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

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM is considered by many as the highest performing Canon full-frame-compatible all-purpose zoom lens in the market at the moment.

It’s regarded as the best when examined from a perspective of image quality and leaves any camera enthusiasts even blown away when the speed and accuracy of its AF are brought to the fore of the camera’s performance.

In the review of the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 lens, we will be examining several features of the camera, ranging from its ergonomics and body design to autofocus performance and image quality. The fun is inexhaustible for the lens, and there’s so much to unpack here. While in the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens review, we will be highlighting areas of special interest in the lens; we wouldn’t also fail to point out a few shortfalls in the camera’s design or build characteristics.

The photography niches where the beastly performance of the camera bursts out the most and finds more drastic performance are also highlighted in the review. We advise you don’t eyeball the lens’s special features while going through this review, which seems to be why it has sustained an incredible level of attention since its release. Enjoy!

Is The Canon 24-70mm Lens Good for Video?

A zoom lens of this category cannot typically be considered a “video lens” due to its lack of image stabilization, which is problematic if the camera isn’t kept as steady as it sounds. Nonetheless, it fairs excellently to deliver a modest video for the videographer without sacrificing any of the core features of solid video output.

Its 24-70mm focal length gives the photographer the ability and advantage of getting a solid perspective of the subjects without coming too close.

With the flexible zoom range, a natural-looking zoom is obtained during video recording with subject accessibility that doesn’t require much change of position and still obtains a high-res video of fast actions.

Does Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Have Image Stabilization?

One feature that seems to be lacking in the camera lens is an image stabilization ability, as the company claims it would require sacrificing the lens size or its image quality.

As a matter of fact, of all the Canon 24-70mm lenses, only the f/4.0 aperture lens offers image stabilization. This, however, may be a deal breaker for many photographers, but what you’re missing wouldn’t be of robust significance if you have a tripod for a slow shutter speed.

For photographers shooting in dimly lit spaces, a slow shutter speed may be required to obtain a good exposure, as, in this condition, it’s easy to get a motion blur or dull sharpness. Therefore, a tripod fills in for this deficiency and serves pretty well in place of image stabilization.

What is the Sharpest Aperture for Canon 24-70mm Zoom Lens?

The best aperture for the Canon 24-70mm is obtained when one stops down a bit from the widest one. However, practical demonstration shows that on a Canon 5D Mark II, the lens is the best obtainable sharpness at the plane of focus. Center sharpness isn’t aggressively maximized by stopping down and may impact the mid-frames and make them softer.

As the shooter gradually moves from 24 to 70mm, the edges become softer. Of course, at an aperture of f/2.8, a  narrower depth of field is obtained, so only elements that seem to be in your composition, located at the correct distance, will have a sharp look.

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

About system

The Canon 24-70mm lens is compatible with the EF mount, which sports significant differences compared to the RF counterpart. For example, a flange focal distance of 44mm and a smaller focal distance are the order of the day in camera technology, providing a larger aperture, improved corner-to-corner sharpness, and decreased light fall-off.

Body Design and Ergonomics

What we can confidently say about the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens is that it sports a better build quality than the previous versions of this line. Also, the rear elements and the front of the camera features help repel grease and moisture and ease cleaning.

So, its weather sealing property is more efficient than the previous models, and having been built for constant mobility, Canon expects a feature like this would be inevitable.

As a standard zoom lens, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is bulky and big, weighing 805g and stretching 11 cm in height. While it can be used in an APS-C body with a smaller build, for an angle of view equivalent to 38-112mm, it won’t, as experimented, balance quite well, as it seems to be more compatible with professional-grade full-frame alternatives like the 5D Mark II.

As you would expect from a lens of gusto price, the build is sturdy and feels very solid while holding it, even though the filter thread and outer barrel were both made of plastic.

The focusing ring has a perfect diameter, too, with a grip band that is ridged and rubberized. An aperture ring is missing in the lens’s design which isn’t a concern at all, except if the user intends to use it on an obsolete film body.

More interestingly, the lens features a lock switch that activates the lock function that adjusts the focal length to 24mm and then moves it back to prevent the creeping of the zoom mechanism when the camera is in storage or pointed down.

Autofocus and focus performance

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 lens has a focus ring, wide enough, and with its hard stops at both sides of the range, it doesn’t require much effort to set focus at infinity. When it comes to auto-focusing, the lens’s zoom is a good performer, with an ability to take only about 0.15 seconds locking time on the subject when tested on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

With this test, much hunting wasn’t experienced in both good light and dimly lit species, too, as the lens had accurate focusing all the time. The lens performs very quietly too, which can be credited to its UltraSonic Motor(USM), making it a good fit for video recording.

