Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM review

Conveniently compact for a full-frame standard zoom with a constant aperture

(Image: © Canon)

Digital Camera World Verdict

As an alternative to the professional-grade 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM is an excellent choice. It’s not going to produce the same quality of bokeh or produce the same results in low-light, but the trade-off is a lens that’s lighter, easier to manage and more affordable. Extra features like class-leading macro mode and a sophisticated image stabiliser ensure that this isn’t just a budget version of a pro lens, but an excellent choice of optic in its own right.


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    Small and light

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    Useful macro mode

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    Impressive stabiliser


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    Some severe vignetting

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Designed for full-frame Canon DSLRs, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM is a standard zoom for general-purpose photography, covering the same focal range as the pro-spec 24-70mm f/2.8 L II but in a more convenient and attractively priced package. So what exactly is the USP of this lens, and what sets it apart from the other best Canon lenses in the same or similar focal ranges?

For walkabout handheld shooting, one problem with 24-70mm f/2.8 zooms is that they’re pretty hefty. Most of them weigh about a kilogram, which is a lot when added to the weight of a full-frame body. With dimensions of just 83x93mm, a weight of only 600g and a filter thread of 77mm, this lens is something of a downsized delight. It’s almost as small and compact as the Canon 15-85mm lens for APS-C format cameras, despite being full-frame compatible. This is enabled by the constant f/4 aperture rating, which is a full f/stop slower than standard f/2.8 lenses many photographers have become accustomed to, though it’s hardly what you’d call ‘slow’.

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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.