Review: Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

#21
I own this lens on my EOS R and I can confidently say it's sharper than the EF 24-105 f/4L II IS USM and even the 24-70 f/2.8L II USM...perhaps I'm out of my mind, perhaps I have a good copy...perhaps the internet is looking to trash on the EOS R at any chance it can get. But I've actually worked with this lens and this gear and make my living with photography. This is a truly professional grade lens and controls chromatic aberrations and distortions rather well. I used it for product photography and was delighted by the performance and total absence of longitudinal chromatic aberrations.

Also the claims of this lens being too expensive are asinine. The Sony version is MORE expensive.
 
Dec 20, 2012
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#22
I don't know who said but one of the videos I was watching on the R said the 24-105 was as sharp as the 24-70... I believe the meant the 24-70 F2.8 m2 But I have watched too many videos to find it easily.
 
Oct 26, 2013
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#23
I guess it all depends on just how picky you are about sharpness. Having rented this lens for a few days, I found the IQ to be as top notch as anything I have used. Sharp, with really good contrast and rich color. As other's have mentioned here and over the years, a lens that covers a longer focal distance and switches from wide to tele is the hardest to make. You really can't compare it to lenses with a different range. This lens could be used by any pro, without question, in my opinion.
 
Likes: YuengLinger

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends Too Much Time on This Forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,830
267
#24
Compared to the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II, Bryan found the RF version to be slightly sharper ...
— But it sounds like "As poor as it gets".

Here is (completely unscientific) comparison of DXO sharpness score vs. release year for genuine Canon EF glass (white) and Sony FE (red). Two 24-105 offerings from Canon are looking quite sorry even in comparison to infamous Sony's 24-240mm ultrazoom. Moreover, the 24-105/4L II is the least sharp of recent Canon lenses.
View attachment 181304
DXO does not test lenses but they give you the impression that they do. They test lens / camera combinations. Comparing a lens / camera combination across different brands is tricky because they seldom have the same number of pixels or the sensor is of a different generation. Even using a Canon lens on a Sony camera is a problem because cameras are setup for the manufacturers lens, they have a internal table to change settings to match the lens, but it only works for the manufacturers lenses.

The EOS R is different with RF lenses, because the setup data table is in the lens and sent to the camera with instructions for setup to match the lens. That makes it very tough for 3rd party lens makers unless they can reverse engineer it and avoid patents.
 

VORON

I'm New Here
Nov 23, 2017
10
10
St. Petersburg, Russia
#25
DXO does not test lenses but they give you the impression that they do. They test lens / camera combinations. Comparing a lens / camera combination across different brands is tricky ...
True. Luckily, there's an easy way to test both EF and mirrorless lenses on a single camera.

The EOS R is different with RF lenses, because the setup data table is in the lens and sent to the camera with instructions for setup to match the lens. That makes it very tough for 3rd party lens makers unless they can reverse engineer it and avoid patents.
They can either ignore in-camera corrections, or make an agreement with original manufacturer. The very latest Sigma lenses support in-camera corrections on Canon bodies.
 
Feb 25, 2015
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#26
DXO does not test lenses but they give you the impression that they do. They test lens / camera combinations. [..]
I seem to remember that the DXO sharpness score is also impacted by the minimum aperture, so if you have 2 identical lenses, but one will go down to f/22 and the other to f/32 DXO will score the f/22 one higher.
Both values are way beyond the diffraction limit already for the sensors they are tested on, but we're talking about DXO here.
 
Likes: stevelee
Aug 16, 2012
4,236
463
#27
I seem to remember that the DXO sharpness score is also impacted by the minimum aperture, so if you have 2 identical lenses, but one will go down to f/22 and the other to f/32 DXO will score the f/22 one higher.
Both values are way beyond the diffraction limit already for the sensors they are tested on, but we're talking about DXO here.
There is so much smoke and mirrors behind DxOmark tests. One of their tricks is to present lens measurements where you can choose the body, like a 5DIV or 7DII. But, they don't actually compare directly but use a formula they have concocted based other combinations. They also present an overall score based on the best focal length of a lens so it might be mid-range for a telephoto that is garbage fully extended.
 
Likes: pj1974
Oct 3, 2014
29
1
Finland
#28
I don't know who said but one of the videos I was watching on the R said the 24-105 was as sharp as the 24-70... I believe the meant the 24-70 F2.8 m2 But I have watched too many videos to find it easily.
I recall that at least Tony said it already a while ago in another of his videos, before the video that came out yesterday from him.

So, some are reporting it is very sharp, while others that it is not so much of an improvement over its EF-counterpart (v2). Do we have a big variation between copies or what is the issue? Do we have anyone here with hands on experience saying it is not much of an improvement, and that the EF-24-70 (v2) is still sharper (Tony say's they don't have meaningful difference anymore, if I recall right...)

