24-70mm f/2.8L quality control

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ryan_pasia, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Hello,

    I have been thinking of purchasing this lens as my first "L" lens. However, the quality control issues I've read
    about online is making me think twice about purchasing it.

    I will be using it to shoot film, with the occasional 8"x11" enlargement. Will having a bad copy make a
    significant, obvious difference at that size (ie, softness that my non-techie mom and grandma will notice)?

    Thank you all in advance.
  2. Then I guess you never buy anything because there's always a change you'll get a bad one?

    I've seen "QC complaints" about almost every camera and lens in production.
  3. I accept the reality of defects in mass-produced goods. However, as others have pointed out, for a lens costing that much, one would think that Canon's tolerances in the manufacture of this lens would be such that few consumers would feel compelled to submit negative reviews. I've read reviews of other "L" lenses and this one seems to stand out for the quality control issues.

    I guess another way to ask my question is, "Are the supposedly inferior copies of this lens so bad that it's plain obvious?". I don't plan to pixel-peep. I just want sharp, contrasty pictures out of the box given ideal conditions.
  4. Fantastic lens! Go for it.
  5. I actually had a bad 24-70L, but send it back to B+H, and got a new one that is amazing. (if it looks crappy send it back canon or test it
    before you buy it). Ive had a few lemons from the L series, but that has not stopped me from buying them. Thats what warranties are for.
  6. I am still hardcore film fans but a lot of you are not. There is no need to fuzz about quality control over camera lens. You buy it, go home test it right the way, if no good, return & exchange. It is not like shooting film that you have to finished a roll, wasting money develope....blablabla

    You can only blame yourself by try to get a good deal from a store that are not 100% behind their products they sell.
  7. I think this lens is often the first l lens that some buy and there is a learning curve when using a fast heavey lenses which I
    think accounts for some of the complaints. However I have returned 2 of these to b&h and I'm still not 100% sure about my
    copy, therefore I think yourvconcern is a valid one and you may want to consider your options as getting bad copies is a pain
    in the ass and it's not always straightfoward to detect a lens that is not optimum with simple tests especially If you are not a
    pro pixel peaper.
  8. I think honestly many people just expect too much...
    for better or worse also with AF it's not all the lenses fault if images aren't tack sharp...
    Some one else also mentioned that it is heavy and not IS so I think many people used to shooting a certain shot at a certain range think they can still hand hold it with no issue while in truth a tiny bit more shake is added to the image and that does indeed affect it...

    As for why there are more complaints - I'd day it's the most popular L lens. More sold equals more griping...
  9. From everyone's inputs here's my takeaway: Buy from a reputable dealer that will allow returns. Since I live in NYC, I've got a few options there. I've got to agree that this lens seems to be popular--or at least judging from what I see around town. Having to go to B&H or Adorama for returns is going to be a pain, though, since I don't live that close to their storefronts.

    I understand that the comparison is not apples to apples, but FWIW, Nikon's AF-S NIKKOR 24-70 f/2.8G ED is perhaps just as popular but it doesn't seem to generate as much griping online. Maybe Nikon's premium over Canon is going to quality control...

    Thank you all.
  10. I have seen so many people using this lens that I have a hard time believing that there are all these bad copies. Go for it, if
    the photos look good its good if not return it. Just make sure you go to a reputable dealer like Amazon or BH.
  11. Get a grip! Quality control on these lenses is excellent. Most of the complaints seem to be user inexperience: either error or unrealistic expectations.. And most seem to come from relative novices. Get it and shoot. If you can't see a problem, then don't worry. If you can see a problem, exchange it. I suspect that the exchange rate on these id fewer than a couple in 10,000.
  12. I have 3 L series lenses. ALL THREE WERE BAD. I sent them back and have loved the lenses that I've gotten in return. Honestly you
    might get a bad, but if you do you can return it to the person you bought it from and have a new one in a few days. A good copy is well
    worth the hassle.

  13. We would not accept that from anywhere else. How difficult is it to test them before they leave the factory. Even the guy on
    photozone says the quality control on this lens is poor. Who has time to go back to the store or send back 3 or 4 times.
  14. Since you are getting self-selected anecdotal responses, rather than a random sample of all users of L lenses, you may make of these comments what you will. I am sure that everyone is telling the truth, and that some have had some problems with L lenses. For what it's worth, I never have, and I particularly like the 24-70mm f/2.8L. It is truly tack sharp. If you buy one, I hope that you have the same luck.

    I wish that there were some way that we good get a good random sample of all users of L lenses, so that we could compare the L series lenses to other lines and brands of lenses, including Nikon, Zeiss, etc. Unfortunately, we will never have that kind of data. Even if we had such data, we could never be sure that the lens being sent to us was going to be a good copy. My guess (and it is only that) is that few lenses in the L series are bad copies, or worse than Nikon or any other brand made for 35mm. (I am quite sure that the Leica users would deny this--and they might even be right, for all I know.)

    Keep in mind also that the weaknesses in the lenses are typically going to be more obvious on the big sensor cameras. What full-frame has done is to make digital users more aware that a lens that worked alright on a cropped sensor camera just might not be up to snuff on large sensors that give the kind of resolution that makes it possible to see the limitations of the lenses.

  15. It is interesting to read the Photozone review and then read William Castleman's review:


    Castleman must have gotten a good copy. There really is not much to be said for anecdotal data. The aggregate sales data are probably more telling: lots of people buy this lens and love it. Look it up on B&H Photo Video and look at the reviews by numerous users. You might want to read all two hundred twenty-two (yes, 222) reviews before you even begin to think about drawing any inferences, but even there the respondents are self-selected, not chosen as part of a random sample:


  16. The B&H summary of reviews says this about the negative comments:

    Heavy (106), Blurry focus (8)

    That is, out of 222 respondents, 8 reported blurry focus (less than 4%, with some claiming back-focusing problems).

