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I just got the 24-105L as part of the 5DII kit and noticed the IS mechanism doesn't seem as strong (feeling the gyro mechanism) as the 70-300 I once borrowed. I do detect a slight improvement in stabilization when looking through the viewfinder, but definitely not as noticeable as the 70-300 which was louder as well. In fact, I really do not hear the gyros whirring in the 24-105. You could really tell when the IS kicked in with that lens, not as much with the 24-105 I have. Is that normal?
Yes, bigger tele lenses need to counter more motion than a smaller and wider optic, so they tend to have larger IS units that need to move larger interior elements. I can barely tell IS is working in my 24-105L or 17-55IS compared to my 70-200 4L IS but the 2-3 stops of extra hand hold speeds are all that count.