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Canon 24-105 mm L vs. Non-L series

Indra Mawira , Jun 27, 2006; 11:16 a.m.

I am a fashion photographer and I am planning to buy a 24-105mm lens from Canon (I am using EOS 20D).

My question is, since the price between the L and Non-L series (24-105mm) is so much different (approx 1000Eur vs. 350EUR), is it worth to buy the L series for my type of photography? (you can view my portfolio at imawira.deviantart.com)

Thanks in advance and hope to hear some feedback.



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James Symington , Jun 27, 2006; 11:40 a.m.

I'm a big fan of the 24-105mm L as a lot of people on the forum know. But I've got to ask you if you are sure you will get on with a lens that has quite deep depth of field relative to buying yourself two or three of the more economical primes (35mm f2, 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8)? If I was doing the kind of photography you do I imagine I would use that kind of lens instead should I want shallow DOF. I can't speak of the 28-105 myself having never even handled one but you do tend to get what you pay for. Also it depends how big you will print/display your shots. If it's not too big you can get away with more deficiencies in the lens - usually. You need to tell us more about what you do really.

Paul Turton , Jun 27, 2006; 11:58 a.m.

An 'L' lens will give better colour, contrast and bokeh than the consumer line of lenses. Most 'L' lenses can be used wide open and still give a crisp image that is better than a consumer zoom lens stopped down a stop or two. My 'L' lenses seem to have a clarity that I cannot duplicate when using a consumer zoom. For your type of work I would prefer the 24-70 f/2.8 L paired with a 70-200 f/2.8 L IS on a second body.

If you are earning a living from your work or you are a serious amateur, certainly the 'L' is worth the extra expense.

Tim Corridan - Queen Creek, Arizona , Jun 27, 2006; 12:20 p.m.

the 24=105 is an "L" series, and i read its quite good. but a fashion photographer needs 2.8 i agree w/ a few primes plus the 70-200 2.8

Puppy Face , Jun 27, 2006; 01:53 p.m.

I have both the EF 24-105 4L and 24-85 USM. Both are nice lenses in there own right, but the L zoom is sharp and contrasty wide open. The 24-85 needs to be stopped down to F8 or higher to be be critically sharp. Both have terrible barrel distortion at the wide end. So if you shoot at F8-F16 the diff is small, otherwise it is huge.

Of course the L zoom is sealed, built like a brick (feels like one too) and has amazingly effective IS. It's the ultimate walkaround for doctors, lawyers and yuppie puppies. The 24-85 is petite, light and may be carried all day without whining.

I agree with the others, neither one is the best choice for fashion. I'd suggest the EF 85 1.8 USM, EF 135 2L USM or EF 70-200 2.8L USM.

My Review of the EF 24-105 4L IS USM

My Review of the EF 24-85 USM

caleb condit , Jun 27, 2006; 02:11 p.m.

forget them both. Go for the 24-70 2.8L . It's one of the sharpest zooms Canon makes, and totally outperforms them both. It's only improved my work. Check out Calebcondit.com for examples of my recent stuff, flickr.com/photos/condit for old stuff

James Symington , Jun 27, 2006; 03:58 p.m.

I'd say forget the 24-70mm too and do the job properly with some faster primes. Indra, you need to tell us a bit more about what you're trying to do before you get really meaningful advice from any of us.

Iori Suzuki , Jun 27, 2006; 03:59 p.m.

I have both the 24-105IS f/4 lens as well as the 28-105 f/3.5~4.5 lens. In addition to the L lens being wider by 4mm (very significant on the wide end), it has image stabilization, which can be very useful in low-light situations, although it will not stop movement. Everything that others have said about the L lens having better resolution, color, contrast and bokeh are true.

If your livelihood depends on having the best images, I would think that it's a no-brainer to spend the additional money on an L. Depending on your working distance, I agree with the other poster that you would want one of the faster, fixed aperture f/2.8 lenses; i.e., either the 24-70 or the 70-200. An alternative may be the 85 f/1.8 or 100 f/2 prime lenses, although the zoom will give you better flexibility, especially if you are shooting models on the catwalk.

Indra Mawira , Jun 28, 2006; 04:39 a.m.

First of all THANK YOU all for the answers.

I shoot fashion photography but not fashion shows or catwalk. I mostly work in a studio(or other indoor spots) with flash so most of the time working between F8 to F11. I would like to have a sharp image and better contrast since I feel that my 28-105 USM does not produce them. I would consider myself as a rather dynamic photographer in a way that I dislike working with tripod therefore I like to move around and therefore I feel that I need a zoom lense ( I also like to capture waist and above, so not full body). I've worked with 17-85 and its fine with me so as long as I have a zoom lense around 24-70 (doesnt have to be 28-105).

So my main priority is to have a sharper image, better quality, better colour and off course some zoom. I hope this information helps.

Jim Larson , Jun 28, 2006; 05:57 a.m.

If you are working with flash. . .an image stabilized lens is not needed. You would use F2.8 more often than IS. In a studio setting, where you have time to switch lenses, primes are a very viable option. A 50/1.8 and 85/1.8 should produce superior results to either of the 24-xx "L" lenses.

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