Fstoppers First Impressions of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II

Fstoppers First Impressions of the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II

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.

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Jason Kessenich's picture

Way too much money.

Mine just arrived in the post today - just unboxed it! :)

Nicholas's picture

For that I'd rather own the 50mm 1.2 and still have money for a vacation.

Nic Cage's Hair's picture

To the author: Nice advertisement!

But where's the review?

Jaron Schneider's picture

To Nic Cage's hair: Not an ad, but thanks! I have only had the lens for about 40 hours, so expect a review sometime next week as I spend more time with it. 

Anders Petersen's picture

Fstoppers first impressions: "Well, I guess it's a lens? Lighter, bigger filter size, and a whole lot more expensive?"

When you do an actual review, will you have comparisons to the new Tamron as well?

Jaron Schneider's picture

The review is actually going to look at the lens as a standalone, rather than comparing it to anything. 

Anders Petersen's picture

So you're just doing transfer function replications (and possibly focus speed tests)? Since it's a version II, it at least warrants a comparison to the deprecated version...

Y Sotozaki's picture

Is 82mm becoming the new standard for "fast" zooms?

John Godwin's picture

What I learned in this post: Jaron Schneider has bought a new lens.


Albert Manduca's picture


Ricardo Gomez's picture

Way too much money.  As someone stated before, you can buy another great lens and have money left over for vacation.  Even a Zeiss 85mm which is pretty expensive by anyone's standards is $1200.  I think this new Canon lens would be reasonable for $1200 - $1500 if it's as good as people say it is.