentax's name for image stabilization. Nikon's is VR, for Vibration Reduction, and Sony's is SSS, for Super Steady Shot.


What surprised me most about these lenses is that they're f/2.8. I'd be insulted if I were a Canon shooter; for this price they should be f/2. It's not like IS is ground-breaking technology that needs its R&D costs to be recovered anymore.

The perpetual,unfathomable stupidity of camera manufacturers: IS in short focal lengths but not in the new and improved 24-70. WTF?


"SR" is short for shake reduction - Pentax's version of VR (vibration reduction), IS (image stabilization), etc.

BTW, as far as turning SR on and off with the Pentax K-5, I was very disappointed when I upgraded from the K10D to the K5 to find out that the external SR on-off switch was eliminated and that with the K-5 one has to menu dive to turn off SR. This is actually my biggest irritation with the K-5, because I run into this every time I use it.

A couple notes:

1. Any IS system, lens or in-body, can cause IQ issues at high shutter speeds. The issue is the sampling rate of the microcontroller that controls the IS system. It's typically sampling around 1KHz, so it takes a reading every millisecond and adjusts based on that. But when you're shooting at high shutter speeds (over 1/1000) the entire shutter cycle can occur between IS cycles so you lose the benefit of IS and also the IS system might be doing the wrong thing at that time.

2. The low resolution of the KM7D can hide this somewhat as the error may not shift things outside of the relatively large pixel well. Higher MP bodies stress everything in the optical chain harder, including IS systems. It's not that the K20D or K-7 have less effective IS systems, in fact theirs is more effective than the KM7D, but their higher resolution shows the IS system's warts when the KM7D can't.

@BIll Mitchell,

SR=shake reduction

These small lenses would - to me - not make much sense on one of the pretty large current FF Canons. So are they brewing on a FF digital AE-1 or similar ??

f/2.8 is too slow for a prime to be of any interest in the normal-and-wider range. To me there's no point, my zooms cover that range at that aperture.

Especially with IS. What WERE they thinking? I see adding IS to a lens this slow as plain stupid.

@Bill Mitchell: SR is Pentax' term for image stabilization. Just another name. VR, IS, OS, SR, all refer to the same concept.

As to the lens, I love using 28mm on my APS-C camera. It's a great length for candid shooting indoors, as I like things a bit wide when shooting. Now, if only Pentax would update and release an AF version, I'd use that quite a bit.

Thom Hogan explains IS, er VR, here:


You are right. It should be turned off when you don't need it because of the cycle rate. It can make your image worse.

I really wish these lens were priced around $500 street or less. Makes it really hard to really consider these since I already own a 24-105 and these lens are f/2.8.

What I'm hoping for: Canon is perfecting their design/manufacturing development process using these two wide angles and will update the rest of the Canon non-L lineup. As much as I love the 35L and 85L, they are so big, that I plan on still holding onto my 35/2 and 100/2 for times where I want to go really small/light. It's a pity that the 35/2 and 100/2 have ancient AF systems without full time manual focus.

"How many photographers new to the medium in the past decade own a 28mm ƒ/2.8.."

I have one of those (Pentax) "K" 28mm f/3.5 lenses. Makes a nice wide-normal on a crop body, as long as focus speed is not an issue(!)

It's great to see a modern 28mm though, very useful focal length.

These two lenses are intriguing. I was just telling someone that if Canon wanted to own the market they should make 24, 35, 50, and 85mm f2.0 stabilized primes and sell 'em at 1k a pop.

These lenses are a stop slower than that, but I think they show the same thinking. For video work, these are definitely gonna be go-to lenses.

I really hope Canon give us a 50/2.0 IS. I would order that in a heartbeat.

Where's my updated 35/2.0, that's what I want to know.

Not very impressed with f2.8 primes unless they have taken the opportunity to significantly upgrade the optical performance - which would be an interesting development.

Truly outstanding f2.8 primes, plus a new 5D3 with even more megapixels, and we might be seeing a combination worth having.

I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in the post, and after all these comments, only James has really mentioned it...

There is a reason why IS is being introduced in wide angles at this time and why it can be done at a premium... video. It wasn't necessary for still images, but becomes quite necessary when shooting motion video for obvious reasons.

Not very impressed with f2.8 primes unless they have taken the opportunity to significantly upgrade the optical performance "

Judging from the MTF charts they have...in trumps! Let's hope they keep the momentum going and revisit some more of their primes. Optics of this standard could see my M9 on Ebay!

