Canon 24-105 f/4L IS original vs Mk II

RichardRichard Mildly bemusedMadrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
edited March 11, 2017 in Cameras

So I think I'm going to buy one of these. There is a huge difference in price between the original and the latest version, about 600 Euros, which makes the II almost double the price. Is it worth it? I'd be interested in hearing from people who upgraded to the Mk II. What, exactly, did that buy you? I mostly do street shooting, have a 50D and no plan to upgrade anytime soon.

Thanks

Comments

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,061Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 12, 2017

    I was hoping that someone with experience with these lenses would reply, but that hasn't happened yet so here is my opinion on the 24-105mm "L" situation from Canon (specific to crop 1.6x/APS-C imager bodies).

    Let's start with the obvious; the EF 24-105mm, f4L USM series zooms are FF lenses, so on a Canon crop body they are less "wide" for FOV than they would be on a FF body. I trust you to know the needed FOV so if the roughly 38-168mm equivalence FOV works for your style of shooting then they are a great candidate for steet/PJ work.

    Since these are FF lenses they use the center portion of the lens, avoiding most of the issues relating to edge and corners. In this case that makes the older version of this lens appear to have somewhat better IQ versus a FF application.

    Bryan Carnathan of The Digital Picture said of the original version, "If I had only one lens, this would be the one." I think that pretty well sums up the performance, but do read his reviews at the following links:

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-24-105mm-f-4-L-IS-USM-Lens-Review.aspx
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-EF-24-105mm-f-4L-IS-II-USM-Lens.aspx

    Photozone summarized their review of version "I" saying, "In fact the resolution results beat those from the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L and match the EF 28-70mm f/2.8 USM L with its much more conservative zoom range (but higher speed)." They go on to talk about issues which mostly relate to FF, and I don't think those issues will have much impact on your use.

    http://www.photozone.de/reviews/188-canon-ef-24-105mm-f4-usm-l-is-lab-test-report--review

    The Version II lens does have some improvements optically, and it's AF performance is probably noticeably better on a more modern Canon dSLR*****. Regarding basic IQ Bryan said, "The image quality comparison between these two lenses does not necessarily lead one to a decisive conclusion in regards to sharpness, but the II performs slightly better at 105mm. The II has less vignetting, less distortion and shows slightly less flaring."

    "Slightly" is a pretty small moderating adverb, so I'm pretty comfortable suggesting the first version EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM for most applications.

    *****(Follow this link to see what I mean by this statement. https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/08/autofocus-reality-part-3b-canon-cameras/)

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 14,059Super Moderators moderator

    I have been wondering above newer version as well, Ziggy. But if the major improvements are "less vignetting. less distortion, and slightly less flaring" - much of which are correctable with a software profile like in Lightroom, just how much noticeable improvement in images can we really expect. Slightly better AF would be nice, but have never felt troubled by slow AF with the version 1 24-105 unless the light was pretty low. Hmmmm.....

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 11,664Administrators moderator
    edited March 12, 2017

    Personally, I'd wait a year or two for the refurbs to get cheap enough. That said, my 24-105 ver I is doing just fine and I'm perfectly happy with it. I am aware of the vignetting and distortion problems at either end (life with zooms -- just another day) , but with decent post processing software (LR, PS, DPP), those issues are taken care of automatically and are non issue.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    Thanks, guys. I've looked at those links and a few others from the time that the Mk II was first released. I've concluded that despite some improvements, the original is a better value for my purposes. I am comfortable with post-processing corrections. Also, the Mk II is slightly bigger and heavier, which I certainly don't need. I'm more of a close enough for rock 'n' roll kind of guy than a pixel peeper, so the price difference is compelling.

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,061Super Moderators moderator

    @pathfinder said:
    ... the major improvements are "less vignetting. less distortion, and slightly less flaring" - much of which are correctable with a software profile like in Lightroom, just how much noticeable improvement in images can we really expect. Slightly better AF would be nice, but have never felt troubled by slow AF with the version 1 24-105 unless the light was pretty low. Hmmmm.....

