Canon standard zoom lens test/review database

Index

NEW AND BETTER ARTICLE INDEX AT CANON INDEX
(It is only the new index that will be updated. It doesn't have the ranking yet, but is better and more up-to-date)

Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II

Image quality rating: 85,00%

Overall rating: 65,00%

Main points:
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Falloff at 24mm is quite pronounced at fast apertures and doesn't even fade out until f/8


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
The Photographer
'At the moment, we have the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L USM II in for review. As an owner of the Canon 35mm f1.4 L and 50mm f1.4, I decided to put the lenses in a test against one another to provide some insight into whether or not someone should spring for the all in one zoom or some nice primes. Also, this test is an informal measure of just how far the optical technology has come.'
ePhotozine
5/5
4/5
'It seems Canon may be attempting to distinguish themselves from the competition by pricing their lens at a premium. There is no doubt that this lens delivers excellent optical performance in pretty much every way, but not many photographers, professional, or otherwise will be able to justify paying £1000 over the odds for this.'5D Mark III
Canonrumors
'All-in-all, this is a worthy upgrade of a pretty classic lens. Is it $1000 better than the previous version? No, I don’t think it is. When it starts to fall below $2000 in a year or so, I think it’s a good value lens. If you’re budget minded, go grab yourself a used version 1 and be happy, it’s still a great lens. If you want the best 24-70 on the market and don’t mind paying for the privilege, you won’t be disappointed with the EF 24-70 f/2.8L II.'
The Photographer
'Canon’s 24-70mm f2.8 L USM II is quite expensive, but it gets so much right. The company fixed the reverse zooming issues, the color accuracy is top notch, it can be super sharp if you get the right copy, it is weather sealed like a boss, it is super durable and stays pretty darned compact. If I really had to make a choice though, I’d still stick with my three favorite primes: the 50mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, and 85mm f1.8. These three lenses have never failed me and together they are all more affordable than Canon’s new standard zoom lens. Those lenses also all work flawlessly with new cameras. If you want to spring for this lens, I also recommend that you get a newer camera to ensure that you don’t have as many focusing issues and to then therefore utilize its functionalities to its peak performance.'
SLRGear
Frontal Lobbings
'It really is that good. I highly recommend this lens if you can afford it. I know this question will come up, so I will answer it before I receive it. Should you replace your mark I lens with this lens? Generally speaking I would say no. The mark I is still a fabulous lens, and if you've been an owner of that lens for some time and love it, then there's no reason to change. The upgrades in the mark II probably won't make a difference to how people perceive your images in the long run. I recommend holding onto that lens and using the extra money towards something more exotic, perhaps something like a 135mm F/2L lens. For those like me with a range of primes that covers this zoom range and wants to reduce lens changes, this is the lens that seems to do it all. If you're not fixated on lenses below F/2.8 and looking for prime lens image quality, then this is the zoom standard that does it all.'
Photozone
3.5/5
2.5/5
'That said the Canon lens is capable of delivering an outstanding center sharpness even at f/2.8 and across the zoom range. There's certainly more "punch" (contrast) at max. aperture now. The border region reaches a very high quality level at 24mm - and that's without the high field curvature that plagued the mk I here. The high quality remains intact at 40mm. However, there's an almost surprising drop in border quality at 70mm with resolution figures that are inferior compared to the old version of the lens. The vignetting and distortion characteristic is above average for a lens in this class. Lateral CAs are well controlled and not relevant from a real world perspective. The quality of the bokeh is pretty decent but not without flaws in certain situations. A very positive aspect is the virtual absence of bokeh fringing.'5D Mark II
Dxomark
Neil Van Niekenk
'inally … my opinion of this lens is clouded. I had wanted it to be stellar, right out of the box. It kinda was. But often enough, it also kinda wasn’t.'
'I am overall very pleased with the 24-70mm and from now on it will certainly be my workhorse lens. Perhaps though during speeches when things have calmed down a little I may prefer the 35mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 little combo a little more but only if the light is failing and my ISO needs to be ramped up beyond about 6400. I will still however be using only a 35mm f2 for my travel photography because it is small, insconspicuous and since I shoot largely at F8 or so sharpness is not an issue. What Id really like though is a 24-85mm F1.4 that weighs less and has image stabilisation — I wont hold my breath though.'5D Mark III
Lens Rental
'On the basis of this information, though, I’m . . .  well, I don’t know what I am. This is a good lens, but I at the price point I’d probably prefer the f/2.8 of the Tamron VC to the new Canon’s f/4. The macro feature is nice and will certainly pull some people towards the Canon.'


Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L USM

Image quality rating: 79,49%

Overall rating: 81,66%

Main points:
  • high price
  • High resolution
  • Focuses close


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
Camera Stuff Review
7.8/10
'The Canon 24-70 mm is built like a tank: big and heavy. Owners of a Canon camera with an APS-C sensor get the highest resolution from their camera with this lens. However, many amateur photographers will probably prefer the cheaper, lighter and more compact Canon 24-105 mm, which has a larger zoom range in addition.'7D
Camera Stuff Review
8.2/10
'The Canon 24-70 mm is built like a tank: large and heavy. In combination with the Canon 5D MK2 the Canon 24-70 mmyields a very high resolution. It's weaknesses are vignetting, distortion at  24 mm and 70 mm and chromatic aberration at 24 mm. They all can be corrected with software afterwards. In our final score, distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration weigh less than resolution. That's why the overall score for the Canon 24-70 mm is very high. Nevertheless, many amateur photographers probably will prefer the cheaper, lighter and more compact Canon 24-105 mm, which also offers a larger zoom range.'5D Mark II
ePhotozine
4/5
4.5/5
'Despite its age, Canon's 24-70mm f/2.8L is still able to hold its own, producing images with very good to excellent sharpness, especially in the centre of the frame. The price tag of just under £1000 seems very reasonable to me, especially as its a lens that's built to last. It should prove a worthwhile investment for any Canon user looking for a lens in this range.'5D Mark II
SLRGear
9.64/10
9.58/10
'As anyone who's shot with one will attest (see the user reviews below), the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is just an exceptional optic. This was clearly evident in our DxO tests as well. On the sub-frame EOS-20D, the lens was tack sharp across the entire frame wide open, from 24-50mm. At 70mm, it softened slightly at f/2.8, but stopping down just to f/4.0 it was again excellent, and at f/5.6 it was superb. Chromatic aberration was moderate at 24mm, but decreased to an exceptionally low level by 35mm, and stayed very low all the way out to 70mm. Geometric distortion was low as well, changing gradually and proportionately from 0.5% barrel distortion at 24mm to about 0.2% pincushion at 70mm. (The zero distortion point came at about 45mm.) Shading (frequently referred to as vignetting) was also exceptionally low, at 1/4 of a stop wide open, decreasing to less than 1/10 stop at f/4 and above.'20D,5D
Photozone
3/5
2.5/5
'The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L is an impressive zoom lens upon first contact but it stayed somewhat short of the high expectations with respect to its optical characteristics. It can certainly produce sharp images if you know how to handle it but the pronounced field curvature at the wide end is a faux-pas which can often spoil the game. The vignetting and distortion characteristic is above average for a lens in this class. Lateral CAs are surprisingly well controlled and not field relevant. The quality of the bokeh is usually decent but not without flaws in certain situations. '5D Mark II
Photozone
3.5/5
3.5/5
'The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L proved to be a worthy representative of the pro grade lens league ... if you can get a good sample. During the last two years four lenses has seen the lab with only one within specs - this is disappointing especially for a lens of this price class. If you´re lucky enough to get a decent sample you can expect a very high performance level, especially when stopped down a bit. Distortions, vignetting and CAs are well controlled. The build quality is superb with only the reverse zoom extension as a minor downside. Even so the 24-70mm range is not all that attractive on APS-C DSLRs (39-112mm) - the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS is a better and cheaper bet except regarding build quality.'350D
Photoreview
9/10
8.5/10
'Our shooting tests were carried out with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III body, which was a good match with the lens. Autofocusing was fast, quiet and accurate and the f/2.8  maximum aperture provided full scope for the high sensitivity of the camera's AF point array.'
Dxomark


