In 2005, Canon released the Canon 24-105 mm 4.0 as kit lens for the Canon 5D. Today, this lens is often bundled with the Canon 5D MK2 and Canon 5D MK3. The brightness of the Canon 24-105 mm is less than that of lenses with a fixed focal length. You therefore encounter a longer shutter speed and the chance of a blurred image increases. This is partially offset by the built-in image stabilization.
In terms of focal length range, the Canon 24-105 mm is a more logical choice for a camera with a full frame sensor than for a camera with an APS-C sensor. On a camera with an APS-C sensor, the Canon 17-55 mm 2.8 may be a better choice in terms of viewing angle, brightness and viewing angle than the Canon 24-105 mm. We have already tested the Canon EF-S 17-55 mm 2.8 on a Canon 650D. How do the optical performances of this lens compare to the Canon 24-105 mm?
The zoom range of the Canon 24-105 mm is more suitable for a camera with a full frame sensor than a camera with an APS-C sensor. On a camera with a full frame sensor, you have access to a wide-angle (24mm), standard (50 mm), and a small telephoto lens (105 mm). The angle of a Canon 24-105 mm on a camera with an APS-C sensor corresponds to the angle of a 36-168 zoom lens on a camera with a full frame sensor.
Construction and autofocus
The Canon 24-105 mm lens is made of a high quality type of plastic and the mount is made of metal. With seals and a special O-ring, this lens is sealed against dust and splash water. The focus ring and zoom ring run smoothly and without play. When focusing, the filter remains in the same position and the lens does not increase. When rotating the zoom ring, the length of the lens does change.
The lens includes a flower shaped lens hood. This lens hood is designed for use at a focal length of 24 mm and is less effective at longer focal lengths.
The Canon 24-105 mm autofocus is of the USM type. Focusing with the Canon 650D is quick and quiet. Even in low light, the camera does not commute. The autofocus of this lens showed mixed results in terms of accuracy with multiple cameras (Canon 7D, Canon 600D). With the Canon 650D, we got more reproducible images in terms of sharpness.
Lens drift correction
If possible, we apply in-camera corrections to jpg files in our tests as much as possible, while we analyze RAW files without in-camera corrections. The Canon 650D made available a correction profile for the Canon 24-105 mm, allowing for vignetting and chromatic aberration of the Canon 24-105 mm to be corrected by the camera in the Canon 650D jpg files.
We have not tested the image stabilization of the Canon 24-105 mm in combination with the Canon 650D. Here you see the test results for image stabilization of the Canon 24-105 mm on a Canon 5d MK2, from our Canon 24-105 mm on full frame test. The image stabilization of the Canon 24-105 mm has only one position; there is no position to move along with a moving object. Canon claims a gain of three stops; I personally find around 2 ½ stops at a focal length of 105 mm. This is less than the effectiveness of the image stabilization of the Canon 100mm 2.8 L IS Macro. The Canon 24-105 mm is rather dim and because of the image stabilization, the applicability of this lens is greatly increased.
The test of the Canon 24-105 mm vignetting is performed on the Canon 650D with the Peripheral illumination correction for jpg files turned on. The effect of the lens drift correction lens is limited. Move your mouse over the image to the difference in vignetting between corrected jpg files and uncorrected RAW files.
Vignetting in stops is low even at full aperture, both for jpg files and uncorrected RAW files. This is not surprising, because this lens is designed for a camera with a full frame sensor. On a camera with an APS-C camera, like the Canon 650D in this test, only the center of the image is used.
Ghosting is well controlled with the Canon 24-105 mm. Nevertheless, if you shoot straight into the sun, or take a night shoot of a streetlight, you get to see both flare and ghosting, as you can see in this picture.
The distortion of the Canon 24-105 mm is very large at a focal length of 24 mm and will also be disturbingly present in practice shots with straight lines. At focal lengths above 35 mm, the barrel-shaped distortion changes into pillow-shaped, but the distortion remains low enough not to be present. Distortion can be corrected with software, including Canon’s proprietary RAW converter DPP.
The Canon 17-55 mm shows much less distortion at a focal length of 22 mm, while at the higher focal lengths, the results are equivalent to the Canon 24-105 mm.
The Canon 24-105 mm delivers sharp images. The resolution, expressed in lines / sensor height, is already very high in the center at 24 mm at full aperture. At the longest focal lengths, the sharpness in the center decreases slightly. Click on the bar charts for the Imatest results of the different focal lengths.
In terms of sharpness, the extreme corners remain behind on the sharpness in the center, especially at the longer focal lengths, but this can be corrected with stopping down once or twice. Move your mouse over the image below for an illustration of the difference in sharpness in the corners at full aperture and a focal length of 35 mm or 105 mm.
In terms of sharpness, the Canon EF-S 17-55 mm on a camera with an APS-C sensor is not inferior to the Canon 24-105 mm. Bottom right you can see a little table, in which the resolution of these two lenses are compared at 3 focal lengths with full opening and the optimum aperture.
Canon 24-105 mm vs Canon EF-S 17-55 mm 2.8 Gemiddelde resolutie (MTF50) @ Canon 650D:
The chromatic aberration of jpg files is negligible thanks to the Canon 650D switched on lens drift correction.
With RAW files, there is visible chromatic aberration at the extreme focal lengths (24 mm and 105 mm) at a 100% display. The colored edges at sharp high contrast transitions are only visible if you are really going to look. This lens error can be corrected with software in the RAW files.
The bokeh of the Canon 24-105 mm is less attractive. Brighter lenses like the Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 II, Canon 100mm 2.8 L IS Macro and the Tokina 100mm 2.8 Macro have a much nicer bokeh, even if you set the lens at aperture 4.
The detail shots are of the left glass and the right bottle and taken with 100 mm. At f/4.0 and f/8.0, you see that the coverage of the blurred circular parts is not smooth. The circles therein provide a very restless image.
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you store the files in the camera as jpg, where you have all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
Excellent optical performance: high resolution, low vignetting
Sealing against dust and water
Less useful zoom range with a camera with APS-C sensor
Sharpness at the edges at full aperture lower than sharpness in center
Strong distortion and high chromatic aberration at 24mm (in RAW)
The Canon 24-104 mm 4.0 L IS is the standard zoom lens for the Canon full frame cameras. The resolution is high for a lens on a Canon camera with APS-C sensor, especially at the lower focal lengths. As expected, vignetting is lower on a camera with an APS-C sensor. The image stabilizer does its job well, increasing the usefulness of the relatively dim lens. The bokeh is not very nice.
Although the finish of the Canon 24-105 mm 4.0 is of high quality, the asking price is on the high side. The Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS is probably a better choice for a camera like the Canon 650D, because that lens is brighter and lighter. Moreover, the angle of the Canon EF-S 17-55 mm is further into the wide range than the Canon 24-105 mm, and the distortion at 24mm is lower. In terms of resolution, both lenses match.
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.
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