Image quality

The lens delivers an astonishing result on full-frame cameras, and with pretty impressive sharpness, even when the lens is wide open; and stays superb across the lens’s entire frame at 5.6, and seems to outperform its predecessors in this regard, as the overall sharpness is not diminished even at the telephoto end.

Special Features I Like

The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens has some of the brand’s unique design features. For this zoom lens, convenience seems to be the driving factor for its design. Check out some of them below:

  • Double UD lens elements for minimal chromatic aberration
  • Optimized lens coating
  • High-speed CPU
  • Dust-sealing and water resistance ability

Internal and external video capture

What seems to be the most promising characteristic of the lens is its wide focal length range, which positions it among some of the most versatile lenses in the Canon EF lens line, and, most importantly, makes it a decent lens for photography.

For both internal and external video capture, an f/2.8 aperture is an excellent option for shooting both wide and telephoto videos. Wondering what kind of video to make with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens? Many videographers have found it invaluable for shooting weddings, making documentaries, and recording long events, religious ceremonies, and seminars.

Exposure controlling

To have good control of field exposure of shooting, one needs a lens with expansive aperture adjustment, which is exactly what this Canon lens can offer a shooter. However, since the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 has a large aperture, obtaining a shallow depth of field is often the case when unprofessional photographers are handling the lens.

However, stopping down can help limit the light fall-off often obtained at the corner of the camera. With the lens, barrel distortion isn’t much of a problem either at the 24mm wide-angle focal length and completely disappears at 35mm.

Stull image capturing

This Canon lens is characterized by a highly advanced optical design. With an ability to handle color fringing and maintain minimal chromatic aberration, shooting still images with this lens always produces a sophisticated image output. Moreover, with the super spectra coating to the UD elements of the lens, ghosting in high contrast zones and flare are well managed to ensure the shooter obtains a neutral chromatic fidelity and moderate contrast.

Purposes of Use

One common question always raising its head whenever a lens features are being discussed is “what can one do with the lens?” Due to its professional-build standard, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM finds its utility in many areas and always seems not to be lacking in expectations. Let’s consider them briefly.

Portrait Photography

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM allows the photographer to shoot expansive group portraits and close-up individual ones without swapping lenses.

If your expectation is a tight headshot, a lens with a slightly higher reach than what the 70mm focal length can offer should be your consideration. Shooting with your lens wide open at an aperture of f/2.8 can deliver incredibly out-of-focus backgrounds.

Landscape

It is no surprise that the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L finds solid expression in landscape photography, as the aperture and focal length offer nothing short of sophisticated outdoor shots. With a vertically-turned camera, your photograph can be composed to have intensive depth.

Macro Photography

Another thing that sets the Canon EF 24-70mm apart from its rivals is its excellent macro abilities. You don’t require special extension tubes to get close to your object. With the lens’s minimum focusing distance of 15 inches, your shots can evade all kinds of dullness and aberrations while maintaining a sharp focus evenly distributed throughout the frame.

Pros

  • Great performance in dim lighting
  • Excellent out-of-focus background ability
  • Close focus distance ensures sophisticated macro photography

Cons

  • Telephoto magnification is limited
  • The zoom range is only 2.5X
  • Lack of image stabilization

Key Specifications Of Canon 24-70mm f2.8 S Lens

Features Standing
Filter Thread 82mm
Size 88.5 x 113mm
Weight 805g
Closest focusing distance 1.25ft/0.38m
Lens control None
Image stabilization None
Max. aperture F/2.8
Min aperture f/22
Aperture blade 9 blades
Angle of view 84°-34°

Top Questions (FAQs)

Is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM compatible with Rebel T6?

Although not always a perfect fit for all camera body types, the Canon can be used with the Rebel T6. It is a great combination for anyone looking at stepping up their shooting with a zoom lens for diverse kinds of photography.

Will the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II work on Canon 5D Mark IV?

The Canon EF 24-70mm lens would work on any Canon camera that supports an EF or EFS mount. Hence, with a 5D Mark IV which is full-frame and has an EF mount, mounting the lens on it wouldn’t be a problem.

Is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II a wide-angle lens?

The focal length of the lens spans within the range of 24-70mm and hence can be used to shoot wide-angle images. The lens is also distinguished by its maximum aperture of f/2.8, making it one of the best lens options for working in low light conditions and for wide-angle portraits.

What Are The Difference Between Canon EF 24-70 f2.8 II And Canon RF 24-70 f2.8 Lens

Final Thoughts

The bottom line of this review hinges on the sophistication of this unique standard lens from  Canon. It may appear pricey but sure meets and, in many cases, surpasses the expectation of a first-time buyer.

Moreover, being popular for its incredible performance in portraiture and event recordings, as well as in architecture and documentary videography, the lens is a fair deal when it comes to all-around play.