Monday, November 28, 2011

[Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L vs 24-105mm IS F4.0 L comparison Part 1 Physical Characteristics]

I just received a comment from Marco my fellow photographer asking me about Canon 24-105mm IS F4.0L lens.

Marco takes some amazing photos and he always inspires me.
Please check out his photo blog at
You will not be disappointed.

Ok back to the subject.
He asked me whether or not I'm satisfied with the 24-105mm lens. Before answering it I asked him if he was debating between the 24-70 F2.8L lens and the 24-105 IS F4.0L lens by any chance because when I bought my lens that's what I did. And I decided to go with 24-105 IS F4.0L lens first mainly because of having IS and it's so much lighter compared to 24-70mm lens. And yes I DO love this lens. It is an excellent walk-around lens and thanks to its light weight I could go all day without getting tired with this lens.

But later on I started thinking what it'd be like to have the brighter aperture(f2.8) of the 24-70mm lens and I ended up getting 24-70mm too.

I told him I'd post some comparison pictures so here it is.
Please note that I am not professional in this and I enjoy photography solely for hobby so any thoughts and pictures expressed here are purely my personal opinions and has no scientific basis or anything.

Here I want to introduce some differences in the physical aspects of these lenses.

24-70mm lens is slightly taller as you can see...

Height comparison with the hood on...24-70mm lens come with much taller lens hood

24-70mm lens body

24-105mm lens body

front lens

Rear lens 24-70(left) 24-105(right)

24-70mm lens on 50D body

24-70mm lens extended on 50D body

24-70mm lens with hood on 50D body

24-105mm lens on 50D body

24-105mm lens extended on 50D body

24-105mm lens with hood on 50D body

So this is the comparison of the physical aspects of both lenses.
As you can see 24-70mm has larger and brighter glass. But what you can't measure by looking at these photos is the weight of the lenses.

24-70mm is quite heavier than the 24-105mm model and this could be a major turn-off and be a determining factor for some to go with the 24-105mm model. To me it took some getting used to the weight of the 24-70mm but after an week of use it was not a problem at all.

24-105mm is really light weight. It is fun and joy to use this lens. If you do a lot of landscape photography with a lot of sun light which I do, the aperture of f4.0 was never a problem because I normally pump it up to f8.0 or f10 or even higher for my landscape photos. Also having IS certainly helps in low light conditions.

So as far as the physical aspects of these lenses here's what I think...

24-70mm F2.8L
Brighter aperture of f2.8....that's it really....but it is nonetheless a reason enough for some people to go with this lens.

This lens is HEAVY!
No IS!
limited focal length compared to 24-105mm
Costs bit more than 24-105mm

24-105mm IS F4.0L
Light weight
having that extra reach from 70-105mm (This can be important for some)


Overall these are both L lenses and the build quality is excellent.
Whichever one you get I think you will be happy.

Do you absolutely need f2.8 in this focal length of 24-70mm?
Is having the f2.8 aperture absolutely worth it to you even at a cost of sacrificing IS and the focal length between 70-105mm and the light weight that the 24-105mm offers?

If you think yes then you should get the 24-70mm f2.8...otherwise I'd go with 24-105mm lens and still be a happy photographer and save some money for something else.

Now of course these are just the physical aspects of these lenses. To many photographers there is something more important than the physical characteristics of the lenses and that is the Image Quality.

In my next post I will post some comparison pictures I took between these lenses.


  1. thanks a lot for this post!! about the lenses, the 24-70mm has been my favourite for a long a time, but as I told you I think the 24-105mm will fit better my needs. If I could I would get both, like you did :)!! I will keep my eyes on your blog and wait for some photos from both lenses ;) and I liked to see photos from both lenses. makes me want to rush to buy them!!! :D

  2. @Marco,

    Yeah canon must have a really good marketing agenda offering 24-70mm @f2.8 and the 24-105mm @f4.0 but with IS haha.

    I think you will LOVE 24-105mm on your 7D body.
    To me 24-105mm produces sharper and more contrasty image but that's just my thought on it.

    I'll try to post comparison images soon.
    Thanks always for your comments!