24-70 f/2.8 or 24-105 f/4

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sara_gee, May 23, 2008.

  1. This question has been asked a lot, but I still don't know which one to get.
  2. You're right, this has been discussed to death. If you are still undecided, go read over all the previous posts on this topic. Not much new will be added. As a start here is my original post listing my reason for pucchasing the 24-105:


    It's a very fine lens, but recently I have added th Tamron 28-75mm F2.8, direct competitor to the canon 24-70. After playing around with the Tamron, I am very happy with it and I doubt the Canon could offer better IQ. The only thing I don't like is the limited zoom range, but that goes for both the Canon and the Tamron. My 2 pence....
  3. If you need a longer reach for portraits etc: 24-105

    If you shoot in low light with moving subjects: 24-70

    If you shoot in low light with static subjects: 24-105

    If you are shaky: 24-105

    If you are mostly concerned with weight: 24-105

    If you are mostly concerned with image quality: Doesn't matter, they are equally good

    If you are mostly concerned with cost and value: 24-105

    If you shoot a lot of landscape hand-held: 24-105

    If you shoot a lot of landscape on a tripod: 24-70

    If you have a camera store close by: go try one out
  4. Sara, it would be easier to give you some useful feedback on this if we knew more
    about your photography: what camera do you use? what other lenses do you own?
    what sorts of things do you shoot?

    I'm a 24-105 user (on full frame 5D) and I use it to shoot a wide variety of subjects in
    a wide variety of conditions. As David rightly points out, both are excellent lenses
    and there are good reasons for choosing either of them - or one over the other
    relative you your own particular needs.

  5. Regarding your "night life photography" (by which I'm assuming you mean urban night photography?) both have their
    advantages. Obviously, the f/2.8 24-70mm lens provides one additional stop which would permit you to use twice the
    shutter speed to deal with moving subjects if necessary. On the other hand, the f/4 lens picks up more than 1 stop (2-
    3 stops IIRC) via image stabilization for shots in which handheld camera shake is the limiting factor rather than subject

    Yes, it is a compromise.

    You still don't share what camera you are using. If you are using a crop sensor body (e.g. - a digital rebel or one of the
    X0D bodies) you should also consider the EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. If I were shooting a crop sensor body and doing
    night street photography or similar I would choose this lens over either of the other two unless I a) didn't like wide
    angle, and b) needed long. This lens combines the advantages of the other two lenses, providing both the f2/8 aperture
    and image stabilization.

    For really dark conditions, a prime or two might also be useful.

  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Consider buying both.

  7. I have come to the conclusion that Mr Williams answer is the only real answer to this question. I own the 24-105 and I have wondered if I should have the 24-70 every since...I just have not been able to give up the extra 35mm and IS. But I really need f2.8.

    Beyond that, I like David Bowens logic.

  8. I'll assume you shoot digital.

    With the 24-70 you can use the "poor woman's IS", i.e., set the firing sequence to multi shot, hold as steady as possible, then fire five shots straight. 1,2 & 5 will be shaky, if speed slow, but 3 and/or 4 should be good. Repeat as needed, delete fuzzies.

    The 24-70 will aid in stopping subject motion, and will give nice shallow depth of field....neither of which are of interest to me so I have the 24-105 , for the extra reach
  9. First I bought the 24-70. It's too heavy to carry around, so when the 24-105 came out, I bought it as well. Then I sold the 24-70, and lost only 8% Amazon comission, to buy the 35L. Now I'm happy.
  10. Jason, I feel the same way about them. I have the 24-105, keep thinking of the 24-70, but not quite ready to give up the reach & IS: I like William's solution.
  11. "Consider buying both" or Buy both, play for a while, then decide if to kepp both or which one to keep.

    This seems the only way to get a correct answer, because only after using both, one can tell which one is better for ones particular shooting situation.

    Another way is to rent both. But with high resale value for these lenses, it seems rental may be less economical.
  12. You don't have to buy both, and if you are like most of us that isn't realistic advice

