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Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

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68 285180 Apr 11, 2012
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93% of reviewers $1,080.59
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.61
8.35
9.0
ef24mmf_14l_1_

Specifications:
Professional wide-angle lens with an ultra-large maximum aperture of f/1.4. This is the first EF lens to employ both a replicated aspherical lens element to suppress distortion and spherical aberration, and a UD lens element to correct lateral chromatic aberration. Thanks to the floating construction, excellent corner-to-corner delineation is attained from 10 in. (25 cm) to infinity.


 


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maximage
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Registered: Jan 24, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 112
Review Date: Sep 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great sharpness even wide open (wayyyyy better than the F2.8 zooms at F2.8). nice weight and size. shallow DOF in a wide angle lens.
Cons:
Lateral CA glows purple and green in close and distant bokeh. Watch for high contrast situations. My first copy was DOA. No weather seal. Hood is too tight.

A great available light lens. very sharp even wide open. at F2.8 easily beats pro calibre zooms. Focuses very fast. If you are looking for a lens for low light situations, forget about the 50/1.0 and get this one. downside is lateral CA is pretty heavy, especially when shot wide open and there's a lot of high contrast. Close bokeh glows purple and distant bokeh glows green. (convert image to black & white is the easiest solution Smile
My first copy came DOA, rear element was filled with tiny bubbles, and it won't focus at infinity at all. Second was a great performer, but there was dust inside the distance window.


Sep 30, 2005
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marksct
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Registered: Nov 3, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 245
Review Date: Aug 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fantastic! This is one excellent piece of glass. Incredible in low light, with vibrant clarity and color. Well balanced with 20D/Batter pack or a 1D.
Cons:
None what so ever.

I have used this in weddings, and street photography and I find it really great. It is a 35mm with a 20D and approx 30mm with the 1D. It is not for everyone because it has its place in the lens community especially for PJ and wedding work that is in a low light environment.

The color and clarity is better than my 24-70L lens.

For me it, it has already paid for itself in great image.

M


Aug 15, 2005
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mauriceramirez
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Registered: Jul 16, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2911
Review Date: Aug 5, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: size, weight.
Cons:
Very soft compared to th 35L. Also totally unreliable with a 1.3 1d2 camera for off-center, rule-of-thirds compositions, partly because of the Canon's lesser af sensors and the resulting need for the "focus-recompose" technique.

I've been so happy with my 35L except for the times when I wanted more context, or foreground, so I've always wanted a 24L.

In theory it sounds like a the perfect tool for available light, wide stuff but the reality is that the "focus & recompose" technique required as a result of Canon's inaccurate peripheral AF sensors, plus the inefficiency of the "dial-a-point" design, makes the 24L very inaccurate once you start using that f1.4.

The thin dof wide open, combined with the long swing of recomposing a subject at rule-of-thirds-or-further for a 24mm (with 1.3 crop camera) focal length, makes taking acceptably-sharp photos is a very iffy proposition. I was misfocusing at LEAST half of my images anytime the subject is composed even slightly off-center. Yes, HALF. Day or night, doesn't matter. If I was a pro pj, forget it, I'd be fired.

Also, I'll confirm what has been mentioned a lot; when it's sharp, it's not nearly as sharp as the 35L. In fact it's actually pretty soft. And when I compared it to the 85L it becomes an almost laughable way to spend $1K+.

I shoot everything wide open for the 3D quality of thin DOF and shipping this lens back is a big disappointment. Totally not recommended.

-m


Aug 5, 2005
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Richard Smith
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Registered: Jan 16, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 517
Review Date: Jul 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $800.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp enough wide open, great when you stop down
Cons:
None

Bought mine second hand for a good price.
Was a bit nervous of some of the comment regarding this not being the sharpest tool in canon's arsenal.
But I'm really very happy with mine, wide open it is acceptable, stopped down a couple of stops it is great.


