Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM in-depth review (comparison with the first version)

Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM photoCanon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM - a lens that immediately aroused my admiration. For this review, I rented it for a few days to test it properly. I have something to compare with, because I have been using the first version 24-70 for many years and am very pleased with it. For comparison, I will first describe the experience with the previous model.

A little about Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L first version

This is a very versatile and high quality lens in every sense. The first thing that pleases him is color rendering... Somewhere on the Internet, I met the characteristic 24-70, which he gives lamp colors... Apparently by analogy with tube sound amplifiers. Colors feel soft, rich and pleasant. This is what I have not seen with lenses. Sigma... I associate their color rendition with dirt and gray haze.

The first version focuses with lightning speed. I have not held a faster AF lens than the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM. The second version is identical in this sense.

The weak point of the first 24-70mm f / 2.8L appears when shooting at an open aperture of 50-70mm. At 24mm f2.8, its sharpness is satisfactory. The image becomes soft when zoomed in. Not soapy, but the detail is still lost. Therefore, when shooting difficult scenes at 70mm, I'm already used to closing the aperture to f4. At closed apertures, the lens is always sharp.

How does the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM look different from the first version?

Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM photo with lens hoodIt is smaller and lighter. It's nice. The weight has been reduced by only 150 grams, but it can be felt. I'm used to the weight of the first version. The second is more ergonomic. This applies not only to the weight, but also the zoom ring, which is noticeably wider and at the same time easier to rotate. This moment will be appreciated by videographers. The zoom goes smoothly and does not give jumps in the video, as it was with the first. Although the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM does not have a stabilizer and is mainly intended for photography, I still appreciated its convenience for video shooting (here these christenings removed on the second 24-70).

Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM filter diameterIn contrast to the first version, zooming here is standard: the lens is assembled by 24mm, the front part is extended by 70mm. It comes with a regular petal hood, which does little to help from the sun in body position. On the other hand, this hood is more compact, which is convenient for transportation.

The body of the second version is made of plastic, not metal, but I don't care. Do not hammer them in nails.

The diameter of the thread for filters has increased from 77mm to 82mm.

Image quality on the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM

Here we get to the fun part. I was very curious how perfect the second version can be, if there are few complaints about the first.

The first 24-70 is a very high quality zoom lens. The second 24-70 is a zoom lens that shoots like fixes in all respects. The color rendition is juicy, rich and contrasting. Photos with Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM do not want to be twisted in lightroom. They are already ready in fact (if you exactly hit the white balance and exposure :). With the first version, it used to be desirable to tighten the contrast or increase whites for brightness. In the case of this lens, everything is already very good and juicy.

I'll tell you about my experience and feelings. I filmed reportage on Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM и Canon EF 135mm f2L USM... These lenses differ only in focal lengths. Contrast, sharpness and color rendition are identical. You can distinguish frames by the degree of background blur. Foreground sharpness and quality are just perfect. It's worth mentioning that the Canon EF 135mm f2L USM is considered one of the finest and sharpest lenses in Canon's lineup. The second version, 24-70, is in no way lagging behind. It is sharp at all apertures and focal lengths. It's boring to test its sharpness. You cannot see the difference between the images. They are all perfect. Vignetting is noticeable at f2.8 (if vignetting correction is disabled in the camera) and distortion at 24mm (if photographing a brick wall, not in real conditions).

The second version has 24-70 higher t-stop, which naturally affects the colors, brightness and saturation of the pictures.

light transmission canon 24-70 f2.8

Compare Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM vs Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM in sharpness.

The purity of the experiment is somewhat violated in terms of perspective and bb, do not blame me.

