Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Review

January 16, 2014 | Mark Goldstein |


The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM delivers the best image quality of any Canon standard zoom lens, but it's also an incredibly pricey standard zoom lens too. Although it features a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range and is very usefully weather-proofed, the lack of built-in image stabilisation may put some users off.

Given its L-series billing, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM build quality is reassuringly excellent and it makes a perfect partner to a full-frame Canon DSLR like the EOS 5D Mark III that we tested it with. Auto-focusing is quiet and quick, with the ability to manually override it and focus manually if required proving a nice touch.

Image quality is simply outstanding. Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, bokeh is impressive thanks to the fast f/2.8 aperture and 9-blade cirular aperture, and the Super Spectra coatings successfully prevent contrast loss attributable to flare. The only real optical issues are some mild corner shading and barrel distortion at the 24mm wide-angle focal length, and a lack of center sharpness from f/2.8-5.6 at the 70mm focal length. Otherwise image quality is as good as it gets.

If you can afford the eye-watering price-tag and you don't mind the lack of image stabilisation, then we can highly recommend the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM as the standard zoom lens that delivers the best image quality for Canon full-frame DSLR owners.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4