Deal 10: A hot topic, at a hot price!
A Guest Post by Dave Powell from www.shoottokyo.com.
filter diameter: 77mm
minimum focusing distance: .38m/1.25 ft.
minimum aperture: f/22
I use this lens for about 50% of my shooting. I have 8 Canon L series lenses and I reach for this one out of two times.
It tells me I need to spend more time with my other lenses but it also tells me how great this lens really is.
I love the look and feel of this lens but most of all I love it’s versatility and range of photos I can take with it. I also love the weight of it as it gives a good strong feel to the camera.
Often I don’t want to carry a camera bag with me. This is especially true for me when I am out with my family or just running an errand. Sometimes I just want to throw a camera strap over my shoulder on my way out the door. I do however want to be able to capture all of the subjects I will be encountering or moments we will be having.
Often my son Kai will be across the table from me and I will just want to snap a quick photo without having to move to setup the shot. My ultra wide angle might capture too much of the scene. One of my prime lenses like my 85mm might crop too tightly or be too close to focus. My 24-70mm is perfect for zooming to the right focal length and capturing the moment in front of me. It is wide enough to capture more of the scene but is also able to zoom in for a tight crop when I want it. A minimum focusing distance of .38m or 1.25 feet makes it perfect for shooting across the table or even someone sitting next to you.
It is also a great lens for family photos as it is wide enough to get the whole family in but without some of the feature distortion you can get with an ultra wide angle lens.
Living in a city I tend to be at train stations a lot which are full of action and require a versatile lens to capture all that is going on. I couldn’t have captured this photo of Shibuya Station’s Toyoko Line and the highway under it if I wasn’t able to zoom out to 24mm. I also needed to zoom out so I can capture this on coming train (just before it hit me) as well as the platforms on each side. On my way out of Shinjuku Station I wanted to capture this business man as he passed the Shinjuku Eye and needed to zoom in isolating just him and ‘the eye’ and leaving out the rest of the madness of Shinjuku Station.
One of the things I love about my 16-35mm is the landscapes that I can capture. When I am without it, my 24-70mm allows me to get wide enough to capture the landscape as you can see in these photos; monks at a temple on the edge of Ankor Wat in Cambodia, guards surrounding Changdeok-kung Temple in Seoul South Korea, Tokyo Tower at dusk and the International Forum in Tokyo.
With a maximum aperture of f/2.8 it also allows for great night photography without needing to raise your ISO too high that you introduce a lot of noise into the photographs as you can see in these pictures of the Cherry Blossoms along Meguro River in Nakameguro. This was the reason I choose this lens over the 24-105 f/4.0. The lost of focal length was easily made up for with a stop of light.
Sometimes portrait opportunities present themselves and it’s nice to be able to react quickly.
Sometimes you want the ability to get more creative with the depth of field and the f/2.8 aperture allows for that nicely.
…and sometimes you are just out for a walk and want to capture whatever it is you come across such as; this leaf a found at a temple near my house after a rain, Domo-kun protecting the NHK building in Seiiku, or this attack dog in Dalat Vietnam.
As you can see, the 24-70mm f/2.8 allows you to capture a wide range of subjects. It’s a great walk around and travel lens. I often get asked “I want to get one nice lens, what do you recommend?”. My answer is this one every time.
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February 22, 2012 10:39 am
I have this lens and although it's versatility is great I don't rate it's sharpness. I've been queering it a while. My 100mm fixed lens is so sharp its incredible I love it!
I don't know whether the lens is faulty because my shots just aren't super sharp with this lens and everyone is raving about it's high quality sharpness. For an average shot in perfect lighting I shoot manual and always select one of the nine AF points to auto focus. Does anyone else find it's not super sharp? I better get my lens checked out for peace of mind.... :(
January 4, 2012 07:52 am
Couldn't agree more. I use it on a 60D as my 'standard' lens. Stunningly sharp and perfect bokeh.
