When the original 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens came out, it quickly became the go-to, do everything lens of choice for almost every Canon photographer I knew. Yes, we all had our prime favorites, but if we needed a workhorse that we could rely upon to do-it-all or only had the space to bring one lens, we grabbed for our 24-70. The original is still considered to be an amazing lens, and it's no wonder that it's one of the toughest lenses to find used on the market. Needless to say, I am excited about the upgraded 24-70mm L II.
Though I have not had a chance to yet test it in all environments, the feel and function of this new lens already has things off on a positive foot. It's lighter and smaller than the original, but it does not feel any less sturdy or reliable. It has a nice solid feel, but now it's slightly more compact and a little bit lighter, which can make all the difference if you plan to lug it and your 5D around for any length of time.
Canon changed the size of the front element from 77mm to 82mm, which means if you like to use filters of any kind on your original 24-70, you're going to need to pick up a whole new set for this lens. A minor inconvenience.
Canon also updated the guts of this lens. The orignal had 13 groups with 16 elements, while the new lens has 13 groups but 18 elements. The minimum focus distance is the same at 1.25 feet (38 cm). The new lens also has a nine blade diaphragm (an update over eight in the original), for those bokeh fans out there. If you like having a lock on your lens, the new 24-70 now has one.
Another interesting change is that Canon reversed the zoom on the new lens. On the original, the lens was most compact at 70mm. The new 24-70 is now most compact at 24mm, which I personally very much prefer.
All these details might not matter to you if you're just concerned about the price tag. This lens is a pricey $2200, way more than most of us were expecting to spend. Is it worth it? I'll get back to you on that one. Full review coming soon. If you can't wait and want to check it out for yourself, you can borrow one for a pretty reasonable price.