Lens review

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

28 May 2015
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

The following chart presents a comparison between the tested lens and other full frame instruments with similar parameters. It is clear at once that the new Canon is a tad smaller and noticeably lighter version of the 24-105L model. It lags behind when it comes to the number of diaphragm blades but it offers a better minimum focusing distance. Both Canons are situated in the middle of the group when it comes to physical dimensions and weight, being definitely bigger than the tiny Sony (but the Sony comes without any stabilization and ultrasonic autofocus motor) but smaller than the huge Sigma.

In the photo below the tested lens is positioned next to the Canon EF 35 mm f/2.0 IS USM and the Nikkor AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

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The Canon EF 24–105 mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM starts with a metal mount which surrounds a plastic ring featuring contacts and information that the lens was produced in Taiwan. The rear element is 26 mm in diameter and mobile – it is situated on the same level as the contacts at 24 mm and at 105 mm it hides inside the casing about 4 cm deep. The interior of the tube is properly blackened but in some places you still can notice electronics parts.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

The proper body of the lens starts with an immobile ring with the Canon company logo at the top. On the right you can find inscriptions: “24-105 mm” and “IMAGE STABILIZER” ; then you see a LOCK switch (used to block the movements of zoom ring) along with information concerning the minimum focusing distance which amounts to 0.4 of a meter. On the left side of the Canon logo there are switches controlling the focusing mechanism working mode (AF/MF) and stabilization (STABILIZER ON/OFF). Next to them there is a red dot making the alignment with a camera easier.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

The next part is a zoom ring, as wide as 43 mm, most of its surface covered by rubber ribs. Below the ribs you see focal length markings at 24, 35, 50,70, 85 and 105 mm. The ring itself moves smoothly and is properly damped down.

Further on there is a manual focus ring, 19 mm wide, completely covered by rubber armour. The ring doesn’t feature any markings and works with an electronic relay. Running through the whole distance scale takes a turn through an angle of about 100 degrees.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

A ring with a silver rim which doesn’t move is the next part and right after that the tube ends. The front element is 62 mm in diameter and around it you find an inscription with the name and the parameters of the lens, a non-rotating filter thread, 77 mm in diameter, and a hood mount. During the zooming the front element system extends on a solid, uniform tube and so the length of the lens increases by almost 5 cm.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

When it comes to the optical design you deal here with 17 elements positioned in 13 groups. One of them is made of low dispersion UD glass and two others are aspherical. Inside you find also an aperture with seven blades which can be closed down to a value ranging from f/22 to f/36, depending on the focal length you employ.

Buyers get just two caps in the box but there is good news for the fans of bubble wrap popping - a nice piece of it is included as well.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

Optical stabilization

The Canon EF 24–105 mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM, although firmly a device from the entry level segment when it comes to full frame zoom lenses, is supposed to offer you a stabilization system as effective as 4 EV so basically as good as the most expensive L-series lenses. Of course we decided to check that claim. In order to do so we took several dozen photos at the 105 focal length for every shutter speed ranging from 1/125 to 1/2 of a second with the stabilization switched on and off. The graph below shows a percentage of blurred photos in correlation with the shutter speed expressed in EV and 0 EV is an equivalent of 1/100 of a second.

Canon EF 24-105 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - Build quality and image stabilization

The 4 EV efficiency is out of question; in fact even speaking about 3 EV would be a bit of a stretch. The maximum distance between both curves reaches about 2.8 EV and such is the value of the Canon’s 24-105 mm STM stabilization efficiency. For contemporary standards the result is moderate.