Is the RF 28-70 f2 trying to be too many things at once?

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
491
162
Let me say right up front that I think it's great that Canon is already trying to push the boundaries of what's capable with the RF lens mount. The fact that anything as crazy as a full frame 28-70 f2 exists at all is great, and I hope Canon keeps pushing.

But honestly, from the standpoint of "would I actually buy this," I'm having trouble getting excited about this lens. It's massively big and heavy, and massively expensive. And for all of that, what do you really get? It's not quite as fast as a prime (not even close to the fastest L primes), and it doesn't have quite the wide angle capabilities of a 24-70. I feel like it's a lens that's painted itself into a corner by trying to be everything all at once. And as a result it doesn't really give you the speed you'd expect from a prime, or the focal length range you'd expect from a zoom.

Maybe it's just the way I shoot, but I never really expect one lens to do everything for me. If I want speed and a nice shallow DOF, I'll use a prime. If I want the versatility of a zoom, I'll use that. A 24-70 2.8 is, to me, limited enough in its zoom range without losing another 4mm in the wide end. So honestly, while technically I'm sure it will be a great lens, it doesn't really seem to excel at having a large zoom range or a very fast aperture, which makes me wonder if it would ever be worth dropping $3000 on.
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
56
32
Could not disagree more. When I look at my LR library over 15+ years of shooting, most of my personal favorite images are in the length covered by that lens. This is why we're just in the realm of opinions here. This isn't right for you. For me, it makes a ton of sense and I preordered the first night it was available at B&H.

A few specific thoughts, though: it's funny to suggest that 24mm is substantially different than 28mm. This image (not mine, found it by searching) compares the 24mm and 28mm coverage. It's not nothing, but it's not a game changer, and it made me laugh that you say 24-70 is significantly different in capability than 28-70. In this sample image, I'd argue that the 28mm offers a better crop of this mage with less dead space. The leading line created by the pathway moves the viewer's eye really nicely through the 24mm crop, but at 28mm that leading line peters out with about 15% of the image above it. I also think the houses end up placed more pleasingly to the eye in the 24mm crop. This is, of course, personal preference.




While your critiques of the speed are broadly sound in that they are not unreasonable, in many cases f2.0 is very, very workable in a lot of lighting conditions. Is it slower than the RF 50 1.2 I have? Undoubtedly. Does having a zoom range make this a great travel/general-purpose lens? YES, and that's why I bought it. The speed is enough to enable shooting in a wide range of conditions, and while the lens is big and heavy, I'm a big guy (6'2", 215lbs) and having a high-performance f2.0 zoom is enough that I can travel with one lens. I'm on the road a lot for work and taking my camera to parties, dinners, walking around, etc and this is a great option for a lens that serves those needs with really solid performance characteristics. I have a good friend who's a pro shooter, and her 24-70 is her most used lens. A full extra stop of light is substantial for her, coupled with the high performance of the RF mount lenses.

Also, it's hilarious that you're complaining that the fastest constant-aperture zoom lens ever released isn't fast enough. Nothing's ever good enough, eh?
 

Act444

EOS 6D MK II
May 4, 2011
962
71
Here's the thing, though: Imagine the potential of a lens like this - mounted on a body with IBIS. (y) Ditto for the 50 1.2.

Make it happen Canon! Unleash the full potential of the RF mount, with all the benefits of MILC.

While your critiques of the speed are broadly sound in that they are not unreasonable, in many cases f2.0 is very, very workable in a lot of lighting conditions. Is it slower than the RF 50 1.2 I have? Undoubtedly. Does having a zoom range make this a great travel/general-purpose lens? YES, and that's why I bought it. The speed is enough to enable shooting in a wide range of conditions, and while the lens is big and heavy, I'm a big guy (6'2", 215lbs) and having a high-performance f2.0 zoom is enough that I can travel with one lens. I'm on the road a lot for work and taking my camera to parties, dinners, walking around, etc and this is a great option for a lens that serves those needs with really solid performance characteristics. I have a good friend who's a pro shooter, and her 24-70 is her most used lens. A full extra stop of light is substantial for her, coupled with the high performance of the RF mount lenses.
The way things are now, I think I'd rather have a stabilized 24-70 2.8 for this use to be honest. The extra 4mm on the wide end will be a big deal especially when sightseeing.
 

