Hands On: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens Impressions
I recently attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to test out the brand new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV where I was fortunate to get my greedy paws on a **pre-production** EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens, which will be available at the end of this month as a stand alone lens or as part of a 5D Mark IV kit. As such, I can’t fully render judgment just yet. Instead, this article and its sample images should serve as first impressions or a sneak peak.
- Excellent overall value
- Constant max aperture
- Solid image quality
- Versatile focal range for when you can’t swap lenses
- Good bokeh
- As sharp as much more expensive lenses
- A little wider or a further reach would have been amazing
- Minor fringing
- Not as fast as f/2.8
- Color and contrast need to be tweaked in post
- Focal length: 24-105mm
- Maximum aperture: f/4 (constant)
- dust and water-resistant
- Angle of view: 84°00′ – 23° 20′
- Improved Image Stabilizer system (4 stops, up from 2.5)
- 10-blade, circular aperture
- Non-stick fluorine coating on front and rear surfaces
- AF with full-time manual
- Closest focusing distance: 1.5′ (0.45m)
- Filter Size: 77mm (3.0″)
- Dimensions: 3.3″ x 4.7″ (83.5mm x 118mm)
- Weight: 28.04 oz (795g)
The 24-105mm f/4L is obviously well made with a combination of metal, plastic, rubber surfaces, and a good bit of weather sealing for adverse conditions. It’s classic L series glass in that respect. That said, the lens barrel does extend when zooming to your maximum telephoto which, to me, doesn’t necessarily have the containment of lenses with a fixed barrel. It’s also slightly less elegant.
The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is lightweight and easy to use. The AF/MF and IS on/off buttons click with easy, while the zoom and focus rings are tight and smooth. Again, the barrel does extend so it’s best to watch your surroundings if you’re in close quarters (I was in a small balloon basket between three other people and several ropes). Yes, there are times when you wish you could go a few millimeters wider or longer, but this lens offers incredible versatility for a wide variety of shooting locations (especially if you are unable to swap lenses for time or safety reasons). Infinitesimal nitpicks aside, this lens fits well in the hand and makes an excellent Canon DSLR pairing.
The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is a peppy lens. The 5D Mark IV was able to pull quick and accurate focus even in pre-dawn hours thanks to 4 stops of assistance from the built-in image stabilization that keeps you from dipping into higher ISO levels. During dawn and mid-day light, it was even faster.
Is this the sharpest or fastest lens in your kit? No. Is there some fringing? Yup. Could the contrast and color be a little more on point? You bet. But with a little processing and enhancements, the 24-105 f/4L is the best “kit lens” I’ve ever tested and performs well across the focal spectrum thanks to precise optics and the constant max aperture.
Images were as sharp as much more expensive L Series lenses, and with some work in Adobe Lightroom, I fell in love with its vivid red and yellow tones. Black and white photography was striking as well. Bokeh is pretty good too, but not the creamiest in town. Basically, if you can dream up a composition within this focal range, the 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM will take care of the rest.
World travelers and anyone shooting sports in adverse weather conditions, have I got a lens for you! The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is an awesome zoom lens that doesn’t break the bank. Sure, it’s not the fastest, there’s some fringing, and contrast needs a little boost in post, but it’s extremely versatile and perfect for conditions where it’s unsafe (for you or your gear) to swap lenses. Also, given the added reach over the 24-70mm, and image stabilization, the 24-105mm f/4L a terrific kit option for 5D Mark IV customers who don’t already have similar glass.
WHERE TO BUY
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM will be available on October 31 at Amazon (click HERE), directly from Canon, or from any Canon authorized dealer. The MSRP is $1099 USD. The EOS 5D Mark IV + EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Kit will also be available on October 31 (click HERE) and MSRPs for $4599.00 USD.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is the best kit lens I've ever tested. With a long 24-105mm zoom range and a constant f/4 max aperture, this lens is perfect for anyone who doesn't have the time to safely swap between other lenses. From wide angle to portraiture to telephoto, this L series lens offers up tons of compositional versatility. At just over $1,000 bucks, even entry-level or mid-tier DSLR owners should consider getting one for their kit.