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Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS
Full-Frame EF USM
(2012-today)

©2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM (for all digital and 35mm Canon SLRs of all formats, especially full-frame, 58mm filter thread, 8 inches or 0.7 feet/0.2m close-focus, 9.5 oz./270g, about $550.) enlarge. I got mine at Adorama; Amazon and B&H are also fantastic places to get it.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Canon does not seal its boxes, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used lens. (My approved sources ship from automated warehouses where no salespeople or other lookie-loos can get their greasy fingers on your new lens.) Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

April 2015    More Canon Reviews    Canon Lenses    All Reviews

Why Fixed Lenses Take Better Pictures

How to Use Wide Lenses

 

35mm f/2 IS (2012-) Same lens, in 35mm f/2 focal length.

24mm f/1.4 L II (2008-) Professional model.

24mm f/2.8 STM (2014-) Tiny model for APS-C cameras only.

24mm TS-E II (2009-) Pro tilt-shift lens.

 

Sample Image Files

Palm, RP 03 March 2015

Palm, 03 March 2015. Canon 5D Mk III, f/5.6 at 1/125 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear V2. Full-resolution.

 

Palm, RP 03 March 2015

Kyoto, Japan, 20 November 2014. Canon SL1, f/4 at 1/30 at ISO 1,000, Perfectly Clear V2. Camera-original JPG.

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

This Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS USM is a small, lightweight image-stabilized wide-angle lens. Its optics are fantastic, easily equal to my superb 24-70/2.8 L II at 24mm or the 24/1.4 L II — and it adds Image Stabilization (IS) absent in those other lenses, all for a fraction of the price.

Compared to the original 1988 EF 24mm f/2.8, this new lens adds image stabilization and instant manual-focus override: just grab the focus ring at any time.

This new lens is bigger, and weighs the same as the previous fixed lens, and is much lighter than any zoom.

Canon claims the stabilizer also works great on a monopod, and even works with the EF12 II and EF25 II extension tubes. The stabilizer may not work if shooting from a moving vehicle.

 

Format

This 24/2.8 IS is a full-frame lens, so it works on all formats.

Full frame lenses are at their best on full-frame, which is how I will be reviewing it.

You can make the usual inferences when used on smaller sensors.

 

Compatibility

This 24/2.8 IS lens is optimized for 35mm film and full-frame digital, and of course works on 1.3x and 1.6x Canon cameras.

This Canon EF EOS 24mm f/2.8 IS works perfectly with every Canon EOS camera ever made, meaning every Canon DSLR and every Canon autofocus film camera made since 1987.

This means of course it works great on today's 5D Mark III, 6D and Canon 7D, but I tried and autofocus and IS work just as well on my original Canon EOS 650 from 1987!

 

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

 

Name

Canon calls this the CANON LENS EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM.

EF means "electronic focus," meaning that there is an autofocus motor in the lens itself. All Canon lenses since 1987 have been EF.

IS means Image Stabilization.

Ultrasonic or USM means Ultra-Sonic Motor. This means autofocus is almost silent, and that you can grab the big focus ring for instant manual focus override at any time.

 

Optics       top

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS construction

Canon 24/2.8 IS internal construction. IS and aspherical.

11 elements in 9 groups.

One molded glass aspherical element.

Rear focus: nothing moves externally as autofocused.

Multicoated, branded as "Optimized Super Spectra Coating."

 

Focal Length        top

24mm.

On 1.3x Canon cameras it will see angles-of-view similar to what a 31mm lens would see on a 35mm camera.

On 1.6x Canon cameras it will see angles-of-view similar to what a 39mm lens would see on a 35mm camera.

 

Angle of View (on 35mm and full-frame cameras)

84º diagonal.

53º vertical.

74º horizontal.

 

Close Focus       top

8 inches (0.67 feet or 0.2m), specified and confirmed, from the image plane.

With EF12 II tube: 139-146mm (5.5-5.7").

With EF25 II tube: 134-138mm (5.3-5.4").

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio        top

1:4.34 (0.23x), specified, at close-focus distance.

With EF12 II tube: 1:2-1:1.4 (0.50-0.71x).

With EF25 II tube: 1:0.96 (1.11-1.30x, larger than life-sized).

