There are two Canon 24mm f/2.8s – one released in 1988, and one released in 2012. They cost $250 and $700 respectively, so the new one is considerably expensive for what it is. For this review, we’ll look at the older one, which is still a great lens.
The Canon 24mm f/2.8 was released before digital SLR cameras started appearing on the market. So it was originally designed for film cameras. Put this lens on a modern digital SLR, however, and it will do fine.
First, the 24mm 2.8’s build quality – it’s very good. Not L-series good, but fine for regular use. It’s much better than your average kit lens. The 24mm has a metal mount and a focus window, which are nice features.
The 24mm’s focusing is fine for this lens. It’s not USM, and it is a little noisy. But it’s very fast, and most of the time you won’t need super-fast AF for wide-angle shots. The focus ring is thin, but I’ve gotten used to it.
The lens is really small – smaller than your average kit lens. It’s also very light. This makes it an excellent lens to stick on your camera before you leave your house. If you’re not sure what you’ll be shooting, stick the 24mm on there and it should cover it. It’s not good for stuff that’s far away (it’s a wide-angle lens) but for things reasonably close to you, it does great.
Now the most important thing – image quality. This lens offers amazing image quality for its price and age. I use this thing on my 5D Mark II, a very demanding camera, and it holds up fine. My 24 has gotten me a lot of awesome shots.
The value this lens offers is crazy. For under $300 (sometimes closer to $200), you get a very dependable lens with excellent image quality. There are very few lenses that offer this kind of value – the 85mm f/1.8 comes to mind. With a full frame camera, I’ve found this 24mm f/2.8 and the 85mm to be a perfect combo I can use for just about anything.
But what if you don’t have full frame? The 24mm is awesome on crop cameras too. The crop factor means it’ll be about 36mm, which is perfect for normal everyday shooting. When I used to shoot with my Rebel T2i, I’d stick the 24mm on it whenever I wasn’t sure what lens to bring. The 24mm f/2.8 is a perfect walk-around lens for crop DSLR cameras.
So what are some good uses for this amazing little lens? The first one that comes to mind is landscapes. If you have a full frame camera, 24mm is perfect for landscapes. If you have a crop camera, it’s not as wide-angle, but it still does the job. I love using my 24mm on the 5D Mark II for landscape shooting.
Another great use for this lens is family and kids. If you want a nice light lens to stick on your camera and get some shots of the family, the 24mm is a great choice. For family events like birthday parties, you can’t go wrong with this lens. Especially if you own a crop camera – the focal length of the 24mm will be perfect.
There are many other fun things to do with the 24mm – it serves as a all-purpose wide-angle lens for just about anything. I like getting close up to objects with it – it gives an interesting perspective.
The 24mm f/2.8 was replaced with the new 24mm f/2.8 IS USM, so it’s not being sold new anymore. However, you can find it used for very little cost. eBay is a great place to get them, as well as the used departments of camera stores.
Personally, I love my 24mm f/2.8. Its light weight means I can take it anywhere. Its sharp image quality means I can rely on it for serious photography. Its wide angle gives me a perspective that I love. Coupled with the Canon 85mm f/1.8, it makes for a killer setup that works for just about everything I shoot. All of the photos in this article were taken by me with the 24mm f/2.8 lens.
Overall, the 24mm f/2.8 is one of the best value lenses Canon has ever made. The build quality, AF motor, size, and image quality are all crazy good for the price. Pick one up and see for yourself.
Buy the Canon 24mm f/2.8 Lens
Amazon Price: $600.00 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 27, 2013)