Canon 24-105mm f/4 vs. 24-70mm f/2.8

I usually shoot with the Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens because its pretty much the all round perfect zoom lens for wedding photography. Especially indian wedding photography because subject to camera distances are constantly changing and in some venues space is limited.

However, for the wedding I shot this weekend I used the 24-70mm f/2,8. Why? I wanted to see how much better it was (if at all) than the 24-105mm lens.

The first thing that I noticed was how heavy it is! It’s nearly 300g heavier than the 24-105, weighing in at 950g! Is the  maximum aperture of f/2.8 worth the increased weight? Well i’m not so sure. On the 5D MKII both lenses are excellent. On the wide end of the scale they are as good as eachother. When you get down to the tele end of the lenses, I am torn between the two. The 24-105mm obviously has the 35mm of extra reach which is a major plus point, but the 24-70mm has the wide aperture of f/2.8 which gives that pleasing background blur and lets in a full stop more of light so higher shutter speeds can be used to better freeze motion. I thought the bokeh of the 24-70mm would be miles better than the 24-105mm, but I was wrong. To my eyes, it is slightly better but only marginally so. When both lenses are zoomed in at their maximum focal length and wide open aperture, I would say that the amount of background blur is more or less the same.

One of the reasons I decided to try the 24-70mm was because the 24-105’s bokeh looked slightly ‘choppy’ to me. I can’t put my finger on it but its something I notice. In this respect I find the bokeh of the 24-70mm smoother and more pleasing to the eye. However, for subject isolation and even better bokeh, I much prefer the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 prime lens I have.

Overall I think the 24-70mm is a good lens, but seeing as most of the time I was shooting at around f/4, I prefer the 24-105mm lens because its lighter (this makes a difference when you’re shooting for 12 hours with a gripped 5D MKII with a 580ex on top and a heavy lens!) and it has image stabilisation. The IS is definitely a plus point when shooting handheld in darker environments. Even though it doesnt stop subject motion, it makes a difference to the sharpness of backgrounds and still subjects. Also the 35mm of extra reach really DOES make a difference. It’s the deciding factor between getting that ‘detail’ shot or not.

So will I be using the 24-70mm again? Well I dont know. Never say never, but I dont see myself using it again for a wedding anytime soon. I think it’s too impractical, but then again maybe that’s just me. If I need faster apertures, I would rather switch to my prime lenses. My final thought?  Canon needs to make a lens which has the wide aperture of the 24-70mm with the image stabilisation, lightness and reach of the 24-105mm lens! Only in a perfect world….


One Response to “Canon 24-105mm f/4 vs. 24-70mm f/2.8”

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