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Canon 28mm EF 1.8

Canon’s Mid Ranged Wide Angle

The Canon 28mm EF 1.8 was originally introduced in September of 1995, but continues to be sold today as an additional wide angle option for the EF lineup. Like many others in the original EF lineup, the 28 was created to be shot on film cameras. However, it continues to work on modern DSLRs today; flawlessly. The wider aspect is handy to have for specific shots on a wedding day checklist, but is unlikely to spend a lot of time on the camera.

As wedding photographers, we generally stick with longer lenses for most of our wedding day photos. Longer focal distances (50mm+) tend to render humans in a more flattering way. However, these longer lenses also require that you have more space to move around. The benefit of a wide angle view is that it lends itself better to the photo journalistic portion of wedding day photography, where portraits are not a major requirement and it’s all about the story telling aspect.

At 28mm you can capture a lot of scene at relatively close distances, like a wedding ceremony hall or perhaps a cramped hotel room. For these situations, the wide angle perspective combined with the very fast aperture make for an excellent reportage tool for live events. The autofocus is also quite snappy and rarely do we find situations were the lens searches for focus at all. For what it can give you at the cost it really is a steal that should be considered!

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Tell More Story

While a wide angle lens is not imperative to storytelling, having more perspective can help better serve the scene by providing more. Many brides are seeking out a photojournalistic approach and this lens can be an excellent tool to create exactly that. Paired with its ultrafast aperture, it’s capable of creating an airy and whimsical image even with its wide perspective.

There is often more to story telling than just capturing live moments in wide scenes. Weddings are often as much about the details as the live event! Thanks to the lens’s wide angle perspective and very close 10 inch focusing distance, it can get very close for wedding day details. Details such as bouquets, dinning table spreads, cakes, wedding dress and the myriad of other storytelling elements wrapped up into wedding day decor can be captured with this helpful tool.

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Aging Design and Marginal Sharpness

Getting old is hard, and this lens has certainly been showing signs of its age. When compared with recent wide angle lenses from other manufacturers at the same focal length it’s certainly easy to see its weak rating as a less than desirable option. If you jump over to DXOMark you can see it compared to some other popular EF mount 28s. The lens’s real strength lies in its aging design and its marginal sharpness renderings. Strange as it sounds, these attributes make for a lower price tag and more accessibility to a larger community of photographers. This along with its low weight and small size makes it a favorable option for pros that don’t require a lot of use from their wide angle lens.

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Final Thoughts

If you are in the market for a wide angle lens that’s not a highly used focal distance for your studio, this could be the right tool for the job. The Canon 28mm 1.8 provides a fast aperture, and just as quick autofocus when working natively with any EF mount camera. By no means is it the best performing wide angle and if you are looking to create high-end landscape images this might not be as well suited to your needs. But as a field reporter, its ability to let in lots of light, and focus fast makes it worth carrying along. Its aging design keeps the price at an affordable rate and if you’re looking for an even better deal, many used models can be found on the second-hand market. For storytelling it’s a very powerful tool, especially if you are carrying no other wide angle lenses in your bag.

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*Past Love: We no longer carry this lens in our bag. It’s an ok peice of kit, especially when we were getting started. However, it does suffer from distortions and the color and saturation don’t match our other L lenses as well as we’d like. So we’ve upgrades to the Canon 24mm 1.4 L II and you can read more about it!

More Resources

Are you interested in learning more about this lens? There are lots of great useful resources all of the web to help us photographers achieve our photographic dreams! We have included some of the articles and resources that were helpful for us when researching our own gear purchase.

Canon –  Canon Tech Specs