Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Review

March 30, 2020 | Mark Goldstein |

Introduction

The RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is an affordable, compact standard zoom lens for Canon's full-frame mirrorless cameras, which currently comprises the EOS RP and EOS R, with the new EOS R5 due for release in late-2020.

Featuring a Stepping Motor (STM) for smooth, precise and quiet continuous auto-focusing, Super Spectra Coating for minimal ghosting and flare, 7 rounded diaphragm blades for smoother bokeh, impressive macro capabilities, and built-in image stabilisation offering a claimed 5-stop advantage, the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM is a versatile all-rounder.

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM is officially priced at £459.99 / €549.99 / $399.99 in the UK, Europe and the USA respectively.

Ease of Use

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM is impressively small and light considering the versatile focal range that it covers, weighing in at 395g and measuring 8.88cm in length, although it does extend by an extra 5.7cm when the lens is set to 105mm.

It only weighs 880g when combined with the EOS RP camera with battery and memory card fitted, which is exactly the combination that we tested for this review.

Build quality is acceptable given the entry-level price-point. The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM solid enough in your hand, even if it is entirely made out of plastic, with a metal lens mount. The focusing ring is generously wide, and has a ridged, rubberised grip band.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 5 f-stops over lenses without a stabilizer. This is activated via the Stabilizer 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 RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

The other control on the lens barrel is a shared Focus / Control switch. Setting it to Focus then allows you to rather clunkily switch between AF/MF focusing via the camera's main menu. Note that this lens does not offer full-time manual focusing even when AF is selected.

Setting it to Control then allows the manual focusing ring to be used to control certain key camera settings such as aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation, effectively turning it into the Lens Control Ring that has featured on previous RF lenses as a third, dedicated control.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens has a generously wide 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 67mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.

When it comes to auto-focusing, the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM zoom is a quick performer, taking 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject when mounted on the Canon EOS RP camera that we tested it with.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

We didn't experience too much "hunting" at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing correctly most of the time. It's also a very quiet performer, thanks to the built-in Stepping Motor, which makes this lens well-suited to video recording as well as stills.

Perhaps to be expected given the low price-point, this lens does not ship with either the optional lens hood (EW-73D) or the optional soft case (LP1116).

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Focal Range

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

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM24mm

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

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM105mm

Chromatic Aberrations

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

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Light Fall-off

With the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM 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 at 24mm and f/11 at 105mm.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM24mm

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM105mm

Sunstars

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM produces quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16 and f/22, as shown below.

The lens is quite susceptible to flare when shooting directly into the sun, though, something that can't really be avoided as there's no lens hood (EW-73D) supplied in the box.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Macro

The Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM is actually a pretty good macro lens. The close-focus point is 20cm from the film/sensor plane at the 24mm focal length and 39cm at 105mm, and Canon quotes an impressive maximum reproduction ratio of 0.40x for the lens when set to 105mm.

The following example illustrate how close you can get to the subject at 105mm.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

What's more, this is the first lens to feature the brand new Center Focus Macro mode, which pushes the maximum reproduction ratio even further to 0.5x and reduces the minimum focus distance to just 13mm. Just set the lens to the 24mm focal length and the camera body to Manual Focus, and the centre of the image will be sharp, with the edges fading away into an increasing blur. Note that only the centre will be pin-sharp and there will be some vignetting.

Here are some examples shot using the new Center Focus Macro mode.

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

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 seven 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 RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Sharpness

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