Jul 6, 2005
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normski
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Registered: Oct 24, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 414
Review Date: Apr 8, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: it's super fast for a wide - also it's acceptably sharp wide open.
Cons:
canon's w/a lenses are not as well developed as their telephotos

- no it's not as sharp as an ef 135mm f2 or similar but it's sharper than the ef 16-35L at f2.8 and the 17-40L at f4 - stop for stop, but remember you also have f1.4 at your disposal which is 4x faster than f2.8 and 8x faster than f4. colour and contrast are impressive too. it's not a "must have" lens but equally don't think of it as a luxury think of it as a treat which you deserve as an "L" addict. (i have 24mm covered by 2 L zooms) if you use it in bright light situations it won't necessarily appear to be "amazing" but in those low-light and indoor situations it will give you a very accurate facsimile of "what you see" ie. "wysiwyg" as a result w/b is very good too. it's like having a vintage cognac in the drinks cabinet - you'll always reach for it in those special times and you'll know it's money well spent.

Apr 8, 2005
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Dan Meacham
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Registered: Mar 18, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 18, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,260.00

 
Pros: Well built, solid construction, extremely nice feel when focusing manually. Optically a great performer, whether in low or bright light.
Cons:
Some peopl would probably feel it was on the heavy side.

I bought this lens primarily for ease of composition in less than bright light. If properly used it is a fine performer.
It will not compete with a Leica Rangefinder for precision focus, but I did not buy it for that. No reflex extreme wide angle lens can achieve pinpoint focus compared to the rangefinder. But used properly this is a fine lens. Stopped down slightly, detail is clear to the corners.



Mar 18, 2005
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Dan Meacham
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Registered: Mar 18, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The Canon 24mm 1.4 is very satisfactory. Contrast is excellent, as is resolution. Because it is a prime lens, it is sharper than a zoom, for example the 16-35 or the 17-40. On my Canon Mount Kodak, the full-size chip gives lovely images out to the very edge. The 14 meg chip lets the Canon 24 really perfprm, even in dim light.
Cons:
Possibly some people might complain about the weight, but this is a solid, well-built lens with great weather-proofing.



Mar 18, 2005
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Toronto_Tim
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Registered: Jan 12, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 41
Review Date: Feb 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,126.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, light, bokeh.
Cons:
Expensive, hard to use (for amateurs).

I bought this lens for low light and non-flash photography. The results have been not so positive. But this is due mainly to my lack of knowledge about how to work with this lens.

Because when I've gotten it to work right, the results have been stunning! I've also handheld this lens 100% of the times which makes it more challenging to get a sharp picture.

When there is sufficient light and it's sunny outside, this lens works just as well as the 24-70. Of course, the main reason I bought this lens was the f/1.4.

Was it worth it? I must add the non-L 24mm f/2.8 USM is $900 cheaper. In the end, I gave this lens a "9" rating because of what it can do in the right photographer's hands, just not mine.

Tim


Feb 18, 2005
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sippinsoma
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Registered: Aug 23, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1474
Review Date: Jan 19, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very sharp, totally usable at f/1.4, smooth focusing, lovely color reproduction.
Cons:
A bit heavy (as to be expected from an f1.4 lens of this focal length), price is pretty steep, but the results surely outweigh this.

The 24mm f/1.4 focal lengeth and aperature make up what I consider to be the perfect prime to leave on a 1.6x body. I mainly use primes, and I have to say that this is my favorite.

Contrary to some opinions, I would take this over the 35mm f/1.4L anyday. The 24mm focal length is much more "usable" than the 35mm on a 1.6x body. I feel that the 35mm creates somewhat of an uncomfortable focal length in this respect. On a 1.3x or full frame sensor, the 35L would be a gem, but in the case of a 1.6x body, the 24L takes the cake for me.

The 24L encompasses a very nice build quality; solid in the hands, tight yet smooth zoom ring,

As somewhat of an odd note, I must say something about the lens size itself. In my opinion, this is one of the most ergonomically fitting lenses on a camera like the 20D. Some lenses are uncomfortable to use, and take a lot of getting used to. The 24L, on the other hand, just feels right. Although it IS pretty heavy, it's not like using a heavy telephoto, as the weight is still right in your hands and not 10+ inches out. The 24L is heavenly.

I have had no issues with the lens, and use it all the time. I would advise anyone to buy this lens Smile


Jan 19, 2005
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sfriedberg
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Registered: Jun 21, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 35
Review Date: Dec 19, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: combination of speed and focal length, build
Cons:
chromatic aberration in bokeh

I rented one of these for a week to take available light shots of various Thanksgiving gatherings and feasts. On a 1.6 crop camera, 24mm seemed a good focal length for interiors, closeup table spreads and the light. The 50mm f1.4 was the other lens in my kit on this trip.

