Alternative Canon 28mm lenses

I am not thinking of zoom lenses - so i leave those out. Only fixed lenses.

There is a newer lens, the Canon EF 28/2.8 IS USM lens, with image stabilization - but not as bright in aperture. It is good (better) than the ƒ 1.8 version for sure !

The extreme corners still suffer from some lack of sharpness, but sharpen up once you stop down a little bit. It is overall a much better lens, with weaker flaws. This one, reminds me of the EF 35/2 IS USM in size, and the EF 24/2.8 IS. When adapted on a mirrorless Canon RF mount camera, it gets even longer.

There is also an older lens, the EF 28/2.8 - which is a sleeper lens given it's low second hand price, optically slightly behind the newer IS version, but better than the EF 28/1.8 lens.

I just saw it for 100-120 € on the eBay second hand market.

Yeah, it has somewhat noisy kind of AF, but remains a decent performer. If you are on a low budget, and know how to do magic out of decent good lenses - then yes - it definitely opens up a wealth of new lenses for very little money. Why not - it is actually often a better idea these days. Not everything has to be the latest and "greatest".



Canon RF 28/2.8 STM

The very latest version, is the SUPER TINY incarnation of a 28mm fixed focal lens. It has just been released on the market, summer 2023. The RF 28/2.8 STM pancake lens. When i heard about it together with the special lens elements being used... i got very curious, to say the least.

It is of course not a speed demon - being 1.3 stops slower compared to the EF 28/1.8 lens - but razor sharp, super slim, and absolutely tiny. Today's cameras can deal with higher ISO, especially with the newest free Adobe RAW Denoise AI, you can literally troll away most of the high ISO noise (and that works often impressive well !)



Butterfly plastic lens elements

This latest "invention" from Canon are specially plastic molded, butterfly shaped lens elements. Canon claims that these give much better performance in the corners. After all - most pancake lenses tend to suffer in the extreme borders !

I was really impressed from what I have seen this far: At "The Digital Picture" you find a lengthy description of the Canon RF 28/2.8 STM lens).

Also there, you visually see the optical performance (link to the RF 28/2.8 STM here) and compare them directly with most other lenses your choice. At any aperture, to see how it performs in the center, at the borders, and in the extreme borders.

Very interesting to say the least. It gives you a direct feedback of the resolution / optical performance between lenses.

The green show the plastic molded, off shaped lens elements in the RF 28/2.8 STM lens


Damn, Canon pulled it off !

The Canon RF 28/2.8 STM is sharp - even wide open at ƒ2.8, even the borders ! The extreme corners have a slightly weaker performance - but sharpen up once you stop down. It's appears to me that Canon created the optical performance of any 28mm (fixed) lens Canon ever made.

Kudos !

Optical Limits own tests, show that the sharpness is at very high levels, no matter where; center, near center, border or extreme borders - regardless aperture.

Well, that settles it for me. tested the lens


So. I ordered it.

Times have changed - and "cheap" lenses ain't cheap anymore. In Sweden, the new lens costs 4490 SEK, around 409 €, plus adding an extra lens hood for 40 € = all together around 449 € with today's currency converter exchange rate.

In the US it costs $ 299 (without tax). In Europe with tax, it think it is around 369-400 €.


The fantastic use of lens hoods
vs stupid use of optically degrading filters on a good lens

I am a lens hood guy - so i ordered one - as there was no cheaper China version available yet. These things usually take time, around 6-12 month.

And because most stores didn't have it in stock - but one did - i ordered one. I just LOVE lens hoods. The performance of a lens with an (effective) lens hood simply is much better.


Images with veiling glare - often suck !

Additionally, i have already seen photos where the stray light did affect the images that has been shown off with the Canon RF 28/2.8 STM lens... and it sucked, to be honest. A LOT.

Because - i don't know what's up with photographer performers in the world, when they show off their junk - most of them simply don't use a lens hood - and then show you images with the hazy glare across images. WTF ?!

Well, no shit Sherlock. Of course it will all get mush in the image when the sun hits shallow lens elements, without lens hood on it.

This CAN be used deliberately, in portraits with a special veiling glare, giving an airy summery feeling. But in other photos, it just looks... well, bad amateur style, Sorry all YouTube "Pro" dudes. It still sucks to show off such images.


Canon lens hood EW-55


If we talk about lens hood in general

It serves both against stray light, AND absorbing bumps ! Plastic lens hoods are better in that regard, compared to metal lens hoods.

However in case of the tiny RF 28/2.8 lens hood - it is really just for protecting the image from stay light. You will hardly bump into such a tiny lens... but rather into the camera itself *LOL*


My thinking behind the RF 28/2.8 lens

When a lens performs this good at wide open aperture at ƒ2.8 - on top of being of moderately wide angle - AND very small: Then that is a wonderful combination for street photography. On-the-fly shots. Reportage style. You are not in the face of people.

Together, EOS R6 + RF 28/2.8 STM are transformed into an extremely small package. Also way smaller than an adapted 35/2 IS lens, or the bulkier 24/1.4 II lens on it. Even smaller than an adapted EF 40/2.8 pancake lens on the camera.

An Everywhere-to-go-lens ! A splendid summer reportage lens.

I like that very much.


A matter of Size ?

I found three images on the internet, which can give a hint of the relative size in lenses:

1 • Canon EOS R camera, plus the humongous, very expensive (3900 €), 1.5 kilo heavy 28-70 mm f 2.0 L lens...

2 • Pancake EF 40/2.8 lens mounted with an adapter on an Canon EOS R camera

3 • The new Canon RF 28/2.8 STM lens on an (i assume) EOS R100 (1.6x) crop factor camera. (Resulting into rather boring 45mm focal length). The camera itself is tiny - even smaller than usual EOS R type of cameras (such as EOS R, R6, R5)

EOS R type of camera with RF 28-70/2.0 L


EOS R with EF 40/2.8 lens and R adapter


EOS R100 (?) with pancake RF 28/2.8 STM lens

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