Catechism EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
The millennium game changer
Estimated reading time: 06 minutes.
September/2014 – The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is without a doubt Canon’s most pop zoom lens ever. Launched in november 2002 this zoom lens became the standard for optical performance delivering similar results to primes lenses, with a useful fashion and journalism range and a constant bright f/2.8 aperture. It was also the time when top total frame cameras became available for under US$10.000, a new era for digital photography. We’ve never taken and then many pictures and cipher is ameliorate than a flexible zoom to get the best files. Only is it worth your purchase?
At 950g the 24-70mm f/2.8L USM is a hurting in the donkey. Too big, too heavy, it volition surely annoy y’all subsequently a few hours of work, and that’s what I think its best for:
work. That’south considering the body is most entirely made of metal, a philosophy that Canon recently abandoned. Most “standard” specs (non exotic, slower than f/2) are now fabricated out of loftier quality plastics and feel completely unlike. They’re easier to utilise, nicer to accept with you all 24-hour interval long. The older, metal lenses are firmer, superior, fabricated for heavy duty work. Literally. But information technology will surely annoy afterwards a full work’south day.
The 16 element in thirteen groups optical formula features a weird inverted zoom setting, that’s shorter at 70mm and longer at 24mm. It makes the heavy build rest better at the telephoto end, and the lens hood to be optimised for all focal lengths. It’s different from the newer 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the 24-70mm f/2.8L Ii USM, that gets longer as y’all zoom in. Simply it doesn’t actually makes much of a divergence except for the ginormous hood. It’s like I said: it is made for heavy duty jobs, and information technology feels ridiculous for everyday photos, or some vacations. You can recognised it from afar.
Its functioning is simple with a metal zoom ring near the photographic camera and the transmission focusing ring at the forepart (with total time manual). Information technology’south Canon’south standard ring arrangement and yous’ll fell at dwelling house coming from other EF lenses. They’re both smooth and very “Fifty series”, with no play nor weird tactile feedback from 24mm to 70mm. And they’re build as tough as possible, and will probably last longer than the lensman. There’s just one switch on the left to operate the USM AF.
Inside the ring type USM is silent and fast, made to a unmarried purpose: work! Mounted on 1D bodies, it actually gets faster because it receives extra W of ability. I’ve seen some shoots with the model jumping on a trampoline with 100% AF accurateness; it is that reliable. The minimum focusing altitude is 38cm and render a magnification of 0.21x, that Canon dares to call “macro” in the altitude window. You tin can get shut to the details on smaller objects, merely it’s far from existence a real one:1 macro.
At the front the ø77mm filters are fastened on a metal thread, and I really miss these premium touches. Sure, we don’t demand a full metallic barrel, heavy to walk around. Just a metal filter thread is much better to use, the filters spiral much faster and hardly get jammed. And at the back there’south the last serious L series characteristic: a rubber gasket effectually the metal mountain, completing the conditions sealing. It’due south a true Canon piece of work horse and that’due south why it took and so long for it to get updated. Some used copies feel make new fifty-fifty nowadays, making it a serious contender on the used market.
I decided to bring the EF 24-70mm f/two.8L USM dorsum on vlog do zack’s listing exclusively for its image quality. I was looking at some onetime files and crossed with dandy photos from this lens. I opened them, pixel peeped a bit, and remembered how impressive its optical performance is: great resolution from edge to edge, excellent sharpness, depression CAs and unimposing geometric distortions.
I once made a completely bad exposure at f/2.8. Nether plenty of light, I shot a broad open tridimensional field of study (a building valley), exactly to test how information technology would perform. And it worked beautifully, with enough details on the focal airplane, perfect contrast, no flaring nor blooming, for that old story about “I don’t know who would really need better functioning than this”. It is just splendid at f/ii.viii nether any altitude. An sometime project that feels very modern.
But on the other hand, another fully lit f/2.viii exposure was not so bang-up. It suffers from stiff centric chromatic aberration wide open and shows how difficult it is to perfectly focus all light wavelengths at the same focal signal. But again, it’s non an ideal exposure: f/2.viii during the day is a recipe for disaster, and I should accept stopped it downwards for meliorate performance. Withal the axial CA happened and information technology is near incommunicable to prepare. Sentry your background to avoid any issues.
On a better example, the f/11 aperture surpasses the EOS 60D diffraction limit as an APS-C 18MP camera. But in that location’s plenty of details left. It’due south i of those immersive, large files (think well-nigh threescore×40 prints), where every foliage, branches, shadow nuances are rendered. Even the sun behind all that didn’t cause flaring, not an issue on the 24-70mm f/2.8. A very good performance for rim light under studios settings, or backlit wedding ceremony photos. It’southward keen nether any situation.
Colours and bokeh are standardised at Canon, all balanced with the decades onetime FD 50mm f/1.4; you won’t detect any differences in that aspects, easy to perform batch processing over many files. It is biased to orangish tones, keen for skin tones, far from reality simply not bad on prints. It also works very well after some black and white conversions. I saw a legendary Harcourt photo shoot that featured a 1Ds Mark Three and 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, for those iconic B&W portraits.
At terminal the geometric distortion is visible on straight lines at the broad end, almost invisible at telephoto. At 70mm it is definitely not every bit bad every bit the EF 24-105mm pincushion, exist information technology for the shorter length or optical optimisations. Information technology’s good for portraits and close-ups, non dependent on software correction. Vignetting is minimal on full frame edges considering of the inverted zoom design.
A legendary Canon lens that was the professional market’s darling for a long fourth dimension. Robust, flexible, with excellent image quality, it paved the way for high performance DSLRs. It is worth your money if found for a reasonably low toll on the 2nd hand market. But in my opinion the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a ameliorate purchase considering the overall similar results, no matter the theoretical f/2.viii aperture. That’due south until nosotros test the newer EF 24-70mm f/2.8L 2 USM. Nice shooting!