Thursday, July 8, 2010

Buying Blind

The EF 28-70mm f2.8L was Canon's flagship lens that was part of many pro's arsenal, until it was replaced by the ever popular 24-70mm f2.8L.  I happened to own this lens three times over the years, but somehow each time it didn't stay with me for very long.  Perhaps it was because on crop bodies, this focal length seems odd.  I received the last copy few days ago that I purchased from an on-line store, as the price was pretty good and the rating was e++, which should have been almost mint.

It turned out to be a disappointment.  First, the shop didn't pack the lens properly.  The lens was moving inside its box, as some packaging material (the lens bag) that was part of the material to keep the lens tight and secured, was missing.  He could at least put some foam inside to keep the lens from moving around.  Secondly, the lens is nowhere near the e++ rating as stated.  Front group of the lens was wobbly (some screws were probably loose inside), the zoom was not smooth and I could see the jerkiness in the viewfinder when zooming.  The hood couldn't be attached securely.  Cosmetically, you can tell this was a pro's lens that was heavily used. 

First picture I took at f2.8 was soft.  I don't remember my other copies were this bad.  Perhaps it needed calibration.  Regardless, I took it out and shot some test samples.  It was a mixed bag.  The lens is not very sharp until f5.6. From f5.6 on, it was very sharp. There is something wrong with the lens.  However, the colour really pops.

The lens was sent back today.

Perhaps, this lens is not meant for me, or I don't deserve it.

A bit soft at f2.8 -- Canon 7D & EF 28-70mm f2.8L. Click picture to enlarge.

Chinatown -- 7D & EF 28-70mm f2.8L. Click picture to enlarge.


  1. I think its a sign that you need another Planar :)

  2. Oh don't tempt me! Still have the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Planar in QB mount. Too bad it's just slightly shy of infinity focus, but that's one nice lens.

    Have some pictures here taken with it:

  3. I'm a big fan of the 50/1.4. It feels great on my t1i. The C/Y 85/1.4 is the best lens i've ever used. I shoot landscape and its a great focal length on the cropped sensor and is the sharpest lens I know. I'm really looking forward to trying the 100/2 one of these days! :)

    nice to see your lens collection there. I had been wondering what it looked like. What do you think of your pancolar 80/1.8? That is my current dream lens.

  4. The 100/2 would be one lens you will not be disappointed. Darn expensive.

    The Pancolar 80/1.8 was one of my favourite lenses and I used it a lot in the past. It's be neglected lately. It's not a common lens and prone to mechanical failure (aperture), but is worth collecting/buying if you can get it cheap.

  5. Bought a Pentax 85mm f2.8 soft focus lens from them with Excellent rating and when I got it, it had oil at the edges of the glass inside. This is probably a rare occurrence, as it seems everyone likes them.

  6. The nice thing about KEH is that if you don't like it you can send it back with ease. I've had only good experiences buying bargains from them.

  7. @natebarnz, the only problem was that the shipping to Canada was $35 for a $250 lens. Going back would have cost yet more, so I kept it.