Canon EF 24-105
4L IS USM Review
Lenses and Zooms
The 46 degree coverage
of the 50 mm lens (full frame or 24 x 36mm) is equivalent to the sweet spot of the human
eye. Hence, "normal lens," is
the term used to designate this focal range. What is a normal
zoom lens? It's a zoom that "dances" around both
sides of the old 50 mm standard. Thus, 24-70, 24-85, 24-105,
28-105, 35-70, 35-105, 35-135, etc., are considered normal zooms.
It's also the most useful range for 35mm photography,
encompassing wide, normal and short telephoto ranges. Mount
a normal zoom
on your full frame DSLR and you're good to go for scenics, group
shots, candids and portraits. For many shooters this is the only lens they need.
Oregon Coast • Lincoln City OR • EOS
5D2 & EF 24-105 4L IS USM
EF 24-105 4L
IS USM, Not So Normal
Introduced late 2005, the EF 24-105
4L IS USM features Image Stabilization (IS), constant
wide zoom range (4.4x), beefy construction and weather seals. I
bit the bullet and replaced my
and long used travel companion, the
EF 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM, with
this amazing optic.
EF 24-105 4L
IS USM • Photo courtesy Canon
a normal zoom, it's on the large and beefy side,
670 g (23.6 oz), but much lighter than
its cousin the EF 24-70 2.8L USM. Build quality is first
plastics than L series telephotos. The
black finish is more stealthy than the attention grabbing white
Canon's super telephotos.
to Canon's Chuck Westfall,
has the same degree of sealing as the EF24-70mm L lens. Both
are weather sealed with gaskets at the
lens mount, under the switches, and behind the zoom and focus
rings." The manual states that a filter
must be used to achieve full weather proofing.
Latourell Falls • EOS
5D2, EF 24-105 4L IS USM, F16 & 1/2 sec
Focus and Zoom
USM (Ultrasonic Motor) achieves focus by driving an
Needless to say, AF is fast
and surefooted on my EOS 5D and 5D Mark II cameras. The front element
does not rotate and the
barrel does not expand or
Of course, being an USM lens, it is silent during AF.
It has FTM, allowing you to manually focus without switching out
AF mode. The focus ring is large, smooth turning
and covered with ribbed rubber.
It's not as silky as a manual Nikkor but above average for
an AF lens. If
you prefocus manually, the distance window in meters and feet is
extremely useful. Although not a macro
lens, it focuses close enough for head shots and small details
(.45 m/1.5 ft).
Waterfront Vista • Port Townsend WA • EOS
5D2 and EF 24-105 4L IS USM
twist zoom action is smooth, damped and does not creep. Zooming
is accomplished by expanding and contracting
a single nested barrel. The barrel extends considerably--nearly
doubling in length--while zooming to 105
manual focus ring is large and covered with a ribbed rubber surface.
The 77 mm
filter size makes for expensive filters, but at least I can
share filters with my EF 17-40 4L USM. The
manual recommends removing the hood while
a polarizing filter. However,
if you have agile fingers
it's easy to rotate the filter through
the petal cutouts of the lens hood.
Bridgeport Brewpub • Portland OR EOS
5D2, EF 24-105 4L IS USM. With a max aperture of F4 this is not a low light optic. However, if your subjects are slow moving, the 3 stop image stabilization helps keep it sharp.
is the best normal range zoom I have used.
The center is sharp and contrasty wide open at
all focal lengths, suffering a little softening in the corners.
Oddly, sharpness only improves slightly when
stopped down and most of this improvement is in the corners. Nevertheless, it
is sharper than my EF 50 1.4 USM
at 50mm F4.
And it's sharper than my EF 70-200 4L USM at 105mm F4 (my EF 70-200 4L IS USM is even sharper at 105).
The contrast and snap of this lens
is apparent even through the viewfinder. After all, there's some
pretty exotic glass in there, e.g., one Super-UD glass element
and three aspherical elements. Amazingly,
there are 18 elements in that little barrel. I'm
surprised light makes it to the other side!
Haleiwa Beach • EOS
5D2, EF 24-105 4L IS USM.
short end, like all wide
zooms, suffers from noticeable barrel
distortion. The long end has a small
amount of pincushion distortion. Nevertheless,
distortion is less
pronounced than my EF 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM and EF 24-85 3.5-4.5
most types of images, distortion
isn't readily apparent. However,
architectural and product photographers may
want to stick
with primes. Realize, distortion may be easily removed prior to RAW conversion in DPP or ACR.
is well controlled for a zoom and
far less apparent than the EF
28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM and EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM, so
shooting sunsets is a possibility with this optic. Notice
how clean this sunset picture is. In
28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM suffers
from severe ghosting,
something I haven't seen with the EF 24-105
4L IS USM.
