LensTip.com

Lens review

Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM

8 October 2015
Arkadiusz Olech

6. Distortion

As long as you work on the small APS-C sensor the distortion won’t be a serious problem. At 11, 17 and 24 mm we got the following results: −1.67%, +0.21% and +0.27% respectively.

Still you don’t buy such a lens to use it mainly on a small APS-C sensor so the main question is whether it performs well on full frame. Unfortunately here the situation cannot be called rosy. We are concerned especially by a high level of barrel distortion, amounting to −7.34%, which can be observed at 11 mm. In order to understand how bad that result is let’s remind here that in this category the full frame Sigma 12-24 mm f/4.5-5.6 II DG HSM at 12 mm had a value of −2.67%. Of course the Sigma is a bit slower aperture-wise and its angle of view is narrower too so its task was a bit easier but still the difference between those two remains very high indeed and the Canon doesn’t compare favourably here.

Fortunately the problems disappear near the longer end of the focal range. At 17 mm you already deal with slight barrel distortion of −0.99%. It is an interesting result because with the lens attached to the Canon 50D at 17 mm we got traces of pincushion distortion. Perhaps we deal here with an effect of resetting the distortion levels near 17 mm; I suppose in the case of the 50D the real focal length was actually closer to 18 mm (but the exif file clearly stated 17 mm) and the distortion managed to change the sign. On the 5D Mark III the real focal length was a tad below the 17 mm with still barrel distortion present.


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At the longest focal length you already deal with „pincushion” amounting to a negligible value of +0.29%.

Canon 50D, 11 mm
Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM - Distortion
Canon 50D, 17 mm
Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM - Distortion
Canon 50D, 24 mm
Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM - Distortion

Canon 5D Mk III, 11 mm
Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM - Distortion
Canon 5D Mk III, 17 mm
Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM - Distortion
Canon 5D Mk III, 24 mm
Canon EF 11-24 mm f/4L USM - Distortion