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We photographers like our gadgets. We’re surrounded by them. Whether you’re film or digital one of the great perks of the job is buying lovely new equipment!

Canon 5D MkIINow that I’m “full frame” I needed to upgrade my lenses. To get the most out of my 5D Mark II I wanted to put the best glass on it. if you’re a Canon user the best lenses you can buy are Canon’s L Series. They offer amazing quality, rock solid design and great reliabilty. Everyone agrees that L is the best series of lenses… but not everyone agrees which one you should have in your kit.

They are a serious purchase with a serious price tag so when I needed an L series wide zoom lens it wasn’t an easy choice.

The Contenders

Canon 24-105 F4 LCanon 24-70 F2.8 LThe two main contenders are the 24-70 F2.8 L and the 24-105 F4 L.

Both amazing lenses, the 24-70 offering a wider aperture while the 24-105 has image stabilization.

Hot topic

There’s heated debates on which is best. Which covers the most needs, even which is the best in low light. Flickr is a hot-bed of Canon users with strong opinions. The group discussions are often filled with “which lens should i buy?” topics. I myself have posted a few as they’re a great place to get a good cross section of responses.

There’s great arguments for both. The 24-70 covers a shorter range with less elements and a faster aperture. But it’s weight is dramatically increased to incorporate this. Surprisingly so. The 24-105 weighs less, covers a wider range but has a max aperture of F4. Choices choices!

In the end I chose the 24-105 F4. It came down to a number of factors.

Weight

I will be on the road, possibly for months at a time. While I am willing to carry heavier lenses if the benefits are worth it. For me personally the 24-70 F2.8 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement to warrant the extra weight. I’ll be happier shooting with the 24-105. Happiness and harmony with your equipment should not be overlooked, especially on an expensive purchase!

Range

Another on-the-road factor here as the less I need to change lenses the better. The extra reach the 24-105 gives me is a great advantage. Possibly even helping me achieve more spur of the moment shots I would have otherwise missed while changing to my 70-200 F4 L.

Image Stabliaztion

Before trying this lens I thought IS was a bit of a gimick to help reduce camera shake. I had however overlooked one obvious advantage to this. If camera shake is reduced you can shoot at lower speeds. Lower speeds means more light. The lack of 2.8 aperture on the 24-105 is more than made up for by this feature. I also plan to shoot HD video with my 5D Mark II so the IS really comes in handy for smoothing out those hand held shots.

I’m very happy with my purchase. Frankly I would  have been happy with either lens but the true test comes when you’re out in the field with your camera bag and limited options on what you can take. A happy photographer is a creative photographer!

I’ll post a full review in a month or two.

If you have any questions about these lenses or an opinion the lens you purchase do comment.

Feel free to follow me on twitter

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3 Comments

  1. The most important thing, in my humble opinion, the lens always should fit ones needs. I know it’s obvious, but many people ask – “What’s the best lens?!”
    Best for what? Portrait? Street? Birds? etc.
    Waiting to read you review 🙂

  2. I thought IS only really worked at its best when shooting static objects… in which case would it really offer any advantage over the 27-70 when shooting HD video? I’m not sure. I’m in this predicament at the moment. I bought a second hand 28-70L which I had to send back after I found fungi growth on the rear element, so I’m back at square one. It is indeed a difficult choice.


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