With 250D close-up lens: 1:10-1:3.2 (0.10-0.31x).

With 500D close-up lens: 1:20-1:3.7 (0.05-0.27x).

 

Diaphragm       top

Front, Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS at f/2.8, EF diaphragm not visible.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/22.

Round to about f/4, heptagonal from about f/5.6~22.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?        top

No.

You have to let the AF system focus for you at infinity.

 

Focus Scale       top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale       top

Yes.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index       top

Yes, red dot.

Most likely for 800 nm.

 

Filter Thread       top

58mm.

Plastic.

Does not move.

 

Size       top

Canon specifies 2.7" (68.4mm) diameter by 2.2" (55.7mm) long.

 

Weight       top

9.535 oz. (270.35g), measured.

Canon specifies 11.8 oz. (280g).

 

Caps       top

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS with included caps.

 

New 58mm E-58II front, included. It's a copy of Nikon's newest caps and much improved from Canon's previous caps.

Standard EOS cap rear, included.

 

Hood       top

Optional EW-65B plastic bayonet, $50.

 

Case       top

Optional LP1014 sack, $27.

 

Included       top

Lens and caps; that's it.

 

Introduced       top

June 2012.

 

Canon Part Number       top

5345B002 (5345B001 in Japan).

 

Canon Model Number       top

EF2428IS.

 

JAN Code       top

4960999-788067.

 

Quality        top

Made in Japan.

 

Price, USA        top

2015 March: $550. (80,000 yen list price in Japan.)

Box, Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Box, Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS.

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

Overall    Autofocus    Bokeh   Breathing   Color   Coma   

Distortion   Ergonomics   Falloff    Filters     Flare & Ghosts

Image Stabilization   Lateral Color Fringes   Macro   Mechanics   

Sharpness   Spherochromatism   Sunstars

 

Overall     performance      top

The Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS is optically superb and handles very well. It just works great.

 

Autofocus     performance      top

Autofocus is fast and nearly silent, as we take for granted with Canon. For the still subjects I shoot, it's almost instantaneous unless you need it to rack all the way in or out.

 

Auto/Manual Switching

Just grab the focus ring at any time for instant manual-focus override.

Only move the AF-MF switch if you want to disable the camera from auto focusing.

 

AF Speed

AF is fast!, as Canons always are.

The AF motor might be silent, but you will hear some internal sliding and rattling as it focuses.

 

AF Accuracy and Consistency

I saw no autofocus error on my Canon 5D Mk III.

Especially at f/2.8, every shot is dead-nuts on.

 

Manual Focus

Manual focus is easy; just grab the ring.

It's geared just right for the perfect compromise between speed and precision.

 

Bokeh     performance      top

Bokeh, the quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to the degree of defocus, is good and neutral, not that anything is ever that far out of focus with a lens as wide and slow as this one.

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS Bokeh

Canon 24/1.4 IS shot on full-frame at f/2.8. Camera-original image.

 

Focus Breathing     performance      top

Focus breathing (the image changing size as focused) is mostly of interest to cinematographers who don't want the image changing size ("breathing") as the lens is focused among different subjects.

The image from the Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS gets larger as focused more closely.

 

Color Rendition     performance      top

The color balance of this 24mm f/2.8 IS seems the same as my other Canon EF lenses.

 

Coma     performance      top

Coma, or saggital coma flare, is when points of light in the corners turn into batwing-shaped blobs. This is often a problem with fast normal or wide lenses.

I see no coma in this lens, which is superb.

 

Distortion     performance      top

The Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS has moderate barrel distortion.

Use these values in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool to remove the distortion for more critical use, however some waviness usually remains:

 

Correction Factor on Full-Frame or 35mm

30m (100')
+3.0*
3m (10')
+2.0*
1m (3')
+1.0**
0.2m (0.67')
+2.5

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

* Some waviness remains after correction.

** Only slight waviness remains after correction.

 

Ergonomics     performance      top

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS.

Ergonomics are just about perfect. It's a small, light lens with one or two switches right under your thumb, and a big, easy-to-grab focus ring. Perfect!

Grab the focus ring at any time for instant manual override. A single fingertip will do it.