I am tempted because of the reach and apparently good IS, but the F/4 and image quality still make me think twice. If the IQ would turn out like Tony claims, I might slide over and get one. But maybe I end up waiting for the RF 24-70 f/2.8 IS and see then again.

Another thing about the EF vs RF -lenses on the R, I find that without the battery grip on the R it is not so comfortable to hold adapted "longish / heavyish" lenses like even the EF 24-70 for very long. They feel quite front heavy and the R body without the grip does not give my hands a strong handle. With the grip the whole problem kind of goes away, for me anyway. Now I have the battery grip, but this is one reason I'm curious about these RF options, hoping they wouldn't feel so front heavy. I'm looking for the RF 35mm f/1.8...
 
Likes: jd7

YuengLinger

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 20, 2012
2,095
121
Southeastern USA
#29
Why did I get the impression that with the RF mount lenses we'd have less copy variation and less vignetting than in the EF counterparts? I guess I read what I want to believe sometimes.

If there really are significant copy variations, then at least that's better than the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II's consistently soft and CA prone reputation. (I tried 3 or 4 copies of the latest EF version from three sources and didn't keep any. Worst L lens I ever tried.)

Truly disappointing if this review holds true for the majority of the RF copies. I don't see any reason to risk getting this as a kit. If the body is fine but the lens is soft, what a pain in the neck.
 
May 4, 2011
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#30
There is copy variation even with the EF-M lenses - case in point, I seem to have wound up with a sub-par copy of the 15-45 as other posters seem to be singing its praise while I’ve stopped using mine and put it on the list of stuff to be traded in - don’t see how the RF lenses would be much different (they are more complex after all too).

I only can speak for the copy of the 24-105 on my local store’s display model R - I have nothing to compare it to, so I can’t really say...compared to the EF version (I) I don’t really see a difference honestly. In fact I initially thought my EF version was a bit better but that’s before I realized that it’s probably just the softer R output vs. the 5D4.

Bottom line - I think different people have different thresholds of what “sharp” means. I’m probably near the extreme end in this case in that I like very high acutance and lots of detail. The 5DSR/85 1.4 combo at f2.8 or f4 - or the 5DSR/100 Macro or 35 1.4 II combo - is what I consider (wow) sharp. Heck, the EF 24-105 on my old 5D3 I considered acceptably sharp, particularly near 50mm. On the 5D4 I find it meh, but still good enough for walkaround use, provided the presence of good, bright light (otherwise detail is nonexistent). YMMV...
 

twoheadedboy

I'm New Here
Jan 3, 2018
10
2
Kenosha, WI
#31
I have the STM. Having the R-native lens intrigues me, and this seems like a "best of both worlds" (STM and L II) in that it has silent focus and size of the STM and the constant f/4 aperture of the L II, but is it really an upgrade optically over the STM? I'm not seeing any evidence that it is, or is significantly.
 
#32
We've been through this before. Had Canon been able to make a 24-105 that is significantly sharper and sell it for $1,500 they would have. The fact that they haven't and that no other manufacturer has been able to make a significantly sharper lens should tell you something. My own opinion is that to produce a lens in this range that is visibly sharper would push the cost well above $2,000. At that price point, the market for such a lens quickly evaporates.

I'm a consistent user of the EF-L 24-105, first V1 and now V2, and have no complaints in everyday real world usage. For me, the versatility of this focal length is worth a tiny compromise in sharpness. If you obsess over sharpness, you need to look at other focal lengths.
 
Aug 16, 2012
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463
#33
Lensrentals did a good blog comparing the Sony with the others https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2018/02/mtf-tests-of-the-sony-fe-24-105mm-f4-oss/
Roger summarises: "...Sony has made a damn good 24-105mm f/4 lens. Damn good being a relative term, of course, because it’s a 24-105mm lens and I have come to hate them all so I can’t be too nice about it. But it’s clearly better than the Canon 24-105mm f/4 II IS, and at least as good as the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 Art or Nikon 24-120mm VR. Fanboys, may start their hair-splitting engines now about which one is two angstroms better than the other."
 
Feb 7, 2013
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#34
Tony Northrup says the RF 24 - 105 is the best 24 - 105 on the market:

For the system yes EOS R and those other EOS R certainly look like that they rock although these lenses are only supportable on EOS R bodies, therefore people who own couple of Canon DSLR's still like 5D MK 4, !D X will probably still invest in the EF brand for the time being and use these on the EOS R when they buy the bodies - excellent adaptor. Still think people will buy the EOS R lenses that they currently don't have in EF or update very earlier lenses, e.g., Canon EF 24-105 F4 MK 1 until more pro versions of the EOS R appears, e.g., Canon EOS R1X, etc.