December 31, 2011 02:35 pm
I love this lens!!!! I received it last Christmas from my mil. It is on my 7d the majority of the time! I researched it for months before coming to the decision; I haven't looked back!! Great review...thank you! :)
December 31, 2011 02:50 am
For those asking about the Canon 17-55 f/2.8 IS vs. the 24-70 f/2.8:
I have owned both. I used the former on my 7D and just recently got the latter for my 5D Mk II. To me, it seems that the 17 is really the APS-C version of the 24 - both lenses are really sharp. However, the 17 comes with IS, whereas the 24 does not, and the 17 has been reported to be sharper than the 24 on a crop body.
So, if you plan to stay with a crop sensor body, I would definitely recommend the 17 over the 24 - you get IS, maybe a miniscule IQ benefit, and a nearly identical focal length to the 24 on a FF. If you're considering moving to a FF camera in the future, go with the 24 and then maybe get something like the incredible Sigma 8-16 to fill in the UWA gap.
Hope this helps.
October 20, 2011 12:55 pm
Agreed, agreed, agreed! I DID in fact buy this lens a few months ago and it has definitely become my standard lens. If I walk out the door with just one lens, this is the one. Quality and versatility in one package.
I also agree with Ruth that L lenses, while expensive, are worth every penny!
October 20, 2011 11:12 am
I have just purchased this lens. Oh my god I'm in love. I love this lens so much it is perfect for portraits indoors and outdoors, it is a fast lens and also good for close ups and landscape. Take it from me dont go out and buy cheap lenses its not worth it. If you hav'nt got the money to buy L series lenses, do what I did just keep saving and you will eventually get it. It is so worth the wait.
August 27, 2011 05:25 am
Hi there -- thank you for this write-up! I was thinking of renting this lens for a week to try it out but I already have my kit lens 15-85 mm (3.5/5.6). Do you think it will be worth it for my vacation?
April 12, 2011 01:39 am
Very nice review! What about the same lens but Sigma's, is it much different from canon's?
March 11, 2011 02:40 am
Chris on a 30D, do you manually select your focus points, or leave them all on auto?
Well, I thought a 30D had this feature, but apparently it doesn't. But I just wanted to post it anyway.
March 10, 2011 08:19 pm
As most of you, I love this lens.
I use it with a 30D for events (weddings especially).
Due to the crop-sensor of 30D, I have problems with focus
March 3, 2011 10:54 am
Note: EF-S lenses do *not* work on APS-H sensors, only APS-C, i.e. the 1.6 crop. Someone mentioned above wanting to mount an EF-S on an APS-H and just wanted to clarify that anything but APS-C takes EF lenses only.
February 28, 2011 05:57 am
Just back from a trip to Italy with the 16-35 L as my primary walk-around lens. Only took the 70-200 out of the bag on one day. The 16-35 was great in Rome, where I loved the really wide angle, and I figure that with 18 mpx on the 7D, I can crop pretty close if I need to, but when I got to Venice, with its narrower streets and more intimate settings, I really missed having an intermediate lens and that sold me on the idea of the 24-70, which will definitely be my next purchase!
February 27, 2011 08:23 am
I love this lens! I use it 90% of the time! It's such a great portrait lens! Though a little heavy, the image quality is worth the weight!
February 26, 2011 12:35 am
Reading this review with much interest as i own a 5DMK2 with 2 L lenses - 24-70 and 70-200 f4. Most of the time i shoot with the 24-70 with wonderful results but also notice that there are distortion with the wide angle from around 24 to 35 mm, it's kind of weird at times when you have a group photo...can anyone advise or comment. Thank you.
February 25, 2011 04:11 am
Nice use of the lens! Im a Nikon user and how come I have to pay 80 percent more!! argh! 24-70.
February 23, 2011 03:37 pm
Thank you for sharing your experience of this lens. I have used this on several wedding projects but never use it for a walkaround before. It is good that someone (finally) could talk more on the experience of this lens than the advantage of this lens on in technical perspective.
This gives me a more assured selection for me to choose between 24-70 & 24-105. Currently I am using only a 28-135mm with a 20mm to supplement the extra wide angle i need for journalistic shots.