jd7

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 3, 2013
719
91
I do get where Kit Lens Jockey is coming from, but (of course) it comes down to what you shoot and personal preferences. For myself, I don't imagine using the 28-70/2L as a travel / general walk-around lens given its size and weight (and the fact it's a little less wide at the wide end), and for portraits and low light shots in those focal lengths I think I'd still be looking for a f/1.4 (or f/1.2) prime. So, I don't think the set of compromises in the 28-70/2L suit me (bearing in mind all lenses involve a set of compromises). That said, for anyone shooting weddings/events, I can absolutely see why the 28-70/2L may be a great thing for them, bearing in mind the focal lengths it covers at f/2 without having to change lenses.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,013
1,467
Canada
I do get where Kit Lens Jockey is coming from, but (of course) it comes down to what you shoot and personal preferences. For myself, I don't imagine using the 28-70/2L as a travel / general walk-around lens given its size and weight (and the fact it's a little less wide at the wide end), and for portraits and low light shots in those focal lengths I think I'd still be looking for a f/1.4 (or f/1.2) prime. So, I don't think the set of compromises in the 28-70/2L suit me (bearing in mind all lenses involve a set of compromises). That said, for anyone shooting weddings/events, I can absolutely see why the 28-70/2L may be a great thing for them, bearing in mind the focal lengths it covers at f/2 without having to change lenses.
I agree. For walking around, give me a 24-70F4, but if I am shooting a wedding in a poorly lit church, F2 is awful tempting.....
 

Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
462
432
Could not disagree more. When I look at my LR library over 15+ years of shooting, most of my personal favorite images are in the length covered by that lens. This is why we're just in the realm of opinions here. This isn't right for you. For me, it makes a ton of sense and I preordered the first night it was available at B&H.

A few specific thoughts, though: it's funny to suggest that 24mm is substantially different than 28mm. This image (not mine, found it by searching) compares the 24mm and 28mm coverage. It's not nothing, but it's not a game changer, and it made me laugh that you say 24-70 is significantly different in capability than 28-70. In this sample image, I'd argue that the 28mm offers a better crop of this mage with less dead space. The leading line created by the pathway moves the viewer's eye really nicely through the 24mm crop, but at 28mm that leading line peters out with about 15% of the image above it. I also think the houses end up placed more pleasingly to the eye in the 24mm crop. This is, of course, personal preference.




While your critiques of the speed are broadly sound in that they are not unreasonable, in many cases f2.0 is very, very workable in a lot of lighting conditions. Is it slower than the RF 50 1.2 I have? Undoubtedly. Does having a zoom range make this a great travel/general-purpose lens? YES, and that's why I bought it. The speed is enough to enable shooting in a wide range of conditions, and while the lens is big and heavy, I'm a big guy (6'2", 215lbs) and having a high-performance f2.0 zoom is enough that I can travel with one lens. I'm on the road a lot for work and taking my camera to parties, dinners, walking around, etc and this is a great option for a lens that serves those needs with really solid performance characteristics. I have a good friend who's a pro shooter, and her 24-70 is her most used lens. A full extra stop of light is substantial for her, coupled with the high performance of the RF mount lenses.

Also, it's hilarious that you're complaining that the fastest constant-aperture zoom lens ever released isn't fast enough. Nothing's ever good enough, eh?
I could't agree more!
I'm saving for it (and the 1,2/50)...
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,022
549
I noticed you said the 24-70 is already limited in it’s zoom range. It sounds like you use a standard zoom to “get closer” which is not it’s purpose at all.
 
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tron

EOS 5D SR
Nov 8, 2011
3,970
285
Could not disagree more. When I look at my LR library over 15+ years of shooting, most of my personal favorite images are in the length covered by that lens. This is why we're just in the realm of opinions here. This isn't right for you. For me, it makes a ton of sense and I preordered the first night it was available at B&H.

A few specific thoughts, though: it's funny to suggest that 24mm is substantially different than 28mm. This image (not mine, found it by searching) compares the 24mm and 28mm coverage. It's not nothing, but it's not a game changer, and it made me laugh that you say 24-70 is significantly different in capability than 28-70. In this sample image, I'd argue that the 28mm offers a better crop of this mage with less dead space. The leading line created by the pathway moves the viewer's eye really nicely through the 24mm crop, but at 28mm that leading line peters out with about 15% of the image above it. I also think the houses end up placed more pleasingly to the eye in the 24mm crop. This is, of course, personal preference.




