Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii review

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Last week my Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS finally failed after many years of excellent, reliable service. The symptoms indicate that it is the well documented diaphragm failure and I am sure visit to Canon CPS will sort that out very promptly!

That said, I had one more wedding to shoot this year. My 24-105mm is a real workhorse of a lens and along with my 70-200mm F2.8L IS, is my most used lens when shooting weddings. So although I carry multiple backups of all my gear and can easily cover all focal lengths, I started to consider other options… My mind went straight to the new Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii lens and I thought it would be great to try it out in a real life wedding situation. One phone call later and I had reserved a copy of this lens at Calumet in central London and hurried over to pick it up! Unfortunately I do not have any wedding images, shot with this lens, which I can share in this post as the wedding was only yesterday and they will take a little while to be processed.

Before having to return the lens tomorrow morning, I decided to run a much abbreviated sharpness/contrast test versus a couple of my other lenses, just to get a “finger in the air” impression of the lens:

  1. Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii versus Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L IS Mk I at 70mm, F2.8
  2. Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii versus Sigma 50mm F1.4 at 50mm, F2.8

The Sigma is a fantastic prime and although I don’t use it much, it has given me very good results and from F2.2 onwards it is very sharp indeed. Due to a lack of available time I simply chose the above two comparisons but have a look at the results and the conclusion is like night and day.

Test setup:

  • Camera body: Canon 5D Mk iii
  • Camera on tripod approximately 2.8 meters from the target
  • Manual focus using live view at 10x magnification as well as AF and selected the best version
  • Mirror lockup enabled
  • Timer shutter release
  • Exposure settings for all images: ISO 800, F2.8, 1/100th

The area shown below is at the centre of the frame cropped at 100% view.

Comparison #1: 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii versus Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L IS Mk I at 70mm, F2.8

Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii lens review

 

Comparison #2: 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii versus Sigma 50mm F1.4 at 50mm, F2.8

Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii

Summary:

Although this test covers only a snippet of a thorough Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii review and comparisons versus other lenses, it if very clear that the Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L Mk ii lens is fantastically sharp with great contrast. Clearly better than the Canon 70-200mm at 70mm focal length at maximum aperture and surprisingly also clearly better than the very good Sigma 50mm F1.4 stopped down by 2 stops (where it is pretty sharp in its own right). The cost of this lens seems to be the only complaint and I have to agree, at £1700 in the UK at the moment it certainly isn’t cheap. But the results seem to be outstanding and I will definitely be looking at acquiring this lens to compliment my lens line-up for weddings!

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