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Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Mar 12, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,100.00

Pros: Decent optical quality, IS, fast focusing, build quality (not that I really care).
Cons:
Very poor value for the money, decent (not great!) optics especially in 70-105 mm range, not a very useful range for me personally.

I must start with a disclaimer: the so called ďnormal rangeĒ (24-28 -> 70-105 mm) lenses -turned out not to be my cup of tea. I had two copies of 24-105, one used I traded my 24-70 for on FM (a big mistake), and the brand new one I bought as a kit with 5D. I had a brand new lens and the used one at the same time so I had to sell one of them. I sold the new one for the used lens was sharper. I then bought a used 17-40 f/4Ö and found that the 24-105 has no use anymore. I had the 17-40, 24-105, 50/1.4 and 70-200 f/4 IS.
Initially, I tried to take 24-105 instead of 70-200 with me for its versatility. Every single time I did, I regretted it. The 70-200 is far superior in the overlapping region, and offers more reach, the 17-40 offers far wider range and much better contrast and even better resolution in 24-40 range (yes, I was lucky to get a great copy of this lens), and 50 f/1.4 is superior at 50 mm in terms of resolution (when stopped down to f/2.8 Ėf/4), bokeh, lightness and compactness. What did I need the 24-105 for? I went on and sold it.

To be fair, itís a decent lens. The images are reasonably sharp and have decent contrast (although inferior to the aforementioned lenses), and the image stabilization is really useful in 70-105 range indoors. This lens does everything well, but nothing great.
The bokeh is somewhat distracting; subject isolation is limited by its relatively slow max aperture, for flashless indoor shots the aperture is too slow to stop action (and with a flash you can use any cheap lens stopped down with the same results). At least 24-70 provided better bokeh and was one stop faster. It was a better lens, although I wouldnít buy it again having this range covered already (I donít care for 40-50 and 50-70 mm gaps). Not for $1200, and the need to carry this brick.

And I wouldnít buy just a decent lens for $1100. For a grand, I expect my lens to be great.

How would I rate this lens? Well, letís see. If 70-200 f/4 IS deserves 10 for optical quality, and 17-40 deserves 9, Iíd say 24-105 deserves 7. Letís add one point for image stabilization. All right, 8 it is.

As for the value for the money, if you are still thinking of buying this lens new for over a grand ($1100 as of today), just do yourself a favor: for the same amount of money take a used 17-40 (around $550), a used 70-200 f/4 (non IS, around $500) and a used or new 50/1.8 (around $80). You cover far greater range and with much better quality. Plus, some low-light indoor ability of 50, and great portraits with 70-200 at 200 mm (about the sane background blur as 100 mm f/2 would provide, at least for distant backgrounds). Well, you lose the IS, but thatís all.

I wonít subtract any points from my rating for poor value for the money, you know yourself what it costs, I rate the performance only.


 
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Mar 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Decent optical quality, IS, fast focusing, build quality (not that I really care).
Cons:
Very poor value for the money, decent (not great!) optics especially in 70-105 mm range, not a very useful range for me personally.

I must start with a disclaimer: the so called ďnormal rangeĒ (24-28 -> 70-105 mm) lenses turned out not to be my cup of tea. I had two copies of 24-105, one used I traded my 24-70 for on FM (a big mistake), and a brand new one I bought as a kit with 5D. I had a brand new lens and the used one at the same time so I had to sell one of them. I sold the new one for the used lens was sharper. I then bought a used 17-40 f/4Ö and found that the 24-105 has no use anymore. I had the 17-40, 24-105, 50/1.4 and 70-200 f/4 IS.

Initially, I tried to take 24-105 instead of 70-200 with me for its versatility. Every single time I did, I regretted it. The 70-200 is far superior in the overlapping region, and offers more reach, the 17-40 offers far wider range and much better contrast and even better resolution in 24-40 range (yes, I was lucky to get a great copy of this lens), and 50 f/1.4 is superior at 50 mm in terms of resolution (when stopped down to f/2.8 Ėf/4), bokeh, lightness and compactness. What did I need the 24-105 for?

To be fair, itís a decent lens. The images are reasonably sharp and have decent contrast (although inferior to the aforementioned lenses), and the image stabilization is really useful in 70-105 range indoors. This lens does everything well, but nothing great.
The bokeh is somewhat distracting; subject isolation is limited by its relatively slow max aperture, for flashless indoor shots the aperture is too slow to stop action (and with a flash you can use any cheap lens stopped down with the same results). At least 24-70 provided better bokeh and was one stop faster. It was a better lens, although I wouldnít buy it again having this range covered already (I donít care for 40-50 and 50-70 mm gaps). Not for $1200, and the need to carry this brick.

And I wouldnít buy just a decent lens for $1100. For a grand, I expect my lens to be great.

How would I rate this lens? Well, letís see. If 70-200 f/4 IS deserves 10 for optical quality, and 17-40 deserves 9, Iíd say 24-105 deserves 7. Letís add one point for image stabilization. All right, 8 it is.

As for the value for the money, if you are still thinking of buying this lens new for over a grand ($1100 as of today), just do yourself a favor: for about the same amount of money take a used 17-40 (around $550), a used 70-200 f/4 (non IS, around $450-500) and a used or new 50/1.8 (around $80). You cover far greater range and with much better quality. Plus, some low-light indoor ability of the 50, and great portraits with 70-200 at 200 mm (about the sane background blur as 100 mm f/2 would provide, at least for distant backgrounds). Well, you lose the IS, but thatís all.

I wonít subtract any points from my rating for poor value for the money, you know yourself what it costs, I rate the performance only.