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4.8 out of 5 stars
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
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137 of 149 people found the following review helpful
After several years of use of the prior iteration of this lens, I've now had about a month of use with the II. This lens is beautifully sharp - absolutely no question as to it being an improvement of what was already a wonderful lens. Generally speaking, I've found that I do not sharpen images in post to the extent that I used to, if at all, with no changes to camera settings. I've been using this with a full frame (5D III) and this is definitely my standard lens that I walk around with now. While this model is still heavy, it's significantly lighter than the last model. Though I don't particularly notice that around my neck, I find that the camera sits better against my chest with a standard neck strap than it did with the earlier lens, which tended to pull down on the camera body. That said, you may find in a full day of walking that a lighter weight lens is preferable. There are definitely days when I feel like just putting a 50mm prime on the camera and calling it a day.

Controls on the lens body operate smoothly - perhaps not quite so smoothly as on the earlier model, but close enough - the lens barrel itself may be where some of the weight savings come into play, but this is mere speculation on my part. Don't forget that this lens has an 82mm filter diameter, so all your filters for the last model will need to be replaced. The 82mm size is a little large for smaller hands to manipulate as easily, but this won't be a significant issue for most. Neither this nor its predecessor has image stabilization. That is truly a non-issue with Canon's current line of cameras where your shooting ISO can be increased quite reasonably to the point where a handheld shutter speed is attained with almost any aperture. Obviously, your situations may vary from routine daytime exterior shots, but I found that I could obtain quite acceptable HDR shots where the camera shoots three pictures in rapid succession while holding the camera without a tripod inside an old church. I prefer saving the ounces to having IS - in this particular lens.

The II is significantly more expensive than the earlier model. If cost is not an issue, I'd say the decision is clear - Canon has made significant improvements with the new version. If cost is an issue, obtaining the earlier model instead would not be an incorrect decision; the cost differential will buy a lot of other gear. But you may find yourself eventually longing for the improved sharpness and lighter weight.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2012
Lets start there. This is probably the greatest lens I've ever used... challenged only by the Canon 70-200mm L IS II. It is unbelievably sharp throughout the zoom range. I've taken shots that would rival the most expensive primes. Focusing is almost instantaneous. You target it, and it focuses... Don't blink. The build is solid and strong. It is not nearly as heavy though as the previous model which seemed to be more of a metal body. In addition to being lighter, this lens is also shorter making it easier to travel with and more fun to shoot with. This EF lens features a zoom lock which prevents the barrel from zooming out while hanging from the neckstrap and also has full-time manual focusing (like most Canon lenses).

A few things I didn't love... The lens diameter is 82mm which I HATE actually. The previous version of this lens was 77mm. This change forces you to purchase new filters (if you use filters). 82mm filters are a bit more expensive than the smaller ones. I'm going to assume there was a functional reason for this change and not that this was an attempt by Canon to jumpstart the economy. The other thing is the lens hood. The newer lenses seem to come with a hood lock. No fun and uneccesary. I can't remember my hood ever falling off accidentally. Anyway, those are small gripes. Canon has done what some thought impossible...they've improved on the legendary 24-70. It costs an arm and a leg, but definitely worth saving appendages here and there for a big purchase at the end of the year.

To speak to the one reviewer that touts an IS version in the works for 2013, there is an IS version of the 24-70 lens but it is the f4.0 version. I'd rather have extra stops (f2.8) instead of IS any day. IS can only help you if your hands are shaky (does not help with moving subjects). An extra stop can be the make or break factor if you're shooting in low light. It took Canon a decade to replace this famous lens. They won't replace this new one after just one year. The other complaint was quality control. I can confirm this definitely was an issue in the past. I owned the previous version of this lens and it took several iterations to get to one copy that I was satisfied with. With this new version though, the first one I purchased (which was part of the first released batches) was perfect out of the box. From what I understand, Canon has actually made it more of a priority to eliminate quality variation. As a small sample size, I'm 1 for 1. Highly Recommended.

