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Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

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68 283587 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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lord_malone
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Registered: Oct 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 496
Review Date: Sep 22, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Focal length (obviously), fast f/1.4, FOV on both Full Frame and 1.6x crop, matches the 35L in terms of color, contrast, OOF background blur, and AF speed, L build quality, lens hood design
Cons:
Mediocre sharpness at f1.4 through f/2, but is razor sharp beyond that. This issue does not concern me a great deal as long as I'm getting the shot. Sharpness is subjective.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ns-Review.aspx

I agree with the Digital Picture Dot Com review, which has been fairly consistent with what I've experienced with this lens except for the flaring. I don't often use this lens outdoors, so I can't say for sure if this is a major issue. I purchased this lens for wide shots indoors under poor light. For me this is a great focal length. Nice FOV on both FF and 1.6x crop bodies. When I had the 16-35L, I typically shot at 16mm or 24mm anyway. If you need a truly fast UWA lens, this lens will meet that need. From f/2 through f/8 (haven't shot an aperture smaller than that with this lens), this lens is nice and sharp. I feel this lens should be in every photojournalist's bag, and I'm quite surprised that it's not as popular as its closest relative the 35L. Photojournalist Todd Heisler used this lens for his Pulitzer Prize winning shots http://www.pulitzer.org/year/2006/feature-photography/works/ and ironically, the same lens was used when I first met him after he took photos of me returning home from Iraq and reuniting with my family.

Oh, and this lens does not really replace a zoom, but rather it compliments them. Sure you can get the focal length with either the 16-35, 17-40, 24-70 or 24-105 (or a number of prosumer or third party alternatives). Surely all these are great zooms, but unfortunately none of them can do f1.4. LOL


Sep 22, 2007
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Atle Goutbeek
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Registered: Sep 14, 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,100.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nice bokeh, needs allmost no light at all, fast, great colours, high build quility great on my 40D, but I'm sure it's even better on a 1.
Cons:
For uge prints it is not sharp enough before f/4! Price for a prime is high.

Is it worth the money? I don't know...

Yes I'm very happy with it. Great pictures and lot more sharp pictures in low light. Even at f1.4 it's okay sharpness and the colours and bokey are fantastic! But if you are planning to print the result on 20x30" paper you will not be satisfied. It ois not tacksharp untill stopt down to f/4. So why not go for the 24-105 f/4 IS in stead? I have both and use the last one more because of it's zoom and IS. In some spesial cases where there's no light og a small DOF is a must, the 1.4 comes at hand.

Am I satified with the lens? Not realy. It was not what I expacted of a lens in this pricerange. But I would not sell it, because it's nice to have in those special cases.


Sep 14, 2007
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Kevin2
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Registered: Nov 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: I love this lens, need I say more.
Cons:
Nothing...

I'm a professional wedding photographer, so when I was switching from Nikon to Canon, I used this forum to pick out my lenses. This lens has been great. Color, low light shots, focus, sharp, just about the complete package. My 2nd shooters love this lens above all my others, so that says a bunch.

Aug 29, 2007
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Xiao Z. Jia
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Registered: Jun 18, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 18, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Build Quality Bokeh f/1.4 USM
Cons:
Terrible CA all the way up to f/8 Very blurry, can't seem to focus at infinity Heavy (which is a given for the Build Quality, but still)

I was new to digital photography (and photography in general) when I found the courage to buy the 24mm 1.4 lens, and its been 3 month, and countless exchange between me and the salesman at the local camera shop, I feel like its been ages.

When people say there's quality control problem at Canon, its true. When people talk about getting lens exchanged and the new one just as bad, it turned out to be true as well. People talked about 24mm not being sharp, how true it is. CA problem? Abound! (yes, I've tested using my kit lens and the 24, kit lens' tons better at the same aperture)

Maybe its just me, but Canon Canada's warehouse at the Mississauga has sent me just about all 24mm 1.4L's in Canada (which is 2), and both of them are no good, and I'm not talking about being anal, just good enough to justify the L moniker, heck, a 28mm f/2.8 used lens that the camera shop lend me for a trip I took is CONSISTENTLY sharper than that heavy and worthless thing.

For what its worth, f/1.4 itself is pretty amazing to use, the possibilities it opened up were amazing, however with the focus problem it just can not be used in ANY circumstance.

Fortunately for me, Galaxy Camera has been quite understanding and accommodating, I'll probably be able to get store credit towards other lens while they take their time sort out the whole mess and get both lens returned to Canon.

I talked with the sales clerk about QA issues, and he told me Nikon is the same, but with worse customer/warranty service (his words not mine).

Anyways, lessons learnt:
1. Expensive lens != good lens,
2. Always try before you buy to save you lots of trouble,
3. When online reviews says a lens have QA issues, it does.

