Canon 24-70 f4 review


Canon 24-70 f4 review on Full frame

canon 24-70 f4 review

Canon 24-70 f4 review
Official name – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The official name is Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM


24-70mm this is a usual range in full frame from wide angle to short telephoto, this is like a 15-44mm lens on crop sensor cameras
f/4 is the brightness of the lens, usually brightest zoom lenses has an aperture of f/2.8 which allows double shutter speed compare to f/4. Only Sigma has an f/1.8 zoom lens for Aps-C cameras
EF – refers it is a Full frame lens (sensor size is 36x24mm), while EF-s refers to lenses for crop sensor cameras(sensor size is 22,5*15mm or a bit smaller), literally means electronically focusing, which is true for most lenses today
L – refers luxury, no technical content, just Canon thinks it is a premium product with a premium price
IS – image stabilizer helps to stabilize the picture in slow shutter speeds, better to turn off in daylight with high shutter speeds
USM – ring type ultrasonic focusing, this adds high value to the lens, as this focusing is very quiet, very fast and very precise

Introduction – Canon 24-70 f4 review

I was very much interested about this lens, how good is it, as one of the newest lens in the Canon lineup. Obviously the f/4 aperture helps the lens to be smaller and lighter than it’s f/2.8 cousins. With the better high iso performance of the newest Canon Full frame cameras perhaps this f/4 aperture can be useful in lower light situations as well. On the other hand it is not a small lens, especially if I compare to prime lenses, or the older Canon 28-105 USM lens for example.

f/2.8 vs f/4 – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The f/2.8 lenses give a lot of extra power for your photography over the f/4 versions especially if you shoot lots of portraits, or weddings where the pronounced background blur is preferred. Simply f/4 lenses not blur the background so much as the f/2.8 lenses. For landscapes usually smaller or middle apertures preferred here the f/2.8 lenses doesn’t give any extra over the f/4 versions. On the other hand f/2.8 lenses are much more heavier and bigger as well, as these lenses let in two times of light compare to the darker cousins.

What is this lens great for – Canon 24-70 f4 review

This focal length range is good for general photography, like landscapes, family portraits etc. For artistic portraits the f/2.8 lenses and 70-200 telephotos are better, because blur the background better than the f/4 lenses.

Optical quality – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The lens produce sharp images wide open at f4 already at both ends of the zoom range. The images are quite sharp at f/16 as well. The lens is sharper at 70mm f4 than the Canon 24-105mm at 105mm f4. The difference is not huge. The lens has strong light falloff (vignetting) at f4 on Full frame, the Canon 5d Mk III corrects it in camera, older cameras not corrects it. The chromatic aberration is very low (below 1 pixel), and newer cameras corrects it automatically. The distortion is also lower as expected, but there is some distortion at the wide end. All pictures were made in standard jpg mode in the Canon 5d Mk III camera. In raw you can get much more quality and can tailor made the pictures as you like. The colors the lens produces I find great.
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Canon 24-70 f4 lens at f/8 Canon 5d Mk III 1/160s ISO 100 no post processing
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Canon 24-70 f4 61mm f/4 1/1000s Canon 5d Mk III camera 1440 pix resized the 5760 pix original
canon 24-70 f4 review 2Canon 24-70 f4 is f/16 1/40s ISO 400 Canon 5d Mk III
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Canon 24-70 f4 at f/4 50mm ISO 100, 1/100s Canon 5d Mk III
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Canon 24-70 at f/5.6 24mm ISO 400, 1/3200s Canon 5d Mk III the sharpness is great across the frame

Bokeh – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The bokeh is nice, but not stellar. Obviously longer and brighter lenses are better in this regard. To have the best bokeh, must be close to the subject at 70mm f/4 setting.

Build quality, handling – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The lens handles very well, everything is as it needed. The lens is made from mostly plastic, with metal parts. The plastic helps to keep the weight lower. The build quality seems ok, but not up to newer third party lenses, like Sigma, Tokina, Samyang lenses. Both rings, the manual focus ring and the zoom ring as well operates quite smoothly. The lens has ring type USM focusing motor, which operates quietly. The focusing speed is quite fast but there are faster focusing lenses as well. The lens changes it’s length during zooming it is going to get longer in the long end of the range, longest at 70mm setting.
The lens has a “Nikon-style” inner pitch lens cap, exactly like I have on my Nikon d7000 camera. This lens cap is not better or worse than the earlier version unless you have a lens hood on the lens, when this is more practical. I accustomed to the older type on my lenses, as I don’t use the lens hood on all my Canon lenses.

