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

24-105lisusm
Review Date: Nov 24, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: solid, range, set F-stop from 24mm to 105mm, image stabilizer, nice feel
Cons:
not noticeably sharper than the 17-85mm at half the price, not consistent in focus, not sharp at F4.0, price considering quality of lens.

I received this lens yesterday after a 50 day back order wait.
My hope was that it would be as sharp as my Canon 50m 1.4 at the same 50mm setting and same F-stop. (Itís not prime lens, but it is supposed to be an L lens.) Itís not very sharp full open (but then neither is the 50mm below F2.8). I took a series of pictures during a light cloudy day at 400 ASA with my D20 without a tripod comparing the Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 17-85mm and this lens. (I chose to shoot without a tripod because most of my work is without a tripod.) I photographed text and flowers all at the 50mm range from full open to F 8.0. I viewed each image side by side with the same F-stop at full resolution with a high quality computer monitor. While non of the lenses was completely consistent in its ability to focus on each flower I found that the 50mm lens performed the best and that the 17-85mm actually focused a bit better than the 24-105. The sharpness of both lenses was about the same.

Note that I didnít not compare color or contrast in these tests, simply sharpness. In conclusion, I need to do some more tests (low light, moving objects, etcÖ), but so far Iím not that impressed with this lens. It feels a lot more solid than the 17 to 85mm and I appreciate the consistent 4.0 F-stop, but unless it grows on me (or I upgrade to the Canon D5), Iíll probably return it soon.