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| p.4 #2 · Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS reviewed at Photozone |
Just started testing a 24-70 f4 IS. No judgement yet...but definitely quietest IS I've ever heard. I hope all future IS is this quiet.
Yeah FAR and away the quietest IS ever. You really simply can't hear it at all. It's almost disconcerting since you think it's broken! (although turning it off and then the VF does become a bit less stable and the slow shots all much more blurred)
The IS works really well, much better than I thought would be possible for the wide end, at least on copy 1 tried. You could easily do two stops better for 100% view pixel-peeping critical sharpness compared to IS off even way down at 24mm even if that takes it into the zone where mirror slap and other supposed concerns were supposed to make IS not help all that much.
Interestingly, I got to look at a second copy and it actually performs a fair amount differently than the first (especially bottom edges and corners wide side f/4 and upper right quadrant 70mm f/4). This one is definitely sharper across most of the frame (these lenses are getting so complex these days that any given spot of the frame, especially when talking about scenes having very complex and multi-layered depths of placement of objects even one lenses generally worse may suddenly render some small chunk the frame better), especially edges when subjects are nearer to the camera than point focused on, but even center frame a little bit too. Even the better one is still largely no match for my 24-70 II at 24mm though.
The difference between copies of all the complex 24-70s can be actually rather easy to spot in many cases which is a bit disconcerting.
Comparing between two 24-70 f/4 IS and a 24-70 II shooting a very complex scene with the focal point placed on the same spot using liveview 10x AF in each case (semi-deep in, but not really ideally deep into the frame) at 24mm f/4, for this particular scene and placement of focal point at least (bolding findings when the 24-70 II was only equal to or worse than a 24-70 f/4 IS copy or when copy 2 was only equal or worse than copy 1 of the 24-70 f/4 IS):
my 24-70 II vs copy 1 of the 24-70 f/4 IS (henceforth called copy 1) is a bit better center frame, much better bottom edge, much better lower left corner, slightly better extreme lower left, much better lower right, much better far right edge, better upper right corner, slightly better top edge (barely), slightly better upper left (same extreme upper left corner), bit better left edge, better center mid right, better center mid left, better upper mid-right, etc.
24-70 II vs copy 2 (of the 24-70 f/4 IS) is slightly better center frame, similar bottom edge, slightly better going along the bottom mid frame, slightly worse lower left and worse extreme lower left corner, better lower right corner, better far right edge, a bit better upper right corner, slightly better top edge, better upper left corner, better far left edge, better center mid right, slightly better center mid left, slightly bettter upper mid-right, etc.
**********So overall 24-70 II in this scenario tested better than either 24-70 f/4 IS, especially compared to the first copy, but definitely better than either overall, pretty easy to see in many parts of the frame. 24-70 II delivers a better 24mm f/4 in this complex scene than the 24-70 f/4 IS. Also forgot to mention that the 24-70 II is amazingly resistant to any halation effects or LoCA/PF or higher order CA under even the worst circumstances, the 24-70 f/4 IS do commendably in all of those cases other than halation to compared to most such lenses but are still no match for the 24-70 II in those regards.********
putting copy 2 vs copy 1:
copy 2 vs copy 1 is just slightly better center frame, much better bottom edge, better to much better going along bottom mid frame, better lower left and extreme lower left corner, better lower right corner, bit better far right edge, bit better upper right corner, similar top edge all but the same, bit worse upper left corner, similar extreme upper left corner, far left edge is a bit worse for objects deeper in and a bit better for objects closer in, slightly better center mid right, a bit better center mid left, slightly to a bit better upper mid-right, etc.
******so copy 2 was anywhere from clearly better to just slightly better over all of the frame other than for the upper left non-extreme corner where it was actually a bit worse and object deeper into the scene on the far left edge where it was also actually a bit worse. differences were noticeably enough to be a bit disconcerting for >$1000 L lens.***
at f/8, 24mm, same scene and scenario:
24-70 II vs copy 1 was a bit better to better center frame, a bit better lower bottom edge, a bit better going along bottom mid-frame, slightly better lower left corner, same to slightly worse extreme lower left corner, better lower right, better far right edge, slightly better upper right corner (also without the bits of LoCA/PF the copy 1 has), slightly better top edge, slightly better upper left, slightly worse extreme upper left, slighlty better left edge, better mid center right, better mid center left, slightly worse upper mid-right, etc. Overall the 24-70 II definitely did look better than copy 1 in this case too, although by not as major of a degree as at f/4, that said in two very very small portions at the very deepest corners of the image and one smallish portion in a more important region it actually did a touch worse.
