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Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

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The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 USM is a compact large prime lens, an alternative to the top-end 24mm f/1.4L II.

Prime lenses (fixed focal length) can be better performers than zooms because they can be optimized for just one focal length. That is, if they are optimized, as opposed to a lackluster design.

Field tests (in DAP and Zeiss Guide) show that the 24/2.8 delivers murky results on par with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse, depending on where in the frame one compares, and the focusing distance.

Performance of this lens is marginal compared to the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon, as might be expected, since it costs 1/4 the price.

Alternatives

Canon’s own 24mm f/1.4L II is a vastly better lens, but at about 5X the price.

Most users will instead opt for the 16-35mm f/2.8L II zoom.

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MTF

The MTF chart shows that sharpness drops off outside the central 50% area, a finding confirmed with field shots.

MTF for Canon EF 24mm f/2.8

Specifications

Per Canon.

List price: $339 street price
Specifications for Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 USM
Aperture scale: f/2.8 - f/22
Filter size: 58mm
Image ratio at close range:            1:6.25
Minimum focus distance 10 inches
Angle of view 84° diagonally
Number of elements/groups: 10 elements in 10 groups
Weight:

0.59 pounds = 268g (nominal)

Dimensions (with caps): 2.6" in diameter, 1.9" in length

Field comparison with Zeiss 21/2.8 Distagon and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II

Two comparisons with extensive crops and a complete aperture series is available in Guide to Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE Lenses, against the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II and the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon.

Also, a field comparison against the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II is available in DAP as well as in in the Canon Wide Primes review.

Field comparison scene

Conclusions

At about $339, the 24/2.8 is worthy of consideration if you need a full-frame wide angle prime lens. Stopped down to f/5.6 - f/8 it offers reasonably good image quality.

On EF-S 1.6X crop cameras, performance should be high, since the weaker edge and corner areas will just not be seen.

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