The Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens is Canon’s first RF-mount lens to hit the streets and the first kit lens to be included with Canon EOS R series cameras. While “kit lens” may bring connotations of cheap and low quality, buyers of full frame imaging sensor cameras are discerning. Canon understands that and does not disappoint with this one. Canon’s EF-mount 24-105mm f/4L IS lenses are greatly-loved and have long been the choice for EOS full frame kit lenses, a lens typically needing great general purpose functionality, and based on the success of those lenses, staying the course on the focal length range, quality level and general design for the EOS R-series kit lens made a lot of sense.
Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens Review & Test
The RF mount is Canon’s first full frame lens mount introduced since the EF (electronic focusing) mount was introduced over 30 years ago. During that time period, technology has increased greatly and the RF mount, while current-technology-optimized, provides a foundation for future technology implementations.
With excellent image quality, fast and extremely accurate AF, a great general purpose focal length range and image stabilization along with solid build quality and a modest size, weight and price, the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM is an extremely versatile lens and the perfect lens choice for the Canon R-series cameras it is designed for. If you could pack only one lens along with an R-series camera for an anything-might-happen photo adventure, this lens will likely be your best option.
- While subject framing can be adjusted by moving closer or farther away from the subject, it is far better to select subject distance based on the ideal perspective it provides and that means the focal length is used to create the final subject framing. The versatility to quickly adjust that framing is the big advantage that a zoom lens provides. Still, having the right focal lengths available in a zoom lens remains paramount.
- While super zoom lenses tend to rule in this regard, designers must make sacrifices to include extreme focal length ranges in a single lens and those sacrifices typically negatively impact image quality. The 24-105mm focal length range is not considered extreme by most, but it is relatively long (an over 4x zoom range). Though this focal length range still traverses the designer-challenging wide angle through telephoto range, the image quality capabilities of this range have, historically speaking, remained excellent.
- While having a long range of focal lengths is helpful, what those focal lengths are is even more important, situationally more important at least. This lens’ 24-105mm range covers a solid superset of the heart of the general purpose focal length range, which is roughly 28-70mm for a full frame camera. As the “general purpose” term indicates, the usefulness of the 24-105mm range is exceedingly high and the complete list of uses for this range is beyond my compilation abilities. The list of what I personally have used this lens for is already long.
- This lens is an ideal choice for landscape photography and landscape photographers will find compositions ideally captured using every focal length available in this lens. The above image of the Maroon Bells was captured at 65mm. The Maui sunset below was captured at 24mm
- It is not difficult to create compelling landscape compositions using the 24mm perspective, while still providing emphasis on a foreground subject against an in-focus background with the viewer feeling a sense of presence in the scene. At the other end of the range, 105mm works great for modestly-compressed landscapes featuring distant subjects such as mountains.
- This is a great focal length range for photographing people and it is ideal for studio portraiture, weddings, parties, events, documentaries, interviews, lifestyle, fashion, some sports, candid and group and environmental portraits. Use the longer end of the range for tightly-framed portraits and the shorter end for groups and environmental imagery. Those are great angles of view and the range is a strong one. Pay specific attention to the 70mm vs 105mm comparison as that is the difference between what this lens offers and what the to-70mm alternative lenses provide
- In a zoom lens, the max aperture will sometimes be stated as a range, indicating that the max aperture narrows as the focal length increases. This is not the case with any of Canon’s 24-105mm L lenses produced to date and this one again features the highly-desirable constant f/4 max aperture. Manually-set wide open exposures can be retained and counted on throughout the entire zoom range.