Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM review

This is as good as it gets for an own-brand Canon standard zoom

(Image: © Canon)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM really is an excellent lens – there’s no quibbling with that. It shoots terrific images and its weather-sealing is among the best Canon has ever produced, making it a fantastic choice for landscapes. It is something of a shame, however, that the sharpness and contrast of its images aren’t significantly better than its rivals from third-party manufacturers, which offer similar quality at a much better price.


  • +

    Excellent weather sealing

  • +

    Sharp, even when wide open


  • -

    Expensive for what you get

  • -

    No stabilisation

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Covering a useful general-purpose focal range, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II is a standard zoom lens that is part of Canon’s L series. Lenses with the ‘L’ designation are known for being extremely high quality inside and out, producing pin-sharp images even in challenging conditions. They're known as the best Canon lenses for good reason.

The original edition of this lens dates back to 2002 but it was extensively revamped in 2012. The ‘next generation’ optical design with three aspherical elements aims for greater sharpness with reduced distortion, colour fringing and colour blur. The number of diaphragm blades was also increased to nine, enabling a better-rounded aperture when stopping down from f/2.8. 

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.