The AF - MF and IS switches fall right under your thumb.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)     performance      top

Falloff is visible without a profile at f/2.8, and gone by f/4.

With a profile, it's invisible even wide-open.

I've greatly exaggerated this by shooting a flat gray target and presenting it against a gray background:

 

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff on full-frame

5D Mk III peripheral illumination control disabled (same results on film):

f/2.8
f/4
Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff
Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff
f/5.6
f/8

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

5D Mk III peripheral illumination control active:

f/2.8
f/4
Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff
Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS falloff
f/5.6
f/8

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, Use with     performance      top

The plastic 58mm filter threads are big enough that even two normal stacked filters won't cause any vignetting on full-frame (or any other format).

There is no need for expensive "thin" filters.

Avoid polarizers on wide-angle lenses, the natural polarization of the sky varies with angle and often leads to unintended dark bands across the sky. This applies to all wide lenses.

 

Flare and Ghosts     performance      top

Flare performance is superb. I can shoot with the direct disc of the sun in my image and get no ghosts:

Canon 24mm IS flare

At f/3.2, direct view of mid-day tropical sun. bigger.

If you push it like this, you might get one dim green dagger opposite the light source, otherwise, no problem.

 

Image Stabilization      performance     top

By "sharp shots" I mean perfect, tripod-equivalent sharpness when viewed at 100%, as shot on a 5D Mk III hand-held by me. For most uses, one can use much slower speeds. See Why IS Matters for more.

% Sharp Shots
1
1/2
1/4
1/8
1/15
1/30
IS Off
0
0
17
100
100
IS ON
0
50
50
100
100
100

For me, if we set the bar at the speed at which 50% of my shots are exactly as sharp as on a tripod, my slowest speed with IS Off is 1/12, and 1/3 with IS ON. That's a 2 stop improvement. Of course for most uses we can accept a little blur, and the percentages would be higher for all speeds — but the relative improvement provided by IS would stay the same.

 

Lateral Color Fringes     performance      top

Better than most Canon lenses, there are absolutely no visible lateral color fringes at 22MP full-frame, shot with a lens profile.

 

Macro     performance      top

It gets very close. 8" from the image plane is just 4" (10cm) from the front of the lens:

Canon 24mm IS Macro performance

Invicta dive watch at close-focus distance on full-frame at f/2.8.

The images would be even tighter on smaller-format cameras (see crop factor).

It's super-sharp; here's a crop from a 22MP full-frame image at 100%:

Canon 24mm IS Macro performance

Crop from above image at 100%. If this is 6" (15cm) wide on your screen, the full image would print at 40 x 60" (1 x 1.5 meters)!

These samples are wide-open at f/2.8, which is superb. Many lenses get softer at macro distances wide-open; this lens stays just as sharp.

 

Mechanics     performance      top

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS

Rear, Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS. enlarge.

The Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS is made to typical consumer standards: all plastic, except for the glass and the mount. It's the same as the 35/2 IS and nowhere near as good as the fully professional 24mm f/1.4 L II.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood Mount

Plastic.

 

Identity

Plastic ring between front element and filter threads.

 

Focus Ring

Plastic, rubber-covered.

 

Barrel

Plastic.

 

Internals

I see what looks like all plastic.

 

Moisture seal at mount

No.

 

Mount

Chromed metal.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Serial Number

Laser-engraved in nearly invisible black in to the bottom of the black plastic lens barrel.

 

Date Code

None found.

 

Noises When Shaken

Slight clunking.

 

Made in

Japan.

 

Sharpness     performance      top

Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens, and lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers. It's the least skilled hobbyists who waste the most time blaming fuzzy pictures on their lenses, while real shooters know that few photos ever use all the sharpness of which their lenses are capable due to subject motion and the fact that real subjects are rarely perfectly flat.

This said, the Canon 24 IS is ultra-sharp at all apertures. The only place it's a little softer — and that's only a little — is in the full-frame corners at f/2.8, where it is a little softer. This snap of a doormat shows it at its worst, and it's still very sharp in the corners:

Canon 24/2.8 IS sharpness sample image

Dirt mat, shot wide-open at f/2.8. Canon 5D Mk III, f/2.8 at 1/3,200 at ISO 100, Perfectly Clear V2. Full-resolution.

