Article Index

Lab Tests

Please note that MTF50 results for APS-C and Full-Frame cameras are not cross-comparable despite the same normalized [0:1] range used to report results for both types of cameras.

Three lens samples were tested in the lab, producing variance of ~5% in the center and ~21% around borders, averaged across the tested zoom and aperture settings. The review includes results from the sample showcasing better overall performance.

 

Canon APS-C: The lens showed solid results in the lab. Performance was outstanding in the 24-50mm range, with excellent center and very solid border  quality. Unfortunately, image sharpness degrades towards telephoto range, especially around borders. In the 70-105mm range, image center remains pretty sharp throughout tested apertures, but border quality is rather mediocre at f/4 (quality does improve once stopped down). The lens has a sweet spot around f/5.6 where it shows the best overall performance across the tested zoom range. At its best (24mm-50mm focal lengths), the lens would produce excellent 19in and decent 24in prints, which is pretty admirable for a zoom lens (if only performance remained at the same level throughout the focal range). Conclusion? Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a more or less well-rounded lens excelling in the standard zoom range. If you intend to use it as a walk-around lens - by all means do so, but you will be able to find better alternatives for your telephoto needs.

 

MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 24mm
MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 24mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 24mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 24mm

 

MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 50mm
MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 50mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 50mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 50mm

 

MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 70mm
MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 70mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 70mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 70mm

 

MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 105mm
MTF50 (Line Width/Inch on the Print) @ 105mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 105mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 105mm

 

Chromatic aberration was not a major issue with this lens. CA averaged ~0.6px in the center throughout the zoom range and across all aperture settings. CA creeps up a little bit around borders, especially at the wider aperture level. CA here averages ~1px. CA drops a little bit with stopped down aperture, but never goes below 0.7px across the zoom range. Still, this is not the worst one can see in a standard zoom lens.

 

Chromatic Aberration (APS-C, Center)
Chromatic Aberration (APS-C, Center)

 

Chromatic Aberration (APS-C, Borders)
Chromatic Aberration (APS-C, Borders)

 

Here are a couple of 100% crops comparing image borders takes at 24mm, 50mm, 70mm and 105mm focal lengths (f/2 vs f/8).

 

Image borders @ 24mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 24mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Image borders @ 50mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 50mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Image borders @ 70mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 70mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Image borders @ 105mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 105mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Canon FF: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM continued to show very respectable results on a full frame camera. Center performance is very solid across the aperture range and throughout the zoom. Regretfully, border performance follows similar to the APS-C pattern - results are outstanding in the 24-50mm range with borders remaining sharp throughout the aperture range. However, border sharpness drops noticeably in the 70-105mm range, and that is especially noticeable at f/4, where the lens seems to struggle the most. Stopping down helps quite a bit and by f/8 border performance is quite decent even in this zoom range. Conclusion? The lens is a solid addition to Canon's standard zoom lineup, but is not without weaknesses. Still, results are very solid in the 24-50mm and are quite decent throughout the rest of the zoom.

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 24mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 24mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 50mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 50mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 70mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 70mm

 

Normalized raw MTF50 @ 105mm
Normalized raw MTF50 @ 105mm

 

The lens showed decent handling of chromatic aberration on a full frame body. CA in the center is well under control, hovering at ~0.5px throughout the zoom and all aperture levels. CA around borders averages ~1px at f/4 (pretty much throughout the zoom range) and drops to ~0.8px by f/5.6, remaining at about that level throughout the rest of the tested aperture range (again across the zoom range).

 

Chromatic Aberration (FF, Center)
Chromatic Aberration (FF, Center)

Image

 

And here are some more 100% crops taken on a full-frame Canon 5D comparing image borders at 24mm, 50mm, 70mm and 105mm.

 

Image borders @ 24mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 24mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Image borders @ 50mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 50mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Image borders @ 70mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 70mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8

 

Image borders @ 105mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8
Image borders @ 105mm (100% crop): f/4 vs f/8