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Last updated on December 2, 2022 7:04 am



Prized for its versatility, the RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM from Canon is a wide-angle to short telephoto zoom characterized by its constant f/4 maximum aperture. Ideal for use in nearly any shooting scenario, this zoom is benefitted by a five-stop-effective Image Stabilizer to minimize the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld imagery. Also complementing handling is a unique customizable Control Ring, which can be configured to adjust a variety of exposure settings settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation. Benefitting image quality, the advanced optical design features a Super Spectra Coating, which helps to suppress ghosting and flare in order to improve contrast and color accuracy when working in bright and backlit conditions. Ideal for both photo and video applications, this lens also incorporates a Nano USM autofocus motor, which delivers quick, quiet, and precise focusing performance.

Focal Length Range

While subject framing can be adjusted by moving closer or farther away from the subject, it is far better to select subject distance based on the ideal perspective it provides and that means the focal length is used to create the final subject framing. The versatility to quickly adjust that framing is the big advantage that a zoom lens provides. Still, having the right focal lengths available in a zoom lens remains paramount.

24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens is Canon’s first RF-mount lens to hit the streets and the first kit lens to be included with Canon EOS R series cameras. While “kit lens” may bring connotations of cheap and low quality, buyers of full frame imaging sensor cameras are discerning. Canon understands that and does not disappoint with this one. Canon’s EF-mount 24-105mm f/4L IS lenses are greatly-loved and have long been the choice for EOS full frame kit lenses, a lens typically needing great general purpose functionality, and based on the success of those lenses, staying the course on the focal length range, quality level and general design for the EOS R-series kit lens made a lot of sense.

The RF mount is Canon’s first full frame lens mount introduced since the EF (electronic focusing) mount was introduced over 30 years ago. During that time period, technology has increased greatly and the RF mount, while current-technology-optimized, provides a foundation for future technology implementations.

With excellent image quality, fast and extremely accurate AF, a great general purpose focal length range and image stabilization along with solid build quality and a modest size, weight and price, the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM is an extremely versatile lens and the perfect lens choice for the Canon R-series cameras it is designed for. If you could pack only one lens along with an R-series camera for an anything-might-happen photo adventure, this lens will likely be your best option.

While super zoom lenses tend to rule in this regard, designers must make sacrifices to include extreme focal length ranges in a single lens and those sacrifices typically negatively impact image quality. The 24-105mm focal length range is not considered extreme by most, but it is relatively long (an over 4x zoom range). Though this focal length range still traverses the designer-challenging wide angle through telephoto range, the image quality capabilities of this range have, historically speaking, remained excellent.

While having a long range of focal lengths is helpful, what those focal lengths are is even more important, situationally more important at least. This lens’ 24-105mm range covers a solid superset of the heart of the general purpose focal length range, which is roughly 28-70mm for a full frame camera.

As the “general purpose” term indicates, the usefulness of the 24-105mm range is exceedingly high and the complete list of uses for this range is beyond my compilation abilities. The list of what I personally have used this lens for is already long.

Max Aperture

The f/4 in the lens name refers to the lens’ max aperture opening, the relationship of lens opening to focal length. The lower the number, the more light the lens will allow to reach the sensor. Each “stop” in aperture change (examples: f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, etc.) increases or reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by a factor of 2x (a big deal)

Image Stabilization

A feature I find crucial in a walk-around general purpose lens is image stabilization. Unless I am using a camera support, I seldom leave home without IS and I usually regret those times I do. While image stabilization does not stop subject motion, it allows handholding of the camera in extremely low light situations with still subjects (or permits motion blurring of subjects with sharp surroundings such as flowing water). The image quality difference made by IS is potentially dramatic.

One situation that I am frequently counting on IS for assistance with is when handholding in medium and low light levels when more depth of field is needed, allowing narrower aperture use without a tripod. When using a circular polarizer filter with narrow apertures (typical for landscapes and cityscapes), IS can be helpful even under a full sun. I often find myself trail running while hiking with a camera and family/friends (that don’t wait for me) and when I stop to shoot, I am frequently breathing hard and not steady. IS makes that work.

IS is useful for stabilizing the viewfinder, aiding in optimal composition. IS is also very useful for video recording, helping to avoid motion sickness in susceptible viewers.

Canon’s image stabilization systems have improved dramatically since first introduced. This IS implementation makes a very faint “hmmm” with some clicks while active, audible only from about an inch or two from the lens. Canon’s IS systems have long been very well behaved, meaning that the viewfinder image does not jump and I do not find myself fighting against IS while recomposing or recording video. I have not noticed the image frame drifting while IS is active.

In addition to general refinements, the rated number of stops of assistance provided by this IS system has been improved from its EF predecessor. The RF 24-105mm F4 L lens gets a very-high 5-stops of assistance rating. Improved communications between the lens and the camera via the new RF mount has made this impressive rating possible. For example, based on this rating, an ISO setting 5 stops higher, ISO 3200 instead of ISO 100 or ISO 25600 instead of ISO 800 for example, would be necessary to increase the shutter speed enough to compensate for the help provided by this system. That difference is huge in terms of image quality.

At 24mm, with the help of image stabilization, I am getting a high keeper rate with 0.4 second exposures, a still good rate at 0.5 seconds and even a reasonable percentage at 0.8 seconds. The keeper rate drop-off is gradual as shutter speeds lengthen. At 105mm, I had very good results with 0.3 second exposures, still had a decent rate of sharp images at 0.4 seconds and enough were sharp at 0.5 seconds that I would certainly attempt this.