On the IS/VR/SR etc front, and leaving aside the issue of cost, is it generally better to perform the IS in a lens, or in the body? Does either give better results?

Clearly, with a body-based solution you may get cheaper lenses but run the risk of a single point of failure. With lens-based IS you increase the complexity and probably the cost of lenses, but have IS available in other lenses if it fails in one.

There is a reason why IS is being introduced in wide angles at this time and why it can be done at a premium... video. It wasn't necessary for still images, but becomes quite necessary when shooting motion video for obvious reasons

How a lens without any aperture ring can be designed with video in mind ... Come on ...
And for amateur video (no aperture ring) and "electronic" (software emulated) stabilization works great - all SONY SLT cameras use it in movie mode.

Canon has a few lowish cost high performance lenses , the 100mm f/2 is about my favorite.

Canon has historically been weak with their wide angle lenses compared to their telephotos. "Canons are for tennis photographers, Nikons are for riot photographers"

If this means that Canon is finally going to get their act together with wide angle lenses, that's a very good thing.

The sharpest lens on my 5DII is a manual focus Nikkor 28 2.8 AIS (When it's on a good , focus to infinity at the lens's hard stop adapter. On a focus past infinity adapter it's not so good on account of the floating element) Of course at a 30th of a second the 28mm lens is much sharper on a NEX 3 or the 5DII in live view mode than it is on the 5DII in flopping mirror mode

I was really disappointed with the Pentax k10 in-body image stabilization. If you released the shutter abruptly without holding it down for a while first, the images were much more blurred than without the stabilization. Since for me the whole point of getting the camera was to be able to do low light grab shots, having to wait for the camera to settle down sort of made it all pointless.

I absolutely love my 24mm 2.8. I love the angle and I love the look it produces. It can do wonderful stuff. But it suffers pretty badly from wave distortion, which is impossible to correct in lightroom or photoshop. And since I like photographing straight lines, depending on the performance, I'm a buyer for the new lens. Thank you Canon!

(I'd love to get the Tilt/Shift version, but I doubt a 5D mark III and a 24mm tilt/shift will fit my budget..)

Just a point about not using IS at the other end of the scale, and in particular on a tripod. Many later lenses are tripod sensing and should be fine when the camera is tripod mounted. Indeed, in windy conditions half way up a mountain it can be very useful, but for very long exposures you should turn it off. I haven't found where the threshold is, but certainly for things like night photography where exposures exceed one minute turn the IS off or you will get really unsharp images (or at least I did in my tests).

now that canon has my attention, the fact that they don't release lens roadmaps has become irksome. ha! =)

Remains to be seen what compromises Canon had to make to fit IS in these lenses.

Wouldn't it be a simple matter for Canon to have a camera setting "max shutter speed with IS"?

The camera can then turn off the IS when shutter speed is high enough that IS might make things worse. Solves Mike's problem of turning it off and on.

The setting could be lens-dependent, so you set it for each lens, like the cameras can now do for lens focus fine tuning.

I'm new to photography (within the last decade) and consider the 28mm equivalent as the ideal street and casual indoor event focal length for me.

I don't like the look of 35s (middle distance blah) or 24s (a little too wide). And while with current high ISO capabilities an f/2.8 is pretty fast, my biggest wish is for more f/2 and faster 28s.

I started shooting maybe 8 years ago. 28mm, 50mm and 100mm primes were the first lenses I bought, and still use.

Thank you for posting this. After seeing the new pricing I am pulling my Canon EF 28mm 2.8 from a sale listing at FM. Used price should only go up, and I can't afford any of the new prime IS models.

Few random points.

1. The mere news that Canon is introducing new lenses, be it new version of their flagship L-series zoom or these lenses is just brilliant. The more the better.

2. Personally, being a Pentax user, I have a bit of my own share of doubts regarding the in-lens image stabilization. It may have to do with a number of QC issues Pentax had recently, but it seems to me that image stabilized lenses require more precise manufacturing and quality control process. Also, the failure of IS mechanism can be subtle in a sense that it may show some times (as opposed to always) only thereby making one's life miserable.

3. I leave SR on as a matter of course. I shoot mostly hand-held and I am aware that the mere fact that I shoot hand-held makes my photographs less sharp. K-5 is actually quite sharp enough for my purposes and the readiness of SR mechanism is almost instantaneous (unlike K-7, where some waiting was in order). But then again, with proper technique and proper learning of the camera these things can be put to advantage.