The lens did not disappoint, but as you will see, I can't make a full critical assessment of the lens and even so found some issues.

Because the available light was meagre, most of my shots were taken at f1.4 or f1.8, and many of them were longish exposures. The depth of field at f1.4, even at 24mm (38mm equivalent), is so shallow as to aggravate any softness or shake problem. Many of my shots were, indeed, soft but I can't tell how much is the lens and how much is shaky hands.

Digressing from the lens a bit, the bright pools of available task lighting with much dimmer ambient light, the wide open lens and possibly shaky photographer, gave several of my shots a dreamlike quality. Much like soft-filtered glamour shots. Wish I were trying for that intentionally...

Build is solid, without excessive heft. With the hood reversed, it's about the same dimensions as my walkabout lens (28-135mm f3.5-5.6), just a bit shorter.

Focus was silent, lightning fast, and seems to have been accurate.

Color purity is hard to judge because the available light was heavily tungsten. The digital images certainly corrected to nice color, but I can't say if the lens added any color tone of its own. Color saturation was very good.

Contrast is also hard to judge, but it's certainly superior to my walkabout lens. I'd like to compare it with the 70-200mm f4L, which I consider to have very good contrast, but don't really have the images for a valid comparison. The color saturation suggests good contrast. Also, lots of detail is retained in the darker ambient-only parts of image, even when an exterior daylight window or light fixture is in the frame, which would have been a muddle for a poor contrast lens. However, the flat (if dim) ambient light makes it hard to find real "snap" in the shots I've got.

The best subject I've got for contrast is a wall-hung kimono with both metallic- and self-colored embroidery (yes, I did say Thanksgiving), lit by a task light from above which falls off strongly down the wall. On the one hand, the subtlety of the self-colored embroidery and the specular reflections of the metallic threads are picked up in both well-lit and poorly-lit areas. On the other hand, these photos were taken at f8 to avoid blowing out the pool of light at the top.

Flare: Initially I spotted a definite red halo around blown highlights such as light fixtures or their reflections when shooting wide open. On closer examination of my images, that was actually a real characteristic of one particular light fixture (!). Looking at exterior windows and other blown highlights shows pretty good flare control.

Chromatic aberration: The (shallow) in-focus area looks very well corrected, but the bokeh is noticeably affected by CA. Enough to be really obnoxious if you have background detail with a frequency matching the blur radius. And given the shallow depth of field, practically everything is affected! Again, this was shooting at f1.8, so I can't say how it improves at a smaller apeture.

While I can't give a fair apples-to-apples comparison (subjects and lighting were very different), I got a larger percentage of keepers with the 50mm f1.4 than with the 24mm f1.4, and my impression is that contrast is better with the 50mm. CA is certainly better with the 50mm. On the other hand, the 24mm took pictures the 50mm couldn't frame, and 50mm is notoriously the "easiest" focal length to design for 35mm cameras.

Bottom line: I'd rent it again in a heartbeat, but I would save my purchase money for a different lens. I have mixed feelings about giving this lens 4 stars. If it behaved as observed all the time, it would only be a 3 star. It would be at least 3 stars, because even with the issues I had, it was no disappointment to use. But I only evaluated it in an extreme situation, so presumably it's better than what I saw almost all the time.


Dec 19, 2004
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Relbbircs
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Registered: Apr 9, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: May 14, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent color rendition. Very sharp. Well constructed.
Cons:
None.

I got this lens with some trepidation, as I haven't been able to find much solid information about it on the web, in particular, tests with examples. Opinions seem to range from very positive to very negative. I wanted, however, to have a wider lens than my 35/1.4, and this was one of the few choices -- apart from the 14/2.8 the only "L" choice. I did find one Chinese language site (search Google images for EF 24/1.4; only a couple pages come up) which compared the 24/1.4 and the 24/2.8, and a table from Chasseurs d'Images which compared sharpness between them. What I gathered from those links is that the 24/1.4 is much better color corrected but slightly less sharp than its smaller brother. OK, I figured I wanted the build quality and the extra speed (it's hard to throw things out of focus with wider lenses and having the 1.4 makes a lot of difference), but I worried about sample variation. So I was prepared to send one or two examples back if they weren't as good as the minimum that I'd expected.