Stabilizer – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The stabilizer is quite effective, and helps in non-moving subjects. Not helpful for moving subjects though. Canon claims the stabilizer efficiency of 4 stops. For close distances the stabilizer is usually not very effective.
The stabilizer only has one setting (on).

Switches – Canon 24-70 f4 review

Autofocus on-off
Stabilizer on-off
Zoom lock prevents zoom creeping
Macro mode let’s the lens focus at 20cm instead of 38 cm.

Specifications – Canon 24-70 f4 review

Focal length range: 24-70mm
Optical formula: lens elements in groups included 2x UD (ED) element
Brightness: f/4 at both ends
Aperture range: f/4-
Minimum focusing distance: 0.2m (7.87 inch)
Weight: 600g (21.16 oz)
Dimensions: App. 83.4 x 93 cm ( 3.28×3.66 inch)
Aperture diaphragm blades: 9 circular blades
Magnification: 1: 1.2
Filter thread: 77mm (non-rotating)
Image stabilizer claims 4 stops by Canon, 2.5 stops in Macro mode
Hood: EW-83L included
Lens case: LP1219
Macro mode
Fluorine coatings at both ends

Price/performance – Canon 24-70 f4 review

As usual for Canon the initial price is steep. The lens is 40% more expensive than the Canon 24-105 f4 L is(1499 vs 1149 dollars). The 24-70 f4 is a little sharper, but has the same max aperture, and the 24-105 has broader range. Later on the used market can achieve better price for the lens. I feel this lens overpriced.

Alternatives – Canon 24-70 f4 review

I think about who is this lens made for? Professionals perhaps prefers the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mk II instead if they can afford it. If not there is a Canon 24-70 f/2.8L Mk I version as well. For the same price you can get the Tamron 24-70 Vc (1300 dollar)+some filters as well, but this is a bigger and heavier lens. The older Canon 24-105 is is also an alternative and the newer also very good Sigma 24-105 OS as well. The Sigma and the Tamron has 82mm filters.

Size Weight Filter Stabilizer Price
Canon 24-70 f/2.8 II 88.8*113mm(3.45*4.45′) 805g(28.4 oz) 82mm No 2300 USD
Canon 24-70 f/2.8 83.2*123.5(3.3*4.9 in) 950g (33.51 oz) 77mm No 1349 USD
Canon 24-105 f/4 is 83.8*106.7(3.3*4.2′) 670g (23.63 oz) 77mm yes 1149 USD
Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 vc 8.89*11.68(3.5×4.6′) 825g(29.1 oz) 82mm yes 1300 USD


-Very good sharpness even wide open
-very good sharpness generally everywhere, until diffraction step in
-Decent build quality
-Less weight than the f/2.8 versions
-Effective stabilizer
-Ultrasonic silent autofocus
-moderate distortion
-low CA


-heavy vignetting, some camera can correct it, most not
-high price
-focus shift (needs refocus, if zooming)

Verdict – Canon 24-70 f4 review

The Canon 24-70 f4 is a very good zoom lens for a very high price. The biggest optical flaw is vignetting, which can be a deal breaker for some people. I see not much added value of the macro mode (20cm close focus distance instead of 38cm both calculated from the sensor plane, the lens shades the subject at 20cm). For this price point (full frame camera+this lens) one can afford a dedicated macro lens, usually with much better sharpness, and better working distance. Compare to other Canon lenses this lens has stabilizer, less weight and decent sharpness. I see this lens is sharper than the Canon 24-105 is and perhaps a little sharper than the Canon 24-70 Mk I but not as sharp as the newest Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mk II, which lacks the stabilizer. Overall I feel the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 Vc more appealing in photographic point of view, even for cheaper price. The 24-70mm range is not really fascinating, it is more of a workhorse lens for pro photographers. I personally prefer longer telephoto prime lenses over this lens, which can create much nicer background blur and better image sharpness. But anyway one of these general purpose lens is needed for everybody in the camera bag, with a wide range zooming possibility. If the price of the lens is dropping afterwhile this lens will be more appealing. At this time I think both the Tamron 24-70 vc or the older Canon 24-105 is a strong rival for this lens, not even speaking about the older Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mk I lens, which is optically similar to this lens, and 1 stop faster.

Canon Full frame lens reviews

Coming soon.
Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 review
Canon 24-70 f4 review
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is II review

 Posted by at 10:37 am