Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS Resolution Tests!

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Registered: Jan 21, 2004
Total Posts: 6211
Country: United States

RCicala wrote:
I'll have 20-25 copies to test in the morning. I've already done f/4 comps on the 24-70 f2.8 mkI and II, Tamron 24-70 f/2.8, and 24-105 all at f/4 so I should have some resolution results blogged by noon (slow time of year so I have lots of help).

I agree with basically everyone: if it can resolve like the Mk II at f/4 I'll be interested. If it's not better than the others than it has nothing but the semi-macro thing going for it. We shall see. . . .

Roger, thanks in advance. Appreciate your work here.

My opinion - it needs to be considerably better at the wide end to get me to buy one. I'm pretty content with my old 24-70/2.8 and my 24-105 is a decent copy. Granted, the vignetting at the wide end can be a problem in the 24-105, but it is a very versatile lens for event photography.

Registered: Jul 06, 2005
Total Posts: 5092
Country: United States

I'll echo what has already been said:
The lens looks very interesting, for its smaller size... but the images produced by it will need to be greatly better than the cheaper 24-105 already available for it to be worth it.
I'm in the market for a "everyday" zoom, and the 24-105 is at the top of my list. Wish I would have bought the 6D kit instead of just body.

Registered: Apr 17, 2007
Total Posts: 2550
Country: United States

timbop wrote:
I'd much rather have the 2.8 v2 24-70....

Same here and I had high hopes that Canon would put together a 5DMKIII kit with that lens but I doubt that will happen now Canon is making the f4IS.

Registered: Sep 06, 2007
Total Posts: 28617
Country: Canada

That looks to me like yet another redundant product which is aimed at capturing a larger market share by increased splitting of the existing lens types, while offering little new of substance to a serious photographer.

Sorry boys, you will not get my money on this lens model either.

Paul Mo
Registered: Dec 12, 2012
Total Posts: 5980
Country: Thailand


Registered: Nov 29, 2003
Total Posts: 789
Country: United States

If it has the same IQ as the 70-200 f4 it will sell. If it doesn't it will have to compete with the versatility of the 24-105 and not do so well. The added mechanical complexity of macro is a disadvantage for me.

Registered: Oct 06, 2006
Total Posts: 405
Country: United States

pipspeak wrote:
spdntrxi wrote:
really show me where I can by a mkII for 1800.. I'm interested

Not sure if that was directed at me, but my point was there's no way I could find a 24-70 II for $1800

$2049 is the cheapest I've seen them from legit sellers, except perhaps a tad cheaper on the B&S here

no harm.. actually there is one in the BST for 1850 right now... someone needs to buy it before I do. I've kinda already set my mind on the F4.. I have 400 dollars of crutchfield credit to use.

Registered: Dec 27, 2004
Total Posts: 3081
Country: N/A

Can't wait to hear from Roger of LensRental...

Registered: Jan 09, 2005
Total Posts: 3121
Country: United States

Blog post is up:

I'm pretty ambivalent about it - good (not great) lens, higher price than I think appropriate.

David Baldwin
Registered: Jun 28, 2007
Total Posts: 2934
Country: United Kingdom

Thanks very much for your hard work Roger. So far I don't see much of a reason to "upgrade" my 24-105.

Registered: Sep 02, 2009
Total Posts: 728
Country: United States

RCicala wrote:
I'm pretty ambivalent about it - good (not great) lens, higher price than I think appropriate.

Thanks again for your efforts.

The lens seems quite good, actually.
Glad to see such a low distortion on the wide end.
The macro feature looks more and more like a gimmick.
The small lens size is very appealing to me.
At $999, this lens would have been a steal but at $1500 it's getting a strong HOLD recommendation from me .

Registered: Mar 05, 2011
Total Posts: 928
Country: United States

Thanks Roger, same straight forward review and unbiased opinion you always give.

Registered: Jan 13, 2006
Total Posts: 1523
Country: United States

I'm still a bit confused about the need for this lens and how it slots in with the f2.8II and the 24-105L. I wonder why Canon didn't just update the 24-105 with a bit better res and distortion and be done with it? Maybe it couldn't be done at the price point they needed under the 2.8.

Good numbers though Roger, thanks.

