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Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

ef_24-70_28u_1_
Review Date: Apr 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,190.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Contrast, colors, bokeh, sharpness, mechanical properties are all excellent
Cons:
Expensive (but worth it), had to get it adjusted

Like many others I got my 5D together with the kit lens (24-105). Since I shot a lot at the wide end I very soon had to get rid of it because of the vignetting and extreme distortion. The IS was nice but not a real substitute for speed.

The 24-70 is a whole another story. It has a wonderful bokeh, especially for a zoom lens. It is sharp across the frame and throughout the entire zoom range, although not as sharp as my 135L or 24L - but that's to be expected. It IS sharper than my 16-35L II, for wht it's worth. The most valuable optical properties would have to be the colors and contrast, though. Overall, I prefer the images from the 24-70 a lot over the ones from the 24-105 and also a bit over those from the 16-35L II.

The weight was something I had to get used to and for the first few days I though it'd bother me. But now it feels just right on my 5D II even without a battery grip. The 16-35 almost feels like a toy now by comparison.

One word of caution though: My copy was slightly decentered and had a backfocus at the wide end and front focus at the long end, so it coudn't be properly calibrated with microadjust. I sent it in to CPS and it came back in perfect condition. I see a lot of example pictures of this lens on the net and many are unacceptably soft to me even though people seem content. Don't put up with that, get it repaired or calibrated! It's really worth it, the lens is extremely sharp for a zoom once it's up to spec.

Verdict: Get this lens and get it set up to optimal performance. It's an extremely capable and versatile workhorse.