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Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom lens for full-frame cameras.

|  Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features

Canon EF 24 105mm IS STM (3)

This standard zoom lens covers a popular range from wide angle to short telephoto and includes image stabilisation and Canon's STM stepping motor to power autofocus. It costs around £405, which seems quite reasonable. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Handling and Features

Canon EF 24 105mm IS STM (4)

This lens is constructed from high-quality plastics, complimented by a metal lens mount, as most mid-range lenses from Canon are. It's quite lightweight for a full-frame compatible lens, tipping the scales at 525g. As a result, it makes balances well with the Canon EOS 5D MkIII body used for testing, and will be equally at home on smaller, more compact Canon DSLRs.

Autofocus is very swift and precise and virtually silent. Unlike many of Canon's USM lenses, full-time manual focus override is not possible and manual focusing is performed by the focusing motor. Manual adjustments can be made in single focus mode once the lens has locked onto a target though. Unlike many of Canon's other STM lenses, the focus ring is nicely damped, providing enough resistance to make applying fine adjustments a pleasure.

Canon EF 24 105mm IS STM (1)

Focusing is performed internally, so the 77mm filter thread doesn't rotate, making this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters.

Sharp hand held images are possible around half the time at an impressive 1/8sec at 105mm, which is roughly four stops slower than the usual rule of thumb for sharp images would allow.

Canon EF 24 105mm IS STM (5)

Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Performance

At maximum aperture and 24mm sharpness is already excellent in the centre of the frame, although performance isn't quite as good towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Peak sharpness is achieved at f/8 for this focal length, and sharpness is excellent in the centre, and very good towards the edges of the frame.

With the lens zoomed to 50mm, sharpness at maximum aperture remains very high in the centre, with an improvement in performance towards the edges of the frame. Peak sharpness is again achieved at f/8 where clarity is excellent in the centre and very good towards the edges of the frame.

Finally, at 105mm, sharpness in the centre remains excellent at maximum aperture. Towards the edges of the frame clarity falls just shy of very good levels.


How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are reasonably prevalent throughout the zoom range, regularly exceeding one pixel width. These high levels of CA may pose issues, especially in images with high contrast edges.


How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is typical for a lens like this. At 24mm the corners are 2.54 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture. At 105mm the corners are 1.14 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved at f/8 and beyond throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is fairly typical for a standard zoom of this range, with Imatest detecting 3.27% barrel at 24mm and 1.21% pincushion at 105mm. This level of distortion should pose few issues for general snaps, but may be too much for discerning photographers. If straight lines are paramount, then you'll be glad to hear that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make corrections relatively straightforward to apply.

Few issues with flare were encountered during testing, with only a slight loss on contrast being noticeable when shooting directly into the light at wide apertures. However, no lens hood is supplied as standard, so if you require one for peace of mind, then an EW-83M hood can set you back up to £30.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Sample Photos

Value For Money

Currently, this lens is available for around £405, which seems quite reasonable. Canon's 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is the closest equivalent, costing £640, which has a constant f/4 aperture.

Sigma also produce a 24-105mm f/4 lens, which sports image stabilisation and silent focusing, which costs £650.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Verdict

With this lens, Canon has produced a reasonably priced, lens that does most of what will be asked of it really well. Sharpness in the centre of the frame is excellent throughout the zoom range, it is only towards the edges of the frame at 24mm that this lens fall behind when compared to other, more expensive lenses.

Those looking for the basics and not wanting to spend a fortune should be pleased enough with this lens, as although it's never going to be the most exciting lens that Canon produce, it never professes to be.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame
Fast focusing
Effective stabiliser
Reasonably priced

Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Cons

Fairly high CA levels
Doesn't perform as well towards the edges of the frame, especially at 24mm


The Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM gives excellent sharpness in the centre of the frame and is reasonably priced.


Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Canon EF
Focal Length24mm - 105mm
Angle of View23.2 - 84
Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22 - f/32
Filter Size77mm
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus40cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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