I've been using my 1000D for 2 years now with the kit 18-55mm lens and for about a year now I've got it a bigger brother, a 55-250mm F4.0 IS lens, with the latter being on my body most of the time.

I've been looking for a few days now for a lens that would be a good all-round lens for my camera and was thinking about the 24-105mm F4.0L IS USM, because I like to take portraits, street photography and directed portraits.

Also, occasionally, I take landscape photography. So, in conclusion, I'm mostly looking for a lens that is sharp throughout the suitable range for portraits and give me the chance to take landscape photos.

I have found that the 24-70mm F2.8L USM could almost be a great lens for these jobs, but I would like to know if the price difference is worth it.

I am asking this question is because I haven't had the chance to test any of these two lenses, only by reading reviews, so I would appreciate it if there is anyone who used both of them or at least one and could share opinions about sharpness and IQ.

The reviews I've read comparing the 24-70 to 24-105 say that the 24-70 is sharper and is obviously faster/brighter than it's longer brother.

So, my post could be summarized to answering these questions:

  1. Is the extra 35mm in the 24-105mm worth more than the difference of sharpness between the lenses?

  2. Is the 24-70mm sharp enough for portraits at the the longer end?

  3. Is the bokeh difference more pleasant on the 24-70mm?

  4. Also I think I should mention that In the future I am thinking of upgrading to the 60D or 7D. Which combination of lenses/body do you think would be better?

Thank you in advance for your answers!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd first upgrade the body, and then rent the lenses to see assess their potential by yourself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Berzemus
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the 55-250 has been seeing the most use, I would consider replacing that with something better because it'll see more use. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 13:34
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think anyone can really answer this question for you because the answer is so subjective and dependent on the details of your situation and needs. On the other hand, if you could edit your question to be more concrete and less subjective then it would be easier to answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Finch
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 14:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just need opinions from people that have tested this/these lenses. The decision will be made in a subjective manor but I want as much information as I can get. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 14:21
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "Sharp enough" is unfortunately vague. You're currently using the 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS -- I have this lens too. It's a very nice, cheap option for getting close to birds & critters in the field. If this is a lens you're currently happy with, I suspect you'll find the differences in the 24-70 and 24-105 to be subtle. Either ought to be sharper, and each will auto-focus faster (my one complaint about the 55-250). Have you tried a lens comparison tool, such as: the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx ? Enter in your lenses & cameras to try and find a good match. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael H.
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 14:39

5 Answers 5

  1. Only you can answer if its 'worth it' for you. In general though, this range is already covered by your other lens and I wouldn't sacrifice sharpness to get it.

  2. People have vastly different opinions on how sharp a portrait lens should be. Some people like a razor sharp macro for it to catch all the details and some like a softer lens that hides flaws in the subject better. In reviews, the 70mm end is rated better than most other lenses of the same approximate range though.

  3. The 24-70mm has f/2.8 - which is a big deal for portraits. Its going to give you significantly 'creamier' backgrounds.

  4. Both of those are still crop bodies and ultimately shouldn't effect your decision.

Check here for a direct review of the two versus each other. Ultimately, considering the costs of these lenses, if you're in doubt, just rent them together for a weekend and shoot a bit. By the end, you'll be certain in your purchase.

For portraits, I'd avoid the 17-55mm f/2.8, merely because its focal length is a bit short for classic portraits.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've read that the ideal range for portraits is around 80-100mm, and have also found these to usually be the best ranges when in practice. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 14:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @reos - 80-100mm is usually when listed as full frame sensor. There's nothing wrong with it for crop sensor but that's usually the case for full frame. Realize that the 70mm goes to 105mm full frame equivalent on a crop body. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 15:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ 55mm for asp-C is 88 full frame, what's wrong with it for portrait? \$\endgroup\$
    – Paolo
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 12:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Paolo because 55 is the top end of that lens but its just barely in that 'prime' range. Going up to 70mm APS-C gives you all the way into it. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 12:42

The biggest problem with either of those lenses is that they're not really wide enough to be great for landscapes on a crop-sensor body.

