Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published March 2020


There is one type of lens that finds its way into pretty much every press/wedding photographer's camera bag - a 24-70mm f/2.8 which is why it has an especially well-petted place in all of the full format manufacturers' lineups. Thanks to its flexible nature, it also finds many friends among enthusiasts although we'd usually argue that it's a bit over the top for non-professional use really - and that's not only because these are pricey lenses. More on this later. Given its importance, Canon was quick to release one for R-mount - namely the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS, priced at around 2500EUR/2300USD. That's almost a 50% price hike compared to Canon's DSLR variant. Of course, these are very different designs and the RF lens adds the all-important image stabilizer on top. Regarding their history in stabilized lenses, it's almost a surprise that it took Canon so long to implement this feature into such a lens - both Tamron, as well as Sigma, managed to do so years ago already (albeit in EF mount).

Interestingly, the RF is slightly heavier than the older EF lens. This is probably owed to the fact that the RF has more glass elements. However, it's at least slightly shorter by about 1cm. In terms of build quality, the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS delivers everything you expect from such a professional-grade lens. The used materials are top-notch and everything is tightly assembled. Both the zoom and focus rings operate smoothly. Typical for many RF lenses, it features a dedicated, configurable control ring at the front. e.g. if you like to have aperture- or ISO-control on the lens, just go for it. The inner lens tube extends when zooming towards the long end of the range which is not ideal for protecting it against the elements. However, Canon claims that the lens is weather resistant. Fluorine coating on the front element is supposed to repel dust and fluids.

The Nano USM AF system combines the speed of a ring-type USM (ultrasonic) and the smoothness of an STM (stepping motor) mechanism. The AF speed is extremely high as well as noiseless. Manual focusing works "by-wire" thus you drive the AF when turning the focus ring. The image stabilizer is rated at 5 f-stops. As always take this with a grain of salt. In real life, expect about a stop less or so.

Optical construction21 Elements in 15 Groups inc. 3x UD & 3x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.21m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.33)
Filter size82mm
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresweather-sealing, image stabilizer (5 f-stops), additional control ring, fluorine coating

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