Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM
- excellent image quality in the frame centre,
- very good or good image quality at the frame edge,
- slight coma,
- low astigmatism,
- acceptable distortion,
- good work against bright light,
- low vignetting,
- splendid work of autofocus,
- good build quality and solid housing,
- lens hood and soft case included in box.
- high chromatic aberration at 24 mm.
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 $.
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If you are not a professional photographer you should think over carefully a purchase of a lens for such a hefty sum of money. Even one year ago there were opinions circulating that APS-C class sensors were something temporary, 5D type cameras or their successors would get cheaper soon and every advanced amateur photographer would be able to buy a full frame digital camera so there was no point in getting into EF-S lenses designed for small sensor. The reality proved to be not as rosy, though. Up to know the Canon 5D haven’t seen either a successor or a rival so its price has gone down just slightly. The APS-C format might stay here for a longer period of time as well. If you own a 5D there’s nothing to ponder on – the 24-105 IS is an instrument simply perfect for that camera. If you own a Canon with an APS-C sensor, it’s a different story because in such a case spending 1100 $ gets you an excellent lens but still without wide angle. In the 18-23 mm range we can get some support from a kit lens but it would be a bit bizarre - you use a 30 - 60 $ instrument and then you change for a lens costing several dozen times as much. The second choice possible is buying additionally a wide angle device for an APS-C sensor, like a Sigma 10-20 mm or a Canon 10-22 mm. Still, that purchase would cost you additionally about 480 – 770 $ and you would deal with small sensor lenses all the time. If you decide to own some small sensor instruments anyway why not start looking for something good, universal, satisfying all our needs and with a price about 1000 $ at the same time? We think of course of an EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS USM model, which has had very favourable opinions. This suggestion is really worth thinking over because a 5D-plus- 24-105 IS set is about 3300 $, a 30D-plus-17-55 IS set costs about 2000 $ and a 30D-plus- 24-105 IS- plus-Sigma 10-20 mm has a price tag as high as 2300 $. It is only a suggestion of course; an individual buyer will have to determine what is the best for him or herself on his/her own.