Canon has recently started shipping the new EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the successor to the older Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens.
Some like Kaiman Wong has already gone as far as to label it “Canon’s best lens.”
I am sure he meant best walk-around lens. For many, this would come as a surprise, particularly since the 24-70mm f/2.8L has always worn this tag.
A general purpose lens always tends to get a lot of attention. For most DSLR camera owners, consumers who have realized the virtues of a large sensor, but not necessarily warmed up to the prospect of having to spend a fortune to acquire more equipment, a single lens kit is what they look for.
- Now, this lens is aimed to be an improvement over the older 24-105mm f/4L.
- The older lens has a dedicated fan just like the more illustrious 24-70mm f/2.8L.
- Both these lenses are general purpose glass covering a crucial focal length range.
- The 24-105mm, in that sense, covers an extra focal length range which is great to have in some situations.
But still, is the new 24-105mm that good to be tagged as Canon’s best lens (albeit walk-around)? Let’s find out. The new lens has some serious improvements over the older one.
New vs. Old Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM
- The new lens has four GMo Aspherical elements compared to one Super-UD and three Aspherical elements in the old one.
- The GMo units ensure vignetting is suppressed to a large extent.
- In addition to that Air Sphere Coating ensures that lens ghosting and flaring is also suppressed.
- All-new optical design with significant improvements in peripheral brightness.
- High-performance standard zoom lens with constant f/4L aperture and a broad angle of view covering from wide angle to...
- Air Sphere Coating (ASC) helps to significantly reduce flare and ghosting. Diagonal Angle of View:84°00' - 23° 20'
- Image Stabilizer performance at up to 4 stops* of shake correction helps capture sharp images. Lens Construction: 17 elements...
- Circular Aperture (10 blades) helps deliver beautiful, soft backgrounds.
One of the improvements of the new Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is the improved vignetting at the corners. The older EF 24-105mm f/4L had some corner vignetting which is almost non-existent on the new lens.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM has Ultra-sonic motor powered auto-focusing. USM auto-focusing is quieter and more accurate than the old technology (micro-motor). In addition to it, you get full-time manual focusing override.
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One more thing, focusing is entirely internal. That means the barrel length does not expand when you focus your lens on a subject.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM comes with four stops of image stabilization.
Four stops of image stabilization means you can use up to four stops slower shutter speed without inducing image blur. This is an incredible advantage because you can now use the slow shutter speed to make blur-free images even when shooting in low light and when hand holding your camera.
EF 24-105 Build Quality
On the outside, the lens does appear to be well constructed. It has a water and dust resistant construction. Please note there is a difference between water/dust resistance and fully water/dust sealed.
If you need something which is completely weather sealed then, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is somewhat suitable for that purposes.
But the specifications does not say that it is entirely weather sealed. Fluorine coating has been applied to the front element of the lens. This tends to be the area which is a dust and smear magnet.
Plus, a ten blade aperture diaphragm should get you those soft and mushy background blur effects (bokeh).
The new lens is a good 100 grams heavier than the older lens. This is due to the improved optics and better auto-focusing elements built into the lens.
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When compared to something like the best Cannon 24 – 70mm lenses, this lens provides a greater coverage when shooting subjects at a distance. It also retains the wide 24mm maximum focal length. Theoretically, that makes it a better walkaround lens compared to the 24-70mm. You would argue that the 24-70mm is slightly faster at f/2.8. Yes, it is and that’s a serious advantage when shooting in poor light conditions. But that lens is near twice as expensive.
24-70mm vs. 24-105mm
Additionally, if you own an APS-C system camera the increased focal length make this a 38.4 – 168mm, a decent telelens. That means it covers the essential wide angle, portrait and medium telelens range, all in one well-made barrel.
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