Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Review

January 14, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is a new standard zoom lens for Canon’s full-frame and APS-C DSLRs. Featuring a stepping motor for smooth and quiet continuous AF while capturing video, Super Spectra coatings, an ultrasonic focus motor, seven-blade circular aperture, and image stabilisation offering a claimed 4-stop advantage, the new Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is a capable all-rounder. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is available now for £459 / $599 in the UK and the USA respectively.

Ease of Use

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM isn't too big and bulky, and not too heavy either at 525g. While you can use it on a smaller APS-C body for a 38-168mm equivalent angle of view, it won't balance quite as well as on a full-frame camera like the 5D Mark III or a larger APS-C model like the 7D Mark II.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMThe Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMThe Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens mounted on the EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMThe Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, extended to 24mm

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMThe Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, extended to 105mm

Build quality is good rather than excellent. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM feels solid enough in your hand, even if it is mostly made out of plastic. The focusing ring is just as wide as it needs to be, and has a ridged, rubberised grip band.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMTop of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMSide of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMSide of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, extended to 105mm

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 4 f-stops over lenses without a stabilizer. This is activated via the On/Off switch on the side of the lens. If the camera body supports it, Canon's IS technology is also able to detect intentional panning movement and automatically switch from the Normal IS mode to the Panning IS mode.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMFront of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMRear of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The Lock function switch is a useful feature that helps protect the lens. Set the focal length to 24mm and move it to the Lock position to prevent the zoom mechanism from creeping when the camera is pointed down or in storage.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMSide of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMSide of the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens

The final control on the lens barrel is a focus mode switch with the usual AF/MF settings. Note that this lens usefully offers full-time manual focusing even when AF is selected.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMThe Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens in-hand

The lens doesn't ship with a lens hood or a case.

Focal Range

At the 24mm focal length the angle of view is 74 degrees.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSMField of view at 24mm

At the 105mm focal length the angle of view is 19 degrees.

 Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSMField of view at 105mm

Focusing

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens has a wide-enough focus ring. There are no hard stops at both ends of the range, making it more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 77mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom is a quick performer, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III that we tested it with.

We didn't experience much "hunting", either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing almost all of the time. It's also a quiet performer, thanks to the built-in STM (Stepping Motor), which makes this lens well-suited to video recording.

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are well controlled with this lens - the examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

Light Fall-off

With the lens wide open, you can see some obvious light fall-off in the corners at both ends of the zoom range. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/8 or smaller.

Barrel distortion isn't too bad at all at the 24mm wide-angle focal length, disappearing completely at 35mm.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMVignetting at 24mm

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMVignetting at 105mm

Macro

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is not a macro lens. The close-focus point is at 40cm from the film/sensor plane, and Canon quotes a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.3x for the lens when set to 105mm. The following example illustrate how close you can get to the subject.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USMClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. Canon have employed an iris diaphragm with 7 rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they have largely succeeded. Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM
   
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, samples, photos, test, sample images, lens, jpeg, wide-angle, jpegs, canon, 24mm, zoom, standard, f3.5, f5.6, normal, 24-105mm, 105mm, Canon EF 24-105mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF 24-105mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM photos, images.