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Canon EF 24 2.8 IS USM

User Review

Peter Kun Frary


The original EF 24 2.8 was in my bag for twenty years and due an upgrade. A few clicks and UPS deposited a brand spankin' new EF 24 2.8 IS USM on my doorstep. Here's my take on this able little optic.

Dark Shadows & Wall • Honolulu HI • EOS Rebel SL1, EF 24 2.8 IS USM

Construction & Feel

Construction feels durable and solid in hand: metal mount, quality plastics and silky manual focus. Although slightly larger and heavier than the previous model, it's still small, light (280g) and takes the same size filters (58mm). The updated cosmetics and fingerprint resistant matte finish are attractive and professional in appearance.

EF 24 2.8 IS USMSteady and sturdy (image courtesy Canon)

Using the EF 24 2.8 IS USM

Wide open it delivers sharp images with smooth bokeh. Out of focus highlights are pleasantly smooth and round. Stopping down only slightly improves sharpness as it's already very good. There's a small amount of chromatic aberration (CA) in high contrast areas at F2.8--branches against bright sky--but stopping down reduces it to nominal amounts. There's virtually no flare or ghosting in images of sunsets or streetlights. And distortion is well corrected, making it idea for architecture and artwork.

Pearl Harbor • EOS Rebel SL1 & EF 24 2.8 IS USM

There is a moderate amount of light falloff at F2.8. Stop down and light falloff reduces considerably. No biggie since landscapes are normally shot between F8 and F16. If you live at F2.8 and frequently include sweeping views of blue skies in your pictures, light falloff may be an issue, albeit it's easy to correct in DPP or LR.

Lucky Jacket • EOS Rebel SL1 & EF 24 2.8 IS USM

The ring-type USM yields blazing fast and silent AF on my 6D and SL1. AF accurately locks in any light I can see in. However, the 24 2.8 IS isn't the best choice for movie servo in video mode--too fast and abrupt--albeit movie servo on the 80D is decent. However, macro and video buffs will love manual focus: well dampened, smooth, no slop/play and long throw for smooth transitions. Manual focus is always available--no focus by wire!--without flipping a switch or touching the shutter button: simply grab the well ribbed MF ring and turn. The front element doesn't rotate during AF operation, making polarizing filter use a breeze.

Chinese Squash • Honolulu HI • EOS Rebel SL1 & EF 24 2.8 IS USM

Image Stabilization

The inclusion of image stabilization (IS) kicked it over the top for me: three stops of slower hand holdable shutter speeds than I can normally muster. Canon's claim of four stops was a no-go for me. I suspect a more steady handed photographer might squeeze out that fourth stop. Nevertheless, with F2.8 and IS engaged and I can hand hold my camera and nail amazingly sharp images of evening street scenes, dim bars and stages.

Indigo Door • Honolulu HI • EOS Rebel SL1 & EF 24 2.8 IS USM

EW-65B Hood

A hood helps protect the front element from dust, fingerprints, doggie noses, rain and flare. The hood isn't included and Canon charges an unreasonable $50 for the EW-65B hood. So I bought the JJC HEW65B Lens Hood instead, a knockoff with 90% of OEM quality at 25% of OEM cost. Fits and works great albeit no rayon flocking.

EW-65B • Dedicated hood for the EF 24 2.8 IS USM (image courtesy Canon)

Last Blurb

The EF 24 2.8 IS USM is a significant improvement over the original EF 24 2.8: increased corner sharpness, silent and fast USM focus and image stabilization. Center sharpness and contrast are about the same at F4 and higher. I compared it to my EF-s 24 2.8 STM and optical quality is similar on APS-C format. Of course, the EF-s 24 2.8 STM doesn't mount on full frame or have IS. Finally, compared to the 24mm end of my 24-105 4L IS USM, F4 sharpness is similar but the prime has significantly less light falloff and barrel distortion.

For me the reason to own this lens is the unique combination of tiny size, image stabilization and excellent image quality. I own several lenses with the last two attributes but they ain't so tiny! I find the moderately wide perspective--84 degrees on my 6D--ideal for landscapes, architecture and showing a subject in its environment. On an APS-C camera, e.g., Rebel, 7D, 60D or 70D, this optic is between a semi-wide and normal perspective and makes a nice walk around lens. All in all an impressive optic and one I'll keep in my bag for a long time.

Finally, please help support this website by purchasing this lens at Amazon.

Honolulu Harbor • EOS Rebel SL1 & EF 24 2.8 IS USM (popup flash)

Specs

Focal Length: 24mm

Aperture: F2.8 to 22

Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups

Min. Focusing Distance: 0.66 ft. / 0.2m

Maximum Magnification: .17x

Angle of View (Diagonal): 84° (full frame)

No. of Diaphragm Blades: 7

Diameter & Length: 2.69 x 2.19 inches / 68.4 x 55.7mm

Weight: 9.9oz/280g

Included Accessories: lens caps

Cost: $599

0916/2014 • Revised 02/14/2016

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©Copyright 2014-2017 by Peter Kun Frary • All Rights Reserved

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