Canon gear head? Interested in a review of the 24-70 f/2.8L II vs 24-105 f/4L IS?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    I've been having a bit of gear itch recently, so I decided to check out the new 24-70 II which my local rental place started carrying recently. I rented one for the weekend and ran it through a gamut of comparison tests with my existing 24-105 IS lens. If you're interested in the details, you can find them here on POTN.

    The bottom line for me, was that I didn't find it an upgrade in any useful way. So I won't be buying one. On one hand, I'm happy my 24-105 is a great performer for my kind of photography, on the other hand, I'm a bit disappointed that one of Canons latest and greatest offerings just isn't all that great (at least for me).

    I'm interested in hearing from others who've looked at both lenses... What are your thoughts? Anyone here have the 24-70 II and have a different experience?
     
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #2
    I had to ask a friend of mine who is a Canon gear head. - This was his response (to paraphrase) - the 24-70 is a superior lens for the following reasons -
    1) edge sharpness (even when shot wide open)
    2) overall sharpness
    3) chromatic aboration (sp)
    4) extra stop allows for more isolation of subject

    He said both lenses are great lenses but the 24-70 is simply a better lens.

    I shoot Fuji X mirrorless but most of my photo friends shoot DSLR
     
  3. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #3
    Hi I own both, I would agree the 24 70 mk2 is better, in every way..although the 24 105 still holds up very well,

    Edge sharpness and distortion are not that great on the 24 105, and I found CA to be particularly bad..

    Also i have never been a big fan of the bokeh on the 24 105...and there is that stop of difference.

    That said when i 'upgraded' to the 24 70 i couldn't bring my self to part with my trusty 24 105..I always view it as jack of all trades master of non..and that extra reach comes in handy. Its a great walk around lens.

    You can't go wrong with either lens really but the 24 70mk2 does have an advantage imo..wether thats enough to justify the cost is another matter
     
  4. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #4
    Rented Lens - possibly the problem?

    I own both, the 24-70 MkII is night and day better than the 24-105.

    I will sell my 24-105 when I can get round to it (aka waiting for the prices to increase on eBay!)
     
  5. d.steve macrumors regular

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    Jan 6, 2012
    #5
    Dramatic difference between the two of them for me, too. On a 5DM3.

    Better sharpness, better contrast.

    My 24-105 has somewhat limited uses for me, now, but it is versatile enough to be a better "one-lens, don't know what I might need" lens. IS and reach.
     
  6. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #6
    Interesting... did you guys check out my review? I found nothing of the kind.
     
  7. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    Mar 8, 2010
    #7
    I did...seems odd tho, I suspect most people are gonna claim 'bad copy'..if i get chance i might do a side by side comparison of my two lenses and see how they compare if that helps?
     
  8. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #8
    That would be great. Of course, I have no idea if I was testing a bad copy or not... so it would definitely help to see some similar testing from other like lenses.
     
  9. The Bad Guy macrumors 6502a

    The Bad Guy

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    #9
    Personally I picked a refurb original 24-70 over the 24-105. Why? f2.8, sharper and cheaper.

    No regrets.
     
  10. iancheyne macrumors regular

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    Colleyville, TX
    #10
    I have the Sigma 24-70 F2.8. 98% solution at 50% cost :D
     
  11. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #11
  12. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a

    7enderbender

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    #12


    I have the 24-105 - and I'm still kicking myself for not buying the original (version 1) 24-70. Here is why: the 24-105 is a great lens. I use it for studio portraits and for events. Anything where you don't need apertures below f/4 and you actually stop down don't even bother. Yes, the new 24-70 is technically sharper. But I don't care enough to shell out another 1500 or so for that slight edge. I have excellent primes for that.

    So why the original 24-70 then? Because of the build quality and the the added flexibility of the 2.8 aperture. Again, the 24-105 is great for the described use but NOT a good all-purpose lens because of the missing options with regard to a shallow(er) DOF and nice(r) OOF blur. I also detest anything IS (it's mostly useless for what I do and will eventually break or need adjustment).

