The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM marks an update to the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 STM lens, which also coincided with the release of a newer version of the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 lens. Both lenses were treated to better image quality, image stabilization, USM, and a better minimum focus distance amongst other things.
A better lens also means a higher price tag as in this case. But, on the plus side, it improves on a design that is now a good few decades old. A 24mm focal length is not ultrawide, but it has plenty of uses for things like landscapes, architecture, and even group people shots. Wide, but not too wide, which means more of an all-rounder than you would initially expect.
This is a lens that works perfectly well on a crop sensor body. The equivalent focal length works out to be 38.4mm, which could be a nice alternative to a 50mm, as well as a good all-rounder for many applications.
The f/2.8 aperture may not go as wide as some other prime lenses out there, but it’s still very good for lowlight performance, especially with the included image stabilization. In this regard, the IS system is roughly three stops, which means you should be able to get some very low shutter speeds and still be able to freeze the action.
One other thing to mention at first is that this is not an L-series lens. It approaches one in image quality, but it doesn’t have the same level of weather sealing and build. The lens barrel here is made of solid, high-quality plastic. It may not feel as robust as an all-metal design, but this cuts down on weight. The 24mm f/2.8 weighs in at only 280g.
The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM is also a simple design consisting of a focus ring, auto, and manual focus switch, image stabilization switch, and distance scale. Up front is a 58mm filter thread, which can also fit on the optional EW-65B Lens Hood.
Internal focusing is done via the ultrasonic motor which is very quiet and only audible in the quietest of environments. Autofocusing is quick and fast and has a manual override option via the focus ring. The lens also has a better minimum focus distance than the previous — going down to 200mm.
The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM in Use
When it comes to sharpness, this new lens is definitely sharper than the original. Images are very sharp in the center, even when wide open at f/2.8. Chromatic aberration is similar to the old lens, especially in the corners.
The same goes for vignetting, which is evident when wide open in the corners; a lot less at f/4, but still apparent at f/16. On a crop sensor camera body this is far less noticeable when the lens is wide open and virtually disappears by f/4 and above.
There’s also a small amount of barrel distortion which can easily be fixed in postprocessing, with another bonus being flaring is very minimal, mainly due to the lens coatings. As for bokeh, the seven-blade rounded aperture does a reasonable job producing smooth backgrounds and even some reasonable highlights, but the results are not as good as other nine-blade prime lenses that go to f/1.8.
One thing to mention is that the aperture of f/2.8 may not go as wide as other prime lenses, but this is only important if you want to stop action in low light. The image stabilization can handle things for static subjects in low light, and you have the added benefit here of a lower price tag as well as a smaller and lighter lens. It all really depends on the main applications you want for this lens.
Although this isn’t an L-Series lens, it provides great image quality for the price, in a very compact design.
How Does It Compare?
As this is a Canon lens, one of the alternative choices will be the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM. This lens was released at the same time as the 24mm f/2.8 STM, with similar characteristics. The real difference here is the focal length and how much that matters to you in real life. If you predominantly take landscape or architectural images, then you are better served with the 24mm version. That 4mm can make a big difference depending on your scenario.
On the flip side, the older 24mm lens is still a great all-rounder and has been around for so long there are plenty of copies on the market. However, the new lens has many improvements, including image stabilization and better image quality, which definitely make it the better choice.
|Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM||Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM|
|Aperture||f/2.8 – f/22||f/2.8 – f/22|
|Elements||11 elements/9 groups||9 elements/7 groups|
|Blades||7 rounded||7 rounded|
If you want the very best in image quality, then for Canon users, an L-Series lens is the first choice. This is usually the case, but don’t dismiss this lens as it does provide great image quality, is fast, and very lightweight. It also has a reasonable price tag for the level of quality.
It may not go as wide as other prime lenses, but the f/2.8 has plenty of applications and is arguably more useful for low light than simply just for shallow depth of field. As an example, landscapes and wide-angle street photography usually need everything in focus, which means a wide aperture applies more to lower light than anything else. If you really need to go wider in aperture, you will have to outlay a lot more.
In this regard, the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM is definitely worth shortlisting for a quality, wide-angle lens.