So long as you're in focus, sharpness doesn't vary from perfection, except at f/11 and smaller, where diffraction softens images from all lenses.

Throughout most of the image (except for the last few millimeters of the corners), this lens is just as sharp at f/2.8 as it is stopped down!

Hey, sorry to spare you endless boring charts, but with a lens this good, there's nothing to show other than sharp pictures under all conditions.

The biggest detriment to sharpness will be a lack of proper vision and technique, never this lens. I bought mine directly from Adorama. I can't vouch for anything if you buy from a local store or chain where you never really know who's opened and played with your lens before you buy it. I never buy retail; too many risks since Canon doesn't seal its boxes, so why pay more?

Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS MTF

 Canon's specified MTF curve, 24/2.8 IS.

 

Spherochromatism     performance      top

Spherochromatism, misnamed "color bokeh" by laymen, is when out-of-focus highlights take on color fringes at full aperture.

Spherochromatism is a completely different aberration from lateral color fringes.

I see no spherochromatism.

 

Sunstars     performance      top

Canon 24mm IS sunstars

At f/8, direct view of mid-day tropical sun: no sunstars. bigger.

 

Canon 24mm IS sunstars

At f/16, direct view of mid-day tropical sun: mild, soft sunstars. bigger.

 

Canon 24mm IS sunstars

At f/22, direct view of mid-day tropical sun, medium soft sunstars. bigger.

With its 7 rounded blades, this Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS makes soft 14-pointed sunstars on brilliant points of light, but only at smaller apertures.

 

Compared       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

 

Compared to the 24/2.8 STM

The 24mm f/2.8 STM is a tiny EF-S lens, only for Canon's APS-C cameras.

If you have an APS-C camera, get the 24/2.8 STM; and if you shoot or expect to shoot full-frame, get this 24/2.8 IS instead.

 

Compared to the 24/1.4 L II

The 24mm f/1.4 L II is a big, heavy expensive professional lens that also covers full-frame.

The 24/1.4 is best for astronomy and shooting action in very dim light, otherwise, this 24/2.8 IS is a much better idea for everything else.

Optical quality is about the same.

IS can't help you if the subject is in motion; your only hope is a faster lens like the f/1.4 version.

If your subject holds still, this IS lens is a much more practical idea

 

Compared to the 35/2 IS

The 35mm f/2 IS (2012-) is the same as this lens, just in a 35mm focal length with a much higher f/2 speed.

They are for different purposes; the 35mm lens is often used as a normal lens.

Personally, I'd get the 35mm and use it as a normal lens; I never use fixed 24mm lenses, but that's just me.

 

Compared to the 24-70mm f/2.8 L II

The huge and expensive 24-70/2.8 L II has about the same optical performance at 24mm. The two are equally sharp, while this lens adds IS.

Personally I never use a fixed 24mm lens, and prefer my 24-70 since I usually use it at other focal lengths — but this it like comparing apples to orangutans. We're all different; Galen Rowell toured the world for National Geographic with only two lenses: a 24mm f/2.8 and a small tele zoom, and that was it.

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

This compact little lens is lightweight and optically as good or better than any of Canon's other 24mm lenses. If you want a fixed 24mm lens for full-frame, this is Canon's best for most people. Only if you're an astronomer, in-the-mud shooter or a pro shooting action is the 24/1.4 L II any better.

I'd use a 58mm B+W XS PRO 010 MRC UV filter for protection, or the Canon 58mm UV or a 58mm Hoya HMC UV. These filters are all excellent; the reason to pay more for the B+W is simply if you feel better with a $42 rather than a $30 filter on a $550 lens.

If you've found the effort I've spent in sharing this review helpful, this ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links to it at Adorama, at Amazon or at B&H when you get yours. Using those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live, ensures you get the best prices, products, service and return polices.

Canon does not seal its boxes, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used lens. (My approved sources ship from automated warehouses where no salespeople or other lookie-loos can get their greasy fingers on your new lens before it ships to you.) Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken.

 

More Information        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Recommendations   More

Canon, USA's data.

Canon's 24/2.8 IS manual.

Canon's Museum.

 

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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02 March 2015