If you ask us which lens is always present in the photo bag, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens is certainly almost always mentioned. It is one of our all-round lenses, both for photos and videos, and is regularly used with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and also Canon EOS 6D Mark II. If you often don’t want to take big gear to events, we choose the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens compared to other lenses
Of course, there are alternatives to the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens, such as the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L II USM lens, with better light performance (and a higher price) but less lens reach, or alternatively the 18-135mm f/3.5-6.3, but which cannot be used with full-frame cameras and has worse light performance to boot.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens is currently available for under 1,000 EUR and is a very fair price for an L-lens from Canon and the wide range of uses.
Already the predecessor model Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L was one of the most popular lenses among photo amateurs and also professional photographers since 2005, due to a wide range of applications and the good price/performance ratio.
We have been using the new model since the beginning of 2017 and are often asked which good premium lens a photographer should get for a travel shoot at the beginning and we regularly recommend the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens.
Compared to its predecessor, of course, the question has always come up as to whether it’s the Canon lens that should always be on your camera, for a walk around, for event photography, or even as the only or first lens in your kit, and whether it would be worth the upgrade from its predecessor.
While the higher priced 28-70mm f/2.8L lens has less range in both wide angle (4mm) and telephoto (35mm) at a higher price, you can really do without an extra telephoto lens and an extra wide angle lens for many trips if you use the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens.
We use the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III as an alternative, especially for architecture and interior shots, but this lens is only available from around 2,200 EUR and is therefore not suitable for beginners as their first lens. An alternative would also be the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS, which offers an additional image stabilizer.
Evaluation and experience with Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens
Due to the high compression in the telephoto focal lengths, the lens offers a good possibility to crop objects or to separate them from the background with a nice blur. This works very well with single subjects in nature, but also in fashion and portraits.
From our own experience, we know that if you use a lens with a focal length of only 70mm and are on the road at the lake, in the mountains or even on a round trip, you change lenses relatively little and then try to optimize the image with Lightroom. Here, of course, the additional range of 70-105mm is perfect.
For this, of course, it is very suitable if you want to have a lens always with you to document special days, such as a wedding. A camera is equipped with a fast zoom lens, such as the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM and for the reportage shots you use the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens and you are perfectly equipped for the wedding. We know it from our own experience, if you have only one fixed focal length on the camera, you change much less in reportage and later always have the feeling, exactly the one special shot is still missing.
If you use the lens for nature photography on an APS-C camera with a smaller sensor, such as the Canon EOS 80D, Canon EOS 77D or Canon EOS 750D, you get a very good all-round and telephoto lens with a crop factor of 1.6x. Here the focal length of the lens would then be from 38-168mm.
Anyone who regularly shoots photos hands-free or basically doesn’t like to work with a tripod on various occasions will appreciate an image stabilizer in the lens, especially if the camera doesn’t have its own stabilizer.
Especially for YouTubers and vloggers who spontaneously want to shoot a scene with 70mm or longer focal length, the stabilizer is a great help and the images and film sequences become much smoother.
So even with f/4 you can still take many shots in the blue hour or even the beginning of darkness without the risk of blurred shots. Even when used with a gimbal, such as the DJI Ronin-M or even the DJI Ronin-S, the IS of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens once again gives additional quietness and allows for clean camera movements and smooth pans.
Noise from Canon’s built-in Image Stabilizer is very low and not distracting even with a camera-mounted microphone, such as the Rode Videomic Pro+, quite unlike the focusing noise from the Canon 24mm f/1.4, for example.
Image quality and focusing
Canon has once again optimized in terms of image quality and also focusing with the successor to the already very popular Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.
Especially in the 24-75mm range, the lens is decidedly sharp all the way to the edges for this class and can definitely rival some higher priced lenses.
In the 75-105mm range, the lens still has some wiggle room, but it’s still very good and very suitable for all applications. We got the best results with Canon’s lens between f/5.6 and f/8, where even on close inspection the edges were very sharp for the lens class.
We tested the focusing of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II and were very pleasantly surprised by the precision and speed. Where many lenses in the zoom category have problems starting at 70mm and take a bit longer to focus, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens is very fast and also very precise.
The lens behaves the same way in combination with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II when focusing videos and the face tracking with Dual AF from Canon. There is almost no chance of losing the face or even a brief blur.
For the 24-105mm combination, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens offers a relatively comfortable minimum focus distance of just 45cm for this. In combination with the focal length of 105mm, lenses can still be cropped very nicely even with an aperture of f/4, f/5.6.
Quality and workmanship
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens is again part of Canon’s L-series and thus has a particularly high-quality finish. Anyone who has ever worked with a lens from the L-series will immediately notice the difference.
The lenses feel high-quality and are also waterproof or protected against splash water in most cases, making them very suitable for everyday use.
Of course, it is generally recommended to further protect the lens with a UV filter against dust and external influences.
CONCLUSION and SUMMARY – Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens was already very popular with many photographers and hobbyists, and the new series of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens picks up right where it left off.
Canon succeeds, as it so often does, in making an already very good product even a bit better in many features and optimizing it.
Even if lenses with f/4 are not our favorites in most cases in the photo backpack, Canon succeeds with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens a very good all-round lens at a fair price for a lens of the L-series. You can usually get the lens for just under 1,000 EUR and thus have a professional lens and initially almost all ranges covered with one lens for most productions.
An alternative with even better light values would be the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, which however offers less range, has no Image Stabilizer and currently costs about 1,700 EUR.
If you need a lens for reportage that should always be on the camera or the only lens for a trip, you can’t go wrong with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens and get very good quality at a good price.