Jessica Holden Photography » My Photo Journal

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Lens Review: Canon 24-70L f/2.8 v. II

Back in 2010, I rented the original version of the 24-70 along with a 5D Mark II, and that lens left me unimpressed (it was too heavy for my hands, it seemed to hunt for focus, and the images just weren’t terribly sharp even when I compared them to images from my non-L 18-55 images taken with my 40D). I actually liked my non “L” 18-55 significantly better than the 24-70 L lens. But when I upgraded to full-frame, I found I really missed having a wider zoom lens (since the 18-55 won’t work on a full-frame camera), so it was a huge leap of faith for me to purchase the 24-70/II when it was released. But the early reviews on the second iteration of the 24-70 were overwhelmingly positive, so I went for it. And I am so glad I did! It really is a workhorse of a lens: adaptable to virtually any situation I throw at it, and super fast and sharp. I love it!

Here is a comparison of the zoom range, from 24mm and then all the way “in” to 70mm (I was standing in the same position for both images):

And the two extremes of aperture, from f/2.8 to f/22:


And the bokeh it produces when wide open at 2.8 is beautiful, rendering a potentially imperfect background into a lovely mass of soft color instead (though I admit, the 100L is a clear winner as far as background blur goes!):



I absolutely love the flare it produces when I want that look, and the lens still manages to lock focus despite such “confusing” lighting situations:


Here’s a full image plus its 100% crop, to demonstrate its sharpness (see how you can even see me in her pupils?):


The lens works great in low light, beautifully capturing accurate color and sharpness:


For me this lens is indispensible for shooting families with smaller kids, allowing me to stay in the moment with them without having to switch out lenses as the kids run around from near to far.



And by zooming in, I can get somewhat close to a macro look with the lens too, adding even more to its flexibility.


Overall I do prefer the 100L over this lens as far as background blur, but I often find the lure of the flexibility of a zoom to outweigh the pretty bokeh of the 100L. And with regards to image quality and sharpness, they are equally spectacular lenses. Because of its flexibility, I’d say this lens is on my camera the majority of the time when I’m shooting around the house or when I take the camera out for a day. I absolutely love it!

  • Kathleen - June 4, 2013 - 11:56 am

    Thanks for the review. I was looking for a comparison to the original 24-70L.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Jacobs - June 16, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    What a great review! Love all the visuals you shared- thank you!!!ReplyCancel