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

Image quality rating: 79,23%

Overall rating: 72,20%

Main points:
  • Low vignetting
  • Fast AF
  • Bokeh less beautiful


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
Camera Stuff Review
7.5/10
'The Canon 24-104 mm/4.0 L IS is the standard zoom lens for the Canon full frame cameras. The quality, in terms of resolution and color aberrations, is just very average and the bokeh is not very nice. However, the vignetting is remarkably low. Although the finishing is of a high level, the asking price is on the high side.'5D Mark II
Camera Stuff Review
8/10
'The Canon 24-104 mm 4.0 L IS is the standard zoom lens for the Canon full frame cameras. The resolution is high for a lens on a Canon camera with APS-C sensor, especially at the lower focal lengths. As expected, vignetting is lower on a camera with an APS-C sensor. The image stabilizer does its job well, increasing the usefulness of the relatively dim lens. The bokeh is not very nice.'650D
ePhotozine
4.5/5
4.5/5
'Canon's EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a great all-round standard lens which, apart from covering a useful zoom range, delivers excellent sharpness and is built well enough to take the rigours of daily professional use. '5D Mark II
SLRGear
9.21/10
9.26/10
'In our testing on a sub-frame camera, the 24-105 ranged from astonishingly good at 24mm to merely excellent at 105mm. At wide angle, this lens is exceptionally sharp from corner to corner, even wide open. From f/4 to f/8, sharpness is superlative, diminishing only slightly at f/11 as diffraction limiting comes into play. As you move toward the telephoto end, the lens gets slightly softer up to about 70mm, and then maintains that level of sharpness more or less unchanged until 105mm. At 105mm, it's slightly soft wide open, improving when you stop down to f/5.6, but then softens slightly again as you continue to f/8 and beyond. Still though, even in ranges where it's "soft," it's noticeably better than most zooms you'll find.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'Looking at the pros list you could boldly state we deal here with an excellent instrument. There are two small “buts” though. Firstly, on a small APS-C sensor the maximum angle of view is 59 degrees so as much as a 38 mm lens gave on an analogue camera. If you want a really wide angle of view you must attach the 24-105 IS to a 5D but the image quality at the frame edge will be worse for sure. Secondly the price. Such quality costs a lot and Canon knows it perfectly well, selling this lens for almost 1100 $.'20D
Photozone
3/5
3.5/5
'The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS is surely one of the better standard zoom lenses for full format EOS DSLRs but it's not perfect within this scope nonetheless. The resolution figures are generally very decent except for a pronounced border softness at 70mm @ f/4. Neither distortions nor vignetting are something to rave about at 24mm although these are no real issue at other focal lengths. Lateral CAs can be visible at times but the problem is generally well controlled (relative to other lenses in its class). The quality of the bokeh (@ 105mm) is very usable - within the limits of a lens with a moderate max. aperture. As to be expected from a modern Canon L lens the construction quality is up to pro standards. The AF is exceptionally fast, accurate and near silent. The image stabilizer works well within its specifications although some may miss a panning mode which is implemented in Canon's IS L tele lenses. The EF 24-105mm is a pricey lens but also a substantial one.'5D Mark II
Photozone
3.5/5
4/5
'Regarding its equivalent zoom range (39-168mm) on an APS-C DSLR the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS may not be the most sexy lens here but its performance figures are very impressive nonetheless. In fact the resolution results beat those from the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L and match the EF 28-70mm f/2.8 USM L with its much more conservative zoom range (but higher speed). There's a slight decrease in performance at 105mm but even here the quality remains on a very high level. As to be expected from a modern Canon L lens the construction quality is up to pro standards matching its fasters cousins. The lower price tag plus the extra IS should compensate the slightly more moderate max. aperture for most users. Is it a perfect lens then ? Well, there're also downsides like pronounced barrel distortions and higher than expected CAs at the wide-end of the zoom range. However, the package remains extremely attractive if you can live with the rather unattractive zoom range on an APS-C DSLR - similar to other 28-xx or 24-xx zooms this lens is really more meant for 1.3x or FF (D)SLRs.'350D
Photozone
3.5/5
3.5/5
'The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS produced pretty good quality figures in our tests. The resolution is generally very high throughout the tested range with the exception of 70mm and 105mm @ f/4 where the border quality tanked somewhat - this may originate in a slight centering issue of our test sample which showed up at longer focal lengths. Typical for most full format lenses vignetting isn't really an issue when using the lens on an APS-C DSLR. Distortions are a bit more pronounced at 24mm but very low at other settings. Lateral CAs are on an average level. The bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus blur) @ 105mm is good for a zoom lens. As to be expected from a modern Canon L lens the (outer) construction quality is up to pro standards. The AF is exceptionally fast, accurate and near silent. The image stabilizer works well within its specifications although some may miss a panning mode which is implemented in Canon's IS L tele lenses. The EF 24-105mm is a pricey lens within this scope - the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS is probably a better deal here.'
Camera Labs
22/25
18/25
'Offering decent wide-angle to short telephoto coverage, Canon's EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is an ideal general purpose lens for full-frame bodies. Indeed, many stores sell it as a bundle with the EOS-5D, making it one of the classiest 'kit' lenses around.'5D
Camera Labs
22/25
15/25
'Canon’s EF 24-105mm is clearly a quality zoom lens, but it comes at a higher price than most general-purpose options for cropped-frame bodies, while also missing out on true wide angle capabilities when mounted on such a body. It’s also important not to assume Canon’s L lenses are optically perfect either, as even on the more forgiving smaller frame of APS-C bodies, the EF 24-105mm can exhibit noticeable fringing.'
Dxomark


