The Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens targets photographers seeking a compact, ultralight, inexpensive general-purpose lens that produces good image quality.
Delivering those qualities meant relatively narrow maximum aperture openings and a rather short zoom range. However, in-lens image stabilization assists with the light volume, and the included angles of view are the most important ones for many needs.
The Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is a good entry-level choice for travel, for carrying all day, for walking around, for kids to use, and for backup to a larger lens.
The focal length range is the first consideration for zoom lens selection. Focal length drives subject distance choices, which determine perspective.
As already mentioned, this lens has a short focal length range. Still, the 24-50mm angles of view cover much of what I consider the minimum general-purpose focal length range, and the uses for this range are extensive.
Use this lens to photograph landscapes, including those that require a long hike.
People are always a favorite photo subject, and this lens is a good choice for portraits. The included zoom range favors environmental portraits through loose head and shoulder framing, as moving in too close with a 50mm lens begins to cause perspective issues (big noses and small ears).
This lens is a great choice for travel, with street and architectural photography being good uses for the 24-50mm range.
As indicated by the general-purpose title, a wide range of subjects are available for this lens, including your dinner, the entire family at dinner, medium to large products, documentary videography, etc.
Here are subject examples in a few 24-50mm focal length range illustrations:
APS-C sensor format cameras utilize a smaller image circle than full-frame models, framing a scene more tightly. 1.6x is the factor used to calculate the Canon full-frame angle of view equivalence, and that multiplier means a 24-50mm lens on an APS-C camera frames a subject similar to a 38.4-80mm lens on a full-frame camera. This angle of view range shifts this lens's ideal uses toward portraits and away from landscape and architecture needs.
The f/4.5-6.3 in the name refers to the maximum aperture, the ratio of the focal length to the entrance pupil diameter, available in this lens.
The lower the aperture number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens can deliver to the imaging sensor. Each "stop" in aperture change (full stop examples: f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6) increases or decreases the amount of light by a factor of 2x (a substantial amount).
Because this lens's maximum opening does not increase sufficiently with focal length increase to maintain the same aperture measurement ratio, there is a variable max aperture, ranging from f/4.5 to f/6.3 as the focal length range is increasingly traversed.
While the max aperture opening change is continuous, narrowing as the focal length increases, the camera rounds the EXIF-reported aperture to the nearest 1/3 or 1/2 stop. Here are the focal length ranges for the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens's reported 1/3 stop apertures.
24-24mm = f/4.5
24-31mm = f/5.0
32-38mm = f/5.6
39-50mm = f/6.3
Yes, the camera is still reporting 24mm when the aperture steps down to f/5, and that single focal length reaching f/4.5 qualifies this lens for that max opening. Fortunately, 24mm provides a useful angle of view. The max aperture gradually reduces to a dark f/6.3 by 39mm.
Those max openings are among the narrowest available for these focal lengths.
The narrow, variable max aperture opening feature is not sought after, but the qualities this combination affords are highly desirable. The small lens element size it demands is reflected in its compact size, light weight, and low price.
A downside to the variable max aperture is that the widest max aperture cannot be used over the entire focal length range. The camera automatically accounts for the changes in auto exposure modes (including M mode with Auto ISO), but using the widest-available aperture in manual exposure mode is somewhat complicated by the changing setting (an in-camera function may also accommodate the changes).
With these narrow max apertures, this lens is not a good choice for photographing low light motion, such as indoor sports or outdoor sports on cloudy days. Setting the ISO to a very high number is the narrow aperture option for sharp low light in-motion images, but the resulting noise is a significant image quality factor.
Narrow aperture openings reduce a camera's low light autofocusing capabilities, and narrow apertures produce a weaker background blur than wide ones. These examples illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create:
Remember that wide-angle lenses render the background details smaller in size? That includes the background blur. There is a nice amount of blur seen in these examples, though the scene remains recognizable.
Only a 1/60 second shutter speed (twice the framerate) is needed for 30 fps video capture, and wide apertures are not often required to get 1/60 in normally encountered ambient lighting.
