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Lens Review - Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L

Lens Review - Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L 

Quite possibly the best lens for shooting video on your Canon DSLR. 

The Canon 24-105mm is legendary among most Canon shooters, photo or video. It's actually been around for a while now and is the "kit" lens on cameras like the 5D and 6D. It's like the big brother to the EF 28-135mm, but there aren't many similarities between the two. 

The 24-105mm is in another class, like other Canon L lenses. It's the best Canon makes for photography. Canon does now make lenses solely for shooting video on their C body video cameras, but I'm pretty sure those won't work on EF mount full frame cameras, so full frame shooters are left with mostly photography lenses from which to choose. No worries, the 24-105mm is surprisingly adept at shooting video. Here's why: 

On full frame, you have a wide 24mm angle, all the way to a long 105mm close up angle, all in one lens. 

You have a constant f4 aperture, which isn't too fast, but is just enough for use in most decent light. Just carry a spare 50mm if you're scared you'll be shooting in the dark. 

You have IS. This is probably the biggest perk of owning a 24-105mm. The IS on this lens is phenomenal. It's smooth and fairly quiet and you can use it all day long for handheld shots and it really helps. Trust me when I say, it REALLY helps. Even mounted on a shoulder rig or on a fig rig, you will see vibrations in your image if you don't have IS on, especially at longer focal lengths. So yes, IS is a godsend and on the 24-105mm it's first class. I've used Nikon lenses that have horrific VR and seem broken compared to the 24-105mm. The oldie 28-135mm also has IS but it's an old version and also seems broken compared to this newer L lens. 

You have L quality. And while it might not be made of all metal and have precision bearings in the focus ring, it does operate smoothly considering it's a zoom with such a large focal range. It was originally manufactured for use as a photography lens, so if you buy one for video remember what it was intended for. But considering that, sometimes I look at the 24-105mm and forget that it's a photo lens. It harkens back to the auto zoom video lenses of Canon's HD video cameras. 

If you're on the fence about a lens to buy for your full frame Canon DSLR, just get this lens. It really is one of the best lenses out there. It's even more practical than the huge, heavy and expensive Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8 L. The only thing the 24-70mm does better is it allows a stop more light and it will give you a shallower depth of field. For video the IS on the 24-105mm makes it a no brainer. It's also cheaper than the 24-70mm so with the extra cash you'd save you could get the EF 50mm f1.4 for low light situations.

I've personally been through a lot of lenses and still do not own a 24-105mm for myself, as right now I shoot with a pair of Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 lenses, which are good but lack IS and the quality build of Canon.

I've used it a lot of others lenses to make films and video and yes, any lens will do the job and give you an image, but the 24-105mm is the best all-around lens, especially if you're using it to shoot paid work. It won't let you down and it will always deliver a quality, stable image. For weddings, industrials, commercials, whatever you're shooting, it will deliver.

Drawbacks  

There aren't many, but one that comes to mind is for those who like to use the internal audio from the 5D mark ii, iii and other Canon DSLRs. When you use IS on the 24-105mm, you will hear it running on the internal audio. You can still use the audio for syncing, but it won't be useable for anything else. Even with an external mic mounted on top of the camera, you may still be able to hear the IS. I'm not totally sure of this as I never use the internal audio for anything except syncing. 

It's big and heavy. Okay, this is sort of obvious. It's an f4 lens and it goes from 24mm to 105mm. It has to be huge. But compared to my Tamrons (28-75mm f2.8) it's a tank at almost twice the size. That's one of the reasons I like the Tamrons. I'm packing two of them and two DSLR bodies into a carry on with endless other odd and ends for my shoots, so size is a factor. 

Other options

The options are not limited with do-it-all zooms. Honestly the 24-105mm is the best, but you do have others out there.

The Canon EF 28-135mm f4-5.6 IS would be a sad substitution, but it does have IS, although it's an older version of IS and it's very loud and clunky.

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 is a compact zoom and it offers f2.8, its best feature. Other than that it's cheaply made and the focus ring is not for precision focus pulls. That said, I use it all the time and it works great. 

And then you have the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L which is compared to this lens all the time. The only reason to get the f2.8L is if you must have that faster aperture. For video this IS lens will be much more useful. 

If you're thinking of buying an EF 24-105mm f4 (or another lens) any time soon, use one of the links to amazon below. 

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