Canon Raises the Bar with New 24-70mm F/2.8L and Overhauls Two Other Lenses with Image Stabilization
Need a new lens to go along with that new camera? Canon just announced three new full frame lenses: the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, and updated Image Stabilized primes: the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM. What's significant about version II of the 24-70mm? Let's take a look at some MTF chart comparisons and see if we can find out:
That's the old version on the top and the new version on the bottom. MTF charts can be a little confusing at first glance, but to give a very simplified explanation: a perfect lens would have all straight lines at the very top of the chart. From left to right we are looking at the performance from the center to the edge of the lens. The black lines represent wide open (f2.8 in this case) and the blue lines represent f8.
It's clear even with that grotesquely simplified definition that the new 24-70mm is vastly superior to the old version. That's where the extra thousand bucks is going. Internally the lens has been updated with 9 diaphragm blades instead of 8 (for silkier bokeh), it's slightly lighter, has an 82mm filter thread instead of a 77mm filter thread, and adds a zoom lock button to prevent the lens from extending while you're moving.
The other two lenses that Canon announced, the EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM and the EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM, were both retooled to have 7 diaphragm blades (instead of 6 and 5, respectively), and include Image Stabilization. Though more of a benefit to photography, Image Stabilization at these wide focal lengths should yield some very smooth hand-held footage. It remains to be seen how loud the IS feature will be in video mode, but if Canon's claim of "Smooth, Silent Operation" holds true, then we might be using these lenses while shooting handheld and recording on-board audio.
The new 24-70mm is quite a step up in cost from the current price of the old version, $2299 vs. $1269, but it's a next generation professional lens (cinema or otherwise), and if you have the budget for it, performance should be stellar.
As for the 24mm and 28mm, their prices have also doubled, from under $400 each to $800 or more. Unless you shoot massive amounts of handheld, I don't see much of a benefit to upgrading if you already own the older versions of either the 24mm f/2.8 or 28mm f/2.8. If you're going to spend the money - getting a prime that's a stop or two faster is a much better investment.
All three lenses should be available this Spring.