A 24-70mm lens is one of the must have lenses and if you shoot a Canon you simply have to use a Canon 24-70mm lens, as opposed to one of the other branded 24-70mm lenses with a ‘Canon’ fit. The Canon 24-70mm is available in both f4 and f2.8 versions and both of them are exceptionally good lenses that are more than capable of capturing stunning photos.
Okay, I agree that prime lenses are sharper than zoom lenses however modern day zoom lenses have come a long way and the difference in sharpness and overall image quality between zooms and primes is now so slight you have to be a pixel peeper or exceptionally fussy to tell the difference. Personally, I find the image quality of the Canon 24-70mm exceptionally good and am more than happy with the types of photos I can capture with it. What’s more, and more importantly, is that my clients are also happy with the image quality of this lens.
Like all Canon l series lenses the 24-70mm lens is made out of top quality materials, which makes it tough, durable and able to withstand whatever you want to throw at it. I have to admit that my Canon 24-70mm is a workhorse, which I have mistreated on occasions, yet despite this it is still going strong. Okay, there may be a few war wounds and battle scars here and there, however it still performs as good today as it did when I first bought it. Yep, this lens is absolutely bullet proof, as you’d expect.
The auto focus of the Canon 24-70mm isn’t as fast as it is with other Canon lenses, but then this lens is not good for sports or action photography so I guess it doesn’t really matter that much. That said, there have been a few occasions when the auto focus wasn’t quick enough and I missed the shot although 99% of the time I have no issues with the speed of the auto focus at all.
The Canon 24-70mm doesn’t have image stabilisation which is a bit of a shame. Okay, IS on shorter focal length lenses shouldn’t create too many issues however the Canon 24-70mm is big and heavy lens (especially compared to other 24-70mm lenses) so image stabilisation would be useful.
Like all Canon l series lenses the Canon 24-70mm isn’t cheap, however it is a top performer. I have always been of the opinion that if you buy cheap you buy twice, which ends up costing you more in the long run. Consequently, I think it is well worth spending a little more in the first instance.
Lenses with a 24-70mm focal length are very useful and very versatile, and the Canon 24-70mm is no different. Yep, this lens can be used for a variety of scenarios and after owning and using a Canon 24-70mm lens I mainly use mine for:-
A 24-70mm telephoto lens is one of the most useful portrait lenses ever. Okay, many photographers argue that prime lenses are best for portraits, because they are optically better, however carrying a bag of prime lenses and having to keep changing them is a real faff, especially when you can get away with a single lens, and my lens of choice is the Canon 24-70mm.
Okay, the Canon 24-70mm zoom lens may not be as sharp as a prime lens however I think a slightly softer lens makes better portraits. Pin sharp lenses show every spot, blemish and pimple which does not make for a flattering portrait photo, which means time in Photoshop editing. This is not the case using a slightly softer lens.
At the wide end the Canon 24-70mm is sufficient for group shots and at the long end it is the perfect focal length for headshots. A 24-70mm excels in tight situations where there is not the room to physically move closer to, or further away from the models. With a wide aperture of f2.8 it is possible to throw the background out of focus and capture a sharp subject, and it is this feature that makes the Canon lens 24-70 f2.8 one of my favourites for portraits.
The 24-70mm focal length of this lens makes it ideal for street photography. A 28mm lens is a wide angle and allows you to get a lot in to the frame, which is important when taking photos of towns, cities and buildings. A lens with a 50mm focal length gives the same perspective as the human eyes, which makes it a very useful focal length and one that the Canon 24-70mm covers. The Canon 24-70mm lens is wide enough to get a lot in to the frame but also zooms in for more frame filling shots.
As already described, the Canon 24-70mm is an excellent portrait lens which makes it a good lens for portrait shots of street performers and actors. Whilst the Canon 24-70mm is ideal for these close up portrait shots it is not suitable for photo journalism style portrait shots.
A 70mm long end simply isn’t enough to take portraits of unsuspecting subjects from a distance and the only way you will get portraits is to get close up, which means you will have to find people willing to pose for the portrait shots.
I have to say that I am not a great fan of taking portrait photos of unsuspecting subjects as I think it is an invasion of privacy so the fact the Canon 24-70mm is only really useful for posed portraits doesn’t bother me that much.
With the Canon 24-70mm I can capture photos of buildings, monuments, architecture and other street style shots as well as some portraits, so it is pretty easy to see why the Canon lens 24-70 f2.8 is my favourite for street photography.
Whenever I shoot a wedding I find the Canon 24-70mm lens is used for around 80% of the photos I take during the day.
A wide angle lens is essential for the indoor ceremony shots where space is tight and being 28mm at the wide end the Canon 24-70mm is ideal for making sure everything is in the frame. At the 70mm end I can stand a fair distance from the bride and groom, so not as to disrupt the proceedings and get in the way, and zoom in for a frame filling shot of the happy couple.
As well as being an ideal focal length the Canon 24-70mm’s maximum widest aperture is sufficient for low light conditions, such as is usually the case in dimly lit churches and chapels.
With all the boxes ticked, i.e. ideal focal length, sharp but with a little softness and wide aperture to gather a lot of light, it is easy to see why the Canon lens 24-70 f2.8 is one of my favourites for wedding photography.