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture f / 2.8 in the center

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture f / 2.8 in the center

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture f / 2.8 in the center

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture f / 2.8 at the edges

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture f / 5.6 in the center

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture f / 5.6 in the center

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture of f / 5.6 in the corner of the frame

comparison at 24mm wide open aperture of f / 5.6 in the corner of the frame

comparison at 70mm wide open aperture f / 2.8 in the center

comparison at 70mm wide open aperture f / 2.8 in the center

comparison at 70mm at open aperture f / 2.8 at the edges of the frame

comparison at 70mm at open aperture f / 2.8 at the edges of the frame

comparison at 70mm at f / 5.6 center

comparison at 70mm at f / 5.6 centercomparison at 70mm at f / 5.6 in corners

comparison at 70mm at f / 5.6 in corners

About bokeh

I read somewhere that supposedly the first version has more pleasant bokeh than the second. They seem identical to me. I ask you not to pay attention to the color, the lighting was different.

canon 24-70 ii bokeh comparison

canon 24-70 ii bokeh comparison

Examples of bokeh on the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM:

bokeh on Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II

bokeh example 24-70 ii


The main question that gnaws at every photographer is to buy or not to buy? The lens is definitely cool and well worth the money. At the time of release in 2012, it cost $ 2200, now in 2016 in Kiev it can be bought for $ 1650. It is an ideal lens with focal lengths from 24mm to 70mm and a constant f2.8 aperture. The point is different - to what extent are these parameters in demand for you and are you ready to pay so much for them?

70mm f2.8 allows for a strong background blur only in half-length portraits (in my opinion). For a full-length photo with strong bokeh, you will somehow need 85mm f1.8 or 135mm f2... If you photograph interiorsthen 24mm is not wide enough. If you photograph mainly subjectthen you don't need f2.8. And if you often shoot in low light, then f2.8 is not enough. When filming christening I like working with fixes better because of the higher aperture. So for all the ideality of this lens, it still does not replace 14 mm50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.8... Is it worth investing such an impressive amount in it? It is up to everyone to decide individually, depending on the popular tasks and the nature of the work. What I can say for sure is that this lens is designed for professional use. It is not wise to spend this amount if you are not make money from photography, and the difference in quality compared to simpler lenses will not be so critical for you.

My video comparison of Canon 24-70mm f2.8L II vs 24-70mm f4L IS:

Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM review

Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM - gorgeous lens. I have had it for more than 10 years and I don’t want to part with it. The review will be long. I have already mentioned this lens in the following articles:

In this review I will describe the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM in more detail.

What is it for?

Essentially for everything. At 24-70 f2.8 you can shoot:

  • portraits
  • reportage
  • architecture
  • subject and macro

About image quality

This L zoom produces a wonderful picture. The main thing is color rendering. It is juicy and warm. Everything is relative. For a while, I shot with a Canon 300d camera with the kit Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens and this wonderful zoom. The difference immediately caught my eye. contrast, volume and color of the image... By the way, with sharpness there was a problem, but more on that later. Compared to the whale, the image just came to life. Compared to this, the whale gives a faded and flat picture. And the bokeh at f2.8 and 70mm continues to delight even against the background of prime lenses. Of course, 24-70 gives less background blur than Canon 50 1.4 or Canon 85 1.8but the bokeh pattern itself is very nice. The bokeh of this lens is radically different from its L counterparts at f4 (there is essentially none).

About sharpness

At an open aperture of f2.8, the lens demonstrates very good sharpness. At f5.6, the lens is razor sharp. The resolution is slightly inferior to Canon 50 1.4 or other sharp fixes, but in practice it is hardly noticeable. Interestingly, when I was shooting with the Canon 300d, the kit Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5. gave a sharper image than the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM! The situation became clearer when I put this lens on the Canon 5D Mark II. It turned out to be a matter of adjustment: setting to -8 made the pictures perfectly sharp. After adjustment, the sharpness at 2.8 is very, very happy. The f2.8 aperture is now fully operational.

Test frames in full resolution at different apertures can be viewed by this link.

Vision angle

I want to say right away that this is a full frame lens. 24mm on crop it is not a wide angle. On cameras with incomplete frame, 24-70mm turns into the approximate equivalent of 38-112mm at full. 38mm is a focal one suitable for working with people, but in a small room it is already cramped. 112mm and f2.8 are pretty good for portraits given the lens' excellent bokeh. But for multifunctional zoom, the lack of a wide angle is not permissible. And in general, I consider it inappropriate to buy a lens for a crop camera, which is more expensive than the camera itself. Another thing, full frame... Here 24mm gives you a great overview. It will not be cramped anywhere. At the same time, 70mm remains the portrait focal length.