Despite the tiny size, light weight, and low price of the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens, it features optical image stabilization, a feature especially welcomed on a lens expected to be often used handheld.
This IS system is rated for 4 stops of assistance on non-IBIS cameras and 7 stops of coordinated control assistance on stabilized cameras. While these ratings are not among the highest being produced at review time, this amount of assistance is still significant and very helpful.
This IS implementation is quiet and well-behaved.
One aspect we never want compromised is the image quality produced by a lens. Still, cost, weight, and size issues are in play. How does the small, light, affordable Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens perform optically?
With a wide-open aperture, this lens delivers reasonably sharp center-of-the-frame details throughout the entire focal length range. Stopping down produces, at most, minor improvements in resolution and contrast.
Often, subjects are not placed in the center of a composition. In the periphery of the image circle, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center, lenses typically show decreased sharpness, but this one (with distortion corrected, the only option available in Canon Digital Photo Pro) shows little change from the center to the corner.
At 24mm, corner details are slightly soft, but the 28mm through 50mm corners are nice. Stopping down primarily removes peripheral shading, leading to increased contrast.
Following is a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured using an ultra-high-resolution Canon EOS R5 with RAW files processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) using the Standard Picture Style with sharpness set to 1 on a 0-10 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.
These results look nice.
Next, we'll look at a series of comparisons showing 100% resolution extreme top right corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.
Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, can be counted on to show a lens's weakest performance. This lens shows modestly soft 24mm corners. The longer focal lengths produce sharper corner details.
Does corner sharpness matter? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Think about your needs, and apply what you learned here.
This lens does not exhibit focus shift, the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA).
A lens is expected to show peripheral shading at the widest aperture settings when used on a camera that utilizes its entire image circle. With distortion corrected, expect this lens to show nearly 3.5 stops of shading in the 24mm corners, just over 3 stops at 28mm, just under 3 stops at 35mm, and just over 2 stops at 50mm. These amounts are noticeable.
Selecting a narrower aperture almost always reduces the shading. The wide-open shading is stronger at the wide end, but the wide end is stopped down more to reach f/8, leveling the shading at about 1 stop throughout the range.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. Still, the about 1.5 stops of corner shading showing at 24mm f/4.5 may be visible in select images, primarily those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) in the corners.
One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing, with increased noise in the brightened areas the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern shown in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.
Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii), with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.
Color misalignment can be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a set of worst-case examples. The images below are 100% crops from the extreme top left corner of EOS R5 frames showing diagonal black and white lines.
Only black and white colors should be present in these images, with the additional colors indicating the presence of lateral CA. The color separation is moderately strong at the wide end, slowly decreasing to mild at 50mm.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. 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) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. 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.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally colored subjects.
For a relatively narrow max aperture lens, this one shows considerable color separation in these examples.
Bright light reflecting off lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare and ghosting effects in an image are variable, dependent on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. Additionally, flare and ghosting can impact AF performance.
The Canon RF 24-50 features Super Spectra Coating to combat flare and ghosting, and the ultra-low 8-element count is helpful in this regard. Even at f/16, this lens produced only a modest amount of flare effects at wide angles and very few at longer focal lengths in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test, showing good performance.
Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Unfortunately, removal is sometimes very challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can destroy image quality. Thus, high flare resistance is a welcomed trait of this lens.
Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in 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 that can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). The coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The images below are 100% crops taken from the top-left corner of EOS R5 images captured at the widest available aperture.
The 24mm corner stars are stretched and color separated. The 30mm results are decent, and the 50mm results show some flaring toward the image circle periphery.
As alluded to, this lens has extreme barrel distortion. The geometric distortion is strong enough that Canon forces the correction in camera (EVF, LCD, JPG images, movies) and in DPP, regardless of the lens corrections settings. Processing this lens's images with third-party software (without a lens profile available) reveals the true image captured. The distortion test images for this lens show off-the-chart framing.
