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Canon 28-200mm USM
EF Full-Frame (2000-2010)

© 2014 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM set to 50mm (72mm filter thread, 1.5'/0.45m close-focus, 17.8 oz./504g, about $200 used.) This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to it at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.

March 2013    Canon Reviews    Canon Lenses    All Reviews

Palms, 06 August 2012

Used improperly: hand-held at midnight (see the stars?), 5D Mark III at ISO 25,600, 28-200mm at 28mm, f/3.5 at 1/6 second. How sharp do you need, hand-held at midnight, when nothing is in focus and the camera blurs so much with noise reduction anyway?


Palms, 06 August 2012

Used to get a sharp image: Palm. 5D Mark III at ISO 200, 28-200mm at 40mm, f/14 at 1/60 second hand-held, STANDARD Picture Style, 6 sharpening, +3 saturation. Camera-original © 8MB file.


Palms, 06 August 2012

Rocket Trail. 5D Mark III at ISO 500, 28-200mm at 28mm, f/4 at 30 seconds, casual use of tripod, STANDARD Picture Style, 6 sharpening, +3 saturation. bigger.


Aviara Golf Course, 9th hole, 10 March 2014

Tree, 4:37PM, 10 March 2014. 5D Mark III at ISO 100, 28-200mm at 100mm, f/9 at 1/200. STANDARD Picture Style, 7 sharpening, +4 saturation. Camera-original © file.


Introduction       top

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This Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM is a do-everything lens for Canon EOS 35mm and full-frame digital cameras.

It looks good online, being MADE IN JAPAN and having a metal mount, but it's actually a dinky thing with a loose, sticky zoom mechanism, a noisy AF system, and relatively blurry optics.

Focus is USM, but it's not silent. The lens shown here that I bought used on eBay is wheezy and squeals as it autofocuses. Manual focus always requires moving the switch, and the focus ring turns by itself during AF; be sure to keep your hands off it! There is no instant manual-focus override.

This 28-200mm was introduced for people who wanted a do-it all wide-to-tele lens for their 35mm Canon Rebels.

Nikon came out with a competitive 28-200mm G three years later in 2003 for the same people who wanted a do-it-all lens for their lightweight N75-class cameras. Strange is how the aspherical Nikon 28-200 is smaller, lighter, focuses much more closely, and is so much sharper than this Canon lens.

Optically, this is the worst Canon lens I've ever tested, however, used by a skilled photographer, it easily can be used to win photo contests and sell masterpiece prints. It's always the photographer that makes the picture, never the camera.

It's always sharp in the center, but shot wide-open is much softer on the sides. It has to be stopped down to about f/16 to get the corners to be their sharpest.

Shot on the newest Canon 5D Mark III, it's not the lens that tripod-shooters would want, but it's sharp enough for most uses, and does get sharp stopped down. The 5D Mark III has a lens correction profile available, and if you use it, there are no lateral color fringes as there may be on other cameras.

This is the USM version. There also was a non-USM version sold in other countries that has the same optics, differing only in having a different AF motor. Seeing how noisy is this lens' autofocus, I would suspect that the non-USM model ought to be pretty similar. The non-USM lens has the same specs and optics, but is just 5 grams lighter.


Compatibility and Formats

This lens is optimized for 35mm film and full-frame digital, and of course works on all 1.3x and 1.6x Canon cameras.

This Canon EF EOS 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM works perfectly with every Canon EOS camera ever made, meaning every Canon DSLR and every Canon autofocus 35mm camera made since 1987.

This means of course it works great on today's 5D Mark III and Canon 7D, but it works just as well on my original Canon EOS 620 from 1987!

As a full-frame lens, this works on all Canon SLRs, regardless of format. As a full-frame lens, I will be reviewing this lens on full-frame.

It is a silly choice to use this 28-200mm on any smaller format camera like Canon's 1.6x cameras. For these cameras, use any EF-S lens like the EF-S 18-200mm IS USM.


Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Canon 28-200 US at 50mm. enlarge.


Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More



Canon calls this the CANON ZOOM LENS EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM.

EF means "electronic focus," meaning that there is an autofocus motor in the lens itself. All Canon lenses since 1987 have been EF.

USM and ULTRASONIC mean UltraSonic autofocus Motor. The AF motor may be silent, but the rest of this lens' focus train makes plenty of noise.


Optics       top

Canon 28-200mm USM diagram

Internal diagram.

16 spherical elements in 12 groups.


Internal focus.


Focal Length


Used on a 1.3x camera, it will see about the same field of view as a 36-260mm lens sees on full-frame.