February 21, 2011 07:55 pm
I have a 7D+24-70mm/2.8 L i bought them together after procastinating for years, refused to get the kit lenses offered with the 7.
this lens is very nice and reading through this made more convinced to take it with me to Israel in April, i was thinking of keeping it home and buying a 28mm EF-S to use with the 7D only for wieght and size reasons.
thanks for the encouragment
February 21, 2011 01:13 am
I love this lens. It will give you professional quality photos in any lighting situation. I also shoot with a Canon 17-55 2.8IS and a canon 70-300 4.5-5.6 DO IS which do a fantastic job on my Canon 60D. Thank you for the review.
February 16, 2011 02:43 am
I Love the 24-70 - stays on my camera probably 80% of the time. It's great for so many shots. Using it on the Canon D60 - excellent. Love it so much! Thanks for the write up. I love see others work with the lens that I use. I can really understand all of your comments. thank you!
February 11, 2011 06:24 pm
I read this review with much interest, and totally agree with what you say. I own a Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 which gives out incredible sharpness and vividness in the image; I also have the Canon 24-105 f/4 which is a sort of alternative to the 28-75 Tamron. Mounted onto the 5D Mk II, I usually have the 24-105 during daytime or if I anticipate low-light or night-time shooting, then the Tamron goes in!
February 11, 2011 03:38 pm
I am going on a photo hunting trip to Turkey this summer with a possible balloon ride..
I have four lenses, 100mm f2,8 macro, 17-40 f4 wide angle, 24-70 mm f2,8 and tele 70-200mm f2,8 all L series..
Which ones do you think should i take with me? As a rather small lady i can't carry them all:)
February 9, 2011 12:19 pm
Thank you for the article... I own this lens and full frame camera, but never realise how versatile and useful this lens till you shown us
February 9, 2011 07:38 am
Where are you buying this for $1100?
February 7, 2011 05:17 pm
I have this lens and it is indeed super duper sharp, and also have the 16-35 mk11 and have to say I use that a lot more. The wideness on my 5Dmk1 is just exhilarating!
February 6, 2011 05:02 pm
This lens is on my wish list. I bought 16-35mm L II USM recently and enjoying the results.
February 5, 2011 10:58 am
This lens has been on my wish list and am glad this post has come out. Some good and bad points by some of the feedback.
Love the example photos. Wide range of subjects and conditions.
February 5, 2011 09:04 am
I just wanted to say Thank You for this post. I finally purchased this lens and recieved it today. I am very excited and can't wait to take her out and play. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!
February 5, 2011 08:18 am
This is my favorite lens. Like many others I was hesitant to make the purchase with the high cost but I'm so happy with the results that it was worth the investment. I use this lens as my standard everyday equipment on my T2i and couldn't be more pleased. When this lens is not locked on my camera it is replaced by canon 70-200mm / 2.8 L... equally a great lens.
February 5, 2011 07:41 am
I am saving for this lens, or should i say i have saved for it and am hopeing to add it to my kit plus the 70 -200 is 2.8L. I was considering the 24-105 IS instead of the 24-70 what would you do?
February 5, 2011 05:53 am
Best £800 I ever spent. Its not as sharp as a prime 24mm and yes it is heavy, but it inspires confidence and having dropped it a couple of times (heart stopping!) I know it is very tough. I use it on a 5D and love the true 24mm and of course f2.8. My other lens is the 70-200 f 2.8 and I have not really had to think about buying a third lens. When I needed a lighter camera I bought the Pansonic GF1 with the 20mm.
February 5, 2011 05:11 am
I have this lens as well. yes, it is heavy, but I also carry the 70-200 f2.8 and the 16-35 as well as the 105 micro. That's why I have a gym membership. If I want to travel really light I take the 50D and the 15-85. If I need to go even lighter I'll take the G-10. The bottom line is this is a great lens and anyone with a full frame slr should have one. Spend the money. You only have to deal with price once. You deal with reduced quality and or flexability forever.
