Canon 24-105 F4 L vs 24-70 2.8L - Bokeh and Background Blur

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ric c (sydney), Dec 2, 2005.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I was hoping to get some advice. this is my first post. 90-95% of my
    photography is around getting the absolute best candid and portrait
    shots of my friends and family either at events or travelling. I
    have a Canon 20D and bought the 17-85mm IS lens thinking this would
    be the perfect multipurpose lens for me. It has been fantastic. The
    range is great and IS is fantastic for me (I drink lots of coffee -;)

    I am very very dissapointed with the lack of background blur (bokeh)
    capability of this lens. I love this aspect of photography. I love
    the 3D effect created by it. So I want to ebay this lens and am
    looking at either the 24-70 2.8L or the 24-105 4L. I'm leaning
    towards the 24-105 4L for the range flexibility, lighter weight and
    IS capbility, but am really woorried that an F Stop of 4 will still
    not produce the kind of background blur I love in most sitautions.

    Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated?
  2. The bokeh at 105/4 is better than 70/2.8 with the same subject to background distance. Even when giving the 24-70 the advantage of being closer to the subject. Either are WAY better than the 85/5.6 that you have now. I've directly compared all three.
  3. If you want some really great backgrounds then you should think of the 85 f/1.2 L and the 135 f/2. For something shorter, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 is very sharp in the centre and capable of excellent subject isolation - you may or may not like the backgrounds it produces. The zooms won't begin to compare with what you can achieve with these lenses. The extra speed will also make up for your coffee habit, but depth of field will become a lot narrower than you are used to.
  4. If you want background blur on a 20 D, I would try the 85mm f1.8 lens or even one of the 50mm lenses before trying more expensive solutions. I have a 5D and find that the 85mm f1.8 gives great bokeh. I also have the 135mm f2.0 which gives better bokeh, but the 85mm f1.8 is not far behind.

    These are the responses I received when I asked near enough the same question.

    I ended up buying the 24 - 70.

    Where abouts in Syndney are you, I lived at Wedderburn before moving to the UK
  6. dk.


    Hi Ric, I too was thinking about the 24-70mm f2.8L and the 24-105mm f4L IS for a long time. I thought because the price was so close to each other that I would get the 24-70mm f2.8L because it is proven and has been around for a long time.

    Well I bid on three 24-70's on Ebay and I was not the winning bidder each time. So I talked to the Guy at the Camera store where I buy all of my stuff from and he knows me very well. I may be one of his best customers. LOL

    Anyway I got the 24-105mm f4L IS for about $100 more then a good used 24-70mm on ebay (I have been watching them for over a month on there and keeping track of the prices) and I saved close to $300 off of what other stores here in Canada have the 24-105mm going for.

    I do not have the 24-70mmF2.8L but have no doubt that it is a great lens but the 24-105mmF4L IS that I now have is really nice and the Background blur is great also.
    You will be happy with ether lens. I once had your 17-85mm and know what it is like and let me tell you that you will like the 24-105mm f4L IS if you should go that way. (Especially if you drink lots of Coffee) lol

    Take care.

  7. dk.


    (JC from the link you gave)

    "J C , oct 21, 2005; 12:52 p.m.
    Thanks for all your advice it has made me make up my mind to stick with my original decision in purchasing the 24-105 f4L IS." and yet you got the 24-70mm? (which is fine and a great lens)

    Ric I think from your type of shooting that you mention above you would benefit more from the IS and range not to mention having a bit less weight to carry around. But you can not lose with ether one, just make sure you get a good deal from where you buy your gear. Take care.

  8. I concur that the answer is NOT to upgrade, but to add a portrait lens. Buying BOTH the 50/1.8 and 85/1.8 to SUPPLEMENT your existing lens will be BOTH more cost effective, and yield better results.
  9. It's been mentioned that buying a prime lens is a good path to achieve your goals, and I
    think it's worth considering. I use a 20D with that 1.6 crop, and own a 28/1.8, 50/1.4,
    and 85/1.8. With the 1.6 magnification the 85/1.8 is just too close for most situations. I
    haven't used my 85/1.8 much since switching from film. Actually I use the 28/1.8 more
    than the 50. If you want nice bokeh and the "3D" effect you speak of, a prime lens with a
    1.4 or 1.8 max aperture will achieve that goal. Having said that, the 24-105L will be a
    nice walk-around lens. I'll be buying one myself next month in Japan (it's $900 new
    there). I'd back away from the 50/1.8. Optically it'll give you nice photos, but I had one
    and gave it away. It's slow to focus and searches so long that you'll miss your shot. The
    50/1.4 isn't too expensive. Give the primes a "test drive" before deciding on the 24-105L.
    Good luck!
  10. 105mm @ f/4 will provide about the same amount of blur as 70mm @ f/2.8.

