Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Canon EF 24-105 f/4 L lens
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM


One of two recently announced (Aug. 22) Canon lenses is the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. If this lens is up to the usual L series quality expectations, this lens will be a great choice for photographers looking for a lighter weight alternative to the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens. The EF 24-70 f/2.8L lens has long had a reputation as one of the sharpest mid-range zoom lenses, but it is big and heavy, and costs around $1,140 USD.

The older lens has the advantage of being one stop faster with an f/2.8 constant aperture. For some film shooters this is still an important advantage. With digital cameras producing images with less noise at higher ISOs with each generation, the one stop advantage of the older lens is less and less important. For the time being, the older lens will also cost less.

The new lens has Image Stabilization which is a big plus and a feature lacking in the older lens. It has a longer focal length at the long end of the zoom range (105mm vs 70mm), a welcome addition. In terms of size it is shorter and lighter than the older lens (size specs below). The new lens will be slightly more expensive with an expected "street" price around $1,250 USD. The price should drop a little a few months after its introduction.

For everyone that has enjoyed the advantages of Image Stabilization in the highly popular EF 28-135mm IS USM lens, but longed for the superior optics and wider 24mm focal length of the EF 24-70 L series lens, the new lens is a dream come true. Everything is there except for the extra 30mm at the long end of the EF 28-135mm lens. I suspect a lot of photographers will prefer having 24mm at the wide end over having 135mm at the long end. The only kicker with the new lens is the price. For a long time, the EF 28-135mm IS lens has been the preferred walk around lens for a lot of people, including me. I think a lot of folks will switch.

The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens should be very popular if testing indicates it is up to Canon's usual L series quality.

Canon already has two very fine L series lenses with a constant aperture of f/4. The EF 17-40mm f/4L lens and the EF 70-200mm f/4L lens are both among the sharpest lenses in their focal length range. Both have become very popular alternatives to the heavier and more expensive f/2.8 L series lenses (see small photos and links below). This brings the f/4L series to three lenses covering all focal lengths from 17mm to 200mm (and out to 280mm if a 1.4X teleconverter is used with the 70-200mm f/4L lens). These three lenses would make a great kit for the photographer that needs optimum lens quality in a smaller and lighter package.

Pre-order the CANON EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM LENS from Amazon or Adorama and pay no shipping.

Size and weight specs:
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L: 83.2mm x 123.5mm, 950 g (2.1 lbs).
EF 24-105mm f/4L: 83.5mm x 107mm, 670g (1.5 lbs).

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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens

Buy the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L lens at Adorama or at Amazon.

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Canon EF 70-200m f/4L lens
Canon EF 70-200m f/4L lens

Buy the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L lens at Amazon or at Adorama.

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Canon Press Release.


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