    @David_S85 said:
    ... my 24-105 ver I is doing just fine and I'm perfectly happy with it. I am aware of the vignetting and distortion problems at either end (life with zooms -- just another day) , but with decent post processing software (LR, PS, DPP), those issues are taken care of automatically and are non issue.

    @Richard said:
    ... I am comfortable with post-processing corrections. Also, the Mk II is slightly bigger and heavier, which I certainly don't need. I'm more of a close enough for rock 'n' roll kind of guy than a pixel peeper, so the price difference is compelling.

    That's the thing; the original, first version EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is not just OK, it's still extremely relevant and in the hands of lots of professionals. It's not a lens that you need to feel compromised with and you can do serious work using it. This is especially the case for crop Canon bodies.

    It's that good!

    I do suggest that in lower light and considering the Canon 50D body it will benefit from using the center AF and, when close proximity permits, using AF-Assist from either a competent flash with that feature or a flash trigger with AF-Assist. (I can recommend the Yongnuo YN622C-TX for a very effective AF-Assist and what I typically use on both the 40D and the 7D MKI. [The 40D has the same AF module as the 50D.])

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited March 12, 2017

    Thanks, Ziggy. I do mostly outdoors, daytime shooting, so it's not much of an issue. I usually use center AF, and when I know I'll be dealing with low light, I carry my Canon 35 f/1.4L or 580ex flash. I also have an ST-E2 trigger, which I could use for focus assist, but I confess I haven't bothered. I like to travel light whenever possible. I'm hoping that the IS will help with longer shutter speeds, in a pinch.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 14,059Super Moderators moderator

    With respect, Richard. For the price of the V2 of the 24-105, you could get an 80D to replace your 50D body, couldn't you? I suspect you would notice more improvement from the newer body AF and the newer sensor than you will with the newer lens. I really like my 70D, and generally prefer it to my 7DMk II - smalller, lighter, adjustable LCD, good AF, and touch AF on the LCD. The 80D sounds like it is even better. Just a thought. I do generally favor new glass over a new body too, but in this case, I think you will enjoy a newer body more than an updated version of the 24-104. I will not be replacing my 24-105 v1 lens, at least until the price drops significantly. Software profiles make it a very nice lens for me.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited March 12, 2017

    Jim, I think you may have misunderstood what I'm up to. I'm not updating from the original to the MK II, but adding the original to my lens lineup. Amazon in Spain has it on sale for nearly 40% off. My current walk-around is a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. Depending on my destination, I may carry a 17-40 f/4L or a 70-200 f/4L instead. I'm hoping that the 24-105 becomes the workhorse, as it has a more versatile range. I don't like carrying more than a single lens when wandering around because of the weight. As for the 50D, it's still a much better camera than I am a photographer, so I'm not in any rush. My main complaints with it are not AF, but noise and dynamic range. At some point, I'll likely buy a used 5D III or IV when a good deal pops up.

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter Posts: 14,059Super Moderators moderator

    I see, I did mis-understand , yes. I am sorry for the mis-understanding. I agree that the original version 1 of the 24-105 is a fine lens - as I said, I plan to keep mine.

    I do stand by my comments that you would notice better AF, as well as less noise and better dynamic range with the 80D. But if the choice is a 5D MIII or IV, no question which is better for AF and noise. The 5D Mk IV wins hands down.

