what's better? a new canon kit lens or a really old L series lens?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by sophie54321, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. I just upgraded to full frame 6d mark ii and I just realised I can't use my old sigma lens as it's not compatible with my full frame camera.
    I've already got some decent prime lenses and a telephoto zoom lens but I'm after an all rounder zoom lens. I'm looking to spend no more than £500
    I was looking at the kit lens: Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens or the old EF 24-70 f/2.8l usm or even the super old 28-70 but
    I don't know anything about the lifespan of lenses or if a new entry level would be better than an old lens.

    Any other suggestions would be much appreciated.
  2. With some quick research I am curious why Canon did not claim that 24-105 IS STM as an "L" lens. It does have some good glass in it, but it also has expensive IS and expensive STM. Some how the glass is still not up to their L quality. This lens is designed for video shooters in particular because the STM is a silent focusing system. The earlier L zooms you mention will be at least as good as the newer one or better. I suspect better, because at the time they were designed to be the benchmark Canon lens for a general purpose zoom lens. Having checked out the tests at digital picture .com (I don't trust them completely but they seem to be reasonably accurate from my experience) the older 28-70/2.8 L is in fact sharper than the newer IS STM (both on 1Ds III).

    When I get a chance I will do some more research on these lenses. You also missed one, the original general zoom was the 28-80/2.8-4 L dating way back to 1987-1992. I believe it too would beat the IS STM with respect to image quality. The changes Canon makes to a lens from one generation to the next are extremely minor, as their main objective is to sell more lenses. All of these lenses have USM as well which is important for superior AF and more resilient lens design.

    I would be remiss in not mentioning that for IS fans the 24-105 IS STM and the meriad of other IS L lenses do improve hand held photography in very dim conditions, like indoor gatherings. In these cases the IS can improve image quality by being able to use a lower ISO setting which will offset the L glass at a much higher ISO setting. So if you do find yourself shooting in low light situations on a very regular basis the IS lens may in fact be more useful.

    There are also a couple of versions of the 24-105mm f4 L IS lens as well that you should also be aware of. Generally not as well respected for image quality of the f2.8 zooms you are considering but does also have IS.

    As for longevity the most important thing to look for is the USM focusing system. The original focus system is not as reliable. The other major thing is the condition of the aperture but we are dealing with lenses that are only up to 30 years old, and I still use lenses with apertures that are 40 to 50 years old. The only other thing to watch out for is obviously the condition of the glass. A bit of dust is absolutely normal for any zoom and even the odd small mark towards the outside of a piece of glass can be unnoticeable in photos.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  3. Just checking out the lens testing site, the difference from the 28-70/2.8 L and the 24-70/2.8 L II (so two improvements) is noticeable, mostly in the corners and also towards the telephoto range. The 24-105mm f4 L IS (original version) seems to be a bit sharper than the original 28-70/2.8 L especially wide open and also in the telephoto range. You may find a 24-105/4 L IS in your price range, since it has been replaced with the IS II version.

    The 24-70/2.8 L performs better than the 24-105/4 L IS, again on the same website.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  4. The 24-105/4 L IS is much sharper than the 24-105 IS STM in the centre and middle but the IS STM is slightly sharper in the corners. Again, just based on the test site.
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Apples and Oranges.

    I think it is necessary to factor in "best... for your PURPOSES".

    I suggest that you assess the attributes you require for "YOUR all rounder zoom lens"

    Personally I use a 24 to 105 F/4 L IS. The main reasons are:
    > I use the IS, often
    > I use the extra 70 to 105 Focal Length, often

    On the other hand, you might not value either of those attributes but want the F/2.8, or you may want the best general overall image quality.

    Additionally you may or may not have biases against other attributes - for example I avoid Varying Maxium Aperture Zoom Lenses, so the particular 24 to 105 that you are considering, I would avoid. This might not concern you.

    My point is the lenses that you listed are quite different in "purpose' and I advise that once you decide upon what type of lens is best suited to your purpose, then it's time to scout the various options.

  6. I just noticed that it would be beneficial to have posted this in the Canon EOS forum. Do not re-post this, they do not like that here, but perhaps the moderators can move it?
    William Michael likes this.
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Good idea, Done
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  8. Many of us use one or another of the Canon 24-105mm lenses on 'full-frame' Canons. They are not optically great, but are adequate. We use it for the convenience of that range and its other utility. I wouldn't leave home without it. The newer versions seem to have little advantage over the original. Used copies are common and relatively inexpensive.
  9. Yes the APS-C lenses don't work on full frame Canon EOS. Bummer, I sold off all my APS-C glass when I moved to Full frame. Generally Canon L lenses are better glass and build, but there are a few non L lenses that are amazingly sharp so a little research on each lens on a unique basis is warranted, lots of free info on the web. I have had great luck buying used Canon L lenses and I would prefer an older used L lens over a kit lens for my choices. Though there are some older L glass lenses that seem a bit soft on newer higher resolution Canons, one example was my old original 100-400 L, great lens, built like a tank, could probably survive in a war zone, but it is a bit soft, and Canon came out with a MK II version that is much sharper. So even L lenses have been improving sharpness as the resolution of cameras has been going up. I have an original 24-70mm f/2.8 L original, I still love it, yes there is a MK II version that may have improved slightly, but the original 24-70 L was a go to lens in every wedding photographers bag and in my opinion it is still a worthy lens.

    The only non Canon L lens I own is the 40mm f/2.8 pancake which is amazingly sharp from f/2.8 to f/16 and it is very affordable. I also own some third party lens that are very sharp, SIGMA 85mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 and a Sigma 150mm-600mm C (Which replaced my 100-400 L because it had more reach and was sharper and faster focusing)

    So my suggestion is research each lens on it's own merits. But in general, I think moving toward L glass and better glass in general is usually worth it, but there are some worthy non-L lenses that worthy to have in your bag.

    Just my opinion, happy shooting whatever lens you end up with.
  10. I agree with William: the answer depends on how you are going to use the lens.

    Like William and JDM, I use the 24-105 L (first version) a great deal, probably more than any other lens. It isn't optically wonderful, but it's adequate, and like William, I use the 70-105 mm range so often that it would be very inconvenient to use a 24-70 instead. That't the main reason I use this rather than a 24-70 and have never bought a 24-70. The Canon 24-70 f/2.8 lenses lack IS, but there are several good lenses with that range that have it, and if I were to buy a 24-70, that's what I would get.

    For my purposes, the combination of the 24-105 and 70-200 is optimal. The small amount of overlap minimizes how often I have to change lenses. I often carry only these two lenses.

    The first generation 24-105 L can often be had for a song, not only because it has been replaced by a newer model (not a great deal better, from the reviews I have read), but also because it was often bundled as a kit lens, and many people who bought kits decided not to keep it.
  11. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I also use the 24-105L and a 70-200L . The frustration is that the 70-200 is IMO the better lens but because the 25-105 is most often on the camera I use that for the "overlap" territory much more often than the longer zoom. Which costs me some quality. If I'd bought a 24-70 I wouldn't be able to be so lazy and I suspect get sharper images right from 24-105 than I do right now.
    Robin Smith likes this.

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