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Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Wide-Angle Prime Lens Review Roundup

2012-09-29 05:47
9/28/2012: Add review by SLRgear.

On February 7 2012, Canon announced the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM lenses. All three lenses use a rear focusing system, high-speed CPU, and a ring-type Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) with optimized AF algorithms for faster auto focusing and sharp images. Canon upgraded both its EF 24mm and EF 28mm lenses with Image Stabilization technology and Ultrasonic Motor-powered auto focus. Both lenses feature Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer technology providing up to four shutter speed stops of correction. New aspherical lens elements improve the peripheral image quality and a 7-blade circular diaphragm delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds. The 24mm and 28mm lenses each have a minimum focusing distances of 0.20m and 0.23m, respectively. Here's the 24mm lens technical specifications:

  • Focal Length & Maximum Aperture 24mm, 1:2.8
  • Lens Construction 11 elements in 9 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View 84°
  • Focus Adjustment Rear focusing system with USM
  • Closest Focusing Distance 0.20m / 0.66 ft.
  • Filter Size 58mm
  • Max. Diameter x Length, Weight 2.69 x 2.19 in., 9.9 oz. / 68.4 x 55.7mm, 280g

The EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM lens is listed for an approximate retail price of $799.99. It's currently selling at around $789, via Amazon.com Here's the lens review roundup:

SLRgear: "On a sub-frame camera such as our studio Canon 7D, the lens provides excellent sharpness across its aperture settings; on a full-frame camera, the corners of the lens show a little softness. Mounted on the Canon 7D, the lens provides consistent sharpness from its widest setting of f/2.8 through to f/11; while it's not tack-sharp, it is very sharp indeed. Optimal sharpness, while not tack-sharp across the frame, is found at f/5.6. Diffraction limiting sets in appreciably by f/16, and there is a generalized softness when fully stopped-down at f/22. Mounted on the full-frame Canon 1Ds mkIII, we noted a bit more of the lens' corners: specifically, there is significant softness in the extreme corners when used wide open at f/2.8. However, stop down to just f/4, and this corner softness reduces dramatically; at f/5.6, it is negligible. You won't get tack-sharp results with this lens, but results will still be very good. Diffraction limiting again sets in at f/11, and f/16 produce slightly higher generalized softness. 

The sub-frame 7D is hit a little harder for chromatic aberration than the full-frame 1Ds mkIII, but in both cases it's fairly consistent across the range of apertures, showing up as magenta-green fringing in areas of high contrast. Happily, you won't notice it through the majority of your image, as it shows up in the corners of the image. Canon makes an innovative decision to include image stabilization in its wide-angle prime lenses; the lens performs well, better than the lens it is replacing, and the image stabilization will be welcomed by landscape shooters and videographers alike."... [Source]

ePhotoZine, gave a rating of 4/5: "As far as sharpness is concerned, this lens delivers excellent performance, even at f/2.8. At maximum aperture, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already excellent, and the clarity towards the edges of the frame is very good. Stopping down improves sharpness further with the centre being outstanding between f/4 and f/11 and the edges reaching similar levels of clarity between f/5.6 and f/11. Chromatic aberrations are well controlled, only just exceeding half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame with the lens stopped down to f/22. This low level of fringing should pose few issues, even in large prints, or harsh crops from the edges of the frame. Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is very strong at maximum aperture. At f/2.8 the corners are 3.81 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved until the aperture is stopped down to f/8 or beyond. Only a mild level of 1.22% barrel distortion is present and the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make it relatively straightforward to correct in image editing software afterwards. No lens hood is supplied as standard by Canon, which is a shame. Bright light sources in the frame can cause flare, and loss of contrast, so it would've been good of Canon to include a hood to help reduce this. An EW-65B lens hood will set you back an eye-watering £47. For that price you'd be forgiven for expecting it to be made from carbon fibre, or titanium... it's not.

This lens certainly isn't cheap at around £750. You'd be forgiven for thinking that a prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 would be priced more keenly, with or without image stabilisation. Saying that, it is around half the price of Canon's 24mm f/1.4L, which has a faster maximum aperture that is four times faster, but no image stabilisation. Third party offerings at the same focal length include Sigma's 24mm f/1.8 EX DG. Although this lens lack silent focusing and image stabilisation, it does have a faster maximum aperture and can be picked up for around £430. Samyang's 24mm f/1.4 is another alternative. This lens has a fast f/1.4 maximum aperture, but lacks autofocus, image stabilisation and any electronic coupling with the camera. It can be bought for around £500 though. On paper, this lens has a lot going for it. It's sharp, well built and has image stabilisation to help tame blurring due to quivery hands. Given the reasonably modest maximum aperture, for a prime lens, the price seems quite steep (for purposes of comparison, Nikon's 24mm f/2.8D costs around £365). Maybe it will come down as supplies of the lens become more readily available? Even if it does, having to pay nearly £50 for a hood to help tame flare leaves a bitter impression."... [Source]

PhotographyBLOG, gave a rating of 4/5: "The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM is a capable but pricey ultra wideangle prime that will appeal most to landscape and reportage photographers looking for a lightweight and responsive lens. Despite it's lack of an L-series billing, the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM build quality is reassuringly good and it makes a good partner to a full-frame Canon DSLR like the 5D Mark III. Auto-focusing is quiet and quick, with the ability to manually override it and focus manually if required proving a nice touch. The capable image stabilisation system used in conjunction with a high-ISO monster like the 5D Mark III is a low-light shooter's dream ticket, making it easy to hand-hold the camera and get the shot. 

