Canon 11-24 f/4L Simply the best--but not for everybody.

Started Jan 10, 2016 | User reviews thread
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hotdog321 Forum Pro • Posts: 21,063
Canon 11-24 f/4L Simply the best--but not for everybody.

NOTE: I've posted this information and imagery piecemeal in the past--I just thought I'd do a wrap up analysis now that I've used this lens for over nine months.

I'm an editorial photographer and have used Canon's groundbreaking 11-24 f/4L lens on several assignments. First, let me state that this unique ultra wide angle lens is not for everybody. It is expensive, but a bargain considering the nature of the lens. It is heavy, but relatively compact. This pricey bad boy is NOT a lens that casual photographers should seriously consider. Instead, let me recommend Canon's marvelous 16-35 f/4L IS for general architectural, landscape and environmental portraits.

But if you want the finest rectilinear ultra wide angle zoom lens in the world, the Canon 11-24 f/4L is hands-down your best bet. Even wide open it displays virtually no distortion, flare or vignetting and is blazing sharp right to the edges. So far my biggest surprise is just how easily it handles. Unless something is near the edge of the frame, I can't tell that I'm not using a standard wide angle.

This precision 2.6 pound/1180 gram lens is built like a tank. It makes your camera front-heavy (I'm using 5D III bodies with grips). Not as bad as a 70-200 f/2.8, but you definitely notice the weight. Canon made the built-in lens hood from heavy, high impact polycarbonate. The unusual lens cap wraps around the whole front of the lens hood to protect that massive bulbous front element.

Since this lens cannot take a normal or drop-in filter, Canon placed a small 3 cm X 3 cm gel filter slot on the rear. While I dislike fragile gel filters, this appears our only ND filter option. The rear of the lens also sports a rubber weather sealing ring as seen on other high-end Canon "L" lenses. But the huge front element moves freely inside the front of the lens barrel when zooming, so I'd avoid situations where water or grit can impact the front.

I've covered several editorial assignments with this lens. The Canon 11-24 f/4 handled surprisingly well; I genuinely felt no difficulties working fast, handheld, in tight conditions. Images were blazing sharp right to the edges with little or no flare even when shooting wide open against studio spotlights or daylight blazing though windows or an arc welder. This groundbreaking lens earns a solid five stars.

NOTE 1: Canon only supplies a ridiculous leather pouch with this lens. I bought the Tamrac MX5341 M.A.S. Pro 50 Lens Case to carry and store this lens. A perfect fit.

NOTE 2: Unboxing video just for fun:

NOTE 3: One day I did some down and dirty tests comparing raw files at f/4 from the 11-24 f/4L and the 16-35 f/4L IS at 16mm and 24mm. The 11-24 f/4L was actually a bit sharper! Which shocked me since this lens is really pushing the envelope.

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 hotdog321's gear list:hotdog321's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +3 more
Canon EF 11-24mm F4L USM
Wideangle fisheye zoom lens • Canon EF • 9520B002
Announced: Feb 6, 2015
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Canon EF 11-24mm F4L Canon EOS 5D Nikon 24mm F1.8G ED
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