In my case the lens had to be special ordered, so I wasn't given a choice in terms of trying the lens out. But anyways, when buying the EF 24mm 1.4L, you NEED to try it, or make sure you're covered under a no-hassel refund policy or (in my case) know that the store treats its customer right.

Because the other reviews talking about QA issues are absolutely correct.


Jun 18, 2007
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Santoso
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Registered: Apr 23, 2007
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 24 f/1.4 in low light with nice bokeh, Sharpness, Fast focus, Handling
Cons:
Price

I got mine 2nd at a good price, because the new one is bitsy pricy. I believe there isn't much lens out there that is as wide (24) and as good as 24 f/1.4. The ability to focus fast and take wonderful picture in low light is a live saver. Remember the time when your lens hunts and your flash battery is out. This lens is your answer.

May 21, 2007
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johnnydanger
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Registered: Aug 26, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 674
Review Date: Apr 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great length on a 5D Great color Good performance Best lowlight handheld lense Canon makes
Cons:
Minor C/A Extreme fall off at f1.4 Fringing of blown out/high contrast areas at f1.4

Even with it's few flaws, this lense is quite possibly my single most used lense. The performance wide open in dark spaces is in a league of it's own, bar none. Serious low light shooters dream lense. It's fast focusing, allows shallow DOF at wide angle, is a great size/weight, and performs well on full frame. The 35L performs better technically, but 24mm is such a great width and so much more flexible than a 35mm lense in my opinion. Definitely one of my favorite lenses.

Apr 15, 2007
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leongty
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Registered: May 15, 2005
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 57
Review Date: Mar 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: color, bokeh, sharpness, size, weight, hood
Cons:
price

Nearly chose the 35L over this lens because the glowing reviews that the 35L receives but finally decided against the 35L after testing the it in a shoot, the 35L simply wasn't wide enough for my style.

Now, I am very glad that I bought this lens; finally, I am able to shoot the shots that I wanted; now I am able to produce shots where the subject is sharp with the background sufficiently OOF whilst maintaining enough hint in the background to show the environment the subject is in.

It is a good lens, don't let the online reviews deter you from getting one. If you are after a fast lens wide-angle for the EF mount; this lens is your solution.


Mar 29, 2007
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Andrew Maier
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Registered: Oct 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 230
Review Date: Mar 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,119.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, f1.4, beautiful bokeh, relatively small (to other L's)
Cons:
Slower transition to sharpest qualities (relatively sharp by f2, and very very sharp by 5.6),I'm looking for something to nit pick here, but not finding anything.

This lens was bought with much much much trepidation. I've spent many an hour pixel-peeping and I can say that's for nothing. The lens is superb. I have directly compared it with my 35L and the two are very similar. Taking this on a trip to new york wass just the ticket to testing it out. The streets and buildings merit a UWA. That said, couldn't be happier with it as aprt of my WA kit:

35L, 24L, 14mm (Tamron!)

-A


Mar 24, 2007
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Dan Doucette
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Registered: Nov 2, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 27
Review Date: Feb 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,120.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Very fast (f/1.4), well built, good wide field of view, great bokeh (difficult to achieve with a wide angle lens), good colors
Cons:
Mixed sharpness performance in the f/1.4-f/2 range (not always as sharp as I needed), auto focus sometimes off a bit (which shows in wide aperture shots), vignetting (unavoidable with fast, wide angle lenses).

I bought this lens to use specifically when lighting conditions fell below what I could hand hold my f/2.8 zooms in. As such, I can comment only on the lens' wide aperture, low light performance. I never used the lens for any shooting in the f/2.8-22 range except for a few tests. I always used it exclusively in the f/1.4-f/2 range.

With that restriction in mind, my experiences were as follows:
This lens can be a life saver when you need wide angle coverage in low light situations (ie, when flash is not allowed, it's inappropriate, or would alter the mood of the picture too much). Sometimes I would find myself maxed out, shooting at ISO 3200 and f/1.4, and still getting slow shutter speeds. Nothing but a fast lens can help you in lighting like this (it's not always feasible or possible to use a tripod).

I have mixed feelings about this lens in relation to the results I got in low light. Sometimes the pictures were simply amazing, with the lens being very sharp at these wide aperture settings, but other times I was underwhelmed by the rather average results I was getting. By "average" I mean that they were just borderline acceptable for me. Sharpness was often just mediocre. But then again, in some situations, especially with close to camera subjects, it could be great. It was a bit frustrating, because I was using the same shooting techniques and the results were varying. With all my other lenses I never have problems getting consistently sharp images, even with other f/1.4 lenses.