Super Sharp!!!
Super Quick Focusing!!!
Fast Max Aperture (f2.8)
Solid Build
Lighter and shorter than previous model (1.77 lbs and 4.4 inches vs. 2.1 lbs & 4.9 inches)

Quite Expensive (though worth every penny)
82mm Lens Diameter
Mildly Annoying Lens Hood Lock
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102 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2014
I'm going to compare this along with the other lens I have.

Comparison to my 24-105L.
I find the value of 24-105L to be much better. Sharpness is not noticeable unless you pixel peep, the 24-105L is lighter, has IS, and you get more tele, which is a great plus if you only had one lens. The 24-70L advantages is that it has better flare control, CA, and less distortion at the wide end. Focus speed, build quality seems to be equal, both weather seal with filter. The 24-105 feels better in my hand and during use. I don't care much about vignetting from both lens since it's easily fixable in post. I just feel like I got my money worth from my 24-105L and not so much from my 24-70L, but I'll keep both since i have more than one body, and the bokeh from the f2.8 is nice compared to f4. the 24-70L and my 70-200L is a good combo if I had to choose two lens to take on a trip, but i can not share filter with the 2 lens, which bums me out. I would need to buy a more expensive set up like a Lee system.

Comparing to my mid range prime setup.(24L, 35mm sigma, 50f1.4 canon, 85L )
I would never choose the 24-70L over my prime setup. If i have room to take these prime setup with me, I would. If I know I'm shooting in doors or dim lit areas, I would take my prime for sure. I don't care what people say, at f2.8, do not expect your pics to be sharp and nice looking in low light situation. I have to bump up my iso so high that even in post, it's still hard to bring out the dynamic range to be any useful. If I were to use my 24-70L in low light, I will be bringing multiple flash with trigger. There's no doubt that the 24-70L is more versatile than having a prime, but what you can do with a prime, you will not be able to find in the 24-70L.

Final thoughts.
If you want the best zoom lens in the mid range and have the money then look no further. If you want value for your money I would look at getting a 24-105L, they can be had for around $700 now, which is a lot cheaper. Sigma came out with a 24-105 IS lens , and if it's as good as the sigma 35mm, then that would be a good deal as well. These lens would be more beneficial if you are a videographer. No body like a shaky cam.
If you want to take the high road and have the time/ patient/ and money, then go the prime direction. The reward will be more rewarding than using a 24-70L.
This is just my opinions and the way I utilize my camera and lens. I just didn't feel like the lens was a big value. Some people might find it more useful than me, but I just don't see it for the price or the upgrade if you had the old 24-70L.

**************************** UPDATE 10/7/2014 **********************************

I think most people here are misunderstanding the point of this review. I'm not a pro, nor do I care to be one. I love photography. I loved photography since I first laid my hand on my first SLR camera, and spent countless hours in the dark room perfecting my photos.

I've been using this lens for almost 2 years now. I used this lens more than any other lenses I own because of the focal length. I loved this lens. As I stated before in my review " This is the best mid range zoom out there".

This review was based off " My personal experience with this lens ." I know that most people that do not do photography for a living will not own this lens. Most of them will be hesitant to spend a large amount of money on a lens.
This is where my review comes into play. I am one of those guys that are choosy about the lens that they buy because they do not make money off of their photography, they do photography for the love of it. As I stated before this is a great lens. I bought this lens because I hike a lot and I am blessed to make enough income to spend on camera gears. Did I need to go out and buy this lens with all the other lens I had... ( most importantly my 24-105mm) definitely not. My 24-105mm can probably take most of the the photos this lens can do with a little bit of work.

When I first started photography, I had some crappy Tamaron kit lens. It took forever to focus. What that taught me was, even though my gears sucked I should still try my best to make the most of what I have. That was what made me fall in love with photography and pushed me to be a better photographer. You learn the limits of what you have, and you try to create something special by over coming those limits. And this is what my review is all about.

