The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM was announced Aug. 22. Lenses have found their way into reviewer's hands and the news is very good. This lens is up to
the usual L series quality expectations. It is an excellent choice for photographers looking for a lighter weight alternative to the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens. The EF 24-70 f/2.8L lens has long had a reputation as one of
the sharpest mid-range zoom lenses, but it is big and heavy, and costs around $1,140 USD.
The older lens has the advantage of being one stop faster with an f/2.8 constant aperture. For some film shooters that
shoot hand-held in low light (news, documentary, sports), this is still an important advantage. With digital cameras producing images with less noise at higher ISOs with each generation, the one stop advantage of the
older lens is less and less important for digital photographers. The older lens has a little less barrel distortion than the news lens at wider focal lengths. This will matter to people who film buildings but will be of
little importance to most nature, wildlife, and people photographers. For the time being, the older lens will also cost a little less.
According to several reports, the new lens is equal to or better than the older
lens in resolving power at f/4. At f/8 there is little difference between the two lenses. The new lens has Image Stabilization which is a big plus and a feature lacking in the older lens. It has a longer focal
length at the long end of the zoom range (105mm vs 70mm), a welcome addition. In terms of size it is shorter and lighter than the older lens (size specs below). The new lens will be slightly more expensive with an
expected "street" price around $1,250 USD. The price should drop a little a few months after its introduction.
For everyone that has enjoyed the advantages of Image Stabilization in the highly popular
EF 28-135mm IS USM lens, but longed for the superior optics and wider 24mm focal length of the EF 24-70 f/2.8L series lens, the new lens is a dream come true. Everything is there except for the extra 30mm in focal
length at the long end of the EF 28-135mm lens. I suspect a lot of photographers will prefer having 24mm at the wide end over having 135mm at the long end. The only kicker with the new lens is the price. For a
long time, the EF 28-135mm IS lens has been the preferred walk around lens for a lot of people, including me. I think a lot of folks will switch to the new lens. Evidence of this is that the news lens became back
ordered, not long after it became available to the general public.
This new lens now joins two other very fine L series lenses with a constant aperture of f/4. The EF 17-40mm f/4L lens and the EF 70-200mm f/4L
lens are both among the sharpest lenses in their focal length range. Both have become very popular alternatives to the heavier and more expensive f/2.8 L series lenses (see small photos and links below). Both cost
a lot less than the f/2.8 lenses. This brings the f/4L series to three lenses covering all focal lengths from 17mm to 200mm (and out to 280mm if a 1.4X teleconverter is used with the 70-200mm f/4L lens). These three
lenses make a great kit for the photographer that needs optimum lens quality in a smaller, lighter, and less expensive package than the f/2.8 lenses.
Size and weight specs:
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L: 83.2mm x 123.5mm, 950 g (2.1 lbs).
EF 24-105mm f/4L: 83.5mm x 107mm, 670g (1.5 lbs).
Order the CANON EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM LENS from Amazon or Adorama. Lenses will be shipped when they become available.
Buy the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens at Adorama or Amazon.
Buy the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L lens at Amazon or Adorama.
October 20, 2005