While your critiques of the speed are broadly sound in that they are not unreasonable, in many cases f2.0 is very, very workable in a lot of lighting conditions. Is it slower than the RF 50 1.2 I have? Undoubtedly. Does having a zoom range make this a great travel/general-purpose lens? YES, and that's why I bought it. The speed is enough to enable shooting in a wide range of conditions, and while the lens is big and heavy, I'm a big guy (6'2", 215lbs) and having a high-performance f2.0 zoom is enough that I can travel with one lens. I'm on the road a lot for work and taking my camera to parties, dinners, walking around, etc and this is a great option for a lens that serves those needs with really solid performance characteristics. I have a good friend who's a pro shooter, and her 24-70 is her most used lens. A full extra stop of light is substantial for her, coupled with the high performance of the RF mount lenses.

Also, it's hilarious that you're complaining that the fastest constant-aperture zoom lens ever released isn't fast enough. Nothing's ever good enough, eh?
It is also hilarious to make comparisons using a single image.

1st. You mentioned your personal preferences regarding the 28mm framing in this image (although it cropped a house a little to the left and if you were to reframe it would probably crop something to the upper right).
2nd. 24-70 zooms can be set to 28mm too if necessary (or anything in between 24 and 28) so this cancels the argument in favor of 28.
3rd. If I were to use (wrongly) this single example I would say that as a landscape it certainly didn't need f/2.0 by the way! I know of course this is illogical since f/2.0 is a choice but the same applies to 28mm for the 24-70 zoom.
 
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Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
491
162
A few specific thoughts, though: it's funny to suggest that 24mm is substantially different than 28mm. This image (not mine, found it by searching) compares the 24mm and 28mm coverage. It's not nothing, but it's not a game changer, and it made me laugh that you say 24-70 is significantly different in capability than 28-70. In this sample image, I'd argue that the 28mm offers a better crop of this mage with less dead space. The leading line created by the pathway moves the viewer's eye really nicely through the 24mm crop, but at 28mm that leading line peters out with about 15% of the image above it. I also think the houses end up placed more pleasingly to the eye in the 24mm crop. This is, of course, personal preference.
It's kind of absurd to argue the merits of one focal length vs. another solely based on how one specific image looks at both focal lengths. And you started out by arguing that the two focal lengths were not substantially different from each other, but then went on to say how different the photo looked taken at 24mm vs 28mm. So, I'm not sure what you're really trying to say here.


While your critiques of the speed are broadly sound in that they are not unreasonable, in many cases f2.0 is very, very workable in a lot of lighting conditions.
I guess that ultimately if I'm going to be doing anything at night and/or in poor lighting conditions, I want something that can go to at least f1.4. An f2 zoom is great, but not so much once you start thinking about how a fast prime can still give you about two stops more light gathering ability than that.

I love fast lenses, so a 28-70 f2 is pretty cool to me. I think it is possible that I might own one someday if I can find a deal on one used. But when I think about how I would really use it in real life, I can't really find a good place for it. If I'm somewhere with poor light, I want the ability to go all the way to f1.2. If it's during the day and I'm traveling or something like that, then I'll give up the low light ability in favor of the versatility of a zoom. This lens just kind of wedges itself between those two, and I'm not sure it's for the better.

Also, it's hilarious that you're complaining that the fastest constant-aperture zoom lens ever released isn't fast enough. Nothing's ever good enough, eh?
Well no, I'm not going to say that an f2 lens is fast enough for me when there are any number of f1.2 lenses that I could use instead. Zoom or not, it's just not that fast of a lens in the grand scheme of things. For a zoom, yes it is, but that doesn't make the fact that some primes can pull in much more light any less relevant.
 
