Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II, 1/320th @ f/5.6, ISO 100, Full Res JPEG

 

About a month ago, I tested the new Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II against many other top Canon 24mm lenses with a Canon 5d Mark III. Including the 24-70mm f/2.8L I, 24-105mm f/4 IS, 16-35mm f/2.8 I, 16-35mm f/2.8 II, 24mm f/1.4L I and 24mm TS-E f/3.5L II.

I shot all lenses as 24mm @ three different apertures, using live preview to focus, cable release, mirror lock up, etc. To make a long story short the brand new 24-70 mk II I was using was defective, not so great a copy aka victim of lens variation. Bad copy was returned, new one acquired. Happy to say new one performs much better. Sometime soon I will probably post the first round bad test photos anyway in case people would like to see the differences between the other lenses.

 

For the second round I decided not to compare as many lenses, just too busy. The following will compare the 24-70mm f/2.8L mk I against the mk II as well as the current 24mm TS-E II which I have found to be my favorite Canon 24mm lens as far as quality goes.

 

Here goes…

Point of focus for all images was the caution sign. Shot in RAW, ISO 100, mirror lock up, cable release, heavy tripod, live view focus. Processed jpegs in Lightroom 4.2. No output sharpening or lens corrections used. All side by sides are at 100%.

 

At f/2.8 near center of frame:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/2.8

 

f/5.6 near center:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/5.6, focus on the sign

 

f/5.6 bottom right corner:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/5.6, focus on the sign

 

f/5.6 left side middle:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/5.6, focus on the sign

 

f/11 towards the center:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/11, focus on the sign

 

f/11 bottom right corner:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/11, focus on the sign

 

f/11 bottom left corner:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/11, focus on the sign

 

f/11 left side, middle of frame:

Canon 24-70mm mk I vs mk II @ f/11, focus on the sign

 

Overall the new 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens is better (at least when you get a good copy) than the mark I. Always a good idea to test your gear whether you buy new or used, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me.

Wide open it is significantly sharper than the mk I. When stopped down the new one looks much better in the corners as well. There is more going on than just sharpness, other optical qualities seem improved. Better be for the dramatic price increase. It actually holds up well compared to the 24mm TS-E II when the TS-E is set for no movements. The TS-E still holds a slight edge, and of course has good amount of movements so still hard to beat for someone looking for a great 24mm lens on a Canon for landscapes or architecture.

Here are some more full res JPEG’s for your own comparisons:

24-70mm f/2.8L I, 24-70mm f/2.8L II and the 24mm f/3.5L TS-E II, zeroed out, no movements. All at f/5.6.     Zip file

 

– Jordan, December 2012