Canon RF 24-105 mm f/4-7.1 IS STM Zoom

Canon RF 24-105 mm

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An excellent everyday enthusiast lens

The Canon RF 24-105 mm f/4-7.1 IS STM is a smaller, lighter and more affordable alternative to the Canon RF 24-105 mm f/4 L IS USM – the kit lens released with the Canon EOS R in October 2018. This lens‘ primary features are represented by the differences to its big brother. It‘s positively tiny compared with the form factor of the L-series version.

Canon RF 24-105 mm

It also features an STM (stepper) motor, rather than the USM (ultrasonic) of the L lens, delivering near-silent focus but slightly slower focusing. If you‘re interested in shooting video, the f/4-7.1 has the edge. It also has a closer focusing distance, able to shoot at 0.2 m (or even 0.13 m in manual focus) at the 24 mm end and 0.34 m at 105 mm, compared with the L‘s 0.45 m close focusing distance. Like its older sibling, it features five-stop image stabilisation.

Performance

Most zoom lenses of this kind feature an f/3.5-5.6 aperture range. Canon says that, between the faster AF systems employed by the R-system bodies and their more forgiving high-ISO performance, stretching the maximum aperture to f/7.1 isn‘t the problem that it once was.

Canon RF 24-105 mm
1) A customisable control ring on the nose also handles manual focus at the flick of a switch.
2) This non-L zoom has a clickless control ring (whereas L lenses have clicked rings). This makes it suitable for video work, giving you a de facto de-clicked aperture dial.
3) Manual focus is toggled by flicking the Focus/Control switch. Accordingly, manual focus is fly-by-wire but still granular and accurate.

However, the f/4 aperture is only available for a couple of millimetres. By the 50 mm ‚standard‘ focal length, you‘ve already hit f/5.6, and the speed limit of f/7.1 is in play before you hit the classic 85 mm portrait length. Whatever you‘re shooting, you‘re going to need abundant light or a willingness to crank up your ISO (or ramp down your shutter speed). The performance of the EOS R and the RP mean this doesn‘t have the detrimental effect it used to.

Centre sharpness is impressive throughout the focal and aperture range, and distortion is well-controlled. The compromise, however, comes in corner sharpness, as well as distortion and fringing at the wider end.

Canon RF 24-105 mm

Verdict

This is a lens designed to be a carry-anywhere, shoot-anything tool that will cover your bases for landscapes, architecture, nature, people and even macro. The RF 24-105 mm f/4-7.1 is the bargain of the year for R-system users.

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Full frame: Yes
Lens construction: 11 elements in 13 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focusing distance: 20 cm wide / 34 cm tele (13 cm wide in MF)
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.21 wide (MF: 0.39) / 0.40 tele (MF: 0.5)
Filter size: 67 mm
Dimensions: 77 x 89 mm
Weight: 395 g

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