February 5, 2011 04:25 am
This the sharpest lens in my bag. It is sharper than my 50mm f1.4, 70-200mm f2.8L, and 100mm f2.8L IS macro (I would have thought my primes would be sharper but they arent- even after micro adjustment on a 5DII). It is an amazing lens that is sharp and both ends and fully open. An IS version would be outstanding but with the 5DII and EX580 there is almost no situation that it cannot handle. Portraits- 70mm works. Landscapes- 24mm- check. Sharpness- perfect. Cost- a little high but worth it in this case.
I lift weights regularly so the weight doesnt really bother me but I could see how it would get to others (my wife makes me carry the equipment so I dont get any complaints from her).
If you dont own this lens BUY IT!
February 5, 2011 01:11 am
Good Post. Thanks for your valuable thoughts. hp printer cartridges
February 5, 2011 01:02 am
@margaret -- I had heard rumors of an IS version coming out last year. That is why I rushed to get the non-IS. I mostly use this for landscapes on a tripod and did not want to pay extra for the IS version. I still have not seen anything yet, so maybe I could have waited longer, but still very happy with my purchase. I must confess that I really do not shoot people very much. Mostly wildlife with some landscapes (seascapes) thrown in so a lens that is not so fast could have worked for me but every now and then the f/2.8 comes in really handy. All in all, I am loving this lens.
February 4, 2011 11:08 pm
Thanks for the nice write-up & discussion. I have the 15-35 and the 70-200 lenses but need something in between. The standard 28-135 is a nice range, but I'm working toward a fully L-series kit and have been debating the 24-70 vs the 24-105. Weight is definitely an issue. The painfully heavy 70-200 is a killer by the end of the day, so I'm leery about adding another bruiser to my bag--that & the IS on the 24-105 would push me in that direction, but I really like the shallower DOF the f/2.8 on the 24-70 would give. Bottom line... still on the fence between the 2! Any rumors of a NEW lighter 24-70 with IS? or 24-105 with f/2.8?
February 4, 2011 04:57 pm
I have a 450d and 550D How this lens perform with these cameras
kindly advise me if this lens suit for this cameras.
February 4, 2011 04:04 pm
Matt Needham, Practical, down to earth , Tamron, Sigma, Try them!
February 4, 2011 03:20 pm
"How does this lens ‘behaves’ on a crop-sensor body, like a Canon EOS 50D or such?"
It works about the same with a crop sensor camera except you give up the wide angle. Nevertheless 38mm which is the widest you can get on a crop is not that bad if you are using the lens outdoors, plus you get that extra reach. Indoors however you are going to run itnto allot of problems, and probably run into other things while trying to back up to get the picture. This is why I used this lens mostly on Full Frame. I use the 17-55mm f2.8 on cropped cameras not only because of the wide angle it gives me, but because this lens is much lighter and also focuses much faster in dim light.
February 4, 2011 02:51 pm
I have moved to just two lenses in my kit. This one and the EF 100-400mm L series. Most of my shots are wildlife, so the 100-400mm is my main lens, but for everything else -- This 24-70mm is a dream!!! I am shooting a Canon XSi or 450D if you prefer. Even with the 1.6 crop sensor this was a great step forward for my photography and worth every penny. It has been said before and every bit is true about this lens even on a crop sensor. You will love it if you try it.
February 4, 2011 02:46 pm
I use this lens on the 7D and it is simply awesome. being a crop sensor it isn't as wide as i would like but brilliant for the times when i need a faster lens or for general walking around. for the wider side i use the 10-22 which isn't as fast but then that generally isn't a problem for wide angle work.
February 4, 2011 02:30 pm
Such a beautiful sharp lens. Unfortunately, illness has made me shakey revealing its Achille's heel - no IS.
I've replaced it with the new 15-85mm Canon offering with which I'm quite happy but miss the selective focus at 2.8 and the overall clarity/contrast.
On a brighter note I'm sure my brother is enjoying the free long term use of the 24-70mm
February 4, 2011 01:26 pm
We are looking for a lens to use more for video purposes with a Canon 60D would this (Canon 24-70mm) be good for that camera as well? It seems to have all the features I am looking for in a lens for video and digital stills.
