Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

Specifications

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM on Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi.

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Introduction

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 001From the first time I heard about the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, I had a feeling it would be a lens I would really like. I was wrong. I am absolutely in love with this lens. It is amazing! From the feel to the picture quality, superb. There are few people who say this lens is way too overrated. Some aren’t as impressed as others and claim that the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 performs just as well for a lot less in price and is smaller, more compact and supposedly the Sigma AF 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DF performs about as good as the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L and better than the Tamron. I personally have not used the Tamron or the Sigma and can’t comment.

This lens is my walk around lens. It may seem a bit *big* at first to be a walk around lens on a Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi (hell, it’s still not even considered small on the Canon EOS 20D or Canon EOS 30D), but you get used to it quite quickly especially after seeing the the sharpness and performance of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

The focal length of this lens on a 1.6 FOVCF (frame of view crop factor) SLR such as the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi is 38.4mm to 112mm, somewhat odd range, but still usuable.

Weight and Dimensions

This len isn’t small. It’s a bit longer than the Canon EF 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and is only a bit shorter than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L. It weighs 950 grams (or 2.1 pounds), so it’s heavier than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L, but not as heavy as the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L. The actual dimensions are: 4.9 inches length-wise and 3.3 inches in diameter. It has 13 groups and 16 elements; definitely a lot of glass in this lens! With this lens attached to the Canon EOS Rebel 400D/XTi, I find myself sometimes holding the camera/lens by the lens body rather the grip because it feels a bit more comfortable and I’m not as afraid of dropping this $1,000 lens. I see many people complain about the weight of this lens. It’s not light, but certainly not heavy like Canon’s super telephoto lens, the 500mm and 600mm. Those that complain of the weight don’t seem to appreciate the superior build quality and the picture quality achieved by this fantastic lens.

Construction

2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 002Because this is an L lens, it is primarily constructed of magnesium alloy and most certainly feels like it can take a pounding and continue taking great pictures. The barrel that extends is also constructed of magnesium alloy and you can feel how well its built when the barrel is fully extended out. There is virtually no significant wobbling of any kind with the lens when the barrel is collapsed or fully extended. This L lens is black in color, unlike it’s bigger brothers, who are painted in the now famous Canon color, off white (or putty). Because of that, it may not garner glances as quickly as a white L lens usually does, people still notice that it is not a small lens either. When you attach the flower hood (EW-83F), it really stands out.

The focal length ring rotates smoothly and tightly allowing for precise adjustments. It feels great when you spin either the focal length ring or the focus ring. This is definitely an excellent engineered lens. One thing that many people may find a bit odd at first is how the focal lengths work. When the barrel is fully collapsed, it is at its fartherest focal length, 70mm. To use 24mm, the barrel is focused out. I believe part of the reason that Canon designed the lens this way was because of the huge hood. The hood attaches to the body and not the barrel like some other lenses does (for example, the Nikon AF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF) and if 24mm was when the barrel was completely collapsed, parts of the hood would appear in the shot. One added bonus is that with the hood on and the barrel fully extended, the barrel remains inside of the hood still, which is great protection in the unlikely event you drop the lens.

Field Test

I usually have the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM attached to my camera; as it is my walk around lens. There are a few times that I feel a bit limited by 70mm and want to be able to zoom more and other times I feel that 24mm isn’t wide enough.

The maximum aperture of 2.8 allows me to get shots in dimly lit areas, which is a great bonus. This is definitely not a lens I would use for shooting sports because of its limited focal range, but using it for portraits is very satisfying. It creates a very smooth and buttery blurred background (bokeh) at 2.8.

Auto focus is extremely fast on the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L because of ring type USM. It also2007-04-26 - Canon Photo Equipment - 007 focuses accurately and does well under low light conditions.

I’m unable to use my built on flash with this lens attached because it will cause very noticable lens vignetting on the bottom center of the pictures. It doesn’t bother me too bad because I try to avoid using flash as much as possible.

Another great thing about this lens is the macro feature. It can focus as close as 1.25 feet, much better than my Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L‘s 3 something feet. While this isn’t quite super impressive, it’s very usable for me. There are times I like to take macro images, such as product images and what not, so I need a good macro lens, which I previously was using the cheapy kit lens, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6.

It’s a great lens with decent focal range. Good enough to spend 85% of the time on my SLR body. The weight isn’t too big of an issue, you get used to it, especially when you see the image quality.

Overall Thoughts

This lens would be perfect if it had Image Stabilizer (IS) on it. There are just some times in some dimly lit areas (such as indoors) where IS would help quite a bit! I highly recommend this lens.

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2 thoughts on “Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM”

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