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Introduction

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM was first announced in August of 2005, targeting event/street photographers who require a lens with moderate wide to medium telephoto coveraget range. The so called 'standard zoom' category of lenses is choke full of lenses from both original equipment manufacturers as well as third party independent manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron. The category remains very popular not only among pros and semi-pros, but also among novice, first-timers, who typically choose a standard zoom as their first lens due to its versatility. Yet despite so many choices out there, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM was eagerly anticipated by many simply because it was one of the first professional (or 'L' type in Canon jargon) grade stadard zooms with an image stabilization technology. Priced at ~US$1,050 (as of February 2007), the lens is not the cheapest among standard zooms, but still affordable for many who want a quality lens for daily use.

The optical construction of the lens consists of the lens consists of 16 elements in 12 groups - certainly not a trivial configuration, even for a zoom. This includes a single Super-UD and three aspherical lenses, designed to minimize various  forms of aberrations and reduce distortion at wider angles. The build quality of the lens is simply superb, typical of Canon's other L grade lenses, the barrel is made of hardened plastic with nice black finish, fully ruberrized zoom and focus rings, and full sealing against dust and moisture. The lens weighs 670g (23.6oz) and measures 83.5 x 107mm (3.3 x 4.2in), although the lens extends during zooming towards the long end of the supported range, adding extra 3 or 4cm. At this size and weight, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is not the smallest or lightest standard zoom out there, so some users (especially those of you owning a Leica M) might cringe at the idea of using this lens for descrete street photography.

The lens incorporates a modern, USM type auto-focusing motor. Manual focusing is still possible, using a dedicated focusing ring - switch the lens into a fully manual mode using an AF/MF switch found on the side of the barrel, or simply nudge the focusing ring a little bit to correct minor auto-focusing errors. Like with all modern EF/EF-S lenses, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM does not have a dedicated aperture ring and all aperture settings have to be controlled directly from the camera. The minimum supported aperture is f/22. As mentioned above, the lens incorporates an image stabilization technology that is marketed to help stabilize the lens up to extra 3 f-stops. This is obviously a nifty feature for hand-held photography. The IS however should be disabled when the lens is used on a tripod - if you don't turn it off, you risk damaging the mechanism, which will keep trying to engage even with the lens positioned completely stationary. And even if you avoid damaging the IS mechanism, you risk additional shake from the internal gyroscopes 'going wild', trying to detect movement. Just swith it off, using an IS ON/OFF switch on the side of the barrel. By the way, the IS does not offer 2nd mode (panning), so it is effective for static scenes only.The lens accepts 77mm screw-in type filters and focuses down to 45cm (1.5ft).

 

Image

 

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is designed for full frame cameras, so when used on APS-C type bodies with 1.6x crop sensor, the field of view of the lens will resemble that of a ~38-168mm zoom - the wide angle is pretty much gone here, but you get an extra kick on the longer end. The factory box includes Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, front and rear caps, EW-83H lens hood, LP1219 lens case, manual and registration card. The lens is compatible with Gelatin Filter Holder IV at the expense of lens hood which cannot be used with the holder, as well as with Canon's extension tubes EF 12 II and EF 25 II.

Note that early versions of Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM had a flare problem and Canon issued a service notice (see here).

 

Summary
Lens Composition 16 elements in 13 groups
Angular Field 84-23 degrees
Minimum Focus 45cm/1.48ft
Focusing Action AF/MF, USM
f-stop Scale f/4-f/22, camera-controlled
Filter Size 77mm
Lens Hood EW-83H (included)
Weight 670g/23.6oz
Dimensions 83.5x107mm/3.3x4.2"
Lens Case LP1219 (included)