    I wonder how this compares to comments about other lenses, but I am not so interested in finding out that I am going to spend the rest of the day reading lens reviews of all Canon L lenses.

    I would buy it--unless Canon announces at Photokina in eight days that they are unveiling an IS version. If so, then I would buy that instead. I might anyway. I like it that much. If I had gotten three bad copies in a row, I might disagree.

    An alternative to simply sending it back for a replacement is to ask Canon to recalibrate it, if it should turn out to be less than tack sharp.

  17. When you get your 24-70 (assuming you take the plunge), take some tripod mounted shots with remote shutter
    release, in good light. For subject choose
    something like a bookcase or ornament shelf, photographed head-on. Do one shot at f2.8 and one stopped down a
    bit, say f5.6 Also, do similar shots with one of your other lens, for reference. Try to keep the same field of view for all

    Review the shots at 100% zoom. If you've got something like Photoshop, try opening the reference shot from your
    other lens together with the 24-70 shot, and toggle between the two. Check the corners in particular. Sharpness
    typically falls
    off a bit in the corners, but it should not be much. If one corner in particular is markedly softer, that is not acceptable,
    and likely could be remedied, either by replacement lens, or an (under warranty) visit to a Canon service center.

    Another exercise would be to check for back/front focus. You can download charts for testing this. For variation, try
    shooting something real-world, something like a row of dominos, each slight set back from it's neighbour.

    No lens will be "perfect". It's an anologue medium, with all the components specified to be within certain tolerances,
    but there can be variation from sample to sample, and if the variations from spec. stack up, it can push the overall
    package beyond the bounds of acceptable.

    Also, check the lens over for mechanical soundness: smooth zoom travel, no looseness, etc.

    FWIW, I have that lens and it is by far my favourite. It shines on full frame like the 5D, escellent range, fast, near
    macro: a quality lens. I also have the 24-105, and I'm really not sure why. If the rumoured IS version of the 24-70
    comes, that would dispel the one negative I have with the lens.
  18. I own a Canon 5D and several L series lenses, and I've used many other lenses - I've got a pretty good idea of what is sharp and what is not as sharp, and what is just plain faulty. My 200mm f/2.8L is extremely sharp. My 70-200mm f/4L is very sharp. My 16-35mm f/2.8L is pretty darn sharp.

    I bought a *used* 24-70mm f/2.8L (so maybe it wasn't as mint on the inside as it looked on the outside - but i doubt that was it) and it was impossible for me to get a very sharp photo with it. It didn't even compare to my 16-35mm f/2.8L in terms of sharpness. It had nothing to do with the AF or handshake or anything else. I had it on a tripod and used manual focus - took portraits and photos of flowers with it and some of my other lenses back to back. The photos looked like they were taken by a kit lens, they lacked so much sharpness. The AF also didn't seem to work nearly as well as on all my other L lenses.

    In general, I found that I didn't like that lens anyways just based on how it felt in the hand and the focal range wasn't all that useful to me. But I'm certain that there was a problem with it, and I have a feeling it was a QC issue. When I started googling around to see what other people thought of it, I found a lot of similar complaints, so who knows...

    On another note... a lens that this reminds me of is the Sigma 20-40mm f/2.8. That lens had some really poor AF - the AF gears didn't seem precise enough and you'd end up with back-focus or front-focus much of the time. But there were times when it was nice and sharp - whereas the 24-70mm f/2.8L was never sharp at all when I had it.
  19. I have the lens and my copy is great. If I had to chose ONE lens to do a wedding on my FF, it would be it. On my crop bodies my lens of choice is 17-55 2.8. Side by side, the FF with the 24-70 produces better images than the 17-55 but I suspect the camera has a lot to do with that. 5D with a 24-70 2.8 mounted, I can tackle any event without fear. Go for it and good luck. v/r Raz
  20. I find my 24-70 2.8 L to be every bit as sharp as my 200 2.8 L prime. I am very happy with both. I do however often see them discribed in terms of being a good copy which makes me think there may be less than good copies, but advertising of used items is what it is. I'm sad to say I have had to have repairs on the 24-70 because of miss use and it has come back as good as new twice. Oh the shame!
  21. "Who has time to go back to the store or send back 3 or 4 times."

    Not me. My 24-70 has been superb, but what do I know? I don't look for flaws at 200% viewing on my screen. LOL. Some people actually do. I've only had the lens 3.5 years now though so maybe I'll get lucky and find a flaw.
  22. I'm also very pleased with my 24-70, but I think the reason not everyone sings it's praises is there can be bad copies, of any lens. I don't think your odds are any worse with this lens than any other, but I do think it's worth pixel peeping, 8:00 am, day one, to verify you didn't get a lemon, rather than coming to the conclusion gradually, maybe after the warranty has run out.
  23. Sold mine and got the older 28-70.

    Mine was very sharp, *when* it was in focus, but it mis-focussed like crazy it just wasn't funny. Loved locking onto
    background even though focus point was on subject's face/eyes.

    Test shots worked fine at home, it was during real-world jobs it would mess up.

    28-70mm not perfect either, but much better!

    Switching to Nikon soon, but that's another thread...
  24. "Switching to Nikon soon, but that's another thread..."

    Then again, have you read the specs today on the Canon 5D Mark II as found at depreview.com? What do you expect to find at Nikon that you would not have with this new Canon, except for more frames per second? Then again, perhaps you take a lot of action shots, and that might then become the decisive factor.

  25. I owned one and swore it was defective. Ends up might technique was defective. The lens served me faithfuly for 2 years before I sold it for a EF-S 17-55 F2.8 IS. (Better suited to my needs, I don't have any intention of going full frame).

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