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Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II
EF
(2008-)

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Canon 24mm f/1.4

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II (Full-frame, 1.3x and and APS-C coverage, 77mm metal filter thread, 22.8 oz./647g, 10"/0.25m close focus, about $1,649. enlarge.

I got mine at this link to it at Adorama; these links to it at Amazon and at B&H are also great places to get it.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Canon does not seal its boxes, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used lens. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

 

February 2015     Canon Lenses   Canon Reviews   All Reviews

Why Fixed Lenses Take Better Pictures

How to Use Wide Lenses

 

Sample Images    (many more in the review)    top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Aviara, 31 January 2015

Aviara, 31 January 2015. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II, f/10 at 1/400 at ISO 100, Athentech Perfectly Clear v2.) Full Resolution.

 

Yellowstone, 08 August 2009

Yellowstone, 08 August 2009. Canon 5D Mark II, Auto ISO 1,000, Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II, f/1.4 at 1/20, hand-held. bigger.

 

Aviara, 31 January 2015

Interior, 29 January 2015. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II, wide-open f/1.4 at 1/30 at ISO 200, Athentech Perfectly Clear v2.) Full Resolution.

Catch that? Hand-held at ISO 200 indoors at night. That's what f/1.4 does.

 

Flower Hill Mall, Feb 2015

Somewhere like Spain, 02 February 2015. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II, f/9 at 1/400 at ISO 100, Athentech Perfectly Clear v2.) Full Resolution.

 

Introduction       top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

Along with the 35mm f/1.4 L, this Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM is one of Canon's two fastest wide angle lenses. This 24/1.4 is Canon's best lens for shooting the Milky Way, as well as for catching close-in action in dim light.

This lens is popular with journalists who need to get closer than the next guy and get their shot, in any light.

This is a specialized lens. In daylight it's no different than the 24mm f/2.8 IS, and the biggest optical difference between this and any 24-xxmm zoom is that this fixed lens has less distortion at 24mm. Stopped down to f/2.8 and smaller it's just as sharp as the other lenses.

This 24/1.4 stands out for its complete lack of visible distortion at most distances. It has far less distortion than LEICA's embarrassing SUMMILUX-M 24mm f/1.4 ASPH, and is sharper and has a flatter field, too!

Just grab the focus ring at any time for instant manual override.

 

Compatibility

This works on every Canon DSLR and every EOS 35mm camera.

This is a full-frame lens, and also works great on APS-C DSLRs.

 

Specifications         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Name

Canon calls this the CANON LENS EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM.

EF means "electronic focus;" there is an autofocus motor inside the lens.

L means as expensive as L.

USM and ULTRASONIC means that the focus motor operates reasonably silently.

It has an SWC (Sub-Wavelength Coating) on one surface to minimize ghosting.

 

Optics       top

Canon 24mm f/1.4 internal construction

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II internal diagram. SWC coating, Glass, Aspheric and UD Glass.

13 elements in 10 groups.

Two elements are aspherical.

Two elements are of UD glass, designed to increase sharpness and eliminate secondary color fringes.

Multicoated, with one surface with a variable-index coating (called SWC, Sub-Wavelength Structure Coating, which is the same as Nikon's Nano-Crystal Coat).

Rear focussing.

Lead-free glass.

 

Focal Length

24mm.

When used on an APS-C camera, it sees an angle of view similar to what a 38mm lens sees when used on an FX or 35mm camera.

 

Angles of View, full frame

84º diagonal.

53º vertical.

74º horizontal.

 

Diaphragm       top

Canon 24mm f/1.4

Canon 24mm f/1.4L II at f/1.4. (EF diaphragm not visible).

8 rounded blades; become straight by f/5.6.

Stops down to f/22.

 

Close Focus       top

10 inches (0.25m or 0.82 feet) from the image plane, which is just inches from the front of the lens.

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio       top

1:5.9 (0.17 x), lens alone.

Close-Up Lenses and Extension Tubes will let you get even bigger than life sized.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?        top

No.

 

Focus Scale       top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale       top

Yes.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index       top

Yes.

 

Filters       top

77mm.

Metal threads.

Filter threads never move as focussed.

 

Close-Up Lenses, Tubes and Converters       top

See the Close-Up Lenses and Extension Tubes sections in the Performance section.

 

Size       top

Canon specifies 3.29" (83.5 mm) diameter by 3.42" (86.9 mm) extension from flange.