The final word
The Canon 24-70mm lens is a very versatile lens you can use for all different types of photography, and it is a lens well worth investing in. For my style of photography the 24-70mm f4 simply wasn’t fast enough for me, and neither did it have the aperture I wanted so the Canon lens 24-70 f2.8 was the only choice for me.
Okay, it is a bit of a beast of a lens for a 24-70mm lens, but considering I use larger lenses (such as my canon 100-400) a lot of the time I don’t really find the size and weight an issue.
What I really like about the Canon 24-70mm is the awesome image quality, the great build quality and the versatility of this lens Yep, the Canon 24-70mm is one lens I couldn’t live without.
Links to other Canon L lens reviews
The lens above is just one that I own and use for my photography. I, like all photographers carry many different lenses around with me and other lenses that I use include the following:-
Canon lens review - 100mm f2.8L IS macro
Whilst it is possible to do macro photography on a budget and use close up filters, reversing rings or extension tubes if you want to capture the highest quality macro photos you need a designated macro lens.
Having used a Canon macro 100mm f2.8 in the past I was impressed with it but once the 100mm f2.8L IS lens was released I simply had to have one.
This lens is absolutely awesome and not only can it record levels of detail you can’t see with the naked eye, it is tack sharp and it also has image stabilisation to enable sharp hand held shots at slower shutter speeds.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 100mm f2.8L IS macro lens (yes I had to part with my own hard earned cash and buy it myself and wasn’t lucky enough to get given one to road test for free) and to see what it can do you may wish to take a look at this article. If you want a macro lens forget about the rest and go for this, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Canon lens reviews - 50mm f1.8 “Nifty Fifty”
I only use Canon L series lenses these days, and upgraded from all my other non- L series lenses however I did keep my Canon 50mm f1.8, and couldn’t bear to part with it.
I bought the 50mm f1.8 as the first upgrade to my kit lens, and whilst it look and feels more like a toy than a serious piece of photography equipment it is a top performer and I have managed to get some cracking images using it.
I bought the f1.8 because the f1.2L is (in my opinion) way too expensive and I couldn’t justify the high price tag. Sure I would love an f1.2 lens but I am not prepared to pay that much for it. I chose the f1.8 over the f1.4 because, whilst the 1.8 is a little slower, the image quality of the 1.4 wide open isn’t that good and at f1.8 the 1.8 and the 1.4 are identical. The 1.4 is better built but the 1.8 is far better value for money.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens take a look at this article. This is one lens you really do need, even if you are like me and only shoot L series lenses.
Canon lens review - 70-200 f2.8L IS
Every photographer needs a standard zoom in their kit bag and a 70-200 fits the bill perfectly. The Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS lens is Canon’s flagship 70-200 zoom (it is also available in f4L, f4L IS and f2.8L versions, which are obviously cheaper) and quite rightly so.
This 70-200 is a top quality lens and is the choice of many professionals. Okay, it is expensive but then you do get what you pay for.
With a maximum f2.8 aperture this zoom lens is ideal in all conditions (both indoor and outdoor as well as in good light and low light) so you will never struggle again.
For an honest and unbiased review of the 70-200 f2.8L IS lens (this is a lens I wish I was given for free to test out and report on – unfortunately I had to part with my own money, although I am so glad I did) you need to take a look at this article.
Canon lens review - 16-35 f4L IS
If you are serious about landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes and interiors you need a wide angle lens and the Canon 16-35 f4L IS should be top of your list. I chose the f4L IS over the f2.8L because the image quality of the f4L is better, the f4L is smaller, lighter and more manageable, the f4L has image stabilisation and the f4L is cheaper (you get a lot more bang for your buck).
The Canon 16-35 f4L is an awesome lens. The image quality is second to none and since it is built like a tank (i.e. very tough and durable) it is more than capable of being able to deal with whatever weather conditions Mother Nature throws at it.
For an honest and unbiased review of the 16-35 f4L IS lens from a long term user (once again, I was not blessed by any camera store for a free lens to put through its paces and report on) this article may be something you want to take a look at.
Canon lens review - 100-400L IS
The Canon 100-400 is, without a doubt, the best value for money super zoom lens on the market and I am stunned how Canon can sell such a top quality lens at such a great price. Okay, there are cheaper alternatives out there, and these cheaper alternatives go longer than 400mm but the image quality of the cheaper alternatives is absolute rubbish.
Combine that with the speed of the lenses (narrow maximum apertures of f6 or more) and it is easy to see the cheaper lenses simply aren’t worth buying. The image quality of the Canon 100 – 400 is awesome, the build quality is awesome and it is also affordable.
The Canon 100 – 400 is the ideal lens for motor sports, wildlife, bird photography and all other situations where you need to get up close to the subject whilst standing far away from it. I even use my Canon 100 – 400 for dragonfly photography! If you need a super zoom lens, and let’s face it who doesn’t? this is the lens you need.
For an honest and unbiased review of the Canon 100 – 400 from a long term user (this is one lens I didn’t have to buy because it was a gift from my wife. Strictly speaking, I guess I did buy it then – D’oh) you need to take a look at this article.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.