February 4, 2011 01:09 pm
Good review. I've got this lens too and use it mostly to cover weddings (not a paid photographer, just for friends & relatives).
The only weakness (in my humble opinion) is that this lens does not have IS. I wonder if Canon will come out with an IS version.
My general walk-around lens is the 18-200mm. It's got greater focal range albeit not as sharp. It's lighter than the 24-70mm too and has IS.
February 4, 2011 12:51 pm
I have 17-55, f2.8- and is one of the best investment I made for my canon-xsi. I was considering the 24-70, but after couple of shots I decided to go with the 17-55.
Along, in my bag is the 100mm, f2.8, 70-200 l, f4 and some manual vintage lend 55mm, f1.7
I'm not a professional photographer, but strongly recommend this lenses to any enthusiast, who like quality...
on my wish list is a 85mm, f1.2
Anybody interested on a good review on the 17-55 and 24-70 please visit
February 4, 2011 12:49 am
I've been using the 24-70 f/2.8L on 5D's and 5DII's for a couple of years: weddings, portraits, landscapes, live music, etc.... It is a nice lens, very functional, and it's on my cameras a lot when I'm working. I would encourage folks who are debating whether it's worth the cost compared to similarly spec-ed Tamron and Sigma lenses to rent it first, and try it out. I've done a fair amount of comparison testing between it and a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, which costs about 1/3rd what the Canon lens costs. On the 5DI it is impossible to tell a difference in image quality no matter how close I pixel peep. I've shown my results to many photographers, and posted them online. They also cannot see a difference. On the 5DII I can see a very slight resolution difference between the lenses when pixel peeping, but I can't see it in 20"x30" prints. The Canon lens is much larger and heavier, and obviously has more metal in the build, but the Tamron has held up to everything I've put it through. Personally I like smaller, lighter lenses because I'm often carrying a camera all day long. The Canon flares much more easily, and has some wicked field curvature. If this lens had cost me $500 I'd be thrilled with it. But it cost me $1200, and I expected it to be significantly better than $400 lenses. It's not.
February 4, 2011 12:30 am
These are some really nice lens. I wish I could afford it. /sigh. I love the pictures as well. :) Great Review.
February 3, 2011 08:30 pm
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February 3, 2011 02:45 pm
Such a gorgeous lens for night shots :)
February 3, 2011 12:42 pm
Good article - great pictures. Thanks!
February 3, 2011 09:49 am
So funny - I am JUST about to purchase this lens. Thanks for the rundown.
February 3, 2011 08:45 am
I'm convinced. Now I need to start saving.
February 3, 2011 05:17 am
Fantastic write-up. My favorite lens. it's on my camera 75% of the time.
February 3, 2011 04:46 am
My first experience with this lens. The sharpness is incredible.
February 3, 2011 04:44 am
Example of the sharpness of this lens.[eimg url='http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_bkl23Ey85QE/TSoOYvzz7lI/AAAAAAAAAPg/PSFoVf_OUtE/s1600/IMG_8464.jpg' title='IMG_8464.jpg']
February 3, 2011 04:40 am
I recently got this lens as a culmination of a number of occasions and I absolutely love it.
It is the first lens I have purchased (as a result of wise council of a professional photographer), I was skeptical at first of the price of L lenses, but I will never buy anything but L. These things are incredible quality and the 24-70 is the perfect length for all of the reasons mentioned in the writeup.
I strongly suggest this lens as it is allowing me to improve my work IMMENSELY as I have an entry level Canon 450D, but because of the lens I am able to put out some amazing photos.
February 3, 2011 04:37 am
very interesting feedback. actually I'm thinking to change my old sigma 17-70 to the Canon 17-55 2.8, but I find the range could be a bit short. in the other hand, your 24-70 looks very goofd, but I'm not sure starting at 24 won't be a problem for me (photos in street, architecture, portraits etc.). do you have any advice?
February 3, 2011 04:11 am
I have a friend who shoots almost all his shots with this lens and the results are always awesome. For me, on my crop-body rebel I find myself shooting way too often wider than 24mm for this to be the optimal lens for me. But if I ever come across a good copy of this lens for a bargain price I'd trade the focal distance for the quality any day.