    Think through the types of shots you do - in particular whether your issue in low light is
    camera shake or subject motion. The answer to that question can help you a great deal
    in this decision.
  13. I'd wait until I knew what I wanted before parting with my hard earned money. Therefore, I vote for neither.
  14. I bought both and use both. For your type of photography, 24-70 with the 1 stop advantage.
  15. You stated you wanted a walk around lens. IMO 24-105 is the best walk around lens. The extra reach is nice and when I need to go wider, I have 17-55 in my bag.
  16. Tamron's 28-75 has gotten some good reviews, but I used this lens, a few years ago and I wasn't at all impressed by this lens. It was very light and fun to carry around, but made of so much plastic. Aside from that, the lens had no usable sharpness and I sold it after six months. It's hardly a "competitor" to anything Canon has to offer.
    Apart from that, Canon's 24-70 is better than the 24-105 mostly because of the number of people I know, that shoot with it(both professionally and non-professionally)and love the lens. It's a stop faster than the 24-105 and doesn't suffer the same flare problem as the 24-105. It also has consistently better IQ and really isn't that heavy to use as a walk around lens and the difference in weight(compared to the 24-105)is only a few ounces.
  17. The 24-105 is 1.5 lbs, and the 24-70 is 2.1 lbs. The difference is .6 lbs or 9.6 ounces. The 24-70 is 40% heavier than the 24-105.
  18. Renting the lenses and try them out before buying are good suggestions. Rent each one for a weekend. Only your own experience can tell you whether you need the IS more than the f/2.8, or vice versa. Also the two lenses are different in size and weight, maybe after using them both youメd come to the conclusion that モman, I love f/2.8 but the darn thing is heavy and bigナf/4 is lighter and smallerナ and if I want f/2.8メs equivalent Iメd just crank up the ISO...or...I'm already using ISO 3200 and the shutter speed is not even enough to stop action, f/2.8 could really be handy now..." so again, only your own experience.....

    Iメd get the 24-70 f/2.8L over the 24-105 f/4.0L IS just because the 24-70 looks cooler with its lens hood on :) j/k

    I heard a rumor that Canon is introducing the 24-105 f/2.8L IS :)
  19. Philip, unless a person is a wimp- you'll hardly notice 9.6 ounces additional weight.
  20. With the 24-70 it protrudes quite far at 24mm and has a big deep hood and so it is a lot
    bigger than you think and you must always use the hood with lens, its one of my
    favorite however I find myself using my 17-40 f/4 or even my 70-200 f/4 as they are so
    much easier to carry around. It can be soft at the wider aperture so if you really are
    into low light then it probably won't be fast enough so I would consider a prime for that.
  21. Brian wrote: "Philip, unless a person is a wimp- you'll hardly notice 9.6 ounces additional weight."
    I frequently see this response when one mentions the weight of lenses and other photo equipment as a factor - suggesting that a Real Photographer would not be bothered by a mere half pound of weight, and often accompanied by some demeaning comment about the photographer's lack of macho. (Or macha? )
    It almost goes without saying that 9.6 oz. is not "a lot of weight." But it isn't that simple.
    A bit more than a half a pound of extra weight... added to camera weight... hung around your neck... all day... while also carrying a bag of other gear... can indeed to a factor for many photographers, and not just those who are "wimps."
    I don't regard myself as a wimp. One kind of photography I do a lot of involves carrying a backpack over alpine and subalpine (and frequently trail-less) ares of the Sierra Nevada range for a week or longer at a time. I carry a full frame camera body, a tripod, a few good lenses and other photographic stuff in addition to the other gear I need to live on the trail. I count every ounce and nothing goes into my pack - photographic gear or otherwise - unless it has significant utility. (OK, I do sometimes carry a couple 2 oz. chocolate bars, but we all have our weaknesses.)
    My point: While equipment weight/bulk may not matter to you, it very definitely matters to a number of other photographers, and wimpishness is not the only possible explanation for this. (And backpacking is not the only circumstance in which this is an issue.)

    Tarn Near Blue Sky Lake, Evening. Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. August, 2007. ᄅ Copyright G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.
  22. Looking at the photos on your site which are almost without exception shot with a flash, and knowing that you already have a crop sensor body, I would go with a 24-105 and a 50mm, either 1.8 or 1.4 as your budget allows. The zoom is perfect for when you are using the flash and will give you more reach than the 24-70, especially if mounted to your crop sensor body. The 50mm will give you plenty of latitude with available light shots in the club or on the street.

    If you are hoping to try doing some available light shots with a zoom, and assuming that it would be with people, as are all of your photos, then get the 24-70.
  23. "I heard that it is quite blurry at 24mm with the 24-105."


    The lens is not at its _best_ at 24mm, and at this extreme wide end of its focal length range you will see more vignetting and barrel distortion
    than in the middle of its range - but "quite blurry?" No, indeed not.

    You can check out the numerous reviews, reports, and lens tests to see how these lenses perform in terms of sharpness, barrel/pincushion,
    distortion, the works. The bottom line is that neither is a slouch in the image quality department - both are excellent lenses.

