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Lens review

Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II USM

29 November 2012
Szymon Starczewski

3. Build quality

In the following chart you can find a comparison between the tested lens, its predecessor and rivals as well. Compared to the previous model the Canon has gained some weight and length– the new version is noticeably thicker and it comes with an increased filter thread. It is interesting by the way that the Nikkor and the Sony still need a 77 mm filter but Canon, Sigma and Tamron presented their new 24-70 mm lenses with a big and less common 82 mm filter. Anyway it means that if you want to buy a good polarizing or ultraviolet filter for the new lens it will cost you a lot. The new Canon lens is also its rivals’ equal in the number of diaphragm blades.

Reducing the weight and the dimensions is always nice – a professional photographer in most cases has to carry around a lot of equipment. However it is important not to affect optical and mechanical properties at the same time because these are the most important priorities when it comes to professional equipment.

In the photo below you can assess the dimensions of the tested lens. The Canon EF 24–70 mm f/2.8 L II USM is positioned here between the Sigma 1.4/30 EX for smaller sensors and the Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM.

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Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality


The lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a rear element, 29 mm in diameter. The element is situated on the same level as the mount at 24 mm and it hides about 3 centimeters deep inside the tube when you pass to 70 mm focal length. The interior of the lens, revealed by that movement, is black and very well matted; you can’t spot any electronic parts.

Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality


Moving to the proper body of the lens you find first a narrow immobile ring with a red dot which makes an alignment to a camera easier. A zoom ring, 28 mm wide, is the next part – rubber ribs cover most of it and below them there are focal lengths markings at 24, 28, 35, 50 and 70 mm. The ring’s work is smooth and well-damped. The front element system extends during zooming on a solid and uniform tube. Contrary to its predecessor, the hood thread of the lens and the hood itself move with the tube.

Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality


Further on you can find a clear distance scale behind a window, expressed in feet and meters. On the left there is a focusing mechanism mode switch (AF/MF), on the right – the parameters of the lens with an ULTRASONIC inscription and then a LOCK switch, which is supposed to block the focal length change at 24 mm. The fact that the switch is featured at all is an excess of caution because the lens doesn’t change the focal length in an uncontrollable way even if you shake it vigorously.

The next element is a manual focus ring, 23 mm wide, covered by rubber ribs. It moves smoothly and is well-damped, allowing you precise settings. Running through the whole scale takes a turn through about 110 degrees.

Moving on you meet an immobile fragment of the body with a red stripe, so characteristic for the L series. Immediately afterwards the barrel ends, turning into an extendable tube with the front element system. The front element itself is 68 mm in diameter and is surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 82 mm in diameter.

Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality

When it comes to the optics itself, the Canon 24–70 mm f/2.8 L II USM consists of 18 elements positioned in 13 groups which makes it optically the most complex lens in this class. The producers weren’t skimpy with special elements either. You get one Super UD glass element, two UD glass elements and three aspherical ones as well. Inside you can also find a circular aperture with nine diaphragm blades, which can be closed down to a value of f/22.

Buyers get two caps, a petal-shape hood and a soft pouch in the accessory kit.

Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II USM - Build quality