When planning to buy a camera, people often ask me if I were to buy just one lens to shoot with all the time which lens would it be? The answer I always give them is that it’s my Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM Zoom Lens. If you are a Nikon shooter then a similar equivalent would be the Nikon AFS 24-120mm F/4G ED VR Zoom Lens.

24-105-1Canon 24-105mm F/4 Lens With B&W UV Protective Filter

The 24-105mm lens is a winner because people often don’t have big budgets to buy a multiple of prime lenses to cover that focal range, nor do they want the added weight of carrying around so many lenses. Many photography enthusiasts are just looking for one simple zoom lens that they can leave mounted on their DSLR camera within their camera bag and use for shooting almost anything. And personally, no matter what type of specialized shooting I am doing at times, I always carry the 24-105mm lens in my bag just in case It might come in handy for something on a shoot.

I find in general it is great for shooting events, portraits, and travel photos, amongst many other things. Some of the reasons why this lens is such a favorite of mine are:

1 – It covers the most useful focal range (24mm-105mm)
2 – The lens elements are of professional level quality
3 – Has built in image stabilization
4 – Relatively light weight
5 – Good value for money

Very few lenses are able to check all the above boxes to offer you so much lens all in one. It is also a very sharp lens, nearly as sharp as any of my other more expensive professional level F/2.8 lenses. Plus it can do some relatively up-close macro type shooting if needed as it is able to focus at a distance of just 1.48′ (45 cm) from the subject.

If however you need something wider angle, or more of a telephoto lens for zooming in closer, than you might need to consider other lens options. But photography is often a series of compromises and it is hard to get absolutely everything you want in just one lens. So this lens in my opinion is a good compromise as it comes as closer to hitting the target than any other lens I have, but without being super heavy.


Some people might not like that it doesn’t offer a F/2.8 aperture like many other professional lenses do, but in a way this is an advantage to me because F/4 lenses are generally lighter weight and more affordable than their F/2.8 counterparts thus, making them more comfortable to shoot with for long periods of time and easier on the budget as well.

One important thing to note though is that I shoot with a full frame DSLR, so on my camera this lens is a true 24mm-105mm lens. But if you are shooting with a Canon APS-C Crop Sensor DSLR camera like perhaps a Canon 6D or 70D then the focal length of the 24-105mm on your camera will actually be something closer to 35mm-150mm. This may be good or bad for you depending on what you are shooting. The crop factor actually gives you more reach on the telephoto end of the lens’ focal length, but you do lose a lot of focal width on the wide angle side of the lens and that may not be so good for you if you shoot a lot of wide angle subjects. So bear in mind that the crop factor will effect focal length on lenses if you are not shooting with a full frame DSLR body.

The only main technical disadvantage of this lens I have found is that if you shoot landscapes with open skies then at aperture settings wider than F/11 (meaning at F/8, F/5.6 and F/4) you will often see some vignetting at the edges of your photos. This can easily be fixed though in post processing. Below is an example of some of the vignetting I have experienced myself with this lens.

24-105-2Canon 24-105mm F/4 Lens: Vignetting Seen @ F/5.6

If you want a similar alternate lens that will offer you F/2.8 and no vignetting issues then you can consider the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom Lens, but the tradeoff is that the 24-70mm is about double the price of the 24-105mm. It also weighs about 15% more, and, in my opinion, it doesn’t give you enough zooming/telephoto power for everyday general use. So I still think the 24-105mm lens is a better choice in many respects.

So if you have one of the Canon 24-105mm lenses too then feel free to comment below and give me a review of what you think of it. Or if you have found another all around lens that you like better please let me know as well.