4. Still I think that a proper mirror-less camera with leaf shutter (is it the right term of the shutter that is not like that in SLR) is favorable to various image stabilization mechanisms. So may be new offerings on the market (no matter by which maker) will prove interesting.

5. Ultimately I think that USD 800 for slowish 24/2.8 and/or 28/2.8 is a bit too much to ask. Let's hope their manufacturing and QC will be perfectly and absolutely flawless.

"I'm glad it's not cheaper—if I were in the market for it, I'd rather have an incrementally better lens than an incrementally cheaper one."

Johnston, you radical. Get with the US mainstream! Start to "know the price of all things and the value of none." In other words, become a Walmart shopper. :-)

PS I checked Wallyworld's Web site. No Canon primes offered there.

"Where's my updated 35/2.0, that's what I want to know."

Me too. I think it's odd that Canon hasn't produced a high quality, APSC-specific "normal" lens.

I use the 35/2.0 on my Canons, and it's just OK. Wish there was a better one, the same size or smaller.

It's funny, because as several others have noted, the 28 mm focal length should be more popular among APS-C sensor users than it is. It's very close to the diagonal of the APS-C sensor (very nearly 43 mm-e on my Pentax) and as such, very useful as a standard lens.

I chose to invest a somewhat forgotten member of the Sigma lens lineup, and a rare beast indeed: a fast 28. I am very happy with my 28/1.8 EX Macro; I find it is almost the perfect walk-around lens -- not too long, not too short, fast enough, close-focusing -- except for its pretty imposing size... Can't have it all, I guess.

If I was a Canon owner, for both full-frame or APS-C, I'd say this is great news. Ever since I've bought my 24/2 for my Pentax K-5, that's stayed on the camera more or less 90% of the time (it's about 35mm-e on APS-C).

On the brightness issue: I think that would be offset by the size and weight of the lens.

I guess what I'm saying is, I wish Pentax made these!!


28mm would be pretty 45mm-e on most Canon SLRs. That's pretty much a normal prime, to compare to my 25mm (50mm-e) f/2.8 Olympus. Which costs a quarter of what this costs. Another comparison would be the famous Panasonic 20mm (40mm-e) f/1.7, which costs less than half of this.

Clearly this is designed to be a wide(ish) prime for full frame cameras, not a normal for their crop-sensor line. So what (if anything) are Canon planning for the 90% (or more) of their customers that use crop-sensor cameras?

Regarding in-body vs. lens IS, I think when tested the average lens system has some advantages, but in-body systems vary a lot. My E5 in-body IS is much better than my Oly 620 in-body IS (which is the same as the fist Pens). One advantage to the in-body approach (besides the every-lens one) is that when you upgrade the body, our new norm, you might get upgraded IS too (for every lens) as with the new OM-D.

What synchronicity. I have just been given a Tamron 28mm f/2.5 and been offered a Pentax K and Canon FD versions as well!

You mention how we used to drown in 28mm lenses and also mention Vivitar... well, I have been cataloguing each Vivitar 28mm that will fit on a Pentax camera, hence limiting myself to T-mount, M42, and K-mount. The Vivitar Bestiary contains a "mere" 38 variants here:

And, yes, they are all stabilised on a Pentax body. :-)

I hope the Canon continues to produce the original 28/2.8, because it's a very good budget standard lens for APS-C cameras (45mm-e, sensor diagonal 27mm). I have one and I recognise its flaws, but there's a lot to like. Reviews say that outside the centre it's significantly sharper than the 28/1.8, not that sharpness is the only standard by which lenses should be measured.

Without the original 28/2.8 there will be no budget 28mm AF prime for Canon, to the best of my knowledge, and Canon will alienate the advanced-photographer-with-skinny-wallet market.

Here's a snap with the 28/2.8 at 2.8:

Late to the comments. Sad to hear the 28mm is a vanishing breed. One of my all-time fave lenses (despite polls saying the 35mm is far more popular). 28mm has always been my "go "anywhere lens"--if I head out the door with just one camera and one lens, it's usually a fast 28mm....

One of my favorite 35mm lenses of the 1970s was a Pentax (Takumar?) 24mm f2. Sharp as a tack and large. A great piece of glass.

"And don't forget that Canon wasn't a leader in those days—it was back in the pack with Pentax and Oympus and Minolta."

Mike, can you please write a post on how the camera industry has evolved throughout the years? It would be very informative for the younger Gen Y audience of your blog. I for one didn't know that Canon was once behind Nikon. Does it mean that in 2012 lingo, Canon was once the micro 4/3 of the industry?

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