At this stage, in my life, at this age... this is just another stupid entry into my diary about... well you guessed... another lens. It's really ridiculous.

When it comes to my Canon lenses, there is always one focal length missing in the arsenal of lenses. And that is a bright 28 mm lens. A moderate wide, bright lens for reportage when using a Canon camera.


The old Canon EF 28mm f 1.8 USM lens

I do have the Canon EF 28 mm f 1.8 USM lens... but boy, that's an odd boll, to say the least. While it is pretty sharp in the center at wide open aperture - but the sharpness at the borders are abysmal - even when stopped down. And let's not even talk about the extreme corners...

So, it is a small, bright lens - but with mediocre performance. And yet, for reportage in low light, it isn't such a bad lens really. Yet, i fail to get good results with it - perhaps i wasn't really up to the task to prove that.


Per-Olof, Feb 2010

The main image above, from Per-Olof vividly talking to Daniel back in Feb 2010 - it actually one of the few images with the Canon EF 28/1.8 I like !

It has an older character as you can see in the ring-formed blobs of blur in the background (Many photographers feel that this is rather distracting). This behavior was typically seen in Leica lenses from the 70s and 80s by the way. Think of Summicron-M 35/2 "IV" as a classic example !

So, when the subject stands in a distance of 1.5 meters, i like the results very much. Especially when the surrounding light "sculptures" people (instead of flat light). But at infinity, the quality is highly questionable of this 28mm lens. It must be one of Canon's worst EF lenses... (i have not tested that with post-processing á lá Topaz Sharpen AI in order to increase the sharpness)


Yes, it (kind of) works.

In my Diary as a smaller image (1700 pixel length). Maybe even as a main photo (2600 pixel length). Below, both images are post processed with Topaz noise and sharpening software. In the second photo it becomes evident how bad the lens is at the borders, when used wide open. Street lights have strong distortions (large vertical comas visible).

The questions is - when does it matter. And when does it not. The images get away, because the light itself was really interesting, giving the boat for example mystical background. Daytime images with flat light, may not get away with good results at all...


In portraits like Per-Olof

The absolute sharpness across the entire field isn't important important. It just needs to be in the face, on his eyes. Therefore, there is still some usefulness left with the old, bright, small Canon EF 28/1.8 lens.

I believe I have to stop down to at least ƒ4 in order to get reasonable sharpness at the borders of an image. I am now looking for such images in my archive... and see what Topaz Sharpen AI / De Noise AI can do...


MTF chart for Canon EF 28/1.8 USM lens



So, what are the options ?

There is the Sigma ART 28mm f 1.4 lens, with is nearly perfect optical performance (see below) - and i believe it costs around 1100 € here in Sweden. At eBay you can get it for 750 €. However, that lens is a colossus of 1 kilo - really big ! (While the old Canon EF 28/1.8 is tiny in comparison).


7Artisan 28mm f 1.4 Aspherical

There is also a 7Artisan 28mm f1.4 aspherical II lens, with Leica-M mount (as well Sony FE mount), which can easily be adapted to a Canon R6. This is an unusual good lens, for the low price of 450 € - at times even as low as 399 € i saw at Ebay (Sep 2022). Choosing the Leica M version means, you can adapt it to almost all cameras....

This is a strong contender, I must say. I have had my eyes on it, from time to time during the past years. Naturally it is a bigger lens, but by far not as big as the huge Sigma ART 28mm ƒ 1.4 lens.

Then there are of course the newer Canon EF 28/2.8 IS version. Not stellar, only slightly better than the EF 28/1.8 but also 1 1/3 stops slower. Feels somewhat... meh.


Or simply; use what you already got

Another alternative for me is to simply keep the Canon EF 28/1.8 USM. And yes i tried it again and against - but honestly... it just doesn't feel that good. I can't help it - it is still one of the worst EF lenses in existence....

With Topaz Sharpen AI - yes it clear up nicely. Makes it a better lens, so to speak.


Topaz Sharpen AI examples
with the Canon EF 28/1.8 USM lens

It only works well, because 1) the images are smaller, and because of 2) Topaz Sharpen AI software helps, especially when applied selectively (without making the blob-background blur sharper). Yeah, then it works. Ish.


Toblach, Tirol / Italy

This images was taken on 30 March 2010 at aperture ƒ6.3 - and the borders held details albeit not super sharp. However, after Topaz Sharpen AI, it all crispens up beautifully (really !) - and so, yeah - it works.


Light painting at the balcony, Nov 2010

Well here nothing really matters. While I didn't use the lens wide open, but stopped it down to ƒ 3.2 - probably in order to get enough long exposure times in order to make circles with the light. This is an example of non-critical images in terms of sharpness yes/no.

High ISO, handheld, little blurry... ƒ 1.8

In full view the image sucked. But as a smaller image, and post processed with Topaz Photo AI, it actually worked out very well - despite the drop in quality of the lens in the borders. You can still see the distortion of the red lights to the lower left. But frankly, that doesn't matter to me in this case.

So yeah, I really need to re-consider this lens for the purposes I use my images. It is a small lens after all - and compared to an abnormally huge heavy 1 kilo Sigma 28/1.4 lens... i really need to give this funky but small and bright lens a second, no third thought *LOL*


Daniels studio self portraits... ƒ 5.0

Well he seemed to have had fun with this lens - and made a lot of funny, goofy images (i actually like then. In fact, Daniel was a good photographer in many ways, and had an eye for photography... I really love the way he saw upon the world, and how he took images... an inspiration - because he saw things either differently through the camera, executed them differently and thereby inspired me, because it was different compared to my own patterns in photography). OK, this image isn't representative for his skills - but I liked that he goofed around in front of the camera.

Such things ARE very fun to do. The second image was waaaay before the Gay lesbian and Q+ whatever movement pushed their aggressive and estranged agenda as of lately. We simply made these photos because we had - literally - hilarious fun.


2021 self portrait... ƒ 1.8

Here i made a self portrait with the Canon R6 camera together with the EF 28/1.8 USM lens. Quite OK, since the sharpness only needs to be in the face (eyes), while the rest is not important.

In the second photo below - that was just a "blind shot" (better said; crap shot) into the bedroom made with wide open aperture ƒ1.8 - while Sal was busy on his mobile phone, and Tekki resting on the floor. It happens to be the last photo of Tekki alive (9 Sep 2022).

Fine details at aperture ƒ1.8 are all very fuzzy... except at the spot where the sharpness point was set - there things are sharp-ish.


Most likely choice

I will likely one day buy the 7Artisan 28mm f 1.4 with Leica-M mount, and use it also on the Canon. For 399 € it believe it is a splendid choice, despite some weaknesses in that lens (such as flare when bright light sources are in the frame when used wide open at aperture 1.4)

- 151 -