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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jun 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: light, fast focusing , great build, very sharp to sharp from about 40mm-25mm, good walk about lense.
only just beats out the kit lense in sharpness at 17 -25 or so mm. Poor performance in strong light as contrast becomes exxtreme

I just purchased this lense a few days ago and have been doing extensive tests with it. It is definitely not on par with my 70-200 2.8 L in image rendition, re color and contrast, thought it is actually in some instances sharper. It just beats the 18-55 kit lens in terms of resolution, but there is little image difference between two lenses from there.
I got up before sunrise and shot a ton of shots of a local pennisula with cliffs rising from the ocean. The results were extremely disappointing. The colors were warmed up beyond recognition and as the sun rose the contrast the lens created destroyed shadow detail almost entirely. As the sun rose further the lense washed out some colors and left others poster like. Later at mid day I shot some forest interiors. Exposue levels set to eliminate highlight clipping made for unusably dark images out of the camera. I retruned home and shot some flowers in my garden that I had previously shot with my 70-200. Colours were shifted to the warm side and highlight clipping in the extreme became a compensation impossibility. Shadows which teh 70-200 easily "saw " into, were blind to this lense.
On the positive side in less intense light the lense performed very well. It is sharp sharp at 30-40mm when stopped down, and can create some awesome closeup shots- (somewhat sharper than the kit lense here ).
Overall this is a good lense in terms of build, mid to close range sharpness, and general zoom range. If you can live with softness at its extreme wide angle ( lanscape zone) and the general issues I have mentioned re colour, contrast, and don't shoot in strong light, then you will like this lens.
Me ..well I am struggling with whether I will keep it or send it back for the 17-55..

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

Review Date: Dec 21, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


I would like to amend my posts somewhat on this lense. My findings were so "off" that I searched carefully through the testing we had done. I found a basic error.
I went back to the store got another copy and retested it against my kit lense. The 24-105 managed to match the kit lense sharpness this go around, but just.
The 24-105 is a good general walk about lense however and I will wait a bit and see if the lense gets better as time goes along and prices drop. Then I will check it again. Right now it doesn't have the value for the cost IMHO. I bought an 70-200 F2.8 instead. I am going to let my kit lense handle the wide stuff for now.
(The 70-200f2.8 by the way, is one exceptional piece of glass!!!)

My new rating on the 24-105... 7.5

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Dec 21, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: built like a tank, effortless to use, super sharp, pro lense, does what it should do ...capture exactly what you see in great detail and colour !!
none so far...except the cost ..but that was my fault ..I should have shopped around a bit more ..

Just went through a blitz of tests with the 24-105 and decided to return it and wait till the quality goes up and the price comes down on that lense. I had planned on getting a 70-200 F4 but my experience with the f4 24-105 in low light ( not good) left me convinced F2.8 lenses are the way to go.
I took the lense from the shop onto the street and started banging away. The day was rainy and overcast with moments of sun so the lighting was challenging quite a bit of the time.
When I got home and took a peek at what I had ...all I could do was stare..and say "Oh my!!" a whole lot of times.
This lense restores my confidence in L series lenses. It simply rocks..
If you are disatisfied with the lame, soft images your see coming from your present zoom, don't walk, to your nearest camera store ..and get yourself this BAbAy!!! It will live up to the most glowing reports here and elsewhere and pay for itself in a zillion awesome shots...if you are a half way decent photographer..
Oh the extra bonus with this lense -- it will serve as an excercise machine for your upper body and prepare you for the challenges of even heavier glass
Finally .. a happy L series camper here.

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

Review Date: Dec 18, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


last comment and I am history here. After returning the 24-105 I have been playing with a new Sony R1. Its lense sharpness is flat out incredible. A whole other dimension compared to my 24-105 experience.To bad its on a on an oddly shaped lousey handling digicam bod.

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

Review Date: Dec 17, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: has an L rating ????? Is heavy ?? Looks cool?? Could be used as a paper wieght ? You can pretend you have a pro lense ?

Went back to dealer to see if he had any more "sharp" copies. Mine was soft. A pro was in the shop along with a wedding photog of some 20 years. They helped me check through the 4 other copies in the shop ..Guess what kit lense 18-55- beat every other copy for sharpness on my 20D. I bet most people have this lense and think its awesome but its may be a false L lense security they are flyin on. This lense was L for looser in that shop. The saleman could believe what he was seeing, He was shocked and I am not over stating this. He had believed ( as I ) there was no way the kit lense would beat the 24-104. But alas did ..and in some copies of the 24-105 ..hugely so.
I would wager if you check yours carefully against your kit lense at 35 mm- shoot a price tag or some item with lettering on it from 8 or so feet ( no flash) focus on the tag then crop it 100% - you will see the kit lense drop kicks this lense. Only one other 24-105 came close ..but a 24-70 2.8 L we tested bested the kit lense at that setting.
Sure that range is the sweet spot for the kit lense ..but give me a break ..a 1200 dollar lense should be able perform better than it for basic sharpness. Canon has quality control problems ..or this lense is just a huge lame duck. ..a econo grade lense sporting an L tag. Maybe Canon is hoping people will not notice ..maybe I just hit a batch of lenses that were ALL sub-standard ?? who knows ..but I am looking elsewhere now.

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

Review Date: Dec 15, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated


small update.
In reviewing my shots I see that the 24-105 does show good sharpness colour and contrast, in good light. There it outpulls the kit lense somewhat.
I didn't notice this because the majority of my test shots were in less than optimal light. (gloomy days) What I do see however is in lower light things degrade for the 24-105 and the advantage over the plasteeeek econo lense seems to evaporate.
hummm is the diff worth the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$...I am revuink da situvation ..

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

Review Date: Dec 15, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: well built, super fast, almost completely silent focus. Good walk around range and nice wieght. Looks great-like it could actually take great pictures
not sharp sharp -colour and contrast and "pop" less than expected from an L series.

Just got this lense and have shot about a hundred plus shots through it against the 18-55 $100 kit lense doing a shot to shot comparision on a tripod plus walking around in varied lighting etc.
I was shocked to find the 24-105 not only did not trouce that punny plastic offering I was trying hard to upgrade from, it was extrodinarily hard to declare an overall winner!!! YIKES!!
The 24-105, like the kit lense, is -"sharp enough" -but 100% and 200% crops showed that its sharpness was limited..just like the kit lenses. Good enough for small prints but unacceptable (to my eye given the price) if you want to venture beyond that. Its colour was marginally better though perhaps too warm.
Now I admit I am super critical. The lense may be functioning just fine in most people's eyes. I am often declare blaring imperfections where others would say none exist. Be that as it may my eyes this lense is functioning at an econo lense standard..not an L series standard.
Maybe this experience is telling me I am a primes guy ..maybe my expectations are way high for a zoom and this is as good as it gets. I will exchange it and see.
I would add this one final word.
Photographs are truly not so much about the lense or camera as the one taking the picture ..BUT fine tools make for better pictures. I thought the 24 -105 would be such a tool..It looks and feels the part ..but alas aint.