Cameras are a huge part of the world. They have been for a long time now and probably always will be in some way or another. I’ve been captivated by the ability to record and share images for as long as I can remember. The irony being that I don’t remember a lot, which is definitely part of my affliction. I often I wish I had a photo of myself holding a camera for the first time just so I could remember that moment.
Recently I’ve had some things change in my life that have made me want to remember a lot more so I’ve decided to take photography more seriously. I’ve realized that these days, we can basically future proof any digital file we want and that we have the ability to create digital memories through photos. That’s pretty cool in my opinion.
With that in mind, I have begun to immerse myself in camera culture. I want to know as much as possible, I want to know it all, if possible. So here is my very first camera product review on the new Canon 24-105mm lens. Short and sweet.
Canon has always been my chosen brand. I’m not sure why, I guess it was because my first camera was a Canon TLb from 1974. That camera was given to me by my grandfather and I fell in love with it instantly. As I got older and stopped having access to the darkroom at school, I eventually decided to buy a digital Canon camera. Since then I have owned seven bodies and 12 lenses from Canon, all of which have been excellent. Not just in build quality but in design, image quality and useability. I’m happy to say that the new Canon 24-105mm lens is no exception to that.
Design & Feel
The lens is very well built. I know a lot of photographers get a little iffy when there is a bit of plastic around and I guess that boils down to personal opinion. The lens features a metal mount but it seems like the rest of the barrel is made of plastic. Coming from using the old 24-105mm f/4-5.6 USM IS L lens which is a heavy bit of kit, the new lens is light and much easier to carry around without feeling too much weight. Obviously I didn’t drop test it or anything but I will say that it felt very solid and felt like it could take the odd bump or drop without catastrophic results. Having a lighter lens is better for me as I like to travel light. Particularly if you’re doing video using a weight balanced stabilizer which made me dread using the old L lens because of the weight.
The focus ring feels great in hand and is easy to grip with two fingers. It’s a continuous focus ring which means there’s no risk of damaging the motor as well as allowing you to adjust the focus whenever you like, even in AF mode. Overall I’d say that the new lens feels better, tighter and lighter than the equivalent L lens. Although it is missing a few things like a numbered range finder and the prestigious ‘red ring’, it makes up for it by adding things like a locking toggle so the zoom doesn’t adjust itself while shooting at unique angles. If for some reason you prefer to have more weight and more metal or find yourself needing the range finder then you will probably be better off with the L lens.
The lens works on all EF mounts and EF adapters. I tried this lens on a Canon EOS 70D, EOS M (using an adapter), EOS 5D and an older film EOS 300. The lens fit perfectly on all models and auto focus worked just fine. On the full frame 5D/EOS 300 there was a little bit of a fisheye effect at 24mm, not necessarily a bad thing especially if you use it as a visual effect. The lens is best on a crop sensor in my opinion with little to no vignetting or distortion at 24mm. I wanted to share some film photos I took but unfortunately the local shop had some trouble with their machine and the fate of that film is currently unknown.
Wow is this lens sharp! I still can’t believe it. I genuinely believe that the brushes don’t make the artist (so to speak) but it’s hard to remember that when using a brush this good. Colours pop, everything is crisp and clear and there was no chromatic aberration that I could see. I took a bunch of photos in the first week that I had it, ranging from structures and rocks to people eating lunch and my feet over a cliff. All of these images came out perfectly, garnering more views/likes on my 500px profile than I’ve ever had before. I can’t say much else other than I am very impressed with the image quality but I’ll let the photos do the talking.
The Canon 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens is a great all rounder. With great build quality and performance it’s hard to top for the price. I think in a lot of ways it is an improvement over the equivalent USM L lens. The STM motor is pretty much silent and will not interfere at all with video/audio recordings. I honestly couldn’t find any reasons that would make someone not want to buy this lens and I am happy to say it’s my new favourite every day lens. The 3.5 aperture makes it suitable for night shots (paw print in sand was taken at 11pm) and gives just enough background blur to give you a nice effect. If you are looking for a new lens with excellent coverage, image quality and portability for photos and video alike, then don’t look any further than this lens.
For the budget conscious
Coming in at around $729 AUD (RRP) this lens is somewhere in the mid range for price. Obviously if you shop around you may be able to get it cheaper. It’s definitely not the cheapest lens but I think you get what you pay for. If I had to choose only one lens to have, it would be this one. If you are looking to get started then I highly recommend this lens because you will get so much out of it. If you are looking for a cheaper lens that you can just chuck around and not care about then I would look at something like the 18-55mm STM lens.
Thanks for reading! You can check out what Canon says about the lens here. If you have any questions leave them in the comments below or get at me on twitter @pikalew