When I got into full frame digital. I had a choice weather to buy the 24-105L or the 24-70L mk1. I chose the 24-105L... Knowing that the 24-70mk1 was a much better lens optically, but that did not stop me from taking wonderful photos with the 24-105L. I knew what the lens was capable of and I fixed most of them on the spot or in post.

Even though I use the 24-70Lmk2 more than I do 24-105L, does not mean I still can't take great pictures from the 24-105L. This review was base on the Value of the lens, and I still do feel like I got a steal for what I paid for my 24-105L compared to what I got for my 24-70Lmk2.

So if you want to boast about how fast this lens can focus( I know for sure this lens has better focus in servo mode than the 24-105L) or how great of an IQ this lens produces. Those are all given. You are paying for more than twice the price of a 24-105L, you should be getting something better.
Gears are gears, you work with what you have, and if you think having a 24-70mk2 will make you take better photos, than buy it. There is always something better that will come out in the future. If you want to play the game of catch up, and having the best, it will cost you.
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67 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
I have been waiting for Amazon to have this in stock and it just hasn't happened... so I got it on my own elsewhere. However since there is so much hype around this lens I thought I should post here.

The lens is very solid. Good material fits nice and snug on my camera. Well built. Comes with Lens Hood and Bag. I don't keep the lens in the bag, but it is nice to have for keeping "Other" accessories in. I keep the lens on my 5D MK3 while in my back pack, but I can use this pouch to hold charger, reader, extra batteries and a small flash. It keeps everything together nicely.

It is very sharp and then f/2.8 is exactly what I was missing to have a little more flexibility indoors. Performs much better in low light because of this and is a step up from my 24-105 f/4 IS. I think both lenses have a job so I will keep the 24-105, but this 24-70 is my new walk around lens.

I calibrated the lens first. It was ever so slightly back focused at 70mm. Microadjustment on my 5D made short work of that and now it is in good sharp shape.

I took some casual pictures around the house and they all turned out beautifully. However I will not post them on Amazon because the compression they use just takes the "Wow" out of it and really does it an injustice. If you want sample shots, there are plenty out there. Just google it.

The price is a bit high for this lens... especially without IS. But the quality is worth it. I won't take a star away for price because I think stars is about how good the product is, not its value for the price. I had been debating for weeks about buying this lens and the price was the big debate. It was easy to not have to decide since it was out of stock everywhere. I would have liked paying $1,600 for it better than the current $2300 price point. I just don't think this lens has features warranting that price, but again the quality is solid.

I never had the original, so I cannot compare.... but I would suggest it to anyone who is interested. You won't be disappointed.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
For about eight and a half years, my workhorse lens was the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. It did its job and although it wasn't perfect, I didn't have a lot of complaints either. But after I upgraded from a Canon 1D Mark II to the 5D Mark III, I started to notice more of its problems. It would miss focus more than my other lenses (Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6), and often cannot lock onto focus when the lighting is a bit dark. After being fed up with its worsening performance, I decided to spend big and go for the best I could afford.

I was already familiar with the quality and performance of the legendary Canon L series through my 70-200 f/2.8L IS. When I bought that lens, I had struggled with the price, and with the 24-70 f/2.8L II costing almost $1,000 more, I really had to think hard about the purchase.

I'm so glad I went for it.

After receiving the lens, I immediately did a round of tests shooting the kind of subjects I usually enjoy shooting, such as my wife, and I directly compared the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 with the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II.

The results were obvious.

The Canon had much punchier contrast, more vivid saturation, faster and more reliable focus, and easier focus lock in low-lighting. I almost couldn't believe the difference. All these years I kept hearing people saying how the Tamron lens was so good that it was on par with Canon's L counterpart, and I wanted to believe it because hell, the Tamron didn't cost me nearly as much. Who doesn't like cheaper but just as good?

But I learned from this experience that with some things, you do get what you pay for, and the 24-70 f/2.8L II deserves its legendary status along with other highly respected L lenses.

