Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens Review

Note: The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens has been replaced by the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.

The tiny and inexpensive Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens is actually a good performer.

Although f/2.8 is not fast considering the 24's fixed focal length (many zoom lens apertures open this wide), the 24 f/2.8 is reasonably sharp wide open with increased sharpness showing when stopped down to f/5.6. Corners are relatively sharp even wide open on full frame body.

Although the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens bests it in the color and sharpness departments, the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens holds up very well to this far more expensive lens. Be sure to read the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens Review for a more detailed comparison.

The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens is rather flare-prone at wide aperture settings, but improves somewhat by f/8 and f/11. Distortion is mild, but some barrel distortion is present in the center and mid-sections of the frame. Some CA (Chromatic Aberration) is present in this lens, but it is not objectionable in comparison. Full frame body users will notice over 3 stops of shading in the corners of this lens at f/2.8 with about 1 stop of vignetting remaining in the corners at f/8.

The bokeh produced by the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens is not special. Hexagonal out of focus highlights from a 6-blade aperture are visible in some stopped-down shots.

Again, for some specific image quality comparison examples, visit the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens Review where a group of wide angle lenses are compared.

ModelWeightDimensions w/o HoodFilterYear 
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Lens14.3 oz(405g)3.1 x 2.8"(78 x 71mm)72mm1992
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens22.9 oz(650g)3.4 x 3.4"(87 x 87mm)77mm2008
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens9.5 oz(270g)2.7 x 1.9"(68 x 49mm)58mm1988
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens10.9 oz(310g)2.9 x 2.2"(74 x 56mm)58mm1995
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens6.5 oz(185g)2.6 x 1.7"(67 x 43mm)52mm1987

The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens is tiny - even with its hood attached. It is one of the smallest lenses available. It is easy to throw in the bag for the just-in-case uses - especially when you are running with a tele-zoom. Build quality is not this lens' strong point. The circa 1988 design is not going to win any style awards.

Canon Wide Angle Lens Size Comparison

Pictured above from left to right are the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L USM Lens, Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L USM Lens and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens.

Canon 28mm Lens Size Comparison

Pictured above from left to right are the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens, Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens.

An AFD (Arc Form Drive) motor is responsible for driving the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens' autofocusing. It's not the latest and greatest AF system, but the 24 f/2.8 focuses with decent speed thanks in part to internal rear focusing. A noticeable whine is heard while the 24 f/2.8 lens obtains focus. FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is not available - the MF/AF switch must be positioned to MF for manual focusing. The 24 f/2.8 does not change length while focusing - and the front element does not rotate. The tiny focusing ring is not the nicest to use.

ModelMFDMM
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Lens9.8"(250).14x
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens9.8"(250).16x
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens9.8"(250).16x
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens9.8"(250).18x
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 Lens11.8"(300).13x

If you need very decent quality images from a 24mm focal length lens, do not have the budget for the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM Lens and do not need the versatility of a zoom for your particular purpose, the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Lens may be the right choice for you. With its light weight and compact design, the 24 f/2.8 is a convenient lens to pack along everywhere you go. And then there will always be a wide angle lens at your disposal.

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