    The new 24-70 seems way overpriced though and the build quality is very plasticky in comparison to the origninal version. I personally don't like that but YMMV. And "sharpness" is overrated these days in my opinion. For what I do I care more about the not-in-focus areas than being able to see the last little hair on the model (which then gets smoothened out in post...). And for that I use mostly primes.
     
  13. stempsons macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2014
    #13
    Here's my take. I shot the original 24-70, then sold it and moved to primes for better light gathering and IQ. Along the way I picked up a 24-105 in a trade and played a bit with it, but was totally dissatisfied with the IQ and slower f/4.

    After a few years I got lazy and tired of switching lenses all of the time with the primes and decided to try the new 24-70 II. The IQ of the new lens is a significant upgrade from the other two Canon L zooms. It matches the sharpness of most primes, and has excellent contrast with minimal distortion. I use this lens 80% of my shooting now.

    My .02
     
  14. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #14
    As you say, the 24-70 is apparently sharper (according to a few lab measurements I've come across), but in practise as you can see from my review, it may not be any sharper at all. I totally agree that sharpness is overrated unless you're extreme cropping or printing billboards.

    I also use to believe that f2.8 was great. But now, I feel like f2.8 is an f-stop in no-man's-land... it's not open enough to create decent background blur while having limited DOF. It's rarely great at making a subject stand out, nor enabling a whole scene to be sharp. If you want to destroy backgrounds you need f1.2-f2 and if you want the whole scene to be sharp you need f5.6-f11. f2.8 has very little practical use. Perhaps in a studio, I guess, it can be helpful with backdrops already contributing to a pleasing background.

    I'm curious what you think about f2.8 as far as focal lengths go. It just seems too full of compromise to be ideal for anything in my mind.

    So what do you think of my review, where the IQ of the 24-70II looks identical to the 24-105? In the testing I did, it's sharpness is indistinguishable in most cases to the 24-105 and below that of the 35L (although you need to look at 100% crops to see any difference at all). It has exactly the same contrast as the 24-105. And, while the distortion is a bit less at 24mm, it still requires correction.

    If you still have access to a 24-105, It would be great to see some shots from both lenses.
     
  15. stempsons macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2014
    #15
    The review is detailed and well done, but the image quality of the mark II seem out of whack compared to what I've seen from my copy. As far as f/2.8, what it allows me to do is use it for indoor sports where primes used to be the only option. Yes it's not a 1.4, but the sharpness at f/2.8 is good enough to work with higher ISO and have more flexibility with the focal range. It focuses faster, and utilizes the f/2.8 cross sensors on Canon bodies that an f/4 can't.

    Everyone has different needs for a lens, for me it's all about low light fast shutter work where IS wouldn't apply. So for me, it was a worthy upgrade. I understand that in other instances the longer focal length would be preferred, but I can always zoom with my feet.

    Here's 100% crops of my 35L vs 24-70 II, both shot at f/2.8 and 35mm. I didn't name them, because they're identical and impossible to distinguish which is which.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. stempsons macrumors regular

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    #16
    I no longer have the 24-105, but can honestly say it never suited my needs. Maybe I had a bad copy though....
     
  17. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

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    #17
    I've heard nothing but good things about the 24-70mm f/2.8 II. I have never personally used it, but a few photog friends of mine use it for cityscape and landscape photography on a daily basis. From what they have told me, it blows the 24-105mm out of the water in every regard. They also want the extra stop for when they do astro work. The 24-105mm was always my go-to lens, but I recently sold it, since I usually shoot on the wide end and went with primes to compliment my 17-40mm and 70-200mm lenses.
     
  18. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #18
    Yeah, I had heard nothing but good things about the 24-70 II as well... in fact you often hear the words "superior" "night and day" "different league" etc. However, that's not what I found in practise. Did you read my review? What do you think? I'd be interested in your photog friends assessment of my review as well if you don't mind passing it on to them to have a look.
     