This is the same quandary / dilemma on the Nikon side of the fence although Canon is more involved in Mirrorless than Nikon who still don't have an entry level entrance to mirrorless, e.g., APS mirrorless M50, etc. Therefore the cheapest entry point for Nikon's is £2300 compared to £300 for Canon Aps mirrorless investing in some EFm/ EFs lenses and majority of their lenses probably would be good EF lenses and where over time they can upgrade to the EOS R FF Mirrorless.

Have to say that the Canon EOS R and its equivalent lenses certainly seem very strong to me
 
#35
Just in case anyone is interested, the EF 24-105 f/4L II IS USM lens is an absolutely tremendous piece of glass. It is optically better than the version one in many ways - distortion, chromatic aberrations, flare performance. But if all you care about is overall sharpness, then you're not going to see much improvement over the Mark I.

I have used this lens for a large portion of my editorial work this year and began to travel with the 24-105 exclusively over the 24-70 last August simply because the zoom range and IS are more usable. I reserve the 24-70 for weddings and events now. It's sharp and performs very well. I wish people would stop being so silly about the lens because it's extremely underrated.

All photos taken with the EF 24-105 f/4L II IS USM and 5D Mark IV.
 

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#36
I own this lens on my EOS R and I can confidently say it's sharper than the EF 24-105 f/4L II IS USM and even the 24-70 f/2.8L II USM...perhaps I'm out of my mind, perhaps I have a good copy...perhaps the internet is looking to trash on the EOS R at any chance it can get. But I've actually worked with this lens and this gear and make my living with photography. This is a truly professional grade lens and controls chromatic aberrations and distortions rather well. I used it for product photography and was delighted by the performance and total absence of longitudinal chromatic aberrations.

Also the claims of this lens being too expensive are asinine. The Sony version is MORE expensive.
What I see on TDP is that the RF lens is maybe a little bit weaker in the center but it's much better in the corners. One has to "interpolate" between the 1Ds mark iii and 5DsR files for the EF versions to compare it to the RF version. And there a lot of sublime properties which make a vivid contrasty faithful image than just the "measurable" sharpness.

Seeing forward to the test of the EF-M 32, the first lens I bought without seeing a good review or sample photos - I would like to see some scientific proof why I am so happy with it (I can live without it but as scientist I like to complement subjective experiences with a more formal analysis :)
 
Nov 8, 2011
3,792
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#37
What I see on TDP is that the RF lens is maybe a little bit weaker in the center but it's much better in the corners. One has to "interpolate" between the 1Ds mark iii and 5DsR files for the EF versions to compare it to the RF version. And there a lot of sublime properties which make a vivid contrasty faithful image than just the "measurable" sharpness.

Seeing forward to the test of the EF-M 32, the first lens I bought without seeing a good review or sample photos - I would like to see some scientific proof why I am so happy with it (I can live without it but as scientist I like to complement subjective experiences with a more formal analysis :)
I am happy with my EF24-105 f/4L IS (first version) on my 5DMkIV. Use of our 24-105 lenses with 30 mpixel cameras maybe the reason for both of us.
 
May 4, 2011
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#39
I am happy with my EF24-105 f/4L IS (first version) on my 5DMkIV. Use of our 24-105 lenses with 30 mpixel cameras maybe the reason for both of us.
I still use mine for outdoor events from time to time on the 5D4. I really liked it on the 5D3 when I had it, it got good results even indoors.
 
Jan 28, 2015
2,667
276
Irving, Texas
#40
Just in case anyone is interested, the EF 24-105 f/4L II IS USM lens is an absolutely tremendous piece of glass. It is optically better than the version one in many ways - distortion, chromatic aberrations, flare performance. But if all you care about is overall sharpness, then you're not going to see much improvement over the Mark I.

I have used this lens for a large portion of my editorial work this year and began to travel with the 24-105 exclusively over the 24-70 last August simply because the zoom range and IS are more usable. I reserve the 24-70 for weddings and events now. It's sharp and performs very well. I wish people would stop being so silly about the lens because it's extremely underrated.

All photos taken with the EF 24-105 f/4L II IS USM and 5D Mark IV.
Very nice! I think I'd have to be over the top picky to find fault. Your photos tell a much better story than photos of pine needles. :) Proving once again that the photographer is most important. The only thing more to wish for (just my taste) would be for the lens to be internally focusing like the 70-200. It would probably make the lens heavier and bigger, but I would be okay with that. Your shots have sold me. I'm sure the R version is just as good. Sometimes one must wonder if people commenting about lenses have ever actually used them. I think the answer is they have not, in many cases. A lot of regurgitation goes on.
 
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