If I Could Only Have One Lens, It Would Be the 28-70 f/2
Remember a couple of weeks ago, we released a video detailing why the 24-70 and 70-200 are the first two lenses you should buy? If you recall, I mentioned that I hated the 24-70 as a focal length – even though it’s one of the most versatile lenses for my line of work, it isn’t what I typically grab for portrait sessions. Well, I’m going to eat those words now, because there’s a new sheriff in town that has completely changed my mind about a lens of this focal length. In this video, I’m going to tell you why the new Canon RF 28-70 f/2L is my new favorite lens.
This is one of the first professional RF lenses to really prove to us what the new RF mount is capable of. What we’re getting are lenses that have brought the glass far closer to the actual sensor. I am excited to see a whole new series of glass in the next coming months/years.
I’ve been shooting with this lens for several months now, ever since the release of the Canon EOS-R, and I’m pretty much set on removing every other lens from my kit. I’m actually dead serious. In fact, it’s so good that on my last few portrait sessions, 90% of my images were taken solely with this lens. Here are the primary reasons why I fell in love with the Canon RF 28-70.
1. Depth of Field
We’re getting a variable lens range at f/2 instead of f/2.8, that alone is something worth celebrating. As a zoom lens that shoots at f/2 w/ a 9 blade aperture, you can accomplish wonderful depth and background whether shooting zoomed or wide. It gives us silky smooth bokeh at a variety of focal lengths, essentially eliminating the need for carrying around multiple prime lenses that fall into this focal length range.
2. Sharpness & AF
These new RF professional lenses are designed to resolve incredible amounts of detail, I’m talking about 100MP and beyond. On top of that, it’s tack sharp wide open. That should be a foreshadow of what Canon has in store for this next generation of cameras because the EOS-R and the EOS-RP can’t fully take advantage of this yet, which means we’ll be seeing some mirrorless megapixels monsters very soon. And to be honest, it’s about time they catch up to their competitors in the mirrorless market.
3. Image Quality & Performance
There is something about the way this lens renders a scene that is hard to put into words, so I will just show you.
The reason why I disliked the 24-70 so much is that I felt like it lacking in so many areas. I had to use every other component of compositional theory to make my images more interesting because the lens didn’t assist the image. The Canon 28-70, not the same story. There is so much character and depth that can be pulled from each image, regardless of the shallow DOF or not, that can be seen in each capture. The rendition of color and contrast from the RF line of lenses are remarkable. With this lens, you get that nice prime DOF with nice lens vignetting pulling you into your subject.
4. Dynamic Range
At f/2, we are getting one extra stop of light, which may not seem like a significant jump, but believe me, it makes a world of difference. In low light, the Canon 28-70 performs like a beast, improving your image quality noticeably. The 24-70 predecessor doesn’t quite compete under the same type of challenging scenes.
By now you’ve grabbed a napkin to wipe some of the drool falling onto your keyboard. Although the benefits of having a zoom lens at f/2 may seem like a win-win, this lens comes with a couple of drawbacks, like all good things.
1. Hefty Price
You can buy this lens for a whopping $3,000 dollars! Compare that to the 24-70 II equivalent for Canon cameras and you are looking at a ~$1,650 difference. You could almost buy 2 Canon 24-70’s for the price of one Canon 28-70, not to mention third-party equivalents, like Sigma and Tamron, are even cheaper. Combine that with an EOS-R or whichever Canon Mirrorless and you are looking at $5K out the door, that’s nutso! Like any piece of nice glass, if you see this as an investment, then the price tag warrants the use that the lens will get.
2. Lack of Image Stabilization
It still doesn’t have IS, and for $3K, I was expecting it! It would have made the lens so incredible from a cinema and video standpoint and also would have justified the high price tag.
3. HEavy Weight
This guy is heavy. It weighs just over 3 pounds and if you factor in the weight of a camera, even if it is a mirrorless, expect it to be on the hefty side. You’re going to want to hit a few extra reps at the gym if you plan on shooting with this thing all day.
4. Not Quite Wide Enough
There are times where I wish so much that it could zoom out to 20mm, where I’m shooting a pano-stitch because 28mm just isn’t quite wide enough. But, I’m sure that would have created other monumental physics problems if it were, still though, that would have made it perfect in my book. I don’t want to have to carry around my 16-35mm just to feel secure to capture those moments when you need a bit more range in focal length.
If you can swallow the price tag, deal with the lack of stabilization, and manage the weight, you have here my favorite Canon lens of all time thus far. The advantages and benefits that this lens provides, especially when compared to its 24-70 predecessor, far outweigh the limitations and drawbacks of this lens. If I could only buy and use just one lens, it would be the Canon RF 28-70, without a doubt in my mind.