Photo packs have come a long way in the past decade, especially those that are targeted toward outdoor and adventure photographers. Alaska-based adventure photographer Dan Bailey takes a closer look...
Producing a high quality high speed zoom lens that goes as wide as
24mm is challenging, but the "L" in "Canon 24-70L" assures you of
professional quality images, rugged construction, and substantial
weather-proofing. The 24mm wide end is wide enough to be dramatic,
but the 70mm long end is not long enough for flattering portraits.
The bulk and weight of this lens make it a poor choice for travel; we
recommend the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, (compare prices) (review) as an alternative.
Image stabilization as close as the nearest door frame...
Canon doesn't put sensor-based image stabilization in its bodies and
they didn't put an optical image stabilizer in this lens. The f/2.8
aperture helps by enabling the photographer to select higher shutter
speeds, but to minimize camera shake you'll find yourself leaning up
against door frames or using electronic flash (which wedding reception
photographers are doing anyway). If you can't find a door frame,
remember that you need at least 1/70th of a second at 70mm or 1/25th
of a second at the wide limit of the zoom.
[Image at right stabilized thanks to a bright sunny day, ISO 200, and
1/1000th of a second, f/5. EOS 5D. Downtown Chicago from a Robinson R44
helicopter on its ferry flight from the factory in Los Angeles
back to Boston. There are faster ways to travel...]
The Canon 24-70/2.8L incorporates a ring-type ultrasonic motor, for
instant autofocus and the option of touching up the focus manually
even in autofocus mode. Focus is internal, so the lens does not
extend or contract as the focus is adjusted. Nor does the front
element rotate as you focus or zoom, making it easy to use this lens
with polarizing filters.
The L in Canon 24-70/2.8L guarantees you tough mechanical construction
and a substantial degree of weather-proofing. If you've got a
weather-sealed EOS body, notably the EOS 1 series, you can take
pictures in a reasonably heavy rain.
The lens barrel incorporates 16 elements of glass in 13 groups. Two
of those 16 glass elements are aspherical and one is an
ultra-low dispersion (UD) element.
The diaphragm is an 8-blade design for nearly circular appearance in
out-of-focus highlights. Filter size is 77mm and the bayonet-mount
EW-83F hood is included.
The penalty for all of this quality is a shoulder-crushing weight of
950g, more than 2 lbs. and nearly twice as much as a Canon Digital
This is an EF lens, illuminating an image circle large enough to cover a
24x36mm piece of film or the sensor in Canon's more expensive
"full-frame" digital SLRs. The camera will work fine on a
small-sensor body, but you will be carrying around more lens than you
need and the focal length will be a "slighty-wide-to-portrait" range.
A scorching summer day; f/8 and ISO 100. Note to pilots: it may be
unwise to expect a two-person airplane of yesteryear to carry two
modern American adults.
ISO 800 and f/2.8 at 1/30th; camera held over head. It might have
been better to use a flash, but it is tough to think of a flash
position that would have uniformly illuminated all of the people in
the scene. It would be nice if this phase of the wedding had been in
a better-lit environment...
f/3.5 at 1/100th; ugly hazy white sky in the background.
f/5.6 and 70mm; the 24-70 can substitute for a portrait lens if you're
not trying a very tight composition.