Used on a 1.6x camera, it will see about the same field of view as a 45-320mm lens sees on full-frame.


Angle of View (on 35mm and full-frame cameras)

75° ~ 12° diagonal.

65° ~ 6º vertical.

46º ~ 7º  horizontal.


Close Focus       top

1.5 feet (0.45 m) from the image plane, specified.


Maximum Reproduction Ratios       top

1:3.6 (0.28x).

With EF12 tube: 1:1.4 (0.54x).

With EF25 tube: 1:0.9 (1.1x).


Diaphragm       top

Canon 20 3.5-5.6 USM

Front, Canon 28-200mm at f/3.5-5.6 USM at 50mm (EF diaphragm not seen).

6 blades.

Stops down to f/22-36.


Focus Scale       top


The ring turns from infinity to the closest focus distance in about 60.º


Depth-of-Field Scale       top



Infra-Red Focus Indices       top



Filters        top

72mm thread, plastic.

Doesn't rotate, but does pump in and out with zooming.


Size       top

Canon specifies 3.1" (78.4mm) diameter by 3.5 " (89.6 mm) long.


Weight       top

17.795 oz. (504.5g), measured.

Canon specifies 17.6 oz. (500g).


Hood       top

Plastic bayonet EW-78D, optional.

It's the same hood as used by the EF-S 18-200mm.


Case       top

LP1116 sack, $25.


Caps       top

72mm ULTRASONIC front cap.

Standard EOS cap rear.


Quality       top

Made in Japan.


Introduced       top

September, 2000.


Discontinued       top



Price, USA        top

2012 August: about $200 used (see How to Win at eBay).

2005 December: $360 USA, $340 gray, new.


Performance       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

Overall    Autofocus    Breathing   Color   Distortion   Ergonomics

Falloff    Filters     Focal Lengths, actual     Lateral Color Fringes

Macro    Maximum Apertures    Mechanics    Sharpness    Sunstars


Overall     performance      top

The Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM is a wide-range zoom that can replace a lot of other lenses, but not very well.


Autofocus     performance      top

Autofocus is fast, but gritty and often squeals.


Auto/Manual Switching

You have to touch the AF-MF switch.

There is no instant manual-focus override.


AF Speed

AF is reasonably fast, as we expect from Canon.


AF Accuracy and Consistency

AF accuracy is fine on my Canon 5D Mark III.


Manual Focus

Manual focus is good at the wide end, but too fast at the long end.


Focus Breathing     performance      top

Focus breathing is of interest to cinematographers who don't want the image changing size ("breathing") as the lens is focused among different subjects.

The image of the Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM gets smaller as focused more closely.

The focus breathing is reasonable at 28mm, but at 100mm and longer, becomes very strong. Canon does this because it plays an optical trick to get focusing as close as it does at the long end.


Color Rendition     performance      top

The color balance of this 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 matches my other Canon EF lenses.


Distortion     performance      top

This Canon 28-200/3.5-5.6 USM has a boatload of distortion, but actually a little less than other superzooms like the Nikon 28-200G or 28-300mm VR.

The good news is that unlike many superzooms, the distortion is usually very simple and easily corrected by using these values in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool.

Full-frame and 35mm at 10' (3m)

© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* Slight waviness remains .

If shot on the Canon 5D Mark III as a raw file with the appropriate lens profile loaded, the 5D Mark III can process raw files in-camera to eliminate all of this distortion.The camera cannot eliminate this distortion as-shot. Canon's computer software and DxO also ought to be able to fix this if you can find the right profile, but I haven't tried.


Ergonomics     performance      top

Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Canon 28-200/3.5-5.6 USM.

Ergonomics are wishy-washy. Most of the lens is the zoom ring, which would be good, except that the ring is sloppy with a lot of play, and the plastic innards always feel as if they're about to break as you turn the ring.

The plastic zoom innards have a lot of stiction, meaning it feels crappy as you try to zoom. There is rarely any zoom creep, but that's because it's so sticky, like a bad kid's toy.

AF is fast but nasty, often making squealing noises as it focuses.

After you move the switch to M, the manual focus ring is easy to slide with a fingertip. It slams from end-to-end in just one-sixth of a turn.


Falloff (darkened corners)     performance      top

Shot on a DSLR with peripheral Illumination correction, even on full-frame, falloff is never a problem so long as you load the profile.

