About Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by Lauvau, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Hello,

    I want to buy the zoom Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM for my Canon 5DII. I work mostly with a 50mm F1.4 USM, which I find fantastic for my landscapes and portraits, but I want to have more 'focal' available with a single polyvalent lens.
    I just wanted advice on this lens? What is his biggest weakness? In F11, the optical quality is it equivalent to that of 50mm F1.4 (roughly) ? The wide angle (24mm) at F11 gives good results? What does the abbreviation 'IS'? My concern is: A fixed focal length of good quality (like 50mm F1.4) it is more efficient (really more?) than a quality zoom like the Canon 24-105mm? (A tricky question, of course).
    From my research it is a good lens but I preferred to have some experciences. Thank you in advance for your return, it will be appreciated for choosing my investment.
  2. no-brainer on a full frame body. I doubt whether you'll see any difference between this lens and primes at f/8.
    IS= image stabilization.
  3. Thanks for your answer. What do you mean by 'no-brainer'. Sorry but I am french and I can't find any sens by translating with that :)
  4. No brainer = You dont have to think too hard to make a decision.
  5. It's a great lens. I bought it for my 5D back in the day. This isn't scientific but I shot it off against the old Minolta 50/2.8 macro on my Sony A350 and it lost, but when I put a decent Minolta zoom it beat that handily. My feeling is that it's quite an excellent zoom. Maybe not up to the optical performance of your 50l/1.4 but pretty darn close. My problem is the 5D and the 24-105 is a bit heavy for me these days.
  6. I've used the 24-105 for years and it is an excellent lens. It is almost as good wide open (f/4) as it is stopped down. It is a perfect all in one lens for the 5D2. You will find your 50mm f/1.4 to be sharper. The 24-105 is not the sharpest lens but it does everything very well. Good colour and contrast throughout the focal range. IS is extremely useful, especially if you shoot video. Quite a bit of distortion at 24mm but easily corrected in Canon DPP. Well made, weather sealed and reasonably compact for its focal range.
  7. Thanks all. Why Canon decided to make a version II of his 24-70 USM L and did not release a II version for his 24-105 L? What are the change in version II, lens is more powerful against the chromatic aberrations, or other?
  8. The 24-105L is probably the most "popular" L lens out there..... good performing, reliable, affordable etc. It is put on many a FF camera as the "kit" lens. Improvements cost money and it is likely Canon did not want to change the current price structure and place in the market.
    The 24-70L is frequently purchased by a slightly different group of people. Even the first version is pricier than the 24-105L. If I were to make a generalization (warning... danger... danger) I'd say that more professionals are likely to own a 24-70 than a 24-105 while more amateurs are going to own the 24-105. The 24-70L was the likely choice to upgrade and the 24-70L II is now very expensive and very very good and probably the sharpest ever zoom in its class. (just my opinion)
  9. I suspect the main reason for the changes to the 24-70 was to increase the price and clearly separate it from the 24-105.
    If you look at this site you will see lots of 24-70 vs 24-105 posts. The price difference (when I bought mine) was about
    $140 so it was a slower lens with IS and a wider range vs a faster and slightly sharper lens. With the new 24-70 I think
    you will see a lot less 24-70 vs 24-105 posts as it is now $2300 vs $1000. I may be being cynical but I think they mainly
    revised it to create a clear price gap between the two lenses- Especially as Nikon has always had a big price gap between
    their 24-120 F4 and 24-70 (the Nikon being about $1900)
  10. zml