Chromatic aberration is well corrected and only rears it's head at the wide end when shooting a subject against an overexposed backlight. And even in extreme backlighting the chromatic aberration is mild compared to most other normal zooms. Chromatic aberration may be quickly and easily removed in DPP, Aperture or PhotoShop with the flick of a slider.
For Ebay • EOS
5D, EF 24-105 4L IS USM, Bogan Tripod & White Reflectors.
The 1.5 foot minimum focus is useful for product photography
in a pinch.
all wide zooms, the EF
24-105 4L IS USM suffers from light fall-off
at the wide end when shot wide open. Stop
down to F5.6 and light fall-off is reduced considerably.
By F8 it is nominal. Although wide primes and zooms suffered
light fall-off in the film era, most folks didn't notice
because labs cropped their prints. Even slide mounts covered
10% of the frame. Now some full frame shooters--especially
5D series owners--whine about
light fall-off because they pixel peep and rarely print. However,
standard print sizes, e.g., 8 x 10 or 11 x 14, are cropped,
so most light fall-off will be nixed. Plus, removing light fall-off in DPP or Photoshop involves all of a couple clicks.
Self-Portrait • Lincoln City OR • EOS
5D2 & EF 24-105 4L IS USM
use wide angle for sweeping vistas and
stop down for maximum depth of field, so light fall-off
hasn't reared its head, except, of course,
in test shots of white walls. Light fall-off will only
be a problem if you shoot bright skies or white walls wide open
you shoot with a APS-C body, e.g., Rebel XTi, 40D or 7D,
light fall-off is a moot point as 40% of the image circle is
Treasure Island at Las Vegas • EOS
5D and EF 24-105 4L IS USM hand held.
ISO 1600, F4 with IS engaged.
This would be a nice lens
without Image Stabilization (IS). However, IS propels
this zoom straight into hog heaven.
Small gyro sensors coupled to a CPU detect the degree and direction
of camera shake and counteract
this vibration by moving a compensating optical group. Subsequently,
I almost always get a sharp picture, even three stops
my normal hand held shutter speed. If I brace myself or shoot
a volley of shots I can get away with another
stop or two!
Kamehameha I • Honolulu • EOS
5D & EF 24-105 4L IS USM. South view of the King.
IS has changed the
way I take pictures. I used to put away my camera when conditions
got dark, now I keep
on shooting (I avoid
flash except for fill). However, IS is not just for dim conditions,
it helps eminently in any high vibration situation such
as high wind, airplanes, automobiles or boats.
Image Stabilization does
nothing for subject
movement and will not replace a large aperture prime for sports
shooters. However, IS is a Godsend for general photography
and worth its weight in gold.
this is my fav full frame walkaround and
ready-for-anything travel lens. IS
coupled with the clean high ISO of the 5D series leave few
excuses for missing a shot.
Battery Grip BG-E4 EOS 5D, EF 24-105 4L IS USM, ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter, 430EX Speedlite & Bogan tripod. The 24-105 4L isn't optimized for macro but does fine for small products.
the big Kahuna of normal zooms. It's exceedingly
well made and tack sharp. It swept me off my feet and displaced my oft
and long used full frame companion, the EF 28-135 3.5-5.6 IS USM.
I love the range,
AF speed, sharpness and feel of this lens. It balances perfectly
on larger bodies such as the EOS
3 or 5D Mark II but is front heavy on smaller cameras such
as Rebels and Elans. Yes, the largest aperture of F4 is slow, but the 3-stop IS almost makes up for it not being F2.8!
Highly recommended serious amateurs,
doctors, lawyers, professors and world trekkers.
for those wishing to
travel light, sports photographers or those with a feeble credit
Latourell Water Falls • Columbia Gorge OR EOS
5D2, EF 24-105 4L IS USM & Gitzo tripod.
Canon EF Lens
EF24-105mm F4L IS USM Instruction
Canon, 2005 (CT1-7561-001).
Flower • Vancouver WA • EOS
5DII & EF 24-105 4L IS USM
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taken with the EF 24-105 4L IS USM (click
6/1/2006 • Updated
by Peter Kun Frary All Rights Reserved