    Really, you sould compare on max aperture and IS features.
  11. I very much like the 85/1.8 on a 1.6x DSLR; it will certainly provide the background blur you desire, at a very reasonable cost. And, with the extra speed of the lens and the ability to shift to a higher ISO if needed, you should be able to get decent shutter speeds in most situations.

  12. EF 24-70/2.8 or EF 24-105/4 - I would choose the first one for two reasons:<br>
    1) IS is not that much use a t short focal lenghts. I've got the EF28-135 IS and I would change the IS to a couple of stops more light.<br>
    2) the EF 24-105 is still a bit overpriced compared to the very reasonably priced EF24-70.<p>
    I did consider for a while between these two, but in the end decided to stick with my old EF 28-135 and instead purchased a second hand EF85/1.2. Now, the bokeh of that lense is something else. Actually it offers such a short dof that I can hardly use it wide open. I think EF50/1.4, EF85/1.8, EF100/2, EF135/2 are all great for short dof and at least the EF85/1.8 is cheap besides sharp.
  13. Yes, I ended up going for the 24 - 70 David, when I bought the 70 - 200 f2.8 L non IS (my first L lense)the price kept me from going for the IS version and the f4 kept me from going for the f4 version so that was easy. The 24 - 70, 24 - 105 was a much harder descision but in the end the f2.8 for the BOKEH swung me toward the 24 - 70 especially after seeing the BOKEH on my 70 - 200 f2.8. Anyway isn't it a man's perogative to change his mind :)
  14. All,

    thanks for your contributions they are greatly appreciated. Definitely helping my thought process. I'm not quite there yet though. I know that generally primes are sharper and who can argue with F stops of 1.8 and 2.0 for great Bokeh but with a 2 year old little man jumping all over me most of the time -;), its incredibly difficult to switch lenses mid stream in the field without dust becoming a real problem, much less carry around 3 or more primes with me wherever I go, so I think I need the flexibility of a zoom that covers the generally most often used ranges that these 2 can provide.

    Guys, it looks like a few of the people posting are using some sort of formula or equation to compare Bokeh in lenses? Can anybody clarify? I understand the correlation between F stops, Aperture and focal length, but I didn't realise there was a mathematical correlation for these and Bokeh?.....Thanks...Ric.
  15. dk.


    Yes JC you can get whatever you want and of the two you where picking from you would not lose ether way. I have the 70-200mm f2.8L (non IS) too and love it, itメs a great lens.

    For me I finally made up my mind because I like IS (I took a picture yesterday at 1/13 you got to love that) and I have Primes for really great Bokeh if I want to use them and I have the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 xr di lens already which is almost the same as the 24-70mm f2.8L and so I got the 24-105mm f4L IS for the best deal I could here. :eek:)
    (Good thing I did not win those bids on ebay)

    As far as Ric is concerned I read what he said about what he shoots and took that into account when I gave him my advice, Now if he wants the very best Bokeh he can get you have to go with the 1.2, 1.4, 1.8 primes. But he needs the convenience of a zoom and he is used to having IS and well he drinks lots of Coffee. :eek:) LOL

    You can't lose with ether one, But he is used to having IS and when you have that you don't want to go back. Just make sure you get a good deal on the 24-105mm F4L IS like I did as it is new and over priced right now. Take care.

  16. David
    I must admit the IS on the 24 - 105 is what originally appealed to me about the lense. I drink a lot of coca cola so you could say IS would be beneficial :). My next lense will be the 100 - 400 L IS so this will be my first foray into IS and believe me I am looking forward to it.
  17. As a counter-arguement to the 50/1.8 being a good portrait lens, the bokeh with that lens
    is NOT NICE. Generally, the only of the old design AFD lenses that has good bokeh is the
    135/2.8 softfocus, which does have great bokeh. The 28/2.8, 35/2 and 50/1.8 are all
    lacking compared to their modern incarnations or the L zooms in the bokeh department.
  18. Andrew Robertson , dec 03, 2005; 01:33 a.m.
    "105mm @ f/4 will provide about the same amount of blur as 70mm @ f/2.8. "

    Relative to the size of the object in the background, yes.

    But the size of the blur circle on the frame in only about 65% at 70/2.8. So in
    reality, no.

    And subjectively, I think the circle of confusion is more evenly distributed on
    the 24-105.

    So I stand by my technical and subjective assesment that the bokeh is better
    at 105/4 vs. 70/2.8.

    Let me also throw in, that on *my* copies, that the subject is sharper wide
    open on the 24-105 from the mid to long side.
  19. dk.


    Ric you may want to look at this post above yours,

    Sigma 24-70mm/2.8 EX DG DF vs Canon L 24-70 2.8 by Ron Lindsey (2005-12-04)

    theres a link in there about the Sigma and going by the Pictures at that site it looks like its a great lens for a lot less money.

  20. Hmmmm Thanks David...interesting...I think I may have a look at the Sigma...My main concerns in going away from Canon though are resale value if its not what i want and Sigma's sometimes inconsistent build quality
  21. See my samples inder Mobs' Shots in this thread:

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