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

Review Date: May 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, focal length range, IS, build quality
Nothing significant... maybe price, but its on par with other L lenses

I'm a pro and my 24-70 2.8 L is the workhorse of my lenses. I'm usually shooting on a Full Frame (FF) 1DsII or 1.3x 1DII. The 24-70 has never, NOT once, let me down and it get lots of heavy use (just came off an assignment in Mexico where I shot over 3000 frames). But I'm really getting tired of the weight, especially when combined with the series 1 bodies, flash unit, and flash battery pack attached to camera (CP-E3). My six decades old arm and wrist struggles after a few hours. The other issue I have with the 24-70 is that I'm often wanting a little more reach when using the FF 1DsMKII. With the kind of work I do, I often have to pull out the 70-200 2.8 L to get that extra reach. I've often thought if the 24-70 had a little more reach, I wouldn't need to swap lenses nearly as much.

SOoo, I decided to get the 24-105 4.0 L to "lighten the load" and to give me more reach on the FF camera bodies. My main concern was image quality. I did not want to compromise the quality that I was use to with my trusty 24-70.

I just completed some side by side tests using a stable tripod, various focal lengths and aperture settings. Nothing scientific, but a reasonably accurate comparison of the 24-105 vs 24-70.

I'm very pleased ! The sample of the 24-105 I have appears to be every bit as sharp as my 24-70. At 24mm, wide open at f/4, the 24-105 actually appears to be a hair sharper in the corners than the 24-70 at f/4. I do not find vignetting to be a real issue.. What little there is can be dealt with easily enough in CS2. Distortion does not seem to be significant either. The 24-105 is every bit as contrasty as the 24-70 and I didn't notice any difference in color accuracy.

Regarding the comment of other users that the 24-105 underexposes at f/4 compared to other aperture settings, there is some validity to that observation. However, in my sample the amount of "under" is not more than 1/3 stop and is really a non-issue as far as I'm concerned. AND, in case anyone is interested, the 24-70 exhibits the SAME behavior at f/2.8 compared to its other apertures. There appears to be something in the design of these two lenses that causes a slight light drop off wide open. Once again, a non issue in my opinion.

Build quality appears excellent. Focuing and Zoom rings are snug, smooth, and consistent.

I can live with f/4 just fine for most purposes. I have decided to keep the 24-70 2.8 for certain available low light applications and as a backup lens, but I doubt that it will see much (if any) use now that I've got the 24-105.

Overall, I highly recommend this lens.

Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX Aspherical DG DF

Review Date: Mar 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $579.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid build, very good performance for this focal length range, excellent value.
Two steps required to switch from AF to MF.

This is the only NON-Canon lens I use. Most of my glass is L stuff. I purchased this lens a couple of years ago and use it mostly for architectural interiors. Overall, I've been very pleased. I was seriously thinking about the Canon 16-35L when it came out, but too many of my colleagues were not that thrilled with it, so I just held off, especially considering the price. Then Canon introduced the 17-40L, and I'd pretty much made up my mind to replace the Sigma with the 17-40L... that is, until John Maclean and I did side by side tests with his 16-35L, a 17-40L I had loaned to me, and my 15-30 Sigma. Geesh, I was pretty surprised at how well the Sigma 15-30 performed at all focal lengths and apertures compared to the two Canon "L" wide angle zooms. Maybe I just got an exceptional 15-30 sample. The optical performance regarding sharpness and contrast was pretty much on a par with the more expensive Canon samples. I really wanted to buy the 17-40L, but can't justify it at all after seeing how my 15-30 compared. It may be a little "clunky" and slower to AF, but it gets the job done to the standard I require. A number of the interior shots on this sample page were taken with this lense: http://www.bonannophoto.com