These numbers should be considered about the best I can do. While I’m not the steadiest photographer, testing is done under ideal conditions, indoors on a concrete floor. Quickly hike up a big mountain and shoot from an unstable position in strong winds and a significantly faster shutter speed is going to be needed. However, the amount of assistance should remain similar and that is very important.

Image Quality

If you are using a full frame interchangeable lens camera, you care about image quality. And your paramount question is probably “How sharp is the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens?”

“Quite sharp” is the answer, about the same as or slightly better than the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L II lens. In the central portion of the frame, RF 24-105mm F4 L IS images have good sharpness that remains remarkably similar throughout the focal length range and unusually similar across the aperture range – until diffraction begins to affect (soften) the results at narrower apertures. The site’s image quality tool provides a great view of this lens’ performance, but let’s take a look at some 100% center-of-the-frame crops from an outdoor scene. The following images were captured in RAW format and processed in Canon’s DPP (Digital Photo Professional) software using the Standard Picture Style and, keeping in mind that even modestly-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the true characteristics of a lens,

The wider two sets of results are quite nice. The 105mm results show some softness, but notice that lateral CA (easily correctable) is causing misaligned colors in these samples.

It is expected that a lens will show some peripheral shading at its widest aperture when used on a camera utilizing the full image circle. The amount, however, is a variable.

Expect a relatively high about-3.4 stops of shading in the corners at 24mm f/4. By 35mm, the shading amount drops significantly to about 2 stops (relatively low). At 50mm, the shading amount drops slightly to about 1.7 stops. At 70mm, the amount is again slowly climbing, reaching just over 2 stops and from 85mm through 105mm, vignetting is roughly 2.5 stops in the extreme corners.

Want less peripheral shading from a lens? Using a narrower aperture is nearly universally the answer. At f/5.6, this lens shows 2.5, 1.6, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 stops of shading at the marked 24, 35, 50, 70, 85 and 105mm settings respectively. At f/8, those numbers are 2.0, 1.4, 1.0, 1.0, 0.8 and 0.8. Expect little or no decrease at narrower apertures.

A rough rule of thumb says that shading above 1 stop is sometimes noticeable (though even less may be noticeable on a blue sky or similar). Obviously, even at f/8 and narrower apertures, these shading numbers are still close to or above visibility levels.

Vignetting can easily be corrected during post processing or in-camera with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty and you will likely encounter scenarios where this correction is desired. Vignetting can also be simply embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer’s eye to the center of the frame.

Zoom lenses generally have lateral CA showing the strongest at the two ends of the focal length range and that is the case here. The RF 24-105 F4 L IS transitions from a moderate amount of lateral CA at 24mm to a negligible amount in the midrange and back to a rather strong amount again at 105mm.

As mentioned, lateral CA can be corrected with software. With the proper lens profile loaded in Canon DPP, removing lateral CA is as easy as checking a box and removal is similarly easy in other tools.

A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration, but is hazier) is another common lens aberration to look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while the spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.

At 24mm and 50mm, the foreground and background blur colors appear about the same and that is what we want to see. At 105mm, the results are still looking very good, though a hint of difference shows.

This lens features Canon’s Air Sphere Coating (ASC) and Super Spectra coating, designed to reduce flare and ghosting. Lens flare occurs when a bright light source is within or just outside the image frame, resulting in internal reflections from lens elements appearing in the image. Flare effects can be embraced, avoided or removal can be attempted. If not embraced, flare effects can be destructive to image quality and these are sometimes extremely difficult to remove in post processing.

Our standard flare test involves placing the sun in the corner of the frame and in this test, the RF 24-105mm lens performed very well at f/4 with only small flare effects being noticed. Flare effects are usually most pronounced at narrow apertures and by f/16, this lens is indeed showing stronger flare effects. Still, the effects are relatively mild and not unusual.

There are two lens aberrations that are particularly evident when shooting images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point, instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Coma becomes quite visible mid-frame and in the corners of images captured at wide apertures and significantly resolves when the lens is stopped down. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either meridional (radiating from the center of the image) or sagittal (perpendicular to meridional).

  • tandard wide-angle to telephoto zoom lens is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless cameras.
  • Constant f/4 maximum aperture maintains consistent illumination throughout the zoom range.
  • Super Spectra coating has been applied to individual elements to minimize ghosting and flare for greater contrast and color neutrality when working in strong lighting conditions.
  • An Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by five stops to better enable working in low-light conditions and with slower shutter speeds.
  • Nano USM system utilizes both a ring type USM and an STM mechanism to realize quick and accurate focusing that is also smooth and near-silent to suit both photography and video applications. This focusing system also affords full-time manual focus control when working in the one-shot AF mode.
  • Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.
  • As a member of the esteemed L-series, this lens has a weather-resistant design that protects against dust and moisture to enable its use in inclement conditions.
  • Rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.


Brand Name Canon
Filter Size 77mm
Focus Type Autofocus (lens motor)
Lens Mount Canon EOS RF
Lens Type Wide-Angle, Standard / Normal
Max Focal Length 105mm
Min Focal Length 105mm


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Reviews (1)

1 review for CANON RF 24-105MM F/4 L IS USM FULL-FRAME LENS RF-MOUNT {77}

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  1. Mattapon

    This is the perfect daily use lens for the EOS R system. Its a jack of all trades, master of none, its not terribly fast at f/4, but for daytime shooting and some studio work its fantastic for a standard telephoto. It beats the EF 24-105 f/4L IS II in edge to edge sharpness at all zooms and apertures. Its basically a must-have for the EOS R.

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