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Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
491
162
I noticed you said the 24-70 is already limited in it’s zoom range. It sounds like you use a standard zoom to “get closer” which is not it’s purpose at all.
Well, it has to be its purpose in situations where you physically can't get any closer or further away from what you're taking a photo of. Yes, you can use a zoom range to give the photo different levels of compression. But sometimes, ultimately, you're either trying to take a photo of something far away that you can't get any closer to, or you're in a tight interior space trying to get more of the scene in, so how wide of a zoom range you have determines how well you'll be able to capture the scene.
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
491
162
Here's the thing, though: Imagine the potential of a lens like this - mounted on a body with IBIS. (y) Ditto for the 50 1.2.
Yeah it would be great in some situations where you're taking a landscape photo or something else that's still. But for any sort of a dynamic thing you're trying to take a photo of, IBIS does no good, and it all comes down to how much light you can pull in through the lens.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,577
657
119
A few specific thoughts, though: it's funny to suggest that 24mm is substantially different than 28mm. This image (not mine, found it by searching) compares the 24mm and 28mm coverage. It's not nothing, but it's not a game changer, and it made me laugh that you say 24-70 is significantly different in capability than 28-70. In this sample image, I'd argue that the 28mm offers a better crop of this mage with less dead space. The leading line created by the pathway moves the viewer's eye really nicely through the 24mm crop, but at 28mm that leading line peters out with about 15% of the image above it. I also think the houses end up placed more pleasingly to the eye in the 24mm crop. This is, of course, personal preference.

That is a very disingenuous image to illustrate a point, it is a completely foreign perspective for a wide angle lens and it wasn't shot with a 28mm lens anyway, so truly is dishonest. All they have done is taken an image shot with, what looks like a 200mm lens or above, said this is a 24mm perspective and cropped it to a 28mm perspective by area, it is not showing the actual angle of view or perspective you'd get from either lens let alone an honest comparison.

Up close and personal there is a massive difference between 24mm and 28mm, try shooting reception table shots, environmental portraits in tight spaces etc etc, there is a very good reason all blue ribbon mid length zooms have settled on 24-70, the MkII 28-70 R will be a 24-70 if history is any indicator.
 

eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
56
32
so truly is dishonest.
This is a bizarre thing to say. Dishonest? It's an accurate reflection of the field of view of 24mm vs 28mm. There's nothing dishonest about that. If you don't think it is the best representation of the differences, that's fair. But dishonest? Give me a freakin' break.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,351
606
I use my 24-70 f/2.8 in low light at events. I seldom use 24 mm, but do zoom to 28mm. A extra stop would be valuable, but the price for that stop is high. Another factor is the amount of distortions toward the edges when taking photos of a large group of people where those at the edge need to be clearly viewed. I can definitely see that it would pay for itself for some users, but not for me.

I used to use primes, changing lenses from 24, 35, 50, 85, and 135 mm while in the dark was a real challenge, and I did have a table where I was able to sit them. When the 24-70 II and the 70-200II came out, I bought them and the primes found no use. Even so, the additional noise at f/2.8 forces a pretty high ISO setting.

I now have two FF bodies, one for each zoom, and I'd be happy to have the RF if It did not cost so much. The other factor, of course is that a EF lens can be moved back and forth from my R to my 5D MK IV which is worth a lot.

As others have said, its a special purpose lens. Canon does not expect to sell many of them, so a lot of it is PR.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,577
657
119
This is a bizarre thing to say. Dishonest? It's an accurate reflection of the field of view of 24mm vs 28mm. There's nothing dishonest about that. If you don't think it is the best representation of the differences, that's fair. But dishonest? Give me a freakin' break.
No I won't give you a break and no it isn't an accurate representation of the field of view of either focal length. If it had been taken with a 24mm lens then it might be fair, it wasn't so it doesn't have the fov of a 28 or 24mm lens.

You can't just crop any image and say 'this is what a 'x' focal length would look like unless you take it with the widest focal length and then crop in, that isn't what was done here so it isn't accurate. If it isn't accurate it is dishonest.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,577
657
119
"give me a break" means you're being stupid. it means that comment is idiotic. good luck to you.
I might be idiotic but I am not wrong.

Here are two examples of a 24 vs 28, in the chairs shot, mimicking a reception table shoot, I get at least two more people in the frame at the same average shooting distance. That can be the difference between getting everybody in and needing to change to a wider lens.
 

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eyeheartny

EOS R | 50 1.2 RF
Sep 3, 2018
56
32
I might be idiotic but I am not wrong.

Here are two examples of a 24 vs 28, in the chairs shot, mimicking a reception table shoot, I get at least two more people in the frame at the same average shooting distance. That can be the difference between getting everybody in and needing to change to a wider lens.
Fine. But you'll get distorted faces on the edges of the 24, and unflattering facial features, but whatever works for you.