Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/640s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length41.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/1000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length50.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/30s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length24.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/640s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length35.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length59.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/2000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/2500s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length24.0mm
Aperture:f/10.0
Exposure1/200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/30s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length24.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length33.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/8s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length33.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/800s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length30.0mm
Aperture:f/11.0
Exposure1/200s

Compeition

The only competition the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS (to the left below) has to face are its in-house cousins. Canon doesn't share the communication protocol with other manufacturers so it will take a while until this situation changes (meanwhile Samyang succeeded in reverse-engineering). The Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 USM L (center) is closest in scope. Its even larger aperture is quite an engineering feat. If speed is everything for you, it may be an interesting option - despite the even higher price tag and bigger size/weight. However, keep in mind that other than the shorter zoom range, you will also have to live without an image stabilizer thus it's actually less aligned to (most) low-light photography despite being faster. On the more affordable side is the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 USM L IS (right). For the vast number of photographers, it is actually the more sensible choice. Yes, it is a stop slower but it has, obviously, a range advantage and while the difference in price may give us the impression that it is optically inferior, this is not the case.

Verdict

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS is the best fast standard zoom lenses that we tested to date. However, this doesn't mean that it's flawless - standard zoom lenses never are. In terms of resolution, the broader center zone is superbly sharp at all relevant aperture settings. The border quality is also on a very high level. The corner quality varies a bit though. Except for the sweet spot at 50mm, the corners are a tad soft at f/2.8. However, they have recovered nicely at f/5.6 latest. These days you tend to correct the secondary characteristic via image auto-correction. However, when analyzing the raw qualities, the results reveal a couple of issues. The vignetting is rather extreme at 24mm f/2.8 for instance - and that's despite the very large front element. Complex image distortions are also quite obvious at 24mm and there are fairly visible pincushion distortions at 70mm. Lateral CAs are quite moderate albeit not zilch. The quality of the bokeh is very good as far as general rendition is concerned but not ideal with respect to out-of-focus highlights.

Please note that this may not sound overly enthusiastic but in real-life scenarios, the lens behaves very well. Who cares about tack sharp corners at f/2.8 when doing shallow depth-of-field photography for instance? And, as mentioned, auto-correction will help for most of the other aspects anyway. Still, keep in mind that you should balance all this with the price of 2500EUR/$2200.

There is nothing to complain about the build quality of the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS. It targets professionals and you can feel it. The materials and assembly quality are top of the class. Weather-sealing is a natural feature at this price point anyway. Some may not like the extending zoom mechanism - but fact remains that this is just normal for pretty much all standard zoom lenses. The AF is extremely fast and noiseless - you won't really miss a DSLR lens in this respect anymore. Canon finally managed to incorporate an image stabilizer into the lens - a feature that has been requested by users for several years - and it is as reliable and efficient as in other modern Canon lenses.

All in all a highly desirable workhorse lens for professional photographers although we also think that the pricing is over the top.

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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