24-70 II vs copy 2 was slightly better center frame, slightly better lower bottom edge, slightly better going along bottom mid-frame, same lower left corner, slightly worse extreme lower left corner, slightly better lower right, same to slightly better far right, slightly better upper right (also without the bits of LoCA/PF the copy 2 has), slightly better top right edge, slightly worse top left edge, similar upper left corner,slightly worse extreme upper left corner,slightly better to same far left edge, slightly better mid center right, just slightly better mid center left, similar upper mid-right, etc.
********Surprisingly the 24-70 II only did slightly better overall, not by much, other than PF, compared to the better 24-70 f/4 IS copy, although this being an outdoors test, the lighting kept slightly shifting which did make judging finer point of micro-contrast differences a bit difficult and unreliable. Actually quite an impressive showing by this copy of the 24-70 f/4 IS, until this point I'd never seen anything other than 24 1.4 II or 24 T&S II really come close to the 24-70 II at 24mm f/8 on FF. I think the 24-105 IS would've been left in the dust by the new 24-70 f/4 IS. The lesser 24-70 f/4 IS copy didn't manage to match even at f/8 24mm compared to the 24-70 II but it wasn't bad.*****
copy 2 vs copy 1 was slightly to a bit better center frame, slightly to a bit better lower edge, a bit better going along bottom mid-frame, slightly better lower and extreme lower left corner, a bit better lower right corner, a bit to better far right edge, similar top right, slightly better top edge, similar upper left and extreme upper left corner, slightly better far left, a bit better mid right, slightly better mid left, same to slightly worse upper mid right, etc.
***** the difference between copy 2 and copy 1 was not as extreme as at f/4 24mm but it was still enough that you could certainly tell them apart without looking all that super carefully and still a bit disconcerting.****
So going by this particular scenario (light did change a bit, which makes it very tricky to pick apart when sharpness difference is not major and it's down to micro-contrast, etc.) one might suggest that the 24-70 II is definitely a better performer than the 24-70 f/4 IS lens at 24mm f/4 and it's not that hard to notice the difference (maybe a really bad 24-70 II vs the best 24-70 f/4 IS would tie them or flip results, but in any typical scenario of copies I think it's clear the 24-70 II is better).
It also suggests that the 24-70 II might be only slightly better (other than for halation/PF/LoCA under extreme conditions where the 24-70 II simply can't be beaten by any lens I've seen at 24mm, prime or zoom, other than maybe the 24 T&S II?) at 24mm f/8 compared to an apparent good copy of the 24-70 f/4 IS. Compared to an solid but not amazing?/average?/lesser?/bad? copy (copy 1, not sure how to call it, is it worse than copy 2 because copy 2 is amazing or because copy 1 is bad, etc.?) the 24-70 II still takes a clear win even at f/8 although it's certainly a more modest win than at f/4.
Do to various other things not gotten into here, I think that over a wider range of tests the 24-70 II would probably separate itself a bit more from even the better 24-70 f/4 IS at 24mm f/8 though.
Anyway, a good 24-70 f/4 IS just might pull off the holy grail, as the 24-70 II certainly does, of delivering a very solid 24mm f/8 on FF for fine landscape work. (IMO 24-70 I and 24-105L and sigma 24-70 and 24 2.8 and 24 1.4 I and 24 T&S I do not and the Tamron 28-75 doesn't quite manage it either. I don't know about the Tamron 24-70 VC or 24 2.8 IS. The 24 1.4 II and 24 T&S II also do.) A somewhat lesser (?) 24-70 f/4 IS borderline pulls it off.
At 70mm f/4 complex scene I'd say that the 24-70 II produces a sharper center frame at the spot where focus was placed than the 24-70 f/4 IS lenses. I'm not so sure that the 24-70 f/4 IS didn't seem sharper at the edges though. It's hard to say, how the DOF falls, f/4 is not much DOF for a complex scene. 24-70 II seemed to blur stuff behind plane of focus on left side more than either 24-70 f/4 IS and in general other than compared to copy 1 at the entire upper right region where that one looked most OOF much more than copy 2 which is odd. It might be that the 24-70 II is sharper here for anything that hits plane of focus and is remotely near the center frame bit worse otherwise compared to copy 2 and copy 1 (other than for upper right quadrant for copy 1). Hard to tell from using low DOF, a long standard focal length and such a complex scene. Didn't look at 70mm or 50mm or 35mm much at all though, although 24-70 II compared to copy 1 at least seemed better center frame and especially edge anywhere near wide open 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and even at f/8 especially at 50mm. Didn't compare to copy 2 at all.
No clue if it signifies anything at all, quite probably not, but the serial number of copy 1 started with "010" and with "020" for copy 2.