Digital SLR cameras have several advantages over smaller point-and-shoot cameras, not the least of which is the ability to change lenses to adapt to specific conditions and shooting requirements. Among the most useful lenses for SLR cameras is the 28 to 70mm medium range telephoto lens, commonly referred to as a "walk around" lens. The best lenses in this range have a very wide maximum aperture of f/2.8 and work well for photographing in less than ideal lighting conditions.
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Canon's 28 to 70mm f/2.8L USM lens is one of the best lenses produced for this range. The "L" designation in Canon's product line stands for "Luxury" and designates this as one of Canon's highest quality products. The USM signifies that this lens has an extremely fast focusing ultrasonic motor. This lens is built with special seals that help resist moisture and dust and uses Canon's finest quality of optical glass for the lens elements. This lens was recently replaced by the 24 to 70mm f/2.8L in Canon's line-up.
The Nikon 28 to 70mm f/2.8D is a comparable lens to the Canon "L" lens of the same range and aperture. It's a sturdy, metal body lens built with high-quality Extra-low Dispersion glass lens elements that reduce chromatic aberration. Like the Canon lens, it's sealed against dust and moisture. Nikon lenses are produced with a different mounting mechanism and won't fit on cameras from other manufacturers. If you're using a Nikon DSLR camera body, then this is the highest quality lens for you. As with Canon, Nikon has replaced this lens in its line-up with the 24 to 70mm f/2.8 ED.
The Minolta 28 to 70mm f/2.8 G was a good lens but was discontinued when Sony purchased the Minolta line. Sony now manufactures a 24 to 70mm f/2.8 and a 28 to 75mm f/2.8, but nothing in the specific range of 28 to 70mm. These are lenses manufactured to fit the Sony line of DSLR cameras and, although not sealed against dust and moisture, this lens is built with high-quality glass and produces sharp images.
Sigma and Other Manufacturers
Sigma 28 to 70mm f/2.8EX DG HSM lens is produced for many camera brands and is often about half the price of those from Canon and Nikon. Comparable lenses are also available from Tamron and Tokina. Unlike the Canon and Nikon lenses, these other lenses don't possess the same rugged metal frames and mounting hardware and aren't dust and water resistant.
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