February 3, 2011 04:05 am
Rodrigo - I have 24-70 and it is an excellent lens. I use it almost daily and its my "go to" wedding lens. Don't take what I say next as a bad thing about the 24-70, but they are A LOT of money. I use the 15-85mm when I go hiking / holiday. The 24-70 is for event when I dont have far to walk from the car.
Two major things (well in my opinion) that were not mentioned were -
- 24-70 weighs nearly 1kg (950 ish grams). Its a big beast and on a Rebel (or 450D UK) sort of camera it can be more like a lens with a camera mounted to it, rather than the other way round. This mis-match of weight can also make it a little tricky to balance/hold.
- 24-105 may loose a stop of light, but does have IS. Now depending on what you shoot 1 stop can be handy, but the IS on 24-105 delivers 4 stops of correction. This can be much better in low light hand holding than 1 f stop.
A good alternative to 24-70 is excellent EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM.
- It delivers almost L quality but is approx $500 cheaper.
- It has a 4 stop Image Stabiliser
- It is very quick to focus.
- it is considerable smaller (and therefore less imposing)
February 3, 2011 03:47 am
This post was so perfect because I just bought this lens for my trip to Tokyo! I feel a little guilty now because I have been ignoring my other lenses, but that's just how good this one is. It's very versitile - you're right about the trains, and it also does well with landscapes.
February 3, 2011 03:20 am
After doing much research online and talking to other photographers this lens was my first L lens. I only have 3 lenses in my bag at this moment however I reach for this lens probably 70% of the time! It never disappoints and gets the job done with ease! Very versatile and captures great images!
Thanks for the write-up and the images of Tokyo...you're making me miss my days of living in Roppangi!
@ rodrigo I have used the 18-55 on a 30D and it is a good lens however for a cropped body I would suggest the 17-55 EFS 2.8 w/IS...that is an excellent lens for a cropped sensor.
February 3, 2011 02:45 am
I've been looking to this lens for a while now but I'm not sure how will perform on a APC-H body where will it act as a 38-112. Do you think that the EF-S 18-55 f2.8 it's as good as this one? does anyone have a recommendation for the cropped bodies? Thanks to all.
February 3, 2011 02:30 am
I have the 24-105mm 4.0 and use it as my walk about lens on my 5D MarkII. The extra stop would be useful but on the 5D MarkII I don't miss it and prefer the extra reach of 105mm. A matter of preference and the capability of the camera you shoot with. You're comments on the versitility of these lenes is right on. Either should be in your kit.
February 3, 2011 02:30 am
I own this lens too and love it.
February 3, 2011 02:17 am
I love this lens, although it does get heavy after a while. I do event photography, for which this lens is great, but my wrist starts complaining a couple of hours in. For shoots when I don't need the f/2.8, I find myself reaching for my boyfriend's 24-105 more, not so much for the extra length as for the lesser weight.
February 3, 2011 01:48 am
Great write up on this lens! It made me decide to bring this one instead of an UWA on my next travel. I don't mind the weight at all and I used to have a 24-105. Cheers!
February 3, 2011 01:34 am
I love this lens so very much. I own the 35mm f/1.4, the 50mm f/1.4, the 85mm/f1.2, the 16-35 f/2.8(II) and the 70-200 f/2.8 as well. Somehow, over 50% of my photos also come from this lens. It has the highest quality and versatility of any of my lenses by a long way. My one and only complaint about this lens is the absolutely INSANE flaring. I love shooting into light sources, and that is by far the weakest point of this lens.
I tell anyone starting out that this is the lens to save up for! I convinced a fellow photographer to get the Nikon equivalent and she absolutely loves it. I have another friend who has a pretty big kit but lacks any one highly versatile 'walk around' lens and I still don't understand how he survives without one.
February 3, 2011 12:50 am
EXIF data shows you use a Canon EOS 5D Mark II full frame camera .. How does this lens 'behaves' on a crop-sensor body, like a Canon EOS 50D or such?
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