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.


[via CreativeCOW and Canon Rumors]

Your Comment


Am I the only person not interested in the new 24-70? Granted, better optics is always nice, but in 2 major categories for video shooting, it completely fails.

Extends to zoom (and focus?) and no Image Stablization which makes it not very handheld friendly when zoomed (especially on APS-C).

Sharper is always nice, but the old 24-70 was pretty much tack sharp in video mode since it was significantly less resolved due to codec and resolution compared to the stills mode it was built for. This would maybe only have noticeably different quality on a C300, but in that case you have a lot more options with the PL mount than just Canon photo glass.

They already are electronically controlled which makes them less versatile to begin with, which is something I don't expect Canon to change. But I won't be holding my breath for Canon to release any lenses that I will be jumping for if this is their idea of building video-friendly lenses.

February 10, 2012 at 10:16AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


The cost difference between the new 24-70 and the old one is too extreme. For higher resolution still cameras yet to come the improvements may be warranted but no better use for video over the first 24-70.

February 10, 2012 at 11:32AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


That zoom lock button is worth most of the upgrade price alone!

February 10, 2012 at 11:37AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Zoom lock feature is worth $1000?! A ten buck roll of camera tape solved my breathing lens problems.

February 12, 2012 at 4:36PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Daniel Mimura

In my opinion this upgrade on the 24-70 is aimed at Pro STILLS guys not the video guys, hence the lack of IS.

In terms of the history of Canon still cameras able to shoot video is still a very new thing and I think Canon is still struggling to define where their products fit and who they are aimed at - Optimize for the stills guys and you upset the DSLR video guys, optimize video features and you alienate the Stills guys. Add to that Canon's reluctance to compromise their video camera market and you get a situation where it's impossible to please everyone. I expect the same thing will happen when the 5D mkIII is eventually announced There are going to be features missing that will irk both Stills and Video guys.

Personally, using the sensor technology as the foundation for the build I'd like to see three types of camera available: Cameras designed 100% for Stills (with high shutter burst, good number of AF focus points etc.), Cameras designed 100% for high-end video (4K RAW capable with multiple frame rate options, good audio features, etc.) and Hybrid cameras that take the best of both worlds and are aimed at those of us who need to shoot both Stills & Video.

I'd also like to see lenses broken down into Consumer Stills, Pro Stills (i.e. L series), Consumer Cine lenses and Pro Cine lenses. Wouldn't it be great to have affordable Cine lenses that have a de-clicked aperture?

Of course, it would be nice to have World peace and a cure for cancer too but hey, I can dream right?! :)

In terms of 24-70mm I've got my eye on Tamron's newly announced lens which, unlike the new Canon, comes with IS and sure to be better priced than the non-IS new Canon.

February 10, 2012 at 11:55AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Does this meant the version 1 will drop in price or not because the II is so much more anyway?

February 10, 2012 at 4:04PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


It could, but it's more likely that the old version will hover around its current price until Canon phases it out of production. Used prices, however, should come down as professionals sell their old lenses and upgrade.

February 10, 2012 at 7:55PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Joe Marine
Camera Department

image stabilisation IN a lens? can anyone explain?!!!!!!

February 11, 2012 at 3:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Assuming that is a serious question.
Some lens include a "floating" element that help keep the image stable.
More info here: (under Lens-based)

February 13, 2012 at 6:29AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Vivitar Series 1 FTW!

February 11, 2012 at 6:26AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM