Canon has a new batch of rebates including their top L grade lenses you can buy. The Canon 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses are excellent and versatile pieces of glass - sharp, excellent in low light and a pair of lenses coveted by wedding, event and portrait photographers. The Canon 100mm Macro is a close-up dream lens for macro shots such as rings, product photography, and can still do portraits if you're in a pinch. Check the B&H rebates page out, Canon has deals on these lenses and more!
Video and text from my review of the Canon 24 to something lenses.
Part I - My opinion of each lens and some summarizing thoughtsPart II - Some of the sample images and video that helped me form my opinionSome select thoughts taken from the two videos
I have the 24-105 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8 mark II, and the new 24-70 f/4 IS
I think the most telling comment is that for the last week I have had my pick of these lenses to shoot with and every single time I picked up the 24-70 f/4 IS. I love the size and weight of this lens, the IS and the Macro mode. A quick disclaimer on that comment- I didn't shoot professionally over the last week, which for me is usually shooting a wedding. If I had I would have picked the f/2.8 mark II - in my opinion that extra stop of light is critical for the lower light situations. The IS of both the 24-70 and 24-105 is good and the 24-70 f/4 offers the newer hybrid IS but IS doesn't freeze people in motion. And freezing people in motion is important, especially during the low light receptions where all that dancing is happening.
If I had to summarize each lens in a sound bite -
Canon 24-105 f/4 IS older work horse or a lens that offers excellent value, is relatively sharp(just don't look at the edges) and provides a useful range.Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mark II - Razor sharp at all apertures and from corner to corner. Bright too- at f/4 it is noticeably (2/3 of a stop brighter than the 24-105) - you can see it in the images and you can see it on the exposure meter. But this performance comes at a cost, literally! This lens is $2200, fairly heavy and does not provide IS.Canon 24-70 f/4 IS - Very sharp though maybe not quite as sharp at f/4 as the f/2.8 version, similar brightness as the f/2.8 with an excellent macro mode, I mean really seriously good and a nice size- feel really nicely balanced and weight is quite good and it has IS!!Now what isn't here is the Tamron 24-70 F/2.8 VC - I have a video of my reboxing and return of that lens, I was unhappy with the sharpness, I had gotten a bad copy and I could try again but I was also getting numerous lens communication errors. Those two issues combined soured me and I didn't want to try again. Now I know there are people that are quite happy and I have seen sample images that are much better than the one I got. Even in sample images the corners are much softer than the Canon 24-70s but you do get IS or VC as Tamron calls it. There is also a Sigma 24-70 but it is a good bit softer than the other lenses, it is also the cheapest.
Which is best for you?
It depends ;) If you are on a tight budget the 24-105 is a good lens, You get an L class lens for under $1000. Its a bit heavy but it does have IS and a nice range.If you have a bit more to spend the 24-70 F/4 is VERY versatile, sharp, excellent IS and that macro mode. Because the glass is so durn good it lets in enough light that you are shooting faster than f/4, about 2/3 of a stop faster. For $200 less you can pick up the Tamron, not quite as sharp, no macro mode but it does offer f/2.8 and IS.If you need the ultimate performance in low light with unrivaled sharpness in a zoom lens get the 24-70 f/2.8 Mark II.
Sample Images from the 24-70 f/4, 24-70 f/2.8 Mark II and the 24-105 f/4 IS
My Video Review of the Canon 24-70 f/4 IS vs 24-70 f/2.8 vs 24-105 f/4 ISPart IPart IICURRENT CANON REBATES AND SAVINGS UPDATE -Since posting this information I have tested and reviewed the Sigma 24-105 f/4. Watch my review of the Sigma 24-105. It is significantly sharper than the Canon 24-105. Early Thoughts - the new 24-70 f/4 is VERY nice - sharp, the IS works very well and I would have taken it over the 24-70 f/2.8 on my vacation travels without a second thought - it is lighter, smaller and offers an excellent macro feature. My next question is would I prefer it at a wedding over the f/2.8? A stop of light is hard to give up but if this lens had been available when I bought I think I would have picked it and been able to sleep a bit better at night saving a $1000 dollars. Sharpness, color, contrast and chromatic aberration control all seem on par with the more expensive f/2.8 - so it really comes down to that stop of light. Oh and the IS. I think the IS is excellent for general photography and of course travel, it is not as helpful on the wedding day dance floor. And another OH - the Macro isn't going to be the Canon 100mm f/2.8, my go to standard for all Macro lenses but it certainly comes close, shockingly close for someone that just likes to dable in macro now and then. . . I also thought I would see more bokeh difference shooting at f/4 vs f/2.8 and really see much less than I expected. Checking the charts it makes sense - the differences in depth of field between the two at normal shooting differences is slight.All three lenses are excellent and they should be when we are talking about the cheapest(24-105 f/4 IS USM) being almost a grand.The Canon 24-70 f/2.8 Mark II is currently selling for $2200 (Buy from Amazon). I have shot several thousand wedding images with this lens over the last three months and it is a fantastic lens. Sharp wide open though I did have to slightly adjust focus. Color rendition is gorgeous, contrast is top notch - it is really easy to run out of superlatives when describing this lens - Downside are price, no IS, it is a hefty piece of glass with a huge 82mm filter size and it is only so-so at close focusing. I recently took it on vacation and loved the images but felt I would have been happy with a smaller lens and or a lens with a bit more range. Before I bought Canon's 24-70 I tried the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 with VC (Buy from Amazon). It required serious micro AF adjustments and I repeatedly got lens communication errors, something I have never seen with the Canon. I know there are plenty of photographers happy with the Tamron lens and there are plenty of sharp copies out there. For almost $1000 less you get f/2.8 and IS - you just are taking a bit more of a gamble, in my opinion. Some Tech Specs - 28.4 Ounces with 1 Super UD lens element and 2 UD lens elements and 9 bladed aperture.The new Canon 24-70 f/4 IS sells for about the same (Buy from Amazon) It is a bit lighter, has a suprisingly great macro mode, very good Hyrbid IS and a nifty pinch cap(Bout Canon) this might seem silly but it makes removal of the lens cap MUCH easier when the lens hood is on and facing out. You do lose one stop of light going from f/2.8 to f/4. Filter size is a more wallet friendly 77mm. Weighs 21 ounces - 2 aspheric and 2 UD elements and 9 bladed rounded aperture.The 24-105 f/4 IS(Buy from Amazon) has been around for sometime, it has been a while since I used it, last shot a wedding using it, great lens and an excellent value for an L lens, can be found for $860. filter size is also 77mm. Weighs 23.6 ounces with 1 UD lens element and 8 bladed aperture.