Expensive things are hard to justify buying if you don't "need" it (for example, you don't make a living with your photography), but if your lifestyle can afford it, then just remember that a quality product that is worth its price will be enjoyed for many years to come, and the couple thousands of dollars you spent will only become a fading memory. Every time you shoot with a high-performing lens, it just puts a smile on your face, because it is quality that can be quantified, as the results speak for themselves (assuming you know what you're doing as a photographer).

Ever since I got this lens, it's been living on my 5D Mark III (except for when I need extreme wide-angle shots--that's when I put on the Sigma 12-24). I wish I had gotten this lens a lot sooner.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2014
This is just an incredible lens that, provided you can afford it, will deliver in spectacular fashion.

When I upgraded to full frame (5D Mark III) last year, I purchased a 24-105 f/4L IS as my standard range zoom. I found myself using it only when I absolutely had to. Generally, the photographs taken with it lacked sharpness, contrast and depth of color. At first I thought this was a problem with my specific copy, until I compared it to a lensrentals version, and they behaved identically. For any situation that mattered, I ended up using primes - the 35L, 35 f/2 IS, 135L, or the 50/1.4.

All this changed when I rented this lens in December 2013 for a trip to Utah. Looking at the photographs after I got home, I was stunned by the sharpness and color rendition in the landscapes captured with this lens. I could not see any meaningful difference between the shots taken with this lens and those with the 135L or the 35 f/2 IS which I had also taken with me. Here at last was a standard range lens that offered the convenience of a zoom with little or no sacrifice in image quality compared to a prime. Very quickly, my 24-105 and a couple other lenses went on sale to finance the purchase of this lens.

Since my purchase, I have used this lens for portraits, low light events, and landscapes, and it has never failed to deliver. Focusing, even at f/2.8 and in AI Servo mode is quick, accurate, and decisive. Stopped down when used for landscape photography, it shows excellent corner to conner sharpness - for a recent project, I shot identical photographs with this and the 35mm f/2 IS and could not, even at 100% magnification, see any difference in sharpness, color, and contrast between the two. The lower weight compared to the old version, new hood design and center pinch cap are all very nice features which add to the pleasure of using this lens. I continue to use the 35mm when I need the extra stop or IS - such as for hand held late evening street shots - or just some thing small and light; and of course nothing I have shot with can approach the pure magic of portraits taken with the 135L. The bulk of the time though, this is the lens that stays on my camera and I'm thoroughly enjoying the bliss that comes from having absolute confidence in its performance. It is a lens that, apart from maximum aperture, can mix it up with the best primes I have shot with.

If, like me, you do not make money from photography, it is rational to ask whether a lens like this is worth the purchase. While I cannot answer this question for you, what I can tell you, without reservation, is that the pictures I have taken with this lens have made it very very easy for me to forget what I paid for it.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2013
I ended up with this lens after first having the Tamron 24-70 for about a month. I chose the Tamron on its price, reviews, and IS. Long story short, the Tamron had a terrible back focusing issue @ the long end that got worse when it was calibrated. Decided to go with the Canon version rather than try another copy of the Tamron. Should've gone with the Canon from the beginning. This lens is wonderfully sharp, even wide open. Colors are lovely, as one would expect from any L lens. Bokeh at the long end is very creamy and smooth. Focusing is fast. There is vignetting at 24mm, but I expected it and it wasn't as bad as I experienced with my copy of the Tamron. Vignetting for me is easily fixed in Lightroom. I really like the zoom lock feature on this lens. It doesn't have IS, and that was a concern of mine when initially shopping for this lens, but even with the Tamron my shutter speed was never below 1/60 so for me, using it on a 5D mIII with high ISO capabilities, IS is really not needed. I took one star off for build quality. It's not terrible by any means, but is pretty plasticky. It feels more plasticky than my EF-S 17-55. This lens takes gorgeous photos and I'm quite happy with it...I just feel that the price is a little steep for the build quality is all. I was fortunate to get this lens when Canon was offering a rebate. I would definitely buy it again and am very happy with my purchase.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
My wife and I operate a photo/video business. We originally owned the 24-70 version 1, but found we never used it in professional scenarios due to lackluster sharpness when comparing to our primes.