    Most Canon photographers (with L level lenses) have one or the other in their arsenal. They don't pick one over the other because one is
    "blurry" and the other isn't, but because the specific features of one are more useful in their particular photography. These features include:
    different focal length ranges, different max apertures, inclusion or not of IS, weight and size, how each fits into the overall collection of
    lenses, etc.

    And there is no f/2.8 version of the 24-105mm lens.
  24. In relation to the total weight of a camera bag, with a body(possibly even backup body), multiple lenses and maybe even a flash I really don't see how a photographer will "notice" the difference of 9 ounces, additionally.
  25. "In relation to the total weight of a camera bag, with a body(possibly even backup body), multiple
    lenses and maybe even a flash I really don't see how a photographer will "notice" the difference of 9
    ounces, additionally."

    If weight is an issue - and it is for some of us - and the weight is carried extensively and in difficult
    condition, we think about the weight of the complete kit. As backpackers like to say, "Pay attention
    to the ounces and the pounds take care of themselves."

    If you work out of the back of your car this matters a lot less than when you work on foot. I know
    because I do both.


  26. I think you need to plan your whole range and see what your prepared to carry and pay.

    I have the 24-70 and love it I extend with a 70-200 and have an extender, but both are heavy. I think a 5D and a 24-105 is a fantastic package if you only want to take one lens. A prime 50 1.4 for low light. You will never fill all your wishes with a single lens. so look at your total collection. A 40D user would miss the wide end and A 10-22 efs and 24-70 would have a fantastic solution 16 until 112 to follow a 70-300 or 70-200.
    I think the message is look at your whole collection of lenses. In conjunction with your body.
  27. I should also mention, i picked the 24-70 because I already have the 70-200, so it was a good match.
  28. I agree with Shin Nhut, if you truely can't decide rent the two lens in question for a weekend or a week, and decide. I recently rented the 70-200 L IS f/4 for a trip. By renting it for a trip and using it gave me the opportunity really use it before spending over $1,000 on it!

    If you're wondering where to rent, there are several places. Your local camera shop that caters to the pros is likely to rent, e.g. Calumet. I rented from LensProToGo.com in MA (very good service and very good price including return FedEx shipping - disclaimer I do not work for them).

    I disagree with David Wu that renting may not be economical. The 70-200 L f/4 IS that I rented costs over $1,000. I rented it for 4 weeks for $197. I think this is very economical way to try out a lens without the hassle of shelling out $1,000+ then having to take the time to sell it (at a discount) if you don't like it.
  29. "In relation to the total weight of a camera bag, with a body(possibly even backup body), multiple lenses and maybe even a flash I really don't see how a photographer will "notice" the difference of 9 ounces, additionally."

    Brian, I am 6'2", 185 lbs, and physically fit. I own both lenses, I have used both lenses extensively, and believe me, I notice the difference in weight between the lenses. It's not just about carrying around an extra 10 oz. or so, which I agree I would barely notice. It's about hanging an extra 10 oz. off the front of camera while up to your face (a very awkward place to carry weight around), manipulating it with your hands on the fly, putting extra strain on one hand as you use the other to zoom or change settings, etc. We're not talking about putting an extra 10 oz. on the bar for a bench press. Your hands are delicate instruments with small muscles. Even a bodybuilder will feel more strain manipulating an extra 10 oz. in the (un)ergonomic package of an SLR for hours at a time.

    Incidentally, to answer the OP, I find the 24-105 more useful in addition to being ligher. But I still find the 24-70 just useful enough to keep - it's a really great lens.
  30. Lighter, not "ligher". Sheesh, where'd that guy learn to spell?

    Btw, someone else mentioned it above, but one BIG advantage of the 24-105 on the 5D is that for many applications you can get away with using it as your only lens. When I travel now, I generally bring no gear other than 5D and 24-105. The camera's high ISO performance lets me mostly get away without a flash, IS lets me mostly get away without a tripod, 105mm on the long end lets me mostly get away without a telephoto. I find that to be pretty liberating - YMMV.
  31. I did the same debate and I am going with the 24-105. I do own fast primes when I
    want to shoot available light and I find that even at 2.8 I still usually need a flash. I
    also like the extra reach and lighter weight of the 24-105.

