This easy-to-use standard zoom lens can cover a large zoom area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm portrait-length telephoto, and its Image Stabilizer Technology steadies camera shake up to three stops. Constructed with one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses, this lens minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion. The result is excellent picture quality, even at wide apertures. Canon’s ring-type USM gives silent but quick AF, along with full-time manual focus. Moreover, with dust- and moisture-resistant construction, this is a durable yet sophisticated lens that meets the demands of advanced amateur photographers and professional photographers alike.
It can be used wide open at f4 and still yield very sharp images and with the 3 stops of stabization which the IS system provides, it’s useful for low light work as well. It can yield sharp images at 1/3s at 24mm and 1/12s at 105mm. What’s somewhat less impressive is the noticeable vignetting and distortion, especially at 24mm. This can easily be corrected digitally of course, but it’s always better not to have it there in the first place. If the lens had been designed to eliminate vignetting and distortion though, it would probably have ended up much larger, heavier and more expensive and some of the zoom range might have had to be lost. If that’s the case, the compromise is worth it.
Canon EOS 5D owners looking for a standard zoom could of course always fit a cheaper lens, but the camera’s high resolution and full-frame coverage is unforgiving. It really demands L glass, especially from a zoom, and the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM will certainly deliver the goods. Its relatively high list price and the compelling advantages of the quicker EF 24-70mm and cheaper EF 17-40mm ultimately prevent us from awarding it a Highly Recommended, but it remains the best overall choice for most new 5D owners looking for a standard zoom.
- Useful wide to short telephoto range
- Effective anti-shake IS capability
- Fast and quiet USM focusing motor
- Polariser-friendly internal focusing
- Relatively expensive (at list price)
- Corners slightly soft at telephoto end
- 24-70 f/2.8L has better build and focusing
- 17-40mm f/4L an affordable alternative
Boasting the superb build, mechanical and optical quality found in the Canon L-Series Lenses and a widely used range of focal lengths, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens is one of the best and most popular Canon general purpose lenses made. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens quickly became one of my favorites. If I had only one lens, this would be the one.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens’ autofocus is driven by Canon’s excellent Ring USM (Ultrasonic Motor). It is internal, fast, quiet – and accurate. The 24-105 L is a parfocal lens – “There’s a cam inside the 24-105mm lens that is designed to maintain an accurate focus when the lens is zoomed from tele towards wide.” [Chuck Westfall, Canon USA]
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens is quite sharp wide open and shows only very slight improvement when stopped down. Corner sharpness is very good – Full frame DSLR users will see some softness in the far corners at the wider focal lengths until stopped down.
For all intents and purposes, both these are superb lenses and there is very little difference in their practical resolution.
At 24 mm the 24-105 mm lens is definitely better at the edges at f4 and f5.6. This finding is slightly surprising to me as f4 is the maximum aperture for the 24-105 mm lens, whereas the 24-70 mm is stopped down by one stop. By f8 the lenses are hard to tell apart. They are equally good at the centre.
At 35 mm the lenses are practically identical and I’d only give a very slight edge to the new lens, and only at f4. The difference is more one of contrast than resolution, to my eyes. The 24 -70 mm seems to have just a teeny bit of flare around small details.
At 50 mm the same applies; a tad better contrast from the new lens but otherwise it’s hard to discern any difference.