Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM review: A Peerless Performer

By Kevin Carter - Friday January 25 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens performance | Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM versus competition | Conclusion

Introduced in February 2012, the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is the long-awaited update to Canon’s pro-grade standard zoom and replaces the highly regarded EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM. Designed with the objective of improving image quality and providing greater durability for daily use with digital cameras, it has a completely revised optical design as well as an enhanced mechanical construction. As full-frame lens, it’s compatible with the firm’s full range of DSLRs including 1.6 (APS-C) and older APS-H (1.3x crop) DSLRs making it an attractive choice to a wide of range users. However, at around $2,500 it’s not likely to be a casual purchase.

Billed as Canon’s professional standard zoom lens, the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM replaces the popular full-frame EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM model, introduced in 2002. The new lens was developed to address some of the shortcomings of the previous model and so features a redesigned optical configuration as well as a more durable outer barrel and zoom mechanism to maintain performance over its lifetime. Not only that, but the new lens features water-and-dustproof seals around the zoom and focus rings, switches, extending barrel and lens mount.

As well as adopting UD glass, the lens features a Super UD element (with a performance close to that of fluorite) to moderate chromatic aberrations, while three aspherical elements improve peripheral sharpness and reduce the overall size. Despite the increase in filter size from 77mm to 82m, the lens is 10mm shorter than the now discontinued model, and, at 805g (28.39oz), the firm has reduced the weight by 145g (5.1oz) as well.

The redesigned optical construction also eliminates the quirky handling of the previous model. Where the barrel used to extend when selecting the shorter focal lengths, the new lens behaves like one might expect, with the front barrel progressively lengthening at longer focal lengths.

Although this lens appeals primarily to full frame (24x36mm) Canon users, it will still be of interest to those using an APS-C body, where the angle of view behaves like that of a 38-to-112mm. However, while the lens certainly sounds promising (Canon claims the image quality is vastly superior to the previous model), at around $2,500 it had better be good.

Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens performance

Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM versus competition