 

Weight       top

22.818 oz. (646.9g), actual measured.

Canon specifies 22.9 oz. (650g).

 

Hood       top

Canon 24mm f/1.4

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II with hood attached.

Plastic EW-83K bayonet hood included.

It's $50 for a replacement.

 

Caps       top

New 77mm Canon pinch-type front cap II and standard EOS rear cap, included

 

Case       top

Canon includes an LP1319 sack.

It also fits the 16-35mm f/2.8L USM, 17-40mm f/4L USM and 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 EF-S.

 

Announced       top

17 September 2008.

 

Promised for     top

December 2008 per the press release, October 2008 per Canon USA's page on the 24mm II back in 2008.

 

Canon Model Number       top

EF2414L2.

 

Canon Item Code       top

2750B002. (2750B001 in Japan.)

 

JAN Code       top

4960999-575063.

 

Included       top

Lens.

EW-83K bayonet hood.

LP1319 sack.

Caps.

 

Price, USA        top

2015 February: $1,649.

At 2008 introduction: $1,699.

Box, Canon 24mm f/1.4 L

Box, Canon 24/1.4 II.

 

Performance       top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Overall    Focus  Bokeh   Close-Up Lenses  Coma

Distortion    Ergonomics   Extension Tubes   Falloff

Filters  Flare & Ghosts  Focus Breathing   Color Fringes

Macro   Mechanics   Sharpness   Spherochromatism   Sunstars

 

Overall     performance      top

Canon 24mm f/1.4

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II. enlarge.

The Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II is a very good ultraspeed wide lens. It's sharp and clear — but still not perfect — at f/1.4.

I'm a tough grader; this lens is much better optically than the $7,300 LEICA SUMMILUX-M 24mm f/1.4 ASPH!

 

Focus     performance      top

Autofocus

Autofocus is fast enough for normal use, but not instantaneous. It takes a moment to rack in and out if it has to; it needs the precision to get perfect focus at f/1.4. It's about as fast as the 24-70/2.8 L II at 24mm, no big deal.

If it's dark, it sometimes will not lock-on and fire as quickly as I might like, or might not lock at all and prevent my 5D Mk III from firing. If your application is shooting action in the dark, be sure it does what you need. No worries, get yours from any of Adorama, Amazon or B&H as you should and you can get a cash refund if it doesn't work as well as you'd like.

 

Autofocus Accuracy

Autofocus is always dead-on.

 

Auto/Manual Switching

Just grab the ring anytime for instant manual-focus override.

 

Manual Focus

It takes a 135º turn from ∞ to the closest distance.

Manual focus is fine.

 

Bokeh     performance      top

Bokeh, the quality of out-of-focus areas as opposed to the degree of defocus, is mediocre.

Backgrounds get soft enough at f/1.4, but they are always a bit busy. Out of focus points of light tend to have sharper edges.

Ryan likes the fish at Leucadia Pizzaria

Ryan likes the fish at Leucadia Pizzeria, 04 February 2015. (Canon 5D Mk III, Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II, f/1.4 at 1/125 at ISO 4,000, Perfectly Clear V2.) bigger.

f/1.4 lets us shoot in a dark restaurant at 1/125 and stop my kids as the move. Note the background is a bit rough.

Here's another full-frame sample. Click for the camera-original JPG:

Canon 24mm f/5.6 bokeh at f/1.4

At f/1.4 on full-frame. Camera-original © file.

 

Close-Up Lenses     performance      top

Canon makes a very high quality dual-element close-up lens, the 77mm Canon 500D, which screws on the front.

It lets you get magnifications from 1:20 to 1:5 (0.05x to 0.21x).

It lets you do this with no loss of light as you get with Extension Tubes.

Canon suggests not using autofocus with the close-up lens.

 

Coma     performance      top

There is a bit of coma at f/1.4, which can lead to tiny batwings on bright points of light in the corners on full frame.

It goes away by f/2.8 to f/4.

 

Distortion     performance      top

There is no visible distortion at 10 feet (3 meters) and beyond, and barrel distortion at 3' (1 meter) and closer.

There is just a tiny bit of waviness left after these corrections, but I wouldn't worry about it; as 24mm lenses go, this is superb.

These values in Photoshop's Lens Distortion tool remove most of it:

 
FX and 35mm
30' (10m)
0.0
10' (3m)
+0.7
3' (1m)
+2.2
1' (0.3m)
+2.5

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics     performance      top

Canon 24mm f/5.6

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II ULTRASONIC. bigger.