  19. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #19
    Have you done any comparisons between the 24-70II and the 24-105?

    I totally agree that people have different needs and each lens represents a different mix of features and trade-offs. What bothers me is when people say things like "the 24-70 II is better than the 24-105 in every way". I believed that until this weekend when I tested it for myself and found out it's simply not true. It just represents a different mix of features and trade-offs.
     
  20. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a

    7enderbender

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    #20

    Well, like so many things: it al depends. On your needs and expectations, on your camera (35mm "full frame" or crop) and what other gear you already have.

    What I was trying to say is that the 24-105 (albeit an outstanding lens!) at least to me is not so much the jack-of-all-trades all purpose lens that it may appear to be. Like I said, my main reason to even keep it is that it makes for a good event lens (in combination with speedlights and stopped to 5.6-8) and a good studio lens with controlled light and neutral backgrounds.
    Under those circumstances, when subjects have little patience, the wide range in focal length is great. That is not to say that a 24-70 couldn't do that as well - especially when paired with a second (full frame) body and its big white brother, the 70-200 2.8LII (though your back may hurt the next day...).

    The latter is probably the most used event combo. I personally prefer actually the 24-105 and a second body with a fast prime (usually my 50 1.2 or 135 2.0).

    But that alone doesn't make it a general purpose lens - actually rather a specialty item. When traveling light and I expect a variety of subjects I prefer my 50/135 prime combo and leave the zoom at home.

    One thing to figure out the favorite focal length is to load all photos into something like Lightroom and filter that Exif data stats. That really helped me commit to my 50L as opposed to investing the money into a (even) better standard zoom.
     
  21. KimJonNumberUn macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2013
    #21
    What do guys think og the 35mm 1.4 L prime lens? I have a 70D whihc i understand will act almost like a nifty fifty. the 24-70mm seems nice but nearly double the price of the 35mm XD
     
  22. stempsons macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2014
    #22
    I have not done a direct comparison. That said, this
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/...meraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=2
    comparison says it all. Aside from center sharpness, the 24-70 II clearly outperform in outright IQ and contrast. Yes, if you need anything above 70mm you'll have to use a different lens, but if you need f/2.8 the 105 wont work. It's a matter of what suits the particular users needs. But if you are talking only image quality, it's pretty hard to deny the 24-70 II.

    The thing to consider here is whether or not you had a good copy of the mark II. Fred Miranda, POTN, and numerous review sites have compared the the 24-70 v1, 24-70 v2, 24-105, and 24-70 f/4 as well as the Tamron 24-70, if I remember correctly the IQ winner went to the 24-70 II followed by the newest Tamron 24-70.

    ----------

    The 35L is a great lens, and probably one of my favorites, that said, the Sigma 35 "Art" lens is equally good for less money (assuming you get a good copy)
     
  23. KimJonNumberUn macrumors regular

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    Dec 18, 2013
    #23
    how does it compare ot the 24-70mm 2.8 L II?
     
  24. stempsons macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2014
    #24
    at f/2.8 and 35mm, the 24-70 ii is equally as sharp as the prime 35l. but it doesn't really make sense to compare a slower zoom to a fast fixed prime. both lenses have completely different applications unless you plan to only use the zoom at 35mm.
     
  25. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #25
    If you never open the f/2.8 lens up past f/4 then there is no difference. I think the major different is the f/2.8 maximum f-stop.

    I know, you say what is just one stop? Answer: It means you can shoot is 1/2 the ISO, or with a shutter that is twice as fast or with DOF greatly reduced. If you never do any of this then don't send the $$$$ on an f/2.8 zoom.

    It seems that maybe you don't need an f/2.8 zoom and are happy at f/4. You are lucky and can save some money. Maybe use the saving to by lighting equipment or whatever.
     

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