    I frequently use a Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO Lens on a 70D for walk around shooting when I don't want to carry anything but a small camera with me. The optics ( + LR lens profile ) are much better than one would expect, even at the long and short ends of the zoom range. I have used this lens inadvertently on a FF body, and the central image is sharp - but the lens only has an image circle adequate for an EF-S crop body.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • rainbowrainbow Major grins Posts: 2,764Registered Users Major grins

    Richard, the original should be fine for the street shooting. It should be center sharp and any perceived differences from the Ver2 would not be critical as it might in landscape and other genres. I am just starting to get back into actively shooting and am waiting to try an SL1 with the 18 - 135. I especially like the wider (I bring 17 - 40 more than 24 - 105 for street, even with full frame). The 24 - 105 range shines on a FF. I picked up a 6D because of the low light sensor performance and the price savings over a 5D 3 or 4.

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    Cheers, Rainbow. Yes, part of the idea is laying the groundwork for an eventual FF body. The 24-105 would cover what my 28-75 and 17-40 give me now on my 50D. Glad to hear you're shooting again.

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 19,061Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 13, 2017

    @Richard said:
    Cheers, Rainbow. Yes, part of the idea is laying the groundwork for an eventual FF body. The 24-105 would cover what my 28-75 and 17-40 give me now on my 50D. Glad to hear you're shooting again.

    On a FF body, especially on either the Canon 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 1D X or 1D X Mark II, the situation is much less clear. The original Canon 24-105mm, f4L has a "lot" of barrel distortion at the wide end, plus the edges and corners lose sharpness. It's not a horrible situation in either case but the reasons why I will never have an original Canon 24-105mm, f4L myself.

    Coupled with the f4 aperture, which does not activate the center f2.8 AF High-Precision mode of the host body and certainly a lack of a "closed loop AF" capability means that, at least for me, the original version of the 24-105mm, f4L does not meet my quality standards as a "professional" zoom lens on a FF body. (There will be too high a percentage of rejected images due to soft AF and/or soft peripheral regions.)

    On a modern Canon FF body (currently, one of the 4 bodies listed above), while the lack of High-Precision AF still exists, the Mark II is likely to have the "closed loop AF" technology, and known to have improved IS, all of which will lead to a higher rate of "keepers". Add the somewhat improved 105mm sharpness plus reduced barrel distortion at 24mm and this newer lens is itself a keeper, very much IMO.


    To summarize, if you do intend to use the lens exclusively on your Canon 50D for some time, the original EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is my recommendation.

    If a FF body purchase is imminent then the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Mark II has enough advantages in a FF body to justify the newer version, IMO.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    Thanks. Informative as ever, Kevin. FF is not in my immediate future. Even with my current rig, I don't reject many shots for technical reasons. More like, why the hell did I think that shot was worth taking? Maybe I'll wait till the 5D Mk VI has a "meh" reject feature. :smiley:

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAPosts: 11,075Administrators moderator

    @Richard said:
    Maybe I'll wait till the 5D Mk VI has a "meh" reject feature. :smiley:

    It's got that. You can rate your pictures (like Lightroom) as you go and deal with just rated pictures or even delete just the unrated ones in a single operation. :smile:

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    Nah, I want one that says "that's boring/cliched/stupid/etc, don't waste your time" before I press the shutter. Thinking it through, I'd probably just get into arguments with it, so maybe it's not such a great idea. Be careful what you wish for...

  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 11,664Administrators moderator

    Chimping is the manual "Meh" mode I usually use.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • IMAGEMAXIMAGEMAX TexasPosts: 15Registered Users Big grins

    Richard, you will like this lens, or I should say it is one of my favorite and I really believe you will like it as well. I have had mine for several years, the thing is awesome in my opinion. Have a good one! Larry

  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainPosts: 17,885Administrators, Vanilla Admin moderator

    @IMAGEMAX said:
    Richard, you will like this lens, or I should say it is one of my favorite and I really believe you will like it as well. I have had mine for several years, the thing is awesome in my opinion. Have a good one! Larry

    Thanks, Larry. I bought the original version and I've had very good results so far.

  • IMAGEMAXIMAGEMAX TexasPosts: 15Registered Users Big grins

    Nice! It's my favorite lens in that general zoom category, have used it as one of the better ones when taking weddings. Have a good one!

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