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

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Dec 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Nearly the best "walk around" lens - very sharp, good contrast, relatively light, IS works as advertised, solidly built with weather seals, non-white L lens makes for an inconspicuous lens to carry around.
Cons:
Price (ouch!), on my 20D, it is just wide enough but wouldn't mind a lens going down to maybe 18-20 mm.

I wanted a walkabout lens to take with us for a recent tour of the Yangtze 3 gorges in China, and I couldn't decide which to get, either 24-105 or the 24-70. The differences were: F4 or F2.8; IS or no-IS. Price was not a major consideration as in Malaysia, the difference between the 2 lenses wasn't significant. After many times returning to the shop to try the 2 lenses out, I eventually settled on the 24-105, the winning features being the weight of the lens and the IS.

We have just returned and this lens was used 95+% of the time. We took approximately 800 shots over the week we were there. The images were brilliant, contrasty with vibrant colours and sharp. The images were very comparable with the ones from the other lenses we used (EFS 10-22 & EF 70-300 DO IS). Let me just say that my wife and I aren't expert nor professional photographers, just enthusiastic ones. To our eyes, the images we took were fantastic straight out of the camera, no need for photoshop at all. The IS came in very handily in the limestone caves we visited-using available illumination the stalactites and 'mites were sharply focus in a lot more shots than we had thought, even handheld. I'm not sure we would have managed that with the 24-70.

There is no major drawback with this lens, just a couple of minor ones. At the telephoto end, the lens extends. The focusing element is internal, so the outermost element does not rotate. Why can't Canon design it so that the zoom element is internal too. The second thing is I wish the lens would extend further on the wide angle part (for 1.6x cameras, this would just be the perfect lens otherwise).

All in all, I'm glad I bought this lens and I see myself not parting with it for a good many years!