Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 USM L IS - Full Format Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Sorry for the rather dull shots but even in Sydney the weather can be rather mediocre over a longer period.

Click on a thumbnail to view the original file (opens in a separate window). Please note that the originals are FULL SIZE samples (=several megabytes) thus requiring a significant amount of bandwidth so please take care of the limited resources here.

Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 70.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 640
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/60s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 70.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/3200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/3200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/800s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 55.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/3200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 70.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/800s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/7.1
Exposure 1/1000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 50.0mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1600s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5D Mark II
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 24.0mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure 1/640s

Verdict

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 USM L IS is a difficult being with a great technical performance and a worrisome focus characterstic. It is certainly capable of delivering a image quality that sometimes even surpasses its bigger in-house mate (EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L II). It is very sharp throughout the range with no significant weakness at any mainstream setting including max. aperture. The very low amount degree of lateral CAs contributes to the high sharpness perception. There is some noticeable light-falloff at f/4 but this is hardly surprising on a full format camera - the light falloff could be better at 24mm at medium aperture settings though. The distortion levels are moderate and slightly better than average for a lens in this class. The quality of the bokeh is pretty decent but not without flaws in certain situations. Given the moderate max. aperture there is not much bokeh fringing to speak of. The macro feature is pretty nice but avoid f/4 due to the substantial softness here but it is much better at medium aperture settings. The most worrisome flaws are, however, focus shifts - thus if you stop down the focus point is pushed towards the background (Residual spherical aberrations / RSA). This can be a game spoiler in some scenes (specifically close focus) which is also why we downgraded the otherwise very good optical quality.

Typical for modern Canon L lenses, the mechanical quality is a shining aspect, of course, but then you also expect no less from such a pricey beast. The compact size and comparatively low weight is certainly attractive compared to "the lead pipe" - thus the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L II. Canon's USM drive offers an extremely fast AF and lack of noise is highly impressive. The image stabilizer is as efficient as we are used to from other Canon offerings.

However, given the RSA (focus shift) problem, we would rather recommend to go either for the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L II or even the lower performance Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS instead.

Update: According to the friendly supplier of the lens, the Canon server was able to fix the RSA issue in the provided sample (makes you wonder how ?). For the time being we can't retest the lens due to time constraints but assuming that the RSAs were not present the optical rating to improve to .

Optical Quality: (downgraded due to RSAs)    
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
   What does this mean ?
 



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