Shot on 35mm film or with full-frame digital cameras without peripheral illumination correction, I've greatly exaggerated the actual falloff by shooting a flat gray target and presenting these images against a flat gray background:


Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM falloff on full-frame

No peripheral illumination correction

28mm Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff
50mm Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff
100mm Maximum is f/5.6 -> Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff
200mm Maximum is f/5.6 -> Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff Nikon NNmm f/FF falloff

© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.


Peripheral illumination correction enabled

With correction enabled, falloff goes away on my 5D Mark III.



Filters, Use with     performance      top

Use normal filters, or thin rotating filters and there are no problems.

With a thick rotating filter like my Schneider 0.6 grad ND (8.6mm thick excluding rear threads), ther eis a tiny bit of vignetting at 28mm. You can ignore this, or zoom to 29mm.

It could be a good idea to get a "thin" polarizer for this lens.


Focal Lengths, Actual     performance      top

Actual focal lengths are accurate at infinity.

At closer distances, the 200mm end becomes much shorter. This is an optical trick played to be able to focus so closely at 200mm. In other words, at a few feet away, you won't see much change as zoomed from 135mm to 200mm.

This said, at 5 feet (1.5m), this 28-200mm still gets much tighter than my EF 28-105mm USM II does at its 105mm setting.


Lateral Color Fringes     performance      top

Shot without a lens profile on a full-frame DSLR, there are these lateral color fringes:

28mm: minor green-magenta.

35mm: minor green-magenta.

50mm: none.

70mm: none.

135mm: strong green-magenta.

200mm: strong green-magenta.


When shot with a lens profile on the 5D Mk III, there are:

28mm: none.

35mm: none.

50mm: none.

70mm: none.

135mm: none, but there can be some weird phantom gray shadows if you look very carefully as the 5D Mark III remaps the color channels.

200mm: almost none, just some residual red-blue left after the 5D Mk III does its best to remap everything. There can be some odd small gray shadows left.


Macro    performance      top

Close focus is very close, but it isn't any sharper than it is at normal distances. Good news is that it's not that much softer, either, and that distortion seems to go away:

Canon 28-200mm macro 09 July 2012

At close-focus distance at 200mm, f/5.6 at 1/160, full-frame Canon 5D Mark III.

Shot on Canon's smaller-format 1.3x and 1.6x cameras, the effect will be even closer.


Maximum and Minimum Apertures     performance    top



Mechanics     performance      top

Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Rear, Canon 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 USM. enlarge.

The Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM is a plasticy lens with a plasticy feel that just happens to have a metal mount.


Filter Threads



Hood Mount



Fore Barrels



Focus Ring

Metal (honest), covered with rubber.


Zoom Ring

Front: metal (honest), rear: plastic.

Middle covered with rubber.


Rear barrel




Proudly plastic.


Moisture seal at mount




Chromed metal.





Serial Number

Laser-engraved into rear black light baffle (only visible with uncapped lens removed from camera).


Date Code

None found.


Noises When Shaken

Very mild clicking if you hold all the lens barrels together, wild clunking if you shake it by the zoom ring and let everything flop all over.


Made in



Sharpness     performance      top

Lens sharpness doesn't matter much, but it sure distracts amateurs who confuse lens sharpness with picture sharpness.

The Canon 28-200mm is always sharp in the center, but much softer and blurrier on the sides at all focal lengths unless stopped down, ideally to f/16.

Seen at 100% on-screen from a 22MP camera like the 5D Mark III it looks horrible wide-open, but seen at rational print sizes like 12 x 18" (30x50cm), it looks fine for family photos even wide-open. A smile will be just as brilliant through this lens as any other.

Stopped-down to f/16 for nature and landscape photos, it looks fine even printed at 3 x 5 feet (1 x 1.5 meters). The 24-105mm might be a little sharper at f/16, but not by much. (At f/4 and large print sizes, the 24-105 is much sharper).

Here are Canon's rated MTF curves:

Canon 28-200mm MTF
Canon 28-200mm MTF

Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM MTF.


Sunstars     performance      top

With an ordinary 6-bladed diaphragm, sunstars are common 6-pointed ones, visible at many apertures, on brilliant points of light.


Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

It gets blurry in the sides wide-open if you look too close, but if you're a tripod kind of guy, you don't buy a lens like this. If you've got a new family and want one lightweight lens for full-frame that will grow as your family does — or want a back-up lens to throw in your luggage — this lens will do it.

If you've found the time I've spent sharing this professional review helpful, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to it at eBay (see How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live.




More Information       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations   More

Canon's 28-200mm USM product page.

Canon's Museum page for the 28-200mm USM.

Canon's Museum page for the 28-200mm (non-USM).


Help me help you         top

I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

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Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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Aug 2012