When it comes to lenses for my DSLR’s I’ve invested in some lovely primes, my Canon 50mm 1.2, 24mm 1.4 & 35mm 1.4 L series lenses are all low light wonders and produce gorgeous looking footage from the 5D and 7D. When I was purchasing these lenses I did consider going for a medium zoom and owned a Canon 24 – 70 2.8 for while but decided to return that in favour of the primes simply because in low light those extra few stops do make a huge difference.
I also own a Canon 70 – 200 2.8 IS lens which is fantastic, quite often I’ll prefer the results from that over my primes it really depends on what it is I’m shooting and the type of result I’m looking for. The Image Stabiliser on that lens is excellent and even though it makes lot of noise it makes handholding such a long lens quite easy.
One time when primes become a bit of a pain though is for event work. I took my 5D along with the 50 and 24 to my recent shoot for Harley-Davidson in St Tropez and although both lenses produced nice results, it seemed that the moment I swapped the lenses a shot would present itself where I felt like I wanted to swap them again. I really don’t like swapping lenses more than I have to in the field as it’s way too easy for grit, dust and other nasties to get inside the cameras.
So, for my next event for Harley which takes place in Barcelona next weekend I’ve decided to try out the Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM Zoom. Now at F4 this is by no means a fast lens, it’s not going to be on my 5D when I head out in the evenings but for daytime use I think it’s going to be a lovely lens giving me a nice range to work with without swapping lenses. It’s also not going to deliver the extremely shallow depth of field that my primes can, but again that’s not something I really need for handheld work at events.
When choosing this lens I considered another 24 – 70 2.8, but the 24-105 has some advantages over the 24-70 which are very important for event work. Firstly, and most importantly it has IS (Image Stabilisation) which works wonders for handheld video use. Dealing with camera shake is one of the hardest things about working with DSLR’s so having IS helps a lot. When I get back from Barcelona I’ll post some examples of how much it helps.
The other advantage the 24-105 has over the 24-70 is that it’s quite a lot lighter, for event work carrying the 5D around as well as my EX1 weight can be tricky, the less weight I have to carry the better.
The 24-70 at f2.8 is obviously a few stops faster than the 24-105 and if you need a wide zoom to work in lower light situations as well then it would be a better choice. Even f2.8 can be a bit limiting in low light though so I’ll stick to my 50mm f1.2 and 24mm f1.4 for that.
The lens has literally just turned up this morning so I haven’t had much time with it yet, but from my first impressions it looks like it’ll work a treat, the IS makes a huge difference and I can get shots which don’t look like handheld shots at all. As with all of Canon’s L Series lenses it appears to be built well and ready for the challenge ahead.
Although a lot quieter than the 70-200 the noise from IS on this lens would probably still be noticeable if using an on camera mic but for most of my usage that’s not a big issue as I generally use an external recorder for anything where I’m going to need the sound.
I’ll post more when I return from Barcelona and let you know how it worked out.
The Canon EF-24-105 F4 IS can be purchased in the USA from B&H for $1,059
In the UK Warehouse Express sell it for £929.99