Ergonomics are great for normal use. Focus and everything is great.

Manual focus moves with just a fingertip.

For macro use, I find manual focus a little bit too fast, making it more difficult to set precise focus than I would prefer.

 

Extension Tubes     performance      top

Canon suggests not using autofocus with extension tubes.

 

Canon EF-12 (12mm long)

The Canon EF-12 or Canon EF12 II shifts your focus range to 156 to 167 millimeters, for a magnification range from 1:2 to 1:1.5 (0.50x ~ 0.67x).

 

Canon EF-25 (25mm long)

The Canon EF-25 or Canon EF25 II won't work; you'd be focussed so close that the subject would be inside your lens.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)     performance      top

Falloff is strong at f/1.4 without correction, minor at f/2 and gone by f/2.8.

With in-camera correction, it's invisible even wide-open.

I've greatly exaggerated this by presenting it against a gray background. In actual photography, it's much less apparent.

 

Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II falloff

No peripheral illumination correction

f/1.4
f/2
Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff
Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff
f/2.8
f/4

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

With a profile and in-camera peripheral illumination correction

f/1.4
f/2
Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff
Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff Canon 24mm f/1.4 falloff
f/2.8
f/4

© 2015 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, Use with     performance      top

There's no problem with vignetting, even using two ordinary 77mm filters.

Canon says use only one filter, while I have no problem with two.

Avoid polarizers with all wide angle lens because they usually render the sky with dark bands.

 

Flare and Ghosts     performance      top

I shot it straight into the sun as seen under Sunstars, and had no problems.

This below is the very worse I could get — and this is with a Hoya HMC SUPER UV filter. Shift the camera a little bit, and this ghost goes away.

Canon 24mm f/1.4 ghost, 13 Feb 2015

Ghost at f/7.1.

 

Focus Breathing     performance      top

Focus breathing (the image changing size as focused) is mostly of interest to cinematographers who don't want the image changing size ("breathing") as the lens is focused among different subjects.

The image from the 24 1.4 II gets slightly larger as focussed more closely.

 

Lateral Color Fringes     performance      top

There are no lateral color fringes with a lens profile on full frame.

This is superb, and as expected for such a lens.

 

Macro     performance      top

It focuses close, but because it's so wide, doesn't seem that way.

Canon 24mm f/5.6 macro performance

Longines 23ZS at close-focus distance. f/5.6 at 1/160 at ISO 100, Canon 5D Mk III.

 

Canon 24mm f/5.6 macro performance

Crop from above at 100%. If this is about 6" (15cm) on your screen, printing the complete image at this same high magnification would result in a 40 x 60" (100 x 150 cm) print!

 

Canon 24mm f/5.6 macro performance

Same thing, shot at f/1.4. If this is about 6" (15cm) on your screen, printing the complete image at this same high magnification would result in a 40 x 60" (100 x 150 cm) print!

What looks like noise is the precise surface texture of the watch.

It's softer at f/1.4, but give it a break; it's not designed as a macro lens.

It's super sharp at reasonable apertures at macro distances.

 

Mechanics     performance      top

Canon 24mm f/5.6

Rear, Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II, showing UC0208 date code. enlarge.

The Canon 24mm f/1.4 L is a reasonably well made lens, with plenty of metal.

 

Hood

Plastic bayonet.

 

Hood Mount

Anodized aluminum.

 

Filter Threads

Anodized aluminum.

 

Identity

Printed on metal ring on outside front of lens

and

Printed on plastic ring inside filter threads.

 

Focus Ring

Rubber covered metal.

 

Barrel

Plastic.

 

Internals

Seems like plenty of metal.

 

Mount

Metal.

 

Markings

Painted.

 

Serial Number

Engraved into a valley in the lens mount flange mating surface and filled with black paint.

 

Date Code

Printed on rear light baffle as shown above.

Mine has date code UC0208, meaning my sample was made in Canon's Utsunomiya plant in February 2014.

 

Rear Gasket (moisture seal at mount)

Yes.

 

Noises When Shaken

Moderate clattering.

 

Quality

Made in Japan.

 

Sharpness     performance      top

Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens, and lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers. It's the least skilled hobbyists who waste the most time blaming fuzzy pictures on their lenses, while real shooters know that few photos ever use all the sharpness of which their lenses are capable due to subject motion and the fact that real subjects are rarely perfectly flat.

