The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens is an easy-to-use standard zoom lens that 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. (Canon)
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 EF 24-105mm performed well across its range, particularly in terms of corner sharpness at wide angle, while essentially matching our EF 85mm f1.8 prime in terms of resolving power when both were mounted on an EOS 5D body. We were also impressed with the Image Stabilisation which allowed us to handhold at much slower shutter speeds than normal.
This would be great for travel photography and about 90% of a wedding photographer’s work. But as an f/4, it can’t help in low light or with defocusing many backgrounds, so most wedding shooters will still have to carry another higher-speed lens in its zoom range.
Producing a high quality 4:1 zoom lens is very challenging, but the “L” in “Canon 24-105L” assures you of professional quality images, rugged construction, and substantial weather-proofing. The 24mm wide end is wide enough to be dramatic and the 105mm telephoto end is long enough to provide a significant flattening effect for portraits. With the light weight achieved by designing for an f/4 rather than an f/2.8 aperture, the 24-105/4L is a great travel lens.
Optically it’s about as fine a fast mid-range zoom as exists, and I have numerous photographs taken with it on 5 continents that attest to its capabilities. But, because it’s a relatively fast f/2.8 lens it’s also big and heavy, and when mated with a 1Ds MKII it masses just about as much as a medium format system. Not something I care to walk around with all day.
As to be expected from a modern Canon L lens the construction quality is up to pro standards matching its fasters cousins. The lower price tag plus the extra IS should compensate the slightly more moderate max. aperture for most users.
This 4.4x constant aperture L-zoom lens provides close to the perfect focal length for event photography (e.g., weddings, receptions) as well as travel photography with a full frame camera. Sharpness and contrast are very good wide open at f/4, but improve if stopped down to f/5.6. Image stabilization is useful in low light, and superb L-quality build make it a lens that will survive heavy use under moist and dusty conditions.
Sharpness is uniformly excellent, at any aperture and any focal length, even into the far corners on full-frame.
I decided to give the 24-105 a shot knowing the IS would give me a 2-3 extra stops to compensate for the lack of f/2.8. It’s also a bit more compact than the 2.8. I have to say, it’s the most versatile lens I’ve ever used. On its first outing, I took it to shoot a naval shipyard, using a variety of focal lengths, lighting conditions inside and out, white balance, you name it. I was quite impressed with the quality of images I got, from ISO 100-3200.
AF performance: Sensational as usual on the L lenses. Silent, lightning quick and no hunting around. Extremely good in AF Servo mode, keep your focus point on the moving subject and it will not lose focus.
Where to Buy
First off, consider going to your local camera store (and I don’t necessarily mean Wolf Camera at the mall). By going to your local camera store, you’re supporting your community and you just might build a lasting relationship with people you can rely on when you need some help or answers. If you’re buying online, I recommend sticking with Amazon, B&H Photo or Adorama. These three vendors are reliable, trustworthy and generally have the best (legitimate) prices.