My first look at Canon's 24-105L lens
was at the Canon Expo
in NYC in the Fall of 2005. I watched Douglas Kirkland
and a bunch of Canon's Explorers of Light
use this lens for real work.
It's always encouraging to see real working pros using the gear one is considering. And yes, subsequently I interviewed Douglas, and he still uses it. For me, it was an obvious choice, I just hoped that it would hold up to close scrutiny and my actual use. My first outing with it was a portrait session. The results are beautiful. Excellent color rendition, beautiful sharpness, and lovely contrast. This shot at 82mm.
Shortly after I got the lens, Canon issued a recall
on early production models of this new lens. They talked about "unacceptable levels" of flare, on models with designation of UT999 or less. Actually, it's rather interesting, isn't it? I had one of the early models, and thought "why bother?" But I've since sent it in to Canon (at their expense) and they gave me a new model to replace it.
It's a really fun lens to just "take along." I totally dig the focal lengths availalbe, and the low light performance is excellent. Have a look at a sample 100% crop
from this photo.
Maybe you like sports action
? Or just put it on your camera for a family event
. You won't be disappointed.
Many folks are comparing this lens to Canon's 24-70 f/2.8L.
They want the f/2.8 "for the bokeh wide open." Well, here's just a test shot to demonstrate the bokeh this lens can
produce. This is a row of 8x10 photos on the wall. ISO 1600, f/4, 1/40th second. Take a look at the nice bokeh in this 100% crop
. Damn good, if you ask me! I did not expect to see such nice bokeh at f/4 on this lens.
Just another demo of the Image Stabilization. ISO 800, f/7.1, 1/6th second, handheld. There's a 100% crop here
. The crop is unsharpened - and remember, it's ISO 800 from a full-frame Canon 5D so it's huge. One more, at 1/8th second
This lens makes an excellent companion to Canon's 70-200L lenses, as part of a two-lens travel setup.
I find this lens more than a very serviceable performer on portrait shoots. It's not easy finding a zoom that gives you the focal lengths you want, and the quality you need - Canon delivered both on this lens.
In summary, this lens has a place in my bag, alongside my prized primes. Build quality is excellent. The IS just works, period - and can save your bacon so that's a huge plus. The focal range is very convenient. It's a great performer on full-frame, or 1.6x body. The color, contrast, and sharpness are Canon-L quality. At $1250 retail, it's not cheap - but I think it's worth it. I recommend this lens!
EDIT: Just added a comparison shot
, showing this lens and Canon's 35L side by side.
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