The bokeh and color that this lens produces are very nice and smooth. I love a wide angle shot with good bokeh and this lens does it. The lens is well built and solid. It's comfortable to use and feels good on the camera. The few times I took pictures stopped down, the image quality was very good, but that's not what I got this lens for, so I did not use it stopped down very often.

I had the chance to use a 35L for a couple weeks and found that I was getting consistently better results from it when shooting in the critical f/1.4-2 range. After about a year, I sold my 24L and bought a 35L instead. It was a difficult decision, as I liked the 24mm focal length better. In the end, I decided that predictable and sharp results were more important. The 35L seemed to produce a higher percentage of sharp usable images in the small aperture range I needed to use it in.

I still recommend this lens but with a note of caution. It's the fastest wide angle lens in the Canon line up (as of Feb 07) and can produce very good image quality, although sometimes at wide apertures it lacks a bit of sharpness. I found it very useful for low light indoor/outdoor photography. In the end, consistently sharp, wide aperture results were more important for me and the 35L seemed to have an edge in this respect.

-Dan Doucette
www.infotography.com


Feb 16, 2007
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Sam Edwards
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Registered: Oct 31, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Review Date: Feb 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $950.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp for a fast wide angle lens.
Cons:
None

Great FF wide-angle lens! I bought this lens used from B&H in 10 condition and I must say I scored. Sharp all the way to the corners? I would say that if you could measure it with something in the corners that was the same distance from the lens as the center you would find nothing to complain about. Remember that wide angle lenses have to be very close to a focus chart to fill the frame and the difference is distance between the corners and the center is enough to push the corners outside the plane of focus.
Mine has very low C/A and is much better at f2.8 than my 24-70L. Wide open you can shoot at 1/30th of a second and have a super sharp image. That makes this my best low-light lens. The distortion, flare and bokeh (at 1.4 you bet) all really wonderful. The Ee-S focus screen makes it easier to judge if the narrow depth of field is exactly where you want it.
Awesome!


Feb 3, 2007
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stebelski
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Registered: Feb 8, 2005
Location: Poland
Posts: 10
Review Date: Feb 1, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: fast, fast, fast, great fit for 1.6x
Cons:
a bit heavy and lots of money, but the value is still great

This is a great lens - sharp, fast and very good range for the 1.6x crowd.

I am using this on a 350d/rebel xt, which is probably not the most typical combination, but I decided it was more worthwhile to invest extra money in the lens than the camera upgrade.

I have been thinking about this lens for 2 years before deciding to take the plunge, so it wasn't an easy choice. I had the 50 1.4 before and loved the speed for low light activity, but missed the wide angle for PJ, family and baby photos. My other lens was the 17-40, but it was just too slow for my applications.

Given the 1200$ price tag, this was not a easy call for me. I researched this lens on all the available forums, reviews - I practically read all the search results you can find when googling this lens. For comparison I read all the reviews of comparable lens 24 2.8, 28 1.8, sigma 30 1.4, to really check whether I cannot save minimum 500$.

In the end I figured this would be the lens for me and if decided to go for any other solution it would be a compromise and I would continue dreaming of the 24L and feeling that I could have gotten a better suiting lens for myself.

So I decided to go for it and I do not regret the decision even one bit. I got myself the lens I really wanted, the angle is just what I use the most.

Value is there - you get a super sharp lens, workable in low light, with small DOF when needed, superb colors and contrast, L build. The value gets even better when you realize that you can sell off the 17-40, because you are not satisfied with the sharpness nor contrast anymore - as someone wrote is some previous review - 17-40 is good for a paper weight in comparison to the 24L.

On the way to the decision: I also got myself into thinking and reviewing the 35L, which is apparently even better. But the 24 is a much better viewing angle for the 1.6 in my opinion, so I cut this thinking very fast. Even if the 35L is better - why would you want a one-notch better performing lens, if you would not see all that you want to see through it because it is too narrow.

Bottomline, I wholeheartedly recommend this one to everybody. If you have the rebel, any other lens and $500 to invest into your equipment - sell the lens, and get yourself the 24L. Upgrading your camera to the 20d/30d (which I also considered) will not stepchange your photos as much as this lens.

One more happy user.


Feb 1, 2007
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ntpssr
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: Thailand
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: One word. Great!
Cons:
Prone to Flare.

With my copy, its performance & image quality is impressing and not that different from 35L. In situation that I can use both lens I don't hesitate to chose 24L because of perspective that 35L can't. Actually, if we want wider lens, 24L does't need to be compared to 35L. And at closet focusing distance, bokeh is as beautiful as 85L & 35L.

Like other fast lens, using at wide aperture, we must take very good care of focusing to prevent soft image.
My 24-70 f/2.8L was sold six months ago and, yes, I work harder due to no flexibility of zoom. However, like others, the more I use, the more I love this lens.