For reference, the squares in the test chart filled the viewfinder during capture. This lens's extreme barrel distortion diminishes as the focal length is increased until 35mm, but strong barrel distortion remains at 50mm.
Stretching the image out to the as-framed composition requires AI. Although today's distortion correction AI is very good, AI does not know what the original subject details were in the stretched areas, and distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level.
Here is another look at the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens's native geometric distortion.
These images were framed on the 3:2 marks (these are easiest to see in the 50mm sample). To correct this distortion, a sizable crop is taken from the original image.
Every lens is a compromise, with size, weight, price, image quality, and focal length range being common factors, and with increasing frequency, manufacturers are relying on software over physical lens design to manage geometric distortion. While severe distortion and the required crop factor is seen by most as a detriment to this lens, the offsetting factors are welcomed. Still, the distortion amount must be considered when comparing lenses, and an image captured from a non-distorted lens can be similarly up-sized to even higher resolution using the same AI, potentially giving it an advantage.
As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the strongest blur a lens can create. Due to the infinite number of variables present among available scenes, assessing the bokeh quality is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.
The first example set shows 100% crops defocused highlights. Wide-angle focal lengths typically create less optimal highlights, but the 30mm and 50mm results look great.
The second set of examples shows outdoor scenes. The first two are 100% crops, and the last image is full and reduced. All look nice.
Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round. That is the shape we're looking at in the distortion-corrected results here.
As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced, and the mechanical vignetting diminishes, making the corner shapes rounder.
A 7-blade count diaphragm will create 14-point sunstars (diffraction spikes) from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. Generally, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better shaped the sunstars tend to be. Unfortunately, a narrow max aperture lens does not afford much stopping down before reaching apertures where diffraction causes noticeable softening of details, and these lenses typically do not produce the biggest or best shaped sunstars.
The examples above were captured at f/16 and will impress few.
The design of this lens is illustrated above.
This lens's image quality deficits are many, with strong geometric distortion being the biggest issue. However, this lens creates good corrected image quality, and it has other, offsetting strengths.
Driven by a leadscrew-type stepping motor (referenced by the "STM" in the moniker), this lens autofocuses with decent speed. The focus is internal and quiet, with only faint clicks heard during long focus distance changes.
Generally, wide-aperture lenses enable AF systems to perform their best in low-light environments. This lens lacks the wide aperture feature, but it is still impressive to see the latest camera models lock this lens's focus on adequate contrast in a very dark environment when set to wider angles. Not as impressive is the low light performance at the longer, narrower aperture focal lengths. As usual, AF slows in low light.
Canon's STM AF systems' smooth focusing is a highly desired trait for movie recording.
Non-cinema lenses usually require refocusing after a focal length change. As illustrated in the 100% crops below, the reviewed lens at least come close parfocal-like characteristics. When focused at 50mm, zooming to wider focal lengths results in still-sharp images.
The RF 24-50 STM's control ring serves dual purposes, acting as a manual focus ring when switched to that functionality. From a focus ring perspective, this tactilely distinct knurled plastic ring is compact and positioned in front of the non-extending portion of the lens, where it is easy to find. The ring provides ideal rotational resistance for establishing precise focus.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in AF mode with the camera in One Shot Drive Mode, but the shutter release must be half-pressed for the focus ring to become active. Note that FTM does not work if electronic manual focusing after One Shot AF is disabled in the camera's menu. The lens's switch must be in the "MF" position and the camera meter must be on/awake for conventional manual focusing to be available.
The RF 24-50's rate of focus distance change is dependent on the ring's rotation speed. At 24mm, a 220° slow rotation or 100° fast rotation provides a full extent adjustment. At 50mm, a 390° slow or 160° fast rotation does the same. With the R-series cameras, a linear adjustment speed can be configured via a camera menu option.
It is normal for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other. This effect is focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus.
This lens produces a modest change in subject size through a full-extent focus distance adjustment at the wider end and a bit more at the long end.
