Is the new RF 24-105mm f/2.8L Z the ultimate 'all-rounder' lens Canon users have been waiting for? And what does the 'Z' denote?
The venerable 24-70mm f/2.8L lens has been the standard 'do everything' lens for so many photographers of all camera brands for such a long time. It is probably the most versatile lens in any photographers kit.
You'll find that many Canon users first 'L' lens would have been a 24-105mm f/4 lens, and then they'd progress to the 24-70mm f2.8L. But like most users, after 'upgrading' they'd find that they miss that extra reach of the 105mm (of course, forcing you to use a 70-200mm f/2.8)
That extra 35mm definitely gives you a bit more useful stand-off when it comes to shooting documentary, portraits, speeches, weddings or bands. Also at 105mm, it's still easy to crop into the image in post to give you at least an equivalent of a 150mm lens – something you wouldn't consider at 70mm.
So the about-to-be-released RF 24-105mm f/2.8L Z is a very welcome lens, but like the incredible RF 28-70mm f/2.0L – it has a couple of caveats.
For a start, unlike the lightweight 700g RF 24-105mm f/4L – this lens weighs a fairly hefty 1.33 kg.
This is not insanely heavy, but if you are shooting a wedding or event all day, you'd better head down to the gym soon (you've got until mid-December to build up muscle mass) as it seems to be the case that any lens weighing over 1.1kg starts to cause a bit of muscle fatigue when using for long stints. But of course, this isn't a problem if using a tripod or monopod.
The size of the lens is also quite imposing. It measures nearly 20cm long and its diameter of 88.5mm incorporates a filter diameter of 82mm.
But being an internally focussing long lens has a few advantages: superior weather sealing; space for a stepless aperture ring and optional tripod collar, as well as the room to add Canon's new in-camera battery powered Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E2 / PZ-E2B so you can do smooth zooms.
So while many will think of this as a photographers lens, Canon is touting it as a hybrid lens that can be used bridge the gap between stills and video content. And this is what the 'Z' denotes – hybrid lens (or perhaps even Zoom).
Key features of the RF 24-105mm f/2.8L IS USM Z:
- Excellent image quality and weather sealing providing added durability – alongside sharp high-contrast images due to four UD lenses to correct chromatic aberration
- Professional electronic parfocal focus capability and focus breathing suppression to maintain a consistent field-of-view when shooting movies
- Internal zoom operation meaning the barrel length is constant, which is better for rigging, weather resistance, and has a smoother operation
- Smooth iris ring operation with 32 steps between stops (no clicks) and a lock release switch for the 'Auto' position
The lens will be available from around mid-December at a RRP price of $5,399.
The Power Zoom Adapters PZ-E2 / PZ-E2B will cost $1,849 and $2,399 respectively and be available from the first half of 2024.