Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Jeremy Roussak on July 27, 2008, 10:26:05 am

Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: Jeremy Roussak on July 27, 2008, 10:26:05 am
I have a Canon EF-S 17-85 IS lens, which I use on my 20D. I do mostly landscapes, some stitched, buildings and family shots of my three-year-old daughter.

I'm finding a fair bit of chromatic aberration, which is particularly noticeable in the usual places - tree branches against skies and so on. Sometimes it's fairly easily corrected with LR's sliders, sometimes not. Overall I find the image quality is reasonable, if not stellar.

I'm thinking of getting the 24-105L. I find I don't use the wide end of the 17-85 very much and I wouldn't mind a bit of extra reach. It's also possible that a fit of extravagance will overcome me when the 5DII (or whatever it will be called) appears and I'd like to be prepared.

Am I likely to find a significant improvement in IQ (particularly CA) if I get the 24-105L? It's not a cheap lens (about 650 at best here in the UK). Are there significant quality control issues with it?


Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: stever on July 27, 2008, 11:20:13 am
i've used both the 17-85 and 24-105 quite a bit but have not used the 24-105 much on 20D or 40D as the wide end is important to me for a walk-around travel lens

- i don't think my 17-85 is as bad as it's reputation, but for sharpness and contrast the 24-105 on the 5D is a definite step up (but the 5D is some part of that).  check out the photozone tests of the 17-85 and 24-105 on crop frame cameras.  

- i haven't had an issue with CA, but that may be me or how i'm shooting

- the distortion of the 24-105 bothers me more than the 17-85 but that may be my increasing expectation.  the 24-105 has considerable and different distortion at just about every focal length which makes it less than ideal for architectural or stitching.  however, PTLens fixes the distortion pretty well, and it looks like PTGui will stitch okay.  distortion shouldn't be as bad with crop frame, but i haven't used the combination enough to comment
Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: erictoddjohnson on July 27, 2008, 08:48:32 pm
I've been using the 20D/17-85 kit for a couple of years now, and have also been tempted by the 24-105L.  A couple months ago I rented a 24-105 for a weekend of comparison shooting between the two lenses.  

As for the 17-85, I have also noticed the CA that Jeremy reported, but have no trouble correcting it in LR.   The bigger problem, IMO, is the oddly asymmetrical barrel distortion at the wide end, which is not as easily corrected.  

The 24-105 is a bit bigger and heavier than the 17-85, but after a while I didn't really notice the extra weight, and in fact I thought the 20D/24-105 combination was a little better balanced than the smaller lens.  CA was somewhat better with the 24-105; barrel distortion was less of a problem, and smooth enough to be easily corrected in PS.  

Image quality between the two lenses was much closer than I expected, and with most subjects there was not a huge difference in IQ in a 10x15 inch print.  Within its limits, I've never thought that the 17-85 is as bad as many reviewers claim, and in this particular shooting situation, the IQ alone did not completely sell me the L glass.  That said, this was by no means a scientifically rigorous test - I was shooting handheld at reasonably fast shutter speeds, ISO 100-400, and aperture ranges were generally f/8-11.  Shooting detailed landscapes on a tripod, for instance, may  reveal differences that I did not see in my days of street shooting.  

As for general performance of the lens other than IQ, I thought the 24-105 was a great lens.  The wider max aperture makes a noticeable difference in the brightness of the 20D viewfinder, autofocus seemed a bit faster than the 17-85, and the extra telephoto reach is nice to have in a walkaround lens.  [I have a 10-22 to take care of the wide angle, so I didn't miss the 17-23mm range.]

I still get tempted by the 24-105; if I find a good deal on one and am feeling flush I may give in to temptation.   If you have access to a shop that rents equipment, I would definitely recommend that you rent one for a day and run your own comparison.  

Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: One Frame at a Time on July 28, 2008, 02:09:00 pm

FWIW, I own this lens for about 6 months.  I had to order 4 copies before I found one that was a keeper.  After getting two that were really soft, I ordered two at once and found a good copy.  The first three were VERY soft.  Much softer than the 28-135 IS I wanted to replace. Not sure if this is because I shoot with a low line Xsi instead of a higher Canon model or just the usual poor quality control from Canon that always has me thinking about selling all my glass and going to Nikon....

Do some searches and you will see similar experiences from others.  If your credit card can take the hit I would order 4 at once!
Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: mahleu on July 28, 2008, 02:19:08 pm
I couldn't live with the distortion of either the 24-105 or the 17-85 so i've ended up with a 17-40 and a 24-70.
Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: BradSmith on August 01, 2008, 01:55:43 pm
Recently purchased my first digital,  a 40D.  Rented both a 24-105 and a 17-85 from the largest pro shop in Los Angeles.  Wanted to see how much quality spread there would be between the two. Lots of fairly rigorous field comparison shots.

Results....handling:  weight and size of 17-85 much more to my liking.  Focusing smoother on the 24-105, but 17-85 not too bad.
optical performance:  more CA on 17-85, but not terrible.  In doing landscape work, other distortions not terribly important to me, so I didn't test for them.  But image quality (sharpness and contrast) were a big surprise.  The 17-85 was sharper than the 24-105.  Not having other lenses to compare against, I don't know if I had a fantastic 17-85 or, more likely, a poor 24-105.  

This is likely sample variation and/or rental abuse.  But none the less, I felt that the 17-85 that I had in my hands was excellent on its own merits.

Title: Canon 24-105L
Post by: pindman on August 01, 2008, 02:34:25 pm
May I suggest considering a 5D body, which will be even more inexpensive when the 5DII comes out, with the 24-105?  In comparing this to the 17-85 with a smaller sensor (which I use when weight is an issue) there is a HUGE increase in quality.  I would suggest testing any new lens, as I have had to have many calibrated under warranty or have had to try several samples, although the 24-105 was right the first time.