An excellent walkabout lens: A Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens Review
Jan 9, 2009
I first bought the Canon EF 28-135mm IS lens to use with my Canon 10D along with the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom Lens. About four years later I have sold all my original purchases. The Canon EF 28-135mm was my most used lens, and I still had it until March 2006 when I replaced it with the Canon EF 24-105mm IS f/4L.
Being an L lens, the dust and moisture resistant construction of the Canon EF 24-105mm IS f/4L is sturdy. The lens consists of eighteen elements in thirteen groups including one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses to minimize chromatic aberration and distortion. With a standard twist zoom focus, this lens permits for auto or manual focusing depending on how the switch is set.
Some of the earlier lenses had an issue that caused lens flare. This issue was resolved quickly with a recall. If the control number located on the back cover of the lens begins with a UT and the following number is less than 1,000, then the lens is affected and should be sent in for repair.
The Canon EF 24-105mm IS f/4L lens is compact measuring 5 inches long and lightweight weighing in at about 1.5 lbs/670 kg, and accepts 77mm filters. Be sure to get a good quality UV haze filter to protect the front lens element. Not only do I see this as a good practice, Canon recommends doing so on their site as well. The f/stop ranges from 4 - 22. The closest focusing distance is 18 in/45 cm. In addition, the lens has a USM drive mechanism for optimum AF performance, and the pulse control diaphragm (EMD) ensures precise aperture control.
The IS system is composed of a pair of gyro sensors to detect vertical and horizontal motion and a microprocessor that compensates for it by shifting special lens elements in parallel with the perceived movement. It is recommended that the IS be off when shooting on a tripod. I have used the IS on my Bogen 3231 monopod with legs successfully. A monopod is not as stable as a tripod though, with or without the legs. Using the IS, you can obtain sharp pictures three stops below where you normally would. This is a huge advantage in dim light or places where flash is prohibited. Just keep in mind, the IS attempts to eliminate camera movement, not the movement of the subject being photographed.
A distance scale ring sits below the focus ring. Turn the distance scale ring all the way to the left and you are set for low magnification close-up photography. Turn it to the right and you are able to set for infinity compensating for changes in temperature as necessary. The distance scale includes figures in red as an infrared index to use when shooting black and white infrared film. Shooting infrared is not available on all cameras. If this feature is a must, make sure this lens is compatible for infrared photography on your camera body.
The Canon EF 24-105mm IS f/4L includes a 1 Year US Warranty, the front & rear lens caps, the LP1219 soft pouch, and the EW-83H lens hood. The hood will decrease chances of lens flare and increase metering accuracy. If you use filters, Canon recommends against stacking.
The Canon EF 28-135mm lens is similar in build a little shorter and weighs a couple ounces less. Of course the Canon EF 28-135mm has a wider focal range. Both lenses have single mode IS capabilities, and are good walkabout lenses. Having used the Canon EF 24-105mm IS f/4L the difference in weight and length is hardly noticeable. The shorter focal distance is not missed, and I have a constant f/4 through out the focal scale unlike the Canon EF 28-135mm with a 5.6-36 on the long focal range. The images using the Canon EF 24-105mm IS f/4L is sharper and clearer than those using the Canon EF 28-135mm.
If the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS lens' price is not a problem, this is the lens to get. Otherwise purchase and enjoy the 28-135mm IS lens. The great thing about Canon lenses is they tend to hold their value. If you want to upgrade from the 28-135mm, sell it on a popular auction site like I did.
PROS: A compact L standard IS zoom that is an excellent walkabout lens. Versatile multipurpose lens
CONS: A price typically found on L lenses May become your most used lens
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