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Lens review

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

22 May 2015
Arkadiusz Olech

6. Distortion

As long as you work on the small APS-C sensor the distortion won’t be a problem; you can notice its influence only at the wide angle, where you have to deal with 1.80% barrel. At 35 mm the deformations decrease to −0.28%, then they change the sign and at 50 mm they are already +0.17% pincushion. At the maximum focal length they reach a level of +0.31% so still remain practically imperceptible.

Full frame is far more demanding in this category, especially at the wide angle and, unfortunately, the performance of the lens is rather mediocre there. An average result, amounting to −3.21%, doesn’t perhaps look very badly but it is an average from all over the frame. If you look closely at images we got at 24 mm you see that they feature moustache distortion. After taking the second measurement of an area marked as 1:1, where you can detect pincushion distortion only, the result increased to −4.18%.

Fortunately bigger focal lengths don’t give you any reasons to complain. At 35 mm the distortion decreases to −0.67%, then it changes the sign and at 50 mm it reaches already +0.42%. The 70 mm focal length makes it increase further to +0.79%.

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We complained a bit in this chapter but, in order to keep the proper point of reference, you might remind yourself here that the expensive Canon EF 24-70 MM f/2.8L II USM had a result of −3.85% at the wide angle – very similar to the result of the tested lens.

50D, 24 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion
50D, 35 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion
50D, 50 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion
50D, 70 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion

1Ds MkIII, 24 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion
1Ds MkIII, 35 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion
1Ds MkIII, 50 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion
1Ds MkIII, 70 mm
Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4L IS USM - Distortion