Thoughts on Canon 28-300 f/3.5-5.6L as a travel lens?

RezenRezen Registered Users Posts: 22 Big grins

My travels are a bit varied which include a variety of city/street/architecture photography, landscape photography, and wildlife photography. I'm constantly switching out lenses and for a while I experimented with bringing along a M5 + 11-22 as a secondary body to help reduce changing lenses, but the extra gear to support the mirrorless is sometimes just too much. Fully loaded my camera bag is pushing nearly 30 pounds!

I'm quite interested in the 28-300, however information & reviews about this lens is quite scant, so I'm hoping the ever resourceful people here at Digital Grin might be able to provide some insight as to how well this lens performs.

For reference, I already own the Tamron 16-300, but it doesn't quite work with my 5D Mark IV, but works a treat with my APS-C bodies, so I'm very familiar with the focal length range.

Please note that I'm primarily interested in real world experience with the lens and not theoretical scenarios; I'm not a professional photographer but I do love the art. :smile:

Thanks in advance & cheers.

The best camera in the world is the one you have with you.


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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,799 moderator

    My lens travel kit for Canon APS-C/Crop 1.6x:

    (Canon EOS 7D)
    Canon EF-S 17-55mm, f/2.8 IS USM
    Canon EF 70-200mm, f/4L IS USM

    For a more extensive kit, the above plus (still pretty compact):

    Add a 1.4x teleconverter for longer reach and a fast 50mm for indoor ambient and outdoor bokeh.
    Canon 500D close-focus diopter (77mm diameter plus adapter to fit the 70-200mm zoom)

    My lenses for a FF body are all too large and heavy to take for anything in casual travel, but I could build a decent full kit in two bags for paying work.

    The Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM is a tremendous convenience, but it has a lot of compromise in image quality compared to shorter range zooms and primes. For the weight and bulk of that lens it seems that image quality suffers more than I would like. In a dangerous situation I could justify it but otherwise I will pass on that lens.

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,696 moderator
    edited August 28, 2017

    I'm with Ziggy, for snapshots and casual travel photography I tend to prefer crop body cameras like the Canon 70D or maybe the 7D Mk II, since my FF body is a 1DXMk II

    I usually carry the current Tamron 16-300 lens for APS-C bodies on my 70D and find it works very well for me.

    If memory serves the Canon 28-300 f3.5-5.6 L has been around for a long time. I believe it dates back to the film era. I do like Canon's 70-300 f4-5.6 IS L but it is significantly bigger than the Tamron 16-300. The 70-300 however is suitable for a full frame camera. I have even used the Tamron 16-300 on a FF body but it vignettes very badly

    _______________________________________I have copied a post I made about the Tamron 16-300 below

    What about the tamron 16-300mm?would that be good for wildlife?

    I have owned and used a 16-300 f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens in Canon mount since November 2015. I have about 4500+ frames with it to date, and I like it so well I leave it on my 70D crop body with a BreakThrough polarizing filter on it almost all the time. It is my walk around snapshot camera of choice. I find it great at wide angles ( full frame equivalent of 24mm ) and in museums and art galleries, even at ISO 3200 + if I am careful and do my part. It is not as sharp at 300mm as my Canon f2.8 and f4 300mm primes, nor quite as sharp at the long end as my Canon 100-400 v2 zoom. But it is very small, light and easy to carry around, and with modern software with lens profiles - I use Lightroom CC routinely - I get what I think are very acceptable images. I sorted my images to find how many frames I shot with the Tamron zoom and how many of them were at 300mm. Most of my shots were shorter, but I have quite a few at 300mm too. My images are not as sharp as those I get with a full frame camera frequently because I am shooting in the dark at ISO >> 3200. so bear that in mind with some of these images.

    Here is a kitty cat ISO 6400, 300mm with the Tamron zoom on a 70D body. I do not find it lacks sharpness to my eye

    A crop of a bird shot in Norway at ISO 400 at 300mm 70D

    A pictograph in monochrome on the wall in Canyon de Chelly - shot at ISO 200, at 300mm on a 1DX - the vignetting on the full frame has been cropped off. I used the Tamron zoom on a full frame body because I was hours into the canyon and had no way to get the right lens for my 1DX, and it was the only telephoto I had with me. Nonetheless, I do not find the image is soft to my eye

    VLA telescope shot at 24 mm at ISO 200 on a 70D body.

    While the Tamron zoom is not the equal of Canon primes, I find it quite useful, inexpensive, and adequate. I plan to take it river rafting with me this summer because it is small, light weight, sharp, and has a very useful wide zoom range.

    Here is another image shot with it on the San Juan River in July

    Comments and criticism about the images and the lens sharpness are strongly encouraged.

    I am seeing adds from Tamron for a 16-400 mm f3.5-6.3 lens that might be interesting for a crop body camera too. I have no experience with it yet, however.

    I love FF cameras and images, but for walkaround snapshots it is hard to beat good APS-C bodies and lenses these days.

    You could probably rent the Canon 28-300 L from lens rentals and see how it works for you fairly inexpensively..

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    GSPePGSPeP Registered Users Posts: 3,744 Major grins

    I love the Canon 28-300L IS. Together with 24-105L IS it is the lens I use the most. It's also one of my oldest lenses.

    It's rather heavy in combination with a 5D (incl. battery grip) or 1D, but using a Blackrapid strap I can walk around all day with no problems at all.

    Some examples of this lens in combination with the 5D MkIV can be found here:

    This was a small event in my neighborhood and 98% of the pictures are straight from the camera. No processing done. There was a lot of sun and shadow.

    This was an event in my village, mostly indoors, with and without flash. I think 95% of the pics are straight from the camera. No processing done.

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