Canon EF 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM

Image quality rating: 75,00%

Overall rating: 85,00%

Main points:
  • Large zoom range


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
7.5/10
8.5/10
'Compact super zoom. Sharp lens nice colors and contrast'


Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Image quality rating: 73,10%

Overall rating: 78,47%

Main points:
  • very small vignetting
  • weak resolution at 85mm focal length


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
7.62/10
7.77/10
'Pretty decent quality. Versatile. Good range. Not as good as the 24-105, but not that much difference. On the plus side it is MUCH lighter and can be had on eBay for little money.'
Lenstip
'Because there is still a lack of a good kit lens substitute, the Canon EF 24-85mm is a good solution for people who decide to resign from a very wide angle lens. They receive a solid lens with good optical parameters, which can also be used with an analog camera and, in the future, with our long awaited Canon 5D (or its successor). Then we can proudly look down at the owners of small detector EF-Ss, AF-Ss or Sigmas, who will be getting rid of their worthless lenses and will enviously be looking at our Canon.'10D
Photozone
3.5/5
4/5
'The Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM exhibited a quite mixed performance. On the upside the lens is very sharp with very little vignetting throughout the range. Unfortunately distortions at 24mm are pretty hefty as are chromatic aberrations. The build quality is pretty decent and the AF performace is a joy. All-in-all the lens is capable to beat the cheapo EF-S 18-55mm as well as the EF-S 17-85mm IS and regarding sharpness it can even rival the the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L (on APS-C). If the focal length range was more attractive here the lens would have been a killer but as such it is just a good compromise.'350D
Dxomark


Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

Image quality rating: 68,33%

Overall rating: 85,85%

Main points:
  • Compromise lens
  • Bit heavy to hand hold at 300mm


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
9.5/10
9.67/10
'In summary, the image quality is good for cameras with APS-C sensor, but not as good as a combo of small Canon lenses EF 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 USM, that cover even a larger range of focal lengths, cumulatively weigh twice less and cost 4x less than this single one. If you hate changing lenses and don't mind carrying 3.7 pounds (plus camera weight), and money is not a factor, this lens is right for you.'
Photozone
2.5/5
3.5/5
'The Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 USM L IS is an impressive piece of engineering. However, its immense zoom range doesn't come without compromises - especially on a high resolution full format DSLR. The resolution figures are actually pretty good in the 28-100mm range but there's an obvious penalty beyond 200mm with rather soft borders at large apertures. This is acceptable in some situations (e.g. for portraits) but if you need a high resolution across the frame you need to stop down to f/8, better f/11 here. The vignetting characteristic isn't great but, frankly, this doesn't really differ from most mainstream standard zoom lenses either. The 28mm setting does also suffer from a fairly extreme degree of barrel distortion whereas the issue isn't overly significant at other settings. Lateral CAs are reasonably well controlled and not overly disturbing. The quality of the bokeh is acceptable for such a lens but it can be rough in critical situations. The build quality is exceptional although some may not like the push-pull zoom design. However, with a little positive attitude you should be able to get used to it and the very smooth zoom action helps a lot during the transition phase. The 3rd generation IS is a significant and highly welcome addition to the feature list. On the downside the lens is heavy and not exactly small especially when used at 300mm - it's not really a low profile lens. The price lifts it beyond the reach of most amateurs but then this is true for many L grade lenses out there. All-in-all a viable one-size-fits-all solution IF you're aware of its limitations and shift around them.'5D Mark II
Photozone
3/5
4/5
'The Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 USM L IS is an impressive extreme range zoom. The optical quality is on a very high though not exceptional level. The resolution figures are generally very good without any major flaws. Vignetting, CAs and even distortions are very well under control. The build quality is exceptional though some may not like the push-pull zoom design. With a little positive attitude you should be able to get used to it though and the very smooth zoom action helps a lot in the transition phase (from conventional zooms). The 3rd generation IS is a significant and highly welcome addition to the feature list. On the downside the lens is heavy and not exactly small especially when used at 300mm - not exactly a low profile lens. The price lifts it beyond the reach of most amateurs but then this is true for many L grade lenses out there. Unfortunately the lens is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution on APS-C DSLRs but nonetheless it remains an interesting lens for lots of applications. So if you can live with its limitations and the price tag it is surely worth a deeper look!'350D
Dxomark


Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Image quality rating: 68,10%

Overall rating: 70,80%

Main points:
  • very good picture quality in the center of the frame
  • visible chromatic aberration at 28 mm


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
7.62/10
7.62/10
'This lens was a bit of a pleasant surprise when we tested it. One of us (Shawn) was quite familiar with it, as it had been a primary shooting lens for him for some years, first on film, and then on a Digital Rebel. As a result, we expected fairly positive results, but were nonetheless impressed by its sharpness at all but its maximum telephoto focal length/wide open, and by its relatively broad "sweet spot" one or two stops down. Chromatic aberration is moderate at the wide and tele end of its range, but quite low in between, vignetting is very low across the board, and Geometric distortion is on the low side of average. (About 0.6% barrel at maximum wide angle, dropping to about 0.2% pincushion at 60mm, and 0.3% pincushion at 135mm.) All in all, quite an impressive performance.'20D, 5D
Lenstip
'In summation, our pictures would be of much better quality if we used the combination of the EF-S 18-55 mm kit lens and the tested EF 28-135 mm, rather than the EF-S 17-85 IS USM alone. The only drawback is the necessity of adding a weak kit lens when we need a wide view corner. We gain a much wider focal length range in telephoto mode, plus better aperture and the opportunity of saving a few hundred Polish zloty in exchange.'300D
Photozone
3/5
3/5
'Similar to the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM the EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 proved to be a solid performer without any spectacular strengths nor weaknesses except a positive peak at its 28mm setting. The level of distortions is pretty low for such a lens and vignetting isn't overly pronounced. Due to the 1.6x cropping factor on APS-C DSLRs the range is quite unexciting here but if you're looking for a compact short tele-zoom with IS to compliment an ultra-wide zoom ... why not ?'350D
Dxomark


Canon EF 28-105mm f/4-5.6 USM

Image quality rating: 60,00%

Overall rating: 60,00%

Main points:
  • Newer options are better


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
6/10
6/10
'Dont confuse this lense with teh Canon EF 28-15 3.5-4.5. This one is really not as good in all aspects - build, IQ, AF. I'd recommend the other one, but not this one.'
Dxomark


Canon EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6 III

Image quality rating: 56,70%

Overall rating: 53,30%

Main points:
  • Newer options are better


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
5.67/10
5.33/10
'Image quality actually isnt THAT bad for that cheap a lens, but build shows what this lens is all about. The focal range is useful of course, but there are much better alternatives'


Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM

Image quality rating: 55,40%

Overall rating: 67,80%

Main points:
  • Newer options are better


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
7.08/10
7.17/10
'Says it all really. At 28mm this lens sucks. Don't even think about using it wide open... It's much better at the long end, but even there it suffers badly from flare and poor contrast. Get that hood and USE IT!'
Photozone
2/5
3/5
'The Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM proved to be a quite solid performer without any spectacular strengths nor weaknesses except maybe low contrast performance. On APS-C DSLRs it is surely not a first choice due to its focal length range which feels a little odd here.'350D


Canon EF 28-90mm f/4-5.6 II USM

Image quality rating: 55,00%

Overall rating: 60,00%

Main points:
  • Newer options are better


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
5.5/10
6/10
'It's an OKAY lens if you're on a budget. I belive it does come bundled with certain cameras. The motor USM is fast, and probably this lens' only good feature. The CA is pretty bad, and it never seems able to produce tack-sharp images. The aperture is also pretty disappointing. But for it's price - you get what you pay for. Really only good for outdoor (aka bright) casual sports/action shooting.'


Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 II

Image quality rating: 40,00%

Overall rating: 40,00%

Main points:
  • Newer options are better


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
4/10
4/10
'Image quality is bad, buil is bad, motor is so slow and noisy, buzzing like a bee. I had to look twice before i realized that this is actually a Canon lens.'


Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 III

Image quality rating: 40,00%

Overall rating: 30,00%

Main points:
  • Newer options are better


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
4/10
3/10
'This is pretty much just like it's 28-90 low-end cousins, but with a shorter (and much less useful) focal range. Just like the others, though, it feels like a toy.'


Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM

Image quality rating: 0,00%

Overall rating: 0,00%

Main points:
  • high price
  • High resolution
  • Focuses close


Test/reviewerOpticsOverallQuoteCamera
SLRGear
Dxomark


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