I was very pleased, then, to find that the sample of the 24/1.4 that I got was at least as sharp, if not more sharp, than my 35/1.4. Its color is right on and its build quality excellent, just as expected. But the bonus is the lens' sharpness. In the center it's very usable at 1.4; by f/4 it's extremely sharp in the center and quite good out to the corners. Its overall personality is very pleasing.

I can recommend this lens without hesitation.


May 14, 2004
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Kris K
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Registered: May 6, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 172
Review Date: Mar 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build, color rendition, great perspective on full-frame
Cons:
Not as sharp as other L lenses, but even wide open it's still very good.

I originally picked up this lens, as well as a 14/2.8L for my D30. The 14mm was fun, but the 24/1.4 was used a lot more b/c it had better color rendition and clarity. Even the corners on a < full-frame were very good. It is a fast focuser, even on my D30/D60, and as good as any other wide angle on my 1D/1Ds.

It doesn't see as much use now that I have the 24-70/2.8L, but I still keep it b/c is really affords a lot more low light flexibility.


Mar 15, 2004
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Jack Flesher
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Registered: Oct 23, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 3489
Review Date: Feb 5, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Bright, L build quality and standard L-class color and contrast
Cons:
Price and weight and price again.

I picked this lens up as part of a package and frankly did not expect much from it given other reviews I had read. In fact, for these reasons I had planned to sell it soon after receiving it. HOWEVER/BUT... After playing with it a bit, I find it somewhat alluring to use Smile It gives very nice color rendition and of course has great build-quality, plus it delivers very sharp images from f2.8 up, and even wide open the images are very usable. The rub is I'm not sure it is worth 4x the cost of the 24/2.8... (Actually I am sure it isn't, but there remains something alluring about this piece of glass that I cannot quite put my finger on...) For now it stays in the bag and gets a top rating.

BTW, there was a comment below suggesting it is a slow focuser -- FWIW mine does not seem to suffer this malady and focuses quite rapidly. BUT I have noticed that if the lens has to "hunt", then focus speed seems to slow way down, almost like it is programed to move slowly to find focus. There was another comment about CA and yes, this lens does show some slight CA, but not not really significant IMO.


Feb 5, 2004
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hermosawave
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Registered: Jul 12, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Jan 31, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,195.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Fast, bright image
Cons:
Heavy, expensive, some CA in the corners

This is a great lens if you're shooting in dark situations such as music clubs or at night. I'm using it with a 300D Digital Rebel - perhaps an unusual combination since this lens costs more than the body, but I consider the camera only a transitional model, while I expect to keep the lens for a long time...
In any case, with a 1.6x crop factor, this becomes a 35mm wide angle. With this lens I can shoot in near dark clubs at 1/60th sec (@asa 400/800) and still have a pretty respectable image.
The edges are perhaps a bit soft at 1.4 but the center is very sharp. Also focuses very close. The small amount of CA is easily adjusted in Photoshop cs.
Expensive, but those 2 or 3 extra stops make all the difference!

Some examples: 1/60@f/2 (iso800) http://thenoise.hermosawave.net/enlarge.php?photo=010204/IMG_2946.jpg
1/50@f/1.4 (iso400) http://www.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.asp?photo=CRW_3171.jpg
1/800@f/1.4 (iso100) http://www.hermosawave.net/pix/detail.asp?photo=CRW_3191.jpg


Jan 31, 2004
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Budi
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Registered: Nov 10, 2003
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 70
Review Date: Dec 31, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: f/ 1.2 , Very Nice bokeh, Tack Sharp, Great in Low Light,
Cons:
Slow AutoFocus, Weight, availability

Nice lens.. from color, contrast, and sharpness. Can't find weakness except slow AF. :P

Dec 31, 2003
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Ralph Wagner
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Registered: Feb 10, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 526
Review Date: Jul 2, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent contrast, color. Tack sharp.
Cons:
None

I purchased this lens for a specific shoot (waterfront at night) and it performed extraordinary. Since this is not my usual gig, I was thinking about selling it once the shoot was over, but I changed my mind. I used this lens twice now on some nature, landscape walks and sets and I was extremely satisfied with its' performance. This lens I will keep.

Jul 2, 2003
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Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
68 285180 Apr 11, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $1,080.59
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.61
8.35
9.0
ef24mmf_14l_1_


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