Registered: Nov 27, 2005
Total Posts: 396
Country: United States

I bought and sold the 24-105L twice. Never liked it. F4 just doesn't do it for me like 2.8 does. So while I was never really interested in this 24-70 F4L, Rodger's review just reinforces for me the desire for the 24-70 2.8LII or bust. I just would prefer the price to settle below $2K before June and it pisses me off to think that Canon will release an IS version sometime late this year/early next when they should have released it in 2012!

Registered: Oct 23, 2011
Total Posts: 202
Country: United States

How's the close-up magnification compared to the 24-105L?

My walkaround for a couple of months was the C/Y 35-70, which provided a "macro" extension at 35mm. After selling that lens, I really miss having a close-focusing, good-performing walkaround zoom. I guess I'm a bit apprehensive about going to Canon with Zeiss expectations, but I feel the closeup feature completes a walkaround zoom lens to make it more well-rounded. If I had to choose between reach and macro, I may go for macro…

Registered: Dec 07, 2002
Total Posts: 1252
Country: United States

Hi, Roger, thanks for the effort!

This actually looks good except for the price ..
Resolution and distortion both look very good.

What about vignetting (light fall-off)? Are you planning to test that? This is my biggest issue with the 24-105.


Registered: May 26, 2006
Total Posts: 1876
Country: United States

The 24-70 f/4 IS does intrigue me too. I do waterfall photography, which means a lot of hiking with elevation involved. I have the Zeiss 15 and 21....I can only carry so much weight going the prime route. I realize the zoom won't be a Zeiss prime...but having 24-70 covered (along with a poor man's macro) at 600 some grams of weight does have some pluses. I'm curious to see how it performs stopped down against the 24-70 II. If it's a wash, then it really might be the ticket for me.


Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 28229
Country: Canada

Hi Roger,

Thanks for sharing your test results. Yesterday, I was very happy with my decision to be an early adopter of the 24-70/2.8L II. Today, I'm still very happy with that decision.

The new 24-70/4L IS shows excellent distortion performance, and it has usefully better resolution than the venerable 24-105/4L IS at common focal lengths. In fact, it has the best distortion and next-best resolution (to the 24-70 II) in all test conditions.

I'll be keeping my 24-105L for walkabouts, because of its extra reach, and decent resolution, but if I didn't already have the '105L, and I wanted a high quality, light weight, normal zoom, I'd seriously consider the 24-70/4L IS.

It would be very interesting to compare effective reduction in resolution involved with distortion correction in PP for the 24-70/2.8L II and 24-70/4L IS, given the 24-70/2.8L II higher resolution and the 24-70/4L IS lower distortion. I'm just sayin'...

Cheers, Jim

P.S. Fred, thanks for keeping us up-to-date on this kind of info.

Registered: Jan 09, 2005
Total Posts: 3121
Country: United States

Jim, that's an excellent point about resolution loss with distortion correction. I'm going to see if I can figure out a way to do that.

I had a fellow today who'd bought a Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR (AKA the Nikon Fisheye Zoom) from us screaming about the horribly soft corners at 16mm. He sent it back, I tested it twice and it was superb. Turns out he was correcting that 6% barrel distortion and then evaluating the corners, which did, indeed, then suck .

Registered: Jan 21, 2005
Total Posts: 17276
Country: United States

Sounds pretty good although it doesn't match the 24-70 II (as expected from the MTF charts), at least not at f/4 (although it's very close wide open to wide open). I'd really be curious how it does f/8 though or even f/5.6 too. It's hard to say much more without knowing that. This sort of lens, in particular, may be used stopped down a lot.

Better than the 24-105 IS (or 24-70 I if you don't need f/2.8) though. I suppose it is possible that the 24-105 catches up as you stop down and then the 24-70 IS would not look so good though. OTOH if the 24-70 IS becomes like the 24-70 II stopped down then it would be a much better lens than the 24-105 by miles.

If the Tamron didn't exist I guess it might make sense at the price it was launched at, although it really depends how well it compares to the 24-70 II stopped down. Considering the Tamron though it seems a bit pricey (although, again, it's hard to say without seeing how it does stopped down, maybe it does better for 24mm landscapes?). It only tested a tiny bit better across the range and lacks f/2.8, but again what about stopped down? We only get to see the 24-70 II wide open vs Tamron stopped down in this test.

It appears to deserve to cost more than the 24-105 IS but the Tamron does make the price seem a little rough, depending (on whether it is a trade of for getting access to f/2.8 vs. better stopped down landscape performance or something).

Of course large scale contrast and AF and such remain to be seen.

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