Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Review

January 18, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM is a very capable but also very pricey standard zoom lens that will appeal most to wedding and reportage photographers looking for a lightweight and responsive lens. It also usefully doubles up as a competent macro lens, perhaps saving the extra expense and space required by another dedicated optic.

Given its L-series billing, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM build quality is reassuringly excellent and it makes a perfect partner to a full-frame Canon DSLR like the EOS 6D 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. The capable image stabilisation system used in conjunction with a high-ISO monster like the 6D is a low-light shooter's dream ticket, making it easy to hand-hold the camera and get the shot, despite the relatively slow maximum aperture of f/4.

Image quality is generally excellent. Chromatic aberrations are very well controlled, bokeh is impressive despite the f/4 aperture, vignetting is well controlled even on a full-frame camera, and the Super Spectra coatings successfully prevent contrast loss attributable to flare. The only real optical issues are some corner shading and mild barrel distortion at the 24mm wide-angle focal length, and a lack of edge sharpness from f/4-5.6.

If you can afford the hefty price-tag then we can highly recommend the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM as an excellent standard zoom lens for Canon full-frame DSLR owners, with the added bonus of good macro performance too.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 3.5