Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2005

Special thanks to Johannes Matzke, Markus Stamm, Jaroslaw Komasinski, Sander Vermeulen & Marcel van Leeuwen for providing four (...) copies of this lens for testing!


The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L is one of main stream pro grade lenses in the Canon line up and very popular among pro photographers (especially press) as well as serious amateurs. On APS-C DSLRs its field-of-view resembles a classic 39-112mm lens on full-frame cameras which isn't terribly useful to start with. Here it shows that this lens was designed for full-frame (D)SLRs.

With a weight of 950g and a size of 83x123mm it is quite a bit heavier and bigger than many third party alternatives but comparable to similar lenses made by other genuine brand manufacturers.
The lens has a reverse zooming mechanism so it extends towards the wide end of the range. It is shortest at 70mm. While this may seem odd at first the system makes sense when attaching the deep flower-shaped hood which remains highly effective at all focal lengths. So with attached hood the size of the package remains constant. Still it would be nice if such a lens would not extend at all during zooming. The front element does not rotate during focusing there're no issues when using a polarizer - without hood that is.

The optical construction is made of 16 elements in 13 groups, including one UD elements and two aspherical elements. The elements are made of lead-free glass. The min. focus distance is 0.39m resulting is a max. object magnification of ~1:3.3 at 70mm. The lens features 8 circular aperture blades. The filter size is 77mm.

The lens has a ring-type USM drive based on a front-focusing system resulting in an extremely fast AF speed. As usual for modern ring-type USM lenses full-time manual focusing is always possible in one-shot AF mode.

The build quality of this lens is exceptional. No significant wobbling and smooth controls - almost perfect. The lens is also designed to survive in harsh conditions with a sealing against dust and moisture.

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