    24-105 is a good universal lens. I do not know whether there will ever be a Mk. II version of it but the current version is good enough for its intended application (as a walk around/about lens.) Search this forum for many threads pondering its pluses and minuses.
    By the way, I really like the inventive use of the word "polyvalent" as a synonym of unversal/flexible: a really, really, nice, seldom used, word.
  11. I think the 24-105mm IS lens combined with the 5D Mark II body is a very useful and versatile kit for most photographic uses. Here is a sample picture with the combination at about one stop down from wide open.
  12. It is a fine lens. I use it and it is probably the lens most often on my 5D2 body.
    You asked about weaknesses. All lenses have weaknesses and strengths, including this lens. Weaknesses include:
    • vignetting at 24mm and f/4 is noticeable.
    • barrel distortion is noticeable at 24mm
    • over time the lens may develop "barrel creep," where the lens will extend under its own weight when pointed down.
  13. G Dan has the main characteristics.
    - you have to realize that no lens is perfect in all regards.
    Compromises are necessary to achieve the main goals - and the main goal of the 24-105mm L is to be one of the "handiest" lenses available for Canon 35mm-sensors. It is lighter than some of the alternatives in the same general range, and the IS lets you shoot in situations where a much faster lens would normally be necessary.
    If I could only keep one lens, this would be the one, and -like most people who have one - it's my most commonly used lens.
  14. I have had a total of four 24~105 lenses, the first "Heavenly rays" version being replaced by Canon, and the next two being passed on to family members as gifts, so I am currently using the fourth. All have been consistently good performers. Tests against my 50/1.4 showed very little difference at corresponding apertures, but my 85/1.8 is definitely a bit better, and the long end of the 24~105 is definitely less sharp than the short-to-medium end. So it is not a perfect lens, but a very acceptable compromise offering an extremely convenient package. On weakness not mentioned is that it has a tendency to shed its red ring, replaceable only by having the lens barrel replaced at considerable cost.
  15. There is a fairly comprehensive test of this lens at:
  16. It's a great lens.
    Make sure that you combine it with Digital Lens Optimization, such as is available with Digital Photo Profession, Lightroom, DxO Optics Pro and other softwares. DLO corrects for geometric distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, softness and other artifacts that occur with zoom lenses, particularly at wider focal lengths and wide open apertures. The difference in IQ is substantial.
  17. Thanks all for your answers and indications.
  18. You can also find info about the 24-105 at slr-gear.com. Use the sliders to figure out the sharpest apertures with crop anf FF cameras.
  19. It is a good useful lens with impressive image quality. As others mentioned, vignetting at the wide end and a slight drop off in image quality at the long end are its weaknesses.
    The diaphragm in my lens failed after about 5 years of mainly weekend use requiring a costly repair that ran to half the cost of a new lens.
  20. When I first purchased the 24-105 I was annoyed by the amount of distortion that I was seeing. Luckily, the lens profiles in Lightroom 3 and 4 fix the distortion and the aforementioned light falloff on the edges.
    With these problems easily solved, it's a very practical lens and probably my single most used lens of the last three years. The range of focal lengths is very convenient, the IS helps immensely, and the optics are only slightly less sharp than those of my sharpest primes. I have no complaints about the 24-105, and I would happily use it for any application that doesn't require an aperture larger than f/4.
  21. For me the 24-105 F4L was the only L-series lens I have ever NOT liked. I found the distortion bth in vertical and horizontial lines and vignetting at 24mm to be unacceptable for an L-series lens. I much prefer my Canon 17-40 F4L if I need 24mm. If I need 70+ I use one of my 7-200 lenses. However, I have been extremely happy with the Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC combined with the Tamron 70-300 VC. I love them both in price, build and performance. I especially enjoy having a fast F2.8 and Image stabalized lens for about the same price or a 24-107 F4 L.
  22. In in my opinion the Canon 24-105 is a disappointing lens; not worthy of the L series tag. Its vignetting and barrel distortion is worse than many cheap kit lenses and bokeh is poor.
    Its only virtue is IS and good build quality. Sharpness is good most of the time but at 24mm its not great at the edges. I use it as a walk around and video lens on a 5D2 but would not use it for critical architectural or portrait work.
  23. The Canon 24-105 is excellent! If you have to choose only one lens to travel with, that's it! I think it's the best lens for travel and street photography. I use it on my 7D. The image quality and sharpness are very good, colours are fantastic. It's not a fast lens however the image stabilizer works fine. If you are looking instead for wedding/studio or indoor photography lens you should better choose the 24-70 f/2.8.
  24. I bought this lens a month a go with a 5D body. The optics are fine but I think there is a serious problem with the image stabilizer when the aperture isn't fully open.
    I set the camera to 1/10 sec at F8 and put the lens at max zoom. I then took a photo of a static subject with and without IS switched on. The image with IS switched OFF was much clearer. If the aperture is set wide open at F4, this image blur does not occur with IS ON. It appears that the action of the diaphragm closing when the picture is taken is interfering with the IS. If you focus, then press the DOF button to close the aperture, then take the picture, the image is clear with IS ON.
    I sent the lens to Canon for investigation and they returned it saying no fault found. This is very disappointing since I have other cheaper lens that do not have this problem under these conditions.
    I would be interested to know if others have observed this.
  25. The IS on many Canon lenses can take a fraction of a second to "spool up" when you press the shutter button half way down. On the super teles it really obvious, but it happens on all the lenses. With my Canon IS lenses, if I activate AF, either with the back button or the shutter button and then wait for the IS to stabilize, then I get steady shots at any aperture. If you push through the half shutter setting and then release the shutter before the IS has finished stabilizing, you can get a blurry image.
  26. John Blain,
    My copy seems to have exactly the same issue as your does. If I shoot with the IS ON at narrow apertures, the images will be a lot blurrier. This doesn't happen AT ALL with my 70-200 f4L IS or even my EF-S kit lens from an old Rebel that I have.
    I want to try other 24-105 on my 5Dmk3, but I also found this VERY disappointing. I need to run additional tests, but I'm not even sure if the IS is actually helping at wide apertures. It is frustrating, as the IS of my 70-200 really does a wonderful job, allowing me to shoot at 1/10s of a second or even slower shutter speeds across the entire range.
    It's a shame that Canon didn't do anything about it. I would NOT recommend the 24-105 then.
  27. Daniel,
    It is good to hear that I wasn't alone with this problem. I took the lens and camera to my Canon service centre 3 times and I think they have finally fixed it by reloading the firmware onto the lens. They say they have sent the original firmware to Canon HQ so you might get a better response.
    After my post on Oct 29th, I did some more tests and found that it was any F stop greater than F4 that caused the problem. I demonstrated it to them by doing the following:
    1. Set camera to Manual, F8 and 1/10sec with max zoom and IS on.
    2. Take a picture normally
    3. Take another picture by focusing then pressing the depth of field preview button to close the aperture then take the picture with DOF button pressed.
    4. Compare the 2 pictures for image blur.
    I was finding that the first image was blurred (movement not a focus error) and the second was totally clear. This suggests that the closing of the aperture at the time the picture was taken was interfering with the IS. Closing the aperture before the picture is taken (with DOF button) does not produce the problem. Canon's method of testing IS in the lab would never find this because all they do is shine a light through the lens at F4.
    Good luck


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