There is hardly a lens that has been talked about as much among video producers lately as the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II lens. Even though it is already a classic and in 2008 the successor to the Canon 24mm f1.4 L (from 1997) was released, it is very common. Especially those who want to conjure up a lot of videos with great lighting scenes, shoot the videos in 4K, will more often choose the 24mm f/1.4L II lens from Canon, instead of the 35mm f/1.4 L II. Even though digital photography was still in its infancy in 2008, we discovered it for ourselves as well.
Canon EF 24mm – The perfect photo and video lens?
It’s hard to believe that this lens was introduced at Photokina almost 10 years ago now and is still one of the fastest wide-angle lenses on the market. Still many photojournalists, nature photographers and more and more YouTuber and video bloggers choose the lens because of many good features.
Name: Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II
Lenses/group: 13 lenses 10 groups
Filter size: 77mm
Net weight: 650 grams
Delivery incl. bag + lens hood
Compared to its already very good predecessor, Canon has once again added two ultra-precise aspherical lenses, which should minimize and largely prevent aberrations, image curvature and distortion.
We initially opted for theCanon EF 24mm lens in our in-depth review, as the crop factor of 1.6 already creates a cinema format for 4K videos (38mm vs. 35mm).
In the last YouTube videos, the Canon EF 24mm lens was used almost universally (see the video about the film equipment for more details).
As with nearly all of Canon’s L-series lenses, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II lens comes with a protective pouch and sunshade and is protected against dust and water. When you hold the lens in your hands for the first time, the weight is immediately noticeable. The Canon 24mm f/1.4L II lens weighs 650 grams and is thus already relatively heavy as a vlogging lens. An alternative, which is chosen by many YouTubers, the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III lens, even weighs 780 grams – but as a zoom lens.
The Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II lens also has a USM (Ultra Sonic Motor), which focuses very quickly and accurately. However, this is also the only minor weakness with the lens, which we’ll come back to later.
Likewise, the lens’ autofocus works very reliably in videos in conjunction with Canon’s DUAL AF, and can be used reliably with a gimbal for extended periods of time or even for vlogs without any problems, and is reliable and very sharp across all stages.
Image sharpness / vignetting / bokeh – Canon 24mm.
When used for the first time on a Canon 1Dx Mark II or Canon 5D Mark IV, the clear sharp image is noticeable on the one hand, but at the same time the strong vignetting in the image edges. Compared to other lenses, this is relatively intense and, depending on the aperture, very dominant. It can of course be adjusted in post-processing, but then a very slight noise appears at the edges.
From an aperture selection of f/2.0 or f/2.5, the vignetting is already significantly less and also offers beautiful creative elements. Of course, this also makes them very suitable for videos and vlogs, as we like to use on our YouTube channel.
The highest image sharpness of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM is achieved at an aperture of f/5.6 – in the range between f/2.8 and f/8 a very good general sharpness is achieved for this. Compared to the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 III USM, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM is minimally sharper (at f/5.6).
The bokeh of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM is very pleasing and provides many style elements for photos and especially YouTube video. Of course, the bokeh can’t be compared to portrait or telephoto lenses, but it’s very good for many everyday situations.
Videos in blue hour / darkness with the Canon 24mm
If you’re a videographer looking for a lens that’s reliable throughout the day, you’ll find plenty to choose from, but the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II undoubtedly plays to its strengths once again in the evening hours.
In the evening hours, the lens succeeds in capturing the night sky like a dream (perfect for the Milky Way), as well as in delivering absolutely reliable images in videos of Christmas markets, weddings, or even concerts that create a special mood. Especially with an open aperture (f/2.0 or f/2.5), this lens creates a feeling of immediate proximity and to experience the event personally.
For the evening, therefore, when videos are to be shot, the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II always belongs firmly in the photo backpack and is always preferred to the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM.
CONCLUSION – Canon EF 24mm
The Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens has undoubtedly become one of our favorite lenses in a short time and guarantees perfect photos of travels, of conversations and interviews, but also very good shots in video use.
Anyone who films a lot in the evening hours, is considering whether to film in Full HD or 4K, will certainly also prefer the 24mm lens, to the new 35mm lens, as there are simply even more possibilities with it.
When you hold the Canon 24mm lens in your hands for the first time, the high-quality workmanship of the L series is of course noticeable again, but paired with a weight of 650 grams. The imaging is very reliable from aperture f/2.8 and very light-friendly.
However, there are a few factors to consider with this lens when making a purchase decision. It is obviously not cheap for a fixed focal length (compared to the zoom 16-35mm f/2.8 or even f/4) depending on the area of use, and it has relatively strong vignetting especially at apertures from f/1.4 to f/2.5.
However, another problem is probably due to the history. The lens has been around since 2008, so video was still out of the question in many situations. If you film a lot with DUAL AF and autofocus in vlogs and use a directional microphone (like the Rode Videomic Pro+) at the same time, you will hear the lens’ motor in the video when you move quickly and remove people from the focus area.
However, if you only work with manual focus most of the time or, like us, also work with cordless microphones most of the time or also mainly produce B-roll with it, you won’t have a problem at all. You should only take this into account when using a directional microphone for the first time and take appropriate remedial action.
As already mentioned, we can absolutely understand the preference for the Canon EF 24mm lens in continuous use and are happy to recommend it. Especially those looking for a fast lens for continuous use, a perfect travel lens for beautiful night shots, will not go wrong with the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM. We are happy to have this Canon 24mm lens currently in our photo equipment always with us.