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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM Review

John Riley reviews the entry-level standard zoom lens for Canon EOS R cameras, the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM lens. Find out how this lens performs in our review.


|  Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM in Interchangeable Lenses
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Canon Rf 24 105mm F4,7 7,1 IS STM Front Oblique View

The Canon EOS R system is rapidly expanding and is now joined by a new standard zoom, the 24-105mm f/4-7.1. This joins the existing 24-105mm f/4L lens already reviewed and offers a lower-cost version, with the penalty being a variable aperture that at the long end is a rather slow f/7.1. There is no denying the usefulness of the focal length range, but the loss of depth of field control at 105mm could well be an issue. Let's look closely at this new lens using the 26MP full-frame Canon EOS RP and see how the various compromises balance out.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM Handling and Features

Canon Rf 24 105mm F4,7 7,1 IS STM On Canon R

Starting at the front of the lens, it is clear that costs have been reduced by failing to provide a lens hood. Even with the highly effective modern coatings, a lens hood does not only protect from stray light, but also is a useful shield to avoid any damage from light knocks to the front of the lens. It is arguable that for the moderate cost of including a lens hood, this really should be done. There is a standard 67mm filter thread.

The lens is clearly well made, with extensive use of high-quality plastics, and it weighs in at a modest 395g. First up is the lens control ring, which provides manual focus or, with the flick of a switch, can be programmed to perform other functions, such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation or white balance. There are no click stops and the electronic ring is smooth and silent.

Behind this is the zoom ring, provided with an excellent ribbed surface. Focal lengths are clearly marked at 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 85mm and 105mm. The action is firm but smooth and extends the lens as we zoom towards 105mm. Two switches are provided. The first changes the function of the forward ring between manual focus and control. The second switches the stabiliser on and off. Canon claim 5 stops of stabilisation, but this does depend on the individual photographer and for this reviewer I find that 3-4 stops is more realistic.

Canon Rf 24 105mm F4,7 7,1 IS STM Vertical View

AF is provided by an STM motor, which is fast and accurate as well as being silent in operation.

Minimum focusing distance varies with zoom and also whether we are working in AF or MF.

If in AF, the wide end enables focusing down to 0.2m, for a maximum magnification of 0.21x. If in MF, the closest focus becomes 0.13m, with a magnification of 0.39x.

The telephoto end has an AF or MF closest focus of 0.34m, with the magnification being 0.4x in AF but 0.5x in MF. This latter figure is, of course, 1:2, or half life-size, which is as close as many older macro lenses could focus. This is very useful, although the flatness of field of a zoom lens will not necessarily be anywhere near as good as a dedicated macro lens. It is, however, perfect out in the field for shots of small flowers, insects, fungi and similar subjects. The lens is not compatible with extension tubes.

Canon Rf 24 105mm F4,7 7,1 IS STM Vertical View Full Zoom

Optical construction is 13 elements in 11 groups and the diaphragm comprises 7 blades. There is no weather resistance; a regrettable omission.

Whilst regretting some of the missing features, especially the lack of weather sealing, nonetheless in practical use the lens is really highly effective. Handling is superb and the ultra-close focusing a real benefit. Many kit zooms stop at 28mm, but the wide focal length of 24mm does offer a distinct advantage. The real bugbear is probably the rather small telephoto aperture of f/7.1 which gives limited potential for out of focus backgrounds. This can be offset against the advantages of a compact, light lens that could be an ideal travel companion.

Canon Rf 24 105mm F4,7 7,1 IS STM Rear Oblique View
 


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Comments


JackAllTog Plus
11 6.1k 58 United Kingdom
16 Jun 2020 4:56PM
Thanks for the review, very interesting and super detail available in the high res images.


" the flatness of field of a zoom lens will not necessarily be anywhere near as good as a dedicated macro lens" I'd not considered this before, nor even knew what it meant - but google says Macro lenses are designed to copy items at close distance with a flat focal plane where the subject edges are proportionally further away from the sensor than the middle of the subject. I assume true macro lenses will have a metric for this measured at their min focal length.

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