We sold it, and were dithering about which prime lens to buy next when this lens was released. After some initial reviews (and with Amazon Prime's excellent return policy) we decided to take a chance on this lens. WOW, what a difference! It holds its own against our prime lenses. The sharpness and color saturation is just amazing. This has become our go-to lens, not just for a great walk-around lens, but in most professional scenarios as well.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2013
I am a huge fan of primes: If I had infinite resources, I'd buy every L-grade prime between 35mm and 200mm! So, I do not recommend zooms just for the convenience of it.
Before I decided on this lens, I have tried Sigma's 35mm and 50mm and Canon's 35mm L and 50mm L - so as you can see, I gave primes a fair chance to find a place in my photo bag.
Canon's 50mm 1.2 and this lens (24-70) ended up being the front runners simply because I decided that 35mm was not a good fit for my style of photography, and Sigma's 50mm was underwhelming (although I hear rave reviews about good copies of it, but my copy was just all over the place in terms of focus and sharpness).
At 2.8mm, I could see NO difference in image quality between 50mm 1.2 and 24-70 2.8. Neither could my photographer friends, some of whom are also huge prime lovers. This really took me by surprise, given my penchant for primes and the fact that I usually buy into the theory that primes are always better than comparable zooms. The 50mm seemed to render the skin of a doll that I used as my model slightly better (warmer), but the difference was very very subtle. In every other way (bokeh, sharpness, contrast), the pictures looked identical.
So, it came down to extra stops of light vs. extra focal lengths. I really struggled with that choice, because frankly, I encounter the situations where I'd like more light than 2.8 or wider angle than 50mm about equally often, so either way, it'd be a loss for me.
I almost went with 50mm because I figured, I was going to use 24mm and 35mm very rarely (again, just because of my style), I already have 70mm in another lens, so I was really buying just the 50mm, and then I might as well splurge on 50mm 1.2.
What decided me in favor of 24-70 were 2 things:
1. I find f/1.2 and f/1.4 very unforgiving, and I avoid them as much as possible: I have 2 cheaper primes and never use 1.4, I always start with 1.8 in low-light situations, because I know I can get a fair amount of keepers with that. So, really, by going with 50mm 1.2, I was only gaining about 1 workable stop (for me), but losing multiple focal lengths.
2. I did a photoshoot where I purposefully took ONLY 50mm 1.2 with me, to see if I can pull it off. I did. But at one point, I found myself shooting in the shade that was quite close to the street, so I couldn't step further back without being hit by a car. While I still got good shots, it deprived me of a chance to do full-body shots in that location, and I think they would have looked really good. I really missed having 24-70 in that moment.

I also love how (comparatively) light the 24-70mm is. Very manageable (but my other big lens is 70-200 f/4, so I'm used to a little heft around my neck).

So, overall, a fantastic lens: very sharp, beautiful bokeh, very nice contrast, light for a zoom. The most popular negative review of this lens made much a-do about IS, so far, I don't miss it at all. I get many many keepers without IS, and if IS means heavier, than I don't want it anyway (not to mention that the IS version will surely be priced accordingly, and this lens is already way above my original budget).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
I have been shooting with nothing but Canon primes (35L, 50L, 85L, 100L, 135L) for a few years and had been extremely pleased with the image quality they produce. I owned the previous 24-70 and sold it after about 4 months of just not being satisfied with the quality of image. I was very hesitant at first to purchase this lens due to previous experience, price, and I love my prime lenses. But, this lens is tremendously accurate, sharp and has amazing color rendition on my 5DMK3 and 6D. I will honestly be using this lens much more now and I can honestly see myself getting rid of my 35, and possibly 50 since I would not use them as often. If you are a professional this lens should be in your bag.
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