Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Review


Introduction

The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is a new professional standard zoom lens for Canon’s full-frame and APS-C DSLRs. Featuring an ultrasonic motor for smooth, precise and quiet continuous auto-focusing, an Air Sphere Coating (ASC) on the lens elements to reduce flare and ghosting, 10 rounded diaphragm blades for smoother bokeh, a zoom lock switch to prevent lens creep, and image stabilisation offering a claimed 4-stop advantage, the weather-resistant Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is a capable all-rounder. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM officially retails for £1129.99 / €1449.99 / $1099.99 in the UK, Europe and the USA respectively.

Ease of Use

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM isn’t too big and bulky considering the versatile focal range that it covers, weighing in at 795g and measuring 12cm in length, although this extends to 16.5cm when the lens is set to 105mm. While you can use it on a smaller APS-C body for a 38-168mm equivalent angle of view, it won’t balance quite as well as on a full-frame camera like the 5D Mark IV or a larger APS-C model like the 7D Mark II.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark IV, extended to 105mm

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark IV, extended to 105mm

Build quality is excellent. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM feels very solid in your hand, even if it is mostly made out of plastic, and it features enhanced resistance to shock and vibration and weather-proofing too. The focusing ring is generously wide, and has a ridged, rubberised grip band.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens alongside the EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 4 f-stops over lenses without a stabilizer. This is activated via the On/Off switch on the side of the lens. If the camera body supports it, Canon’s IS technology is also able to detect intentional panning movement and automatically switch from the Normal IS mode to the Panning IS mode.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Side of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Side of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens, extended to 105mm

The Lock function switch is a useful feature that helps protect the lens. Set the focal length to 24mm and move it to the Lock position to prevent the zoom mechanism from creeping when the camera is pointed down or in storage.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Front of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Rear of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens

The final control on the lens barrel is a focus mode switch with the usual AF/MF settings. Note that this lens usefully offers full-time manual focusing even when AF is selected.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Front of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Rear of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens in-hand

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

The lens ships with a petal shaped lens hood (EW-83M) and a soft case.

Focal Range

At the 24mm focal length the angle of view is 74 degrees.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM

Field of view at 24mm

At the 105mm focal length the angle of view is 19 degrees.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM

Field of view at 105mm

Focusing

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens has a generously wide focus ring. There are hard stops at both ends of the range, making it easier to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 77mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM zoom is a very quick performer, taking about 0.10 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV that we tested it with.

We didn’t experience much “hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It’s also a quiet performer, thanks to the built-in USM (Ultra Sonic Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are very well controlled with this lens – the examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Light Fall-off

With the lens wide open, you can see some obvious light fall-off in the corners at both ends of the zoom range. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/8 or smaller.

Barrel distortion is evident at the 24mm wide-angle focal length, but it disappears completely by 35mm.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Vignetting at 24mm

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Vignetting at 105mm

Macro

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is not a macro lens. The close-focus point is at 45cm from the film/sensor plane, and Canon quotes a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.24x for the lens when set to 105mm. The following example illustrate how close you can get to the subject.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM

Close-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. Canon have employed an iris diaphragm with 10 rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they have largely succeeded. Below you’ll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Next Page
Sharpness: 24mm

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