Image quality is generally excellent. Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, geometric distortion is impressively low for an ultrawide lens (unless you are focusing very close), and the Super Spectra coatings successfully prevent contrast loss attributable to flare, The only real optical issues are obvious corner shading at the maximum aperture, something that every full-frame shooter has to put up with, especially when using wide angles, and a lack of edge sharpness from f/2.8-5.6. If you can afford the rather hefty price-tag and don't mind the non-L billing or sharpness fall-off at the edges of the frame, we can recommend the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM as a great ultra-wide prime lens for Canon full-frame DSLR owners."... [Source]

User review by Gil De Sousa, gave a rating of 4/5: "A quick note about me: I have been into SLR cameras and lenses for more than 20 years - as a hobby in the beginning and professionally later. Maybe because of my technical background I started testing my own lenses quite a while ago. I have a (no longer so) little test lab of my own where I do 6 different image quality tests (after taking a lens out for a while). The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is a compact and well-built prime lens with a common wide-angle focal length, a good maximum aperture and a modern image stabilizer that compensates up to 4 f-stops. While the image stabilizer sounds great one has to consider that it's not as necessary in wide-angle lenses as it is in telephoto lenses - but I still appreciate it. The lens is best used indoors or for architecture and landscape photography. When using the lens with an APS-C camera the resulting effective focal length of 45mm is close to a standard / normal lens and thus can be used for a whole variety of things. The lens offers good image quality - sharpness is great straight from f/2.8 and there is only a small amount of barrel distortion visible. My lab tests have shown that color fringes ("Chromatic Aberrations") both in focused parts of the image ("Transverse CA") and in out-of-focus areas ("Axial CA") are visible but compared with its immediate peers the lens's performance is quite respectable. There is no curvature of the focal plane ("Field Curvature") but corner shadows ("Vignetting") are very intense and they are visible even stopped-down.

The EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is similarly priced to the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM but costs a lot more than the EF 28mm f/1.8 USM which offers an even better maximum aperture (which is great for available light photography) but lacks an image stabilizer and cannot compete with the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM's good image quality. Chances are you already own a zoom lens covering the same focal length in which case you are probably most interested in the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM for its good image quality, compact size and the maximum aperture of f/2.8. Is this lens for you? I think it really depends on how you configure your kit. If you have use for the focal length / aperture combination the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM's rugged build quality and good image quality will leave no regrets."... [Source]

Video review by DigitalRevTV:




Show full Press Release

Canon U.S.A. Continues the Tradition of Incredible Optical Quality with the Introduction of Three New Lenses

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., February 7, 2012 - Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced two new versions of its coveted Wide Angle Lenses and a new version of its popular 24-70mm Standard Zoom Lens for professionals and  photo enthusiasts. The new EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM lenses use a rear focusing system, high-speed CPU, and a powerful ring-type Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) with optimized AF algorithms for faster auto focusing and sharp images. With large apertures these new lenses deliver beautiful, soft backgrounds for superior image quality.

"Our heritage is our optics with over 70 years of expertise, we look to continually further our promise to our users and deliver the ultimate image quality," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. "These new lenses are powerful tools for photographic and video enthusiasts to pair with Canon cameras to help enable and enhance their creative vision."

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens for Harsh and Rigorous Conditions
Canon continues the tradition of ensuring the Company's highest quality optical performance in its L-series lenses with the launch of the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM zoom lens. This new version of one of Canon's most popular lenses utilizes one Super UD lens element and two UD lens elements to help achieve outstanding image quality throughout the full zoom range. The result is significantly reduced chromatic aberration in the outer area at wide-angle, high resolution and contrast in images and crisp clear edges around the subject. The lens coatings have been optimized to ensure exceptional color balance while minimizing ghosting, and reduced spherical aberration. With a circular nine-blade diaphragm, the lens delivers soft backgrounds and incredible bokeh.

In demand by architectural, corporate, adventure and professional photographers of nearly every discipline, the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens combines amazing image quality with enhanced durability. Highly resistant to dust and water, the new lens has enhanced durability and weather sealing. The lens also features a zoom lock lever to secure the zoom position for safe transport, and fluorine coatings on the front and rear glass surfaces to reduce smears and fingerprints, making it an ideal lens regardless of the conditions.

The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens is expected to be available in April for an approximate retail price of $2,299.00.

Canon Standard Prime Lenses with Optical Image Stabilizer: EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM & EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM
Empowering landscape and wide-angle photographers with improved optical performance, Canon has upgraded both its EF 24mm and EF 28mm lenses with Image Stabilization technology and Ultrasonic Motor-powered auto focus. Both lenses feature Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer technology providing up to four shutter speed stops of correction. With the Optical Image Stabilizer turned on, photographers can capture sharp wide-angle images in low-light settings reducing the need for a flash or a tripod. New aspherical lens elements improve the peripheral image quality and a seven-blade circular diaphragm delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds. The silent and smooth operation of each lens makes them ideal choices for shooting video as well. The EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM lenses each have a minimum focusing distances of 0.20m and 0.23m, respectively.

The EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM lens is expected to be available in June for an approximate retail price of $849.99, while the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM lens is expected to be available in June for an approximate retail price of $799.99.


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