    I am sure you will find about a 50/50 ratio of people using each lens. Both are great,
    just serve different needs, but not much different.
  32. If you need convenience buy the smaller lighter one. If quality at whatever cost &
    weight is what matters, buy the heavier glass @ f2.8. Or as recommended, buy

    I own a 18-200 f3.5/5.6, lightweight, cheaper and can chuck it in a bag when out for
    the day with the family and an 80-200 f2.8, which is big and heavy. Never regretted
    owning both lenses with overlapping ranges as this is what I need for different

    Often I regret leaving my faster lenses at home though, but hey if I didn't have the
    lighter lens, I may regret leaving my camera at home!
  33. Confused now? Clear as mud huh? That's how I felt when I posed that question several years ago. I bought the 24-105 first then the following year I bought the 24-70. For my single walk around lens, esp when air traveling stateside (from Honolulu, HI), 24-105L. For home in low light with a very fast moving and hardly still 2 year old toddler boy, 24-70L and sometimes with the 580 flash to stop his motion.
  34. "unless a person is a wimp- you'll hardly notice 9.6 ounces"

    of course I can carry 50 lbs for 2 minutes, but every ounce counts when I carry 5 lbs for an entire day around my shoulder,/neck...So 9.6 ounces is huge different when someone holds his/her camera for 10 hours straight...

    Light weight is always important, that's why Canon is constantly trying to make their cameras and lenses lighter...magnesium alloy bodies, carbon fiber hoods for super telephoto, more power but lighter batteries for the 1D3 and 1Ds3 ect...
  35. Not sure what I can add that hasn't been covered already, but I have used both lenses. I started with the 24-70 and then switched to the 24-105. Why? Well for *me* and the type of shooting that *I* do I rarely used the 24-70 at f2.8, I didn't like carrying the weight with me when hiking, and I often wished I had a bit longer focal length. I think the decision really comes down to what type of shooting you do and which lens will work best for *you*. If money wasn't a concern I would have both, though I would still use the 24-105 for most of my nature work and the 24-70 would be reserved for portraits and weddings.

    As far as image quality, both are excellent lenses.

    Any chance you can rent both to compare which you like best for your style of shooting?
  36. yes ! if you travel alot and no tripod I would like to refer 14-105 f/4 IS very convience for travel both landcapes & portait
  37. You might consider the IS question: I use the 24-70 to document theatre and dance performances. (very low light / high chroma / high contrast) I am almost always wide open and use a monopod, so camera shake is less an issue than the fact that the performers are moving in low light, which IS is worthless for. So the F-stop trumps the IS feature. fwiw, I use the Canon 5D, and I frequently pretend that the 24-70 is a longer lens with some judicious cropping.

  38. I think a 24-70 F2.8 and then two bodies a 30D or 40D and 5D then you have 2.8 either as 24-70 or 38-112 this way you take advantage of both sensors. with your choice of future lenses. You can decide which camera you take when traveling. Both bodies are fantastic and will still be that good in 5 and 10 years from now?
  39. There are a lot of good reasons to have either or both. First, they are both excellent first rate lenses...but you have to make sure you have properly calibrated versions of either. There has been a lot of discussion about the poor calibration of the 24-70 but it also depends on which camera body you use. I was lucky and got a beautiful copy of the lens which I use on a 5D for weddings. It is an indispensable lens for weddings and portraiture.
    Ok, here comes the rest.....

    The 24-105 is also a fantastic portrait lens. It has a lot of reach and IS (which I believe works but not as good as it should). The only drawback of the 24-105 is the f4 aperture which limits low light non-flash photography. If you shoot weddings, you really should have the f2.8. When you can't or don't want flash it is better to have the extra stop.

    Also, the 24-70 has a special image quality which I find is unmatched in any other lens. And when I shoot Canon, I am mostly a prime lens user. But even with my awesome 1.4 primes that 24-70 is always with me.

    I was reluctant to buy the 24-70 at first because I heard of calibration issues and softness. So, I bought the 24-105...which was blurry and I had to send it back to Canon for some serious work including a front element replacement which had come loose. Thank goodness it was under warranty. That said it was fixed perfectly and is a very sharp lens, as it is supposed to be.

    The price difference is not much so I would consider what you need most, more light and creamy bokeh images, or more reach and sharpness. You should try both and see if your results are what you desire. Then you will not regret your purchase.

  40. i was in a class and the teacher said that for the eTTL flash to work properly you need 2 things : 1) F2.8 Lens and 2) a fixed lens that does not vary off much.

    He went on to say that the 24-105 lens even though a fixed F4 lens, varies off the F4 too much and recommended either the Canon 24-70F2.8 or the Tamron 28-75F2.8.

    Anyone agree with the above points or exprienced them?
  41. it varies off to much? please explain that.
  42. his point was that the lens drifts off F4 by some amount, so it's not so fixed and hence messes up eTTL. i have not tested it myself.

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