Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The 24-105 F/4L IS USM Lens from Canon

(all photos shot with the 24-105 f/4L IS USM and Canon 5D Mark II)
death valley salt flats, badwater death valley, death valley salt flatswashington coast line, washington state sea stacks, sea stacks washington, lapush, second beach la push, waseattle cityscape.  seattle from a helicopter, space needle helicopter ride, seattle landscape helicopterwashington sea stacks, west coast, washington state national park, olympic national park wakerry park seattle mount rainier, kerry park full moonnevada deserted road, road trip nevada las vegas to reno, nv
I love this lens. I use it all the time. However, I've never taken it to a wedding. So why did I pay $1300 for it if I don't use it at weddings? This lens isn't a good people lens, but it is without question the "perfect landscape lens" from Canon. Better than any lens I've used, and I'll explain why.

Range - 24-105 is such a huge range, 84 degrees at it's widest, 23 degrees at it's narrowest on a full-frame sensor.

Aperature - This has the smallest minimum aperture in it's class (f/27). All the other lenses max out at f/22. The smaller the aperture, the greater the depth of field. Let's be honest- f/27 = sexy.

IS (Image stabilization)- Landscapes hold still. Therefore, having a fast lens isn't a necessity or even a commodity. Having a lens that allows for the smallest possible aperture is very preferable when shooting landscapes. When using a tripod (ALWAYS the first choice) isn't an option, as is the case when I'm flying in a helicopter shooting aerial shots of Seattle or when I'm underwater taking pictures of a surfing bride, having in-lens image stabilization is SO valuable. The 3rd generation image stabilization technology in this lens helps hold the lens element still for the ability to shoot 3 stops down. Thus, I'm able to shoot at F/22 rather than F/8 (on any other lens without IS) when hand holding, a benefit that is absolutely priceless.

L - supreme optics with 13 groups in 18 elements, as well as a super fast focusing speed. Excellent color rendition and image quality help capture the finest details of the landscape.

When compared to the other options (16-35mm F/2.8L, 24-70 F/2.8L 24mm F/1.4L and 14mm F/2.8L II) this one is just simply better for landscapes. 14mm is too wide and without the ability to zoom if the item you're photographing doesn't fill the frame. 24mm F/1.4L is a great prime, but who care's about an F/1.4L when you're shooting at the smallest possible aperture? The 16-35 and 24-70 don't have IS, and are a full stop faster, something not valued in the landscape world. The focus and zoom rings are smooth and the entire lens feels just right and handles nicely. I really like the size and weight of this lens when I'm out in the field. The weather sealing also comes in handy if you are hiking/shooting in humid conditions but note that Canon recommends a UV filter for maximum weather sealing on this lens. If you're just a wedding/portrait photographer, this lens shouldn't be part of your lineup. However, if you have big clients that love beautiful landscape photos on their walls, this lens is a MUST HAVE. Get the picture?