This lens is so good that only if you have a dedicated optical test range will you find anything amiss. What I see below requires special situations, and looking at prints many, many feet wide. As you can see at the top, images are wonderful even at f/1.4 — the challenge is having a subject flat enough to be in focus all over the frame.

At f/1.4, it's sharp and contrasty over most of the image, but softer in the corners due to coma.

At f/2, it's about the same as at f/1.4, just with less apparent light falloff in the corners.

At f/2.8 and f/4 the corners are getting even better.

At f/5.6 the corners are now excellent.

f/8 is optimum, everything is super sharp everywhere on full frame. As with most lenses, f/8 is optimum.

At f/11 everything is slightly softer due to diffraction.

At f/16 it's softer due to diffraction.

At f/22 it's even softer due to diffraction.

 

Here's Canon's MTF curve, which shows that it's sharpness is reasonable:

Canon EF 24mm f/5.6 L MTF Curve

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L MTF Curve.

 

Spherochromatism     performance      top

Spherochromatism, sometimes called "color bokeh" by laymen, is a minor aberration which can add slight color fringes to out-of focus highlights.

I'm impressed; there is no spherochromatism.

 

Sunstars     performance      top

With its 8-bladed diaphragm, this Canon 24mm f/1.4 makes the usual 8-pointed sunstars on brilliant points of light at normal apertures, but little at the largest apertures due to the rounded blades.

Canon 24mm f/1.4 Macro sunstars at f/8

Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II sunstar at f/8. bigger.

 

Canon 24mm f/1.4 Macro sunstars at f/18

Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II sunstar at f/18. bigger.

 

Compared         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Versus the old Canon 24mm /1.4 L (1997-2008)

The first EF 24mm f/1.4L was smaller, lighter and not quite as sharp at large apertures.

This new II version also adds a SWC (Sub-Wavelength Structure Coating), which reduces ghosts.

 

Versus the Canon 24mm /2.8 IS

The 24mm f/2.8 IS is all plastic except for the a metal mount. It is much smaller, lighter and less expensive.

They are both equally sharp at the same apertures.

The 24/1.4 L II makes sunstars, the 24/28 IS doesn't make sunstars.

The 24mm f/2.8 IS is a much smarter choice for nature and landscape shots, while the 24mm f/1.4 L comes into its own if you're actually going to shoot at f/2 or f/1.4, which you'd do if doing astronomy or shooting action in low light.

If your subjects hold still, the 24mm f/2.8 IS is a smarter choice.

 

Versus the Canon 24-70/2.8 L II

The 24-70/2.8 L II is a huge, heavy and even more expensive lens. Optically it has far more distortion at 24mm, and it's only as fast as the IS lens — but has no IS.

I use the 24-70 because it zooms; I don't use a fixed 24mm lens. If you want a 24mm lens, pass on the huge 24-70, while for me, the 24-70 replaces several lenses.

 

Usage       top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance   

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

AF — MF

Use AF for normal shots.

In AF, it autofocuses, and you can grab the focus ring at any time for instant manual focus override.

M is manual focus only and locks-out autofocus.

In manual, just look at the ground glass and focus snaps-in much faster than diddling around with moving AF points around.

 

Recommendations       top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

This is a special-purpose lens for journalists shooting action in low light, as well as for astrophotographers. As soon as you stop down to f/2.8, you've lost all the benefits of this lens, but still have to pay for it and carry the weight.

For normal nature and landscape use, the 24mm f/2.8 IS is a much better choice.

For photographing people close-up in dim light, this f/1.4 lens is fantastic. The newsman who gets the closest is the one who sells his shot, so a 24mm f/1.4 is one way pro newsmen win against others in dim light.

Personally, I prefer a zoom since I'm not that excited by 24mm lenses, but for news and action close-up, the 24/1.4 is unbeaten. See also How to Use Wide Lenses.

I got mine at this link to it at Adorama; these links to it at Amazon and at B&H are also great places to get it.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Canon does not seal its boxes, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used lens. (My approved sources ship from automated warehouses where no salespeople or lookie-loos can get their greasy fingers on your new lens.) Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken.

 

More Information         top

Sample Images   Intro   Specs   Performance

Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Canon 24/1.4 II instruction manual.

Canon USA's page on the 24mm f/1.4.

Canon Camera Museum's page.

 

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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13 February 2015