A very nice feature of this model is the minimum focusing distance of 38cm. At 70mm, this allows for pretty close-ups. Not a full-fledged macro, but very convenient for subject photography. For example, the Canon 50 1.4 fix, and especially the Canon 85 1.8, does not allow you to shoot so large.

About shortcomings

The main disadvantages of this lens are its weight and price... It weighs 950 grams. The lens is definitely not for travel. It's hard to shoot with it all day, although it replaces 3-4 fixed lenses in terms of functionality. For the price, again, for this money you can buy about 3 good prime lenses. Unsharp f2.8 spoils the experience a little too, although for portraits, again, excellent.

To take or not to take?

If you want a reportage zoom with decent image quality, beautiful bokeh and macro capabilities, and the second version of the 24-70 is beyond your budget, this is a great option. You cannot demand perfect quality from a zoom lens as from a fixture. This lens is close to this, and therefore worth the money. By the way, I didn't mention focusing before. She is perfect - very fast, tenacious and precise.

About analogues

Non-native analogues. Having rummaged a little on the net, I made the following list of analogs in focal and aperture:

  • Tamron AF SP 24-70mm f / 2.8 DI WC USD
  • Tamron AF 28-75mm f / 2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)
  • Sigma AF 24-70mm f / 2.8 IF EX DG HSM
  • Tokina AF 28-70mm f / 2.8 AT-X 287 PRO SV
  • Tokina AF 28-80mm f / 2.8 AT-X Pro

Here's my advice - forget about this junk... The fact that there are 24-70 and 2.8 does not make this rubbish analogous to the excellent L lens from Canon. Third-party manufacturers are playing on price and obvious lens parameters. Only native glasses from Canon are worth the money. This is the color rendition (which is simply none of the Sigma, Tamrons and others) and excellent focusing and many other parameters. The desire to save money comes out only sideways. Better to get by with inexpensive fifty kopecks from Canonthan to have on wedding photo в Registry office a green-faced bride or blurry group photos. Non-native zoom lenses can only be purchased as bayonet plugs.

Analogs from Canon. Canon has the following counterparts:

  • Canon EF 24-70mm f / 4L IS USM

I already wrote about this lens in this article... It costs the same as the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L USM, only it has no bokeh as such. On the other hand, it is small and lightweight. The price for it, in my opinion, is overpriced.

  • Canon EF 24-105 f / 4L IS USM

This lens is attractive because of its focal length range. But in the picture 24-70 f2.8 is inferior. But cheaper.

  • Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM

Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM Version XNUMX

It is devoid of the shortcomings of the first version, namely: not quite sharp f2.8 aperture and excessive weight. With closed diaphragms, they are very similar. Fully working f2.8 is nice. Although against the background of fast fixes, f2.8 is not a lot. One way or another, this lens will not replace them anyway. But the exorbitant price tag repels. After all, for this money you can buy 24-70 first version + Samyang 14mm + Canon 85mm 1.8 (in total it will be very interesting set). My opinion, the Canon EF 24-70mm f / 2.8L II USM is the lens for those who price issue just not important.

And another video review Canon EF 24-105 f4L IS USM:

If the question of the cost of the lens is acute, I advise you to pay attention to the following lens: Canon Ef 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 USM.

Zoom lenses versus prime lens.

For a long time, I only shot on 24-70mm и 70-200mm... But after a while I came to purchase a fix 85mm.

These articles reveal the strengths and weaknesses of these 3 lenses:

Canon EF 85mm f / 1.8 USM vs Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM (outdoor)
Canon EF 85mm f / 1.8 USM vs Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM (in store)
Canon 70-200mm f4 USM vs Canon 85mm f1.8 USM

A very visual service for comparing photos from different lenses:

And one more service for comparing technical characteristics lenses:

Very useful English-language services: