Two Lenses Competing for My Love

So, for the last couple of months, I’ve been slowly working towards and gearing up for my first professional level lens. There are two that continue to try to draw me in, and I don’t see myself as being the kind of person to “collect” similar coverage lenses, especially ones over one thousand dollars.

The two lenses I’m talking about is the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L and the Canon 24-105mm f4.0 IS L.

First some terminology for those reading that aren’t really well versed in what I’ve written.

What are the ranges of numbers?
The 24-70 and the 24-105 are how wide to how zoomed in the lens can go. With point and shoot cameras, you get numbers like 4x optical zoom and whatnot, these numbers are for the same kind of indication.

f-what?
The f number is the aperture, which is how much light the lens lets in. The smaller the number, the more open the lens is to let light in, and as such, it is able to snap shots “faster”. Smaller numbers also have an easier time with making beautiful depth of field, and give people a better shot at taking pictures in poor lighting situations.

IS it?
IS stands for image stabilization. It is built into the lens and corrects for small shakes in the camera takers hands. It can sometimes mean the difference between a sharp shot or a blurry one. It also helps allow photographers to take shots in lower light situations by correcting for camera shaking in a longer exposure shot.

Does L mean Lost Money?
No, the L designation is a professional level designation for Canon lenses. It lets purchasers know that they are getting the “best of the best” from Canon.

Compare and Contrast

Hopefully, from the above, you can start to understand my issue. The longer reach of the 24-105 and the image stabilization are very useful to me. It also helps that the 24-105 is between $100 and $200 cheaper than the 24-70.

Unfortunately, the 24-105 has an aperture of f4.0. This means it doesn’t take in as much light as the 24-70 with its aperture of f2.8. The optical quality of the 24-70 is considered absolutely top of the line and it is really able to capture images in a variety of situations.

My issue is that I don’t have a steady hand, and so I’m always trying to push the shutter speed up when I don’t have image stabilization on the lens I brought. I’m also worried that the image stabilization won’t compensate enough for the slower speed of the 24-105. I’d hate to be in a situation where I miss a shot just because the aperture isn’t wide enough.

I would love to play with both lenses and get a good understanding of what would suit me the best, but at the end of the day, I don’t have an easy way to do that, nor do I want to spend the $200ish dollars to have each one for a week so I can compare them.

I’m hopeful that some of you might have some thoughts and suggestions, especially if you have any photography experience and understanding. And please don’t say “buy both”, as I’ve seen that recommendation on many results for a Google search comparing the two.

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3 Replies to “Two Lenses Competing for My Love”

  1. I’m still rocking my old Nikon D70s…haven’t played with any fancy lens in a few years now…

    I’d say it really depends how often you think you’ll be needing the higher end of the optical zoom. If not very often, might be nicer to have the lower fstop and sacrifice some range. but if you think you’ll use it, a nice zoom lens is a beautiful thing. Alternatively, you may be able to find a zoom lens with less range at the lower end (I have a 70-200, for example), quite a bit cheaper, and get a better wide angle lens with less range (again, for cheaper)…. but that means more shopping, and the need to swap lens when you need to change from wider angle to zoom, which could be annoying if you need to swap often.

    1. I have a 55-250 IS and a 75-300 (no IS). I use both of them for outdoor stuff during the day. Which is why I’m focused on the wider zoom lenses. The only ones I have at the other end of the scale is the 18-55 kit lens and a 50mm f1.4.

      I don’t really need the longer range. I’m more worried about f2.8 no IS vs f4 with IS. And I am getting good at swapping lenses. 🙂

      1. You do enough photography (and play enough videogames heh) that the IS probably isn’t going to be an issue unless you’re doing long exposure stuff. It’s definitely a nice feature to have to allow you not to have to think about keeping things steady though… tough call.

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