I'd consider Canon's 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM as well. It's a recent design, and the range is great on a crop-sensor body. The 15-85 would be passable on the wide end, and it's much nicer than the older 17-85. I recently replaced the 17-85 with the 15-85, and I'm pleased with the upgrade.

The 17-55 f/2.8 that Mike mentioned is also very highly-regarded, and would give you better performance in low-light situations (maybe street photography, for instance). For landscapes, though, this probably won't be an issue (you'll want a tripod for long-exposure shots), and for portraits, it's pretty likely that you'll end up lighting your subject w/ strobes, studio lights, etc., so it might be worth trading a little of that optical speed for a bit more reach. As a lesser consideration, if you're ever planning on upgrading your long lens, all the reasonable upgrade paths for the 55-250 start at 70mm, so you'd wind up with a little gap in your focal range. Not a huge deal, really, but something to keep in mind.

Another alternative, I guess, would be to stick with either the 24-70 or 24-105 and supplement it on the wide end with something like Canon's 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 (Sigma & Tokina also make popular lenses in this range).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not to forget that the 18-55mm kit lens can continue to cover the wide angle till the 10-22mm comes into play. \$\endgroup\$
    – ab.aditya
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 8:27

The 24-105mm f/4L is certainly a nice lens for sure, but you might also want to check out the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. It's specifically designed for crop-sensor bodies, so will suit your 1000D well, and also any upgrade to the 60D or 7D as you suggested you might upgrade. I owned this lens and used it on both the 350D and 7D, and it is stunning. A constant f/2.8 through the whole zoom range, and with IS makes it a great camera for low light work, street photography, and depth of field with portrait shots. The little extra on the wide end too (17mm vs. 24mm) would also allow you to encompass more in your landscape work.

This post also details how an EF-S lens can also be sharper than an equivalent EF (full frame) lens on a crop sensor body. Food for thought.


A couple of thoughts.

First, as an all around f/4 is too slow to use in a lot of circumstances and won't produce as much bokeh, especially on a crop sensor. So, I always recommend a fast f/2.8 lens or better for an all-purpose lens.

Second, the 24-70 is the standard range for a zoom on full frame cameras while the 17-55 range was created to match the 24-70 range for crop sensors, like you have. There is nothing wrong with you using a 24-70 on your camera, but you will hurt at 24, especially for landscapes.

As an option Canon created the 15-85 EF-S and 17-85 EF-S to match the range of 24-105 EF. I think the 15-85 is the better of the two and give you an extra bit of wideness. It's still a tad slow for my tastes, but better than f/4.

If you had your heart set between the 24-70 and 24-105, I would do the 24-70 for the f/2.8, which will come in handy more often than the extra reach, IMO.

Personally I would probably upgrade your 18-55 to a 17-55 f/2.8 IS first, but that's just me. If you want some "cheap" L glass, a 70-200 f/4 L can often be found for around $500-$600 used.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've had my eyes on the 70-200 F4 for some time, but I think the "little" extra 100mm isn't valuable if you lose sharpness. I'd rather work with a maximum length of 150-160mm and get sharper than go all the way to 250mm. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 15:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you're your talking about the 70-200L series, they are considered among the sharpest zoom lenses around. I think the only exception maybe the first version of the f/2.8 IS, but even that would blow away your 18-55 kit lens. But anyway, it's a bit off-topic as I wouldn't use a 70-200 as my everyday, walk around lens. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 18:39

I have the kit 18-55mm, the kit 28-135 and the EFS-17-55 F2.8. I love the F2.8, its on my body 95% of the time. I hated the 18-55 and seriously disliked the 28-135. I have zero experience with the proposed 24-105. But I can say a more general statement:

Zoom lenses are hard to design and make. The more range they cover, the worse the quality of the images is. Its not the absolute difference that is important, its the ration of the largest to smallest sizes.

The 15-55 has a ratio of 3.23. Many pros love the 70-200, which has a ration of 2.87

The proposed 24-105 has a ratio of 4.37. I'd be very cautious about the image quality and construction of this lens.

As others have suggested, rent the lens and see for yourself. I've used lensrentals.com and was very happy with their service and prices.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.