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Everything about this lens is exquisite. It is extremely well built, with solid, metal construction and smooth-as-silk focus and zoom rings that respond to almost effortless, tiny adjustments but don't creep when you don't touch them. It produces fantastically sharp images all the way through the zoom range with the colours looking saturated and effective, and the aberrations and curvature of field are well controlled. The range it offers, 24 to 70mm, is only of real use on a full frame camera - so a 5D (or MkII or MkIII) and 1Dx being the current full frame models made by Canon. That puts this lens firmly in the luxury territory, one only considered by professionals or extremely enthusiastic amateurs with lots of cash to spend. On a crop sensor camera it would be about 38 - 112mm, a much less useful range. On a full frame it can be used as a landscape or architecture lens, as 24mm is quite wide. The maximum aperture and zoom range of this lens make it useful in practically any situation as an event lens - indoor or outdoor - and when combined with the high end bodies mentioned above it really is an unbeatable combination. Alternatives include the cheaper 17-55 f2.8 (on a crop sensor body) which I have found noticeably poorer in terms of image quality, but at less than half the price.
I was tempted by the lens initially when I bought my canon camera. However the 24-105mm IS kit lens combo with my 5D offered a superior bundle. I was never disappointed. The 24-105 is a really great len with slightly added focal distance. The 24-70mm, which rates highly among users on Fred Miranda etc did eventually follow and became one of my first choices when out photographing/ on a shoot. It's heavier. Much heavier than the 24-105. But bare in mind that weight will add the stability for those missing the image stabilization function of the kit lens. It has what is called constant aperture which means as you zoom in on your subject the same amount of light still reaches the sensor. Therefore when zooming in quickly there is no need to change F stop of shutter speed to compensate for decrease in light. This also comes handy when filming with the 5D as you provide a proper video function. This isn't possible on the 24-105mm or any static prime lens. This is a L (for luxury) lens which means its one of Canon's higher end range products. So it satisfies with all of what you would expect from an L lens really. Fast and accurate auto-focus. An extra few stops of light (F/2.8 wide open) with great contrast and image quality. Great colour and sharp details with no distortion that I could tell of. You have a broad focal length from 24 (wide angle- good for landscapes) to 70mm (great portrait distance). This lens will be with me for a long time and I highly recommend renting or buying.
I'm a professional photographer & this is the lens I use the most, it's very versatile & I have it on my camera as my standard lens when I'm working. When the £ was stronger you could pick this up for under £700, at present it'll cost you over £900. Being an L Series Lens, it's the best available Canon zoom lens for the focal length. I find this lens is perfect as you can get fairly wide at the 24mm end, while you can get a nice portrait at the 50-70mm end, making it a good option if you don't want to be changing lenses regularly. The reason for the cost is primarily the fact that the camera opens up to f2.8, meaning there is a lot of glass in there, making it an expensive bit of kit, but something I couldn't work without. It offers lovely background blur at 2.8 through to 5.6, while retaining sharp detail on the narrower end. The image quality may be marginally worse than a prime lens, but the ability to shift from wide shots to portraits in a second is more important. Zoom lenses have improved immeasurably in the last ten years, making them a very sensible option these days. As usual with an L lens the autofocus is crisp, quiet & fast while the manual focus is also very accurate once you've mastered it. It's a heavy lens, so I don't use this as a walkaround lens, it's more of a heavy-duty working lens in my opinion. For the cost too it would only really be worthwhile if you were using it professionally. There are lesser lenses that will do a similar job in some respects, a lens of this calibre definitely delivers a higher quality image, but for a lot of uses you don't need quality this high. Available light shots are top notch with this lens, while you can shoot wide shots such as groups without needing a lens change. Landscapes are also possible, although a 16-35mm lens may be better. From 50mm to 70mm you can get lovely portraits & you can also shoot reportage with the flexibility to zoom in & out. This lens is a great all rounder with many uses, it is very expensive but you get what you pay for for definite.
This is a fantastic lens that I have used a few times by virtue of a local photographic club. Unfortunately at nearly £900 it is just slightly beyond my economic range. Technical bit This lens does what many had previously thought impossible - improve upon the previous L-series 28-70 f/2.8 lens. It incorporates new design features that allow a broader focal length range without sacrificing overall image quality. With the rise in popularity of digital cameras and sensors smaller than a 35mm film frame, there has been an increased demand for a high-performance standard zoom lens with a wider wide-angle setting. The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens was aimed at meeting this demand. Greater coverage from the ultra-wide-angle 24mm setting makes it an ideal option for digital as well as film photographers. Technical Details High-speed AF Optimised lens coatings Filter Size: 77mm Highly resistant to dust and water droplets Min. focusing distance of 0.38m at all focal lengths Front of lens does not rotate during focusing Manual focus is possible in AF mode Only lead-free glass is used Maximum Diameter: 83.2mm Weight: 950 g The cheapest price I found on line was for £869 at www.shopping4cameras.com