Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 STM IS - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2021

Introduction

With full format mirrorless cameras replacing APS-C format, it is inevitable to see a rise in offerings of entry-level lenses. As so often, market leader Sony was first with a full-format "kit zoom" lens (Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS) for mirrorless cameras. However, alongside the release of the EOS RP, Canon finally countered this with its own Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 STM IS. At the time of the announcement, the lens was greeted with some skepticism due to its very slow max aperture of f/7.1 at 105mm. And yes, it's a bit debatable whether having the slowest lenses of the industry (alongside the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 USM L IS and the RF 600/800mm f/11 STM IS) is something to be proud of. That being said - when looking at the "equivalent" apertures for APS-C and MFT lenses, it's starting to make more sense if you have the intention of grabbing market share from these competing systems. The RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 STM IS is typically sold with budget FF cameras but it's also available separately. It's priced around 400 USD/EUR which is typical in this lens class. When purchased as part of a camera kit, it's usually a bit cheaper still.

The chassis has a fairly nice, non-slippery texture to it. It seems to be some compound material similar to what is also used in higher-priced Canon RF lenses. There's a metal mount but no weather sealing. Like almost all standard zoom lenses, it extends when zooming towards longer focal lengths. The inner lens tube is a bit wobbly but not terribly so. The broad, rubberized zoom ring operates quite smoothly. The ring at the front serves two purposes - a focus mode and the typical, customizable R-mount control mode. An annoying aspect is the missing AF/MF switch. If you want to switch between focus modes, you will have to do so via the camera menu. Conversely, there is still a dedicated switch for the image stabilizer which is rated at an efficiency of up to 5 f-stops. A petal-shaped lens hood is optional.

As the name implies, the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 STM IS uses a stepping motor (STM) for auto-focusing. It is normally quite fast and near noiseless. However, spot AF is quite useless - the camera barely finds its focus (using the EOS R5). It seems spot AF is quite a weakness on Canon mirrorless cameras in general - we had similar issues with the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 USM L IS on the original EOS R. Manual focusing works "by wire" which is perfectly fine. An interesting feature of the lens is its capability to focus down to a max magnification of 1:2. That's basically macro territory although you shouldn't expect the quality of a dedicated macro lens. This is possible in manual focus mode only with a minimum focus distance of 13cm at 24mm. Using AF you can still achieve a max magnification of 1:2.5 at 105mm.

Specifications
Optical construction13 sheets in 11 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.13m (max. object magnification AF 1:2.5x (@105 mm), MF 1:2x (@24 mm)
Dimensions76.6x88.8mm
Weight395g
Filter size67mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped, bayonet mount, optical
Other featuresimage stabilizer, control ring