Jan 30, 2007
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johnastovall
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Registered: Apr 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1332
Review Date: Jan 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,075.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great build, light, fast and sharp
Cons:
none

I've been very surprised by this lens. I was adding to use with a 35L and thought it might suffer in comparison but it does not.

This is one of the more underrated and apprecated of the Canon 'L' line.


Jan 29, 2007
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pchan
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 37
Review Date: Dec 27, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, usable at f/1.4
Cons:
none

I was a bit worried when switching from the 35L to the 24L due to the always better review on the 35L for whatever reason, but I must say I am very satisfied with the switch so far, I find that I am using the 24L much more, and still be able to produce similar quality pictures.

Dec 27, 2006
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Phast1
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Registered: Jul 14, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2082
Review Date: Dec 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Amazing bokeh, great on a 1.6 crop.
Cons:
Edges a little soft until f/1.8 or 2. Copy variation?

This review cites experience with a 24L on both a 20D & 30D body.

I've owned 3 copies of this lens over the last 2 years. I found my first two copies identical in their inconsistent focus and not so sharp (at least nothing to brag about). This 3rd copy is different. It has very accurate focus and it is very sharp. The edges are decent sharp (very acceptable) wide open and stunning by f/2.2. Midframe is surprisingly sharp at 1.4. When shooting the main subject on the side of the frame I've found it best to stop down to 1.8 for very pleasing results.

The bokeh on this lens is amazing. It's the closest thing to 85L OOF Blur I've used. Meaning that 'painted' look really comes out in prints.

I find this lens a perfect focal length for a 1.6 crop camera. It's wide enough to get a decent amount of surroundings for your subject. This lens really shines when framing your subjects with the amazing background blur the DoF that 1.4 lets you achieve. f/1.4 is miles away from 2.8 and it really shows in this lens.

Alot of people compare this lens with the 35L when deciding which to buy. I feel they are not comparable lenses because they have very different perspectives and produce very different feelings from their respective images (which is kinda strange being that they are only 11mm apart in focal length!), but it's true. Where they are similar is in their outstanding L colour and contrast.

It's very easy to get artsy with the 24L. A 7" minimum focus distance is great for up close and wide shots. It distorts a little but for me very acceptable, unlike anything wider than 24mm in my experience. A landscape lens? Not for me. I'd go the ef-s 10-22 route for that. The 24L is great for city walkarounds, people, and yes... artsy fartsy stuff too.




Dec 23, 2006
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Claud Fatu
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Registered: Dec 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Dec 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Built like a tank. Beautiful quality images. f/1.4 Sturdy hood.
Cons:
A bit pricy (but you get what you pay for) Somewhat soft wide open. Barrels around edges (but it is a 24 after all)

This lens is sharp dont get me wrong. I have taken some amazing quality pictures even at high apertures. The thing is, it gets a bit soft wide open. The focused area is sharp, but not as sharp as I would like it to me. Also, the DOF is very shallow, and the quality softens very fast once out of the focused area. If you are trying to take a picture of two people and they are not exactly at the same distance from the camera, forget about it. One person will come out as background blur. That means that in low light situations you have to use a much higher f number, which defeats the purpose of having an f/1.4
Compared to the 35mm f/1.4 you have to know that this lens excels at a few things. For example, the background blur is amazing on the 24mm. Very creamy and pleasant. The 35mm produces a much choppier blur.
This lens is wide, and that can be seen on a full frame sensor. I shoot with a 5D, and close to the edges it distorts the images. Make sure you do not have your main object close to the edges, or it will get distorted. However, if you have a crop factor camera (30D, Rebel, 1D, etc.) you might not even notice this effect. I doubt the lens barrels than, since the crop comes from the middle, avoiding the problem spots. Never-the-less, the distortion gets annoying when trying to shoot people. For other objects it is not as noticeable. In conclusion, it is a 24mm, and even the renowned 24-70mm barrels, so what can you do?
Colors are beautiful, saturation is rich. A true L lens. Contrast can get a little soft when wide open. It can produce a sort of dreamy effect when used at apertures under f/2 - from a softer sharpness to a more flat contrast. Not a bad thing, but you have to be aware of what you want from your shots.
Overall, I would say this lens deserves the L designation. Very dependable, producing quality material. I would recommend it, but be aware of its shortcomings, and make sure it fits your shooting needs. To be frank, this lens is not my favorite, and does not see a ton of use. My most used lens is the 70-200, but than again you cant compare the two. However, for a wide lens I dont see a better choice than this. The 14mm is not even in the same league, and the 35mm is not any better plus it is not as wide.
A very clear choice here!


Dec 9, 2006
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Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
68 283587 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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