This lens has a minimum focus distance of 11.8" (300mm) at 24mm for a 0.11x maximum magnification spec. That spec goes to 0.19x at 50mm and its minimum 13.8" (350mm) focus distance. While that is a useful number, it is not remarkable.
|Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.38x|
|Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||5.1"||(130mm)||0.52x|
|Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.21x|
|Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.26x|
|Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||6.7"||(170mm)||0.44x|
|Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens||8.3"||(210mm)||0.30x|
|Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||0.24x|
|Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Lens||5.2"||(131mm)||0.50x|
|Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM Lens||19.7"||(500mm)||0.26x|
|Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.16x|
At 24mm, a subject measuring approximately 12.2 x 8.1" (309 × 206mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor at this lens's minimum MF distance. Expect a 7.2 x 4.9" (184 × 123mm) subject to do the same at 50mm.
The USPS love stamps shared above have an image area that measures 1.05 x 0.77" (26.67 x 19.558mm), and the overall individual stamp size is 1.19 x 0.91" (30.226 x 23.114mm).
While this lens produces sharp center-of-the-frame details at minimum focus distance with a wide-open aperture, the image periphery is somewhat blurry at 24mm and quite blurry at 70mm. Stopping down to f/11 as in the examples just shared helps corner image quality, but some blur remains.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease and increase those respective numbers. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, allowing shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and function normally. As of review time, Canon does not offer RF mount-compatible extension tubes, but third-party options are available.
This lens is not compatible with Canon extenders.
Especially for a lens priced and featured as an affordable consumer zoom lens, the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens seems nicely constructed with close tolerances achieved.
This lens features a quality plastic external construction. With smooth external dimensions, the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is comfortable to hold and easy to use.
The ribbed plastic zoom ring is somewhat small but easy to find and is smooth in function but a bit slippery. The center of the frame moves slightly during a full extent zoom adjustment. Note the lack of space between the zoom ring and the focus /control ring.
When fully retracted, this lens is in a non-functional state. A firm twist of the zoom ring extends the lens from the firmly clicked closed length to its longest length at 24mm. The RF 24-50 extends 3.7" (94mm) when zoomed to 24mm, retracts slightly at 35mm, and extends slightly again at 50mm.
A click stop at 24mm avoids retraction beyond the usable range, though I sometimes turn the ring to 24mm (prior to the click) and get the "Set the lens to the shooting position" message.
When fully extended, the inner lens barrel has only slight play.
The knurled Control Ring can be configured for fast access to settings that include aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation. Move the Focus/Control switch to the MF position, and, as mentioned, this ring functions as the focus ring. MF and the Control Ring functionality cannot be used simultaneously, but sharing functionality means there is one less ring to confuse.
The Focus/Control and IS switches are flush-mounted and low-profile, raised just enough for easy use, even with gloves. These switches snap crisply into position. Note that this control ring turns smoothly — it is not clicked.
This lens is not weather sealed, and the front and rear elements are not fluorine-coated to repel dust and water drops and facilitate cleaning.
At 2.7 x 2.3" (68.6 x 58.4mm) in size and 7.4 (210g) in weight, this is a compact and lightweight lens.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L IS USM Lens||19.1||(540)||3.3 x 3.9||(84.1 x 99.8)||77||2021|
|Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||13.8||(390)||3.0 x 3.5||(76.6 x 88.4)||67||2022|
|Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens||29.7||(840)||3.5 x 5.0||(88.5 x 126.8)||82||2019|
|Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||4.6||(130)||2.7 x 1.7||(68.9 x 44.3)||49||2022|
|Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||10.9||(310)||2.7 x 3.3||(69.0 x 84.5)||55||2022|
|Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens||7.4||(210)||2.7 x 2.3||(68.6 x 58.4)||58||2023|
|Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens||31.8||(900)||3.5 x 4.9||(88.5 x 125.7)||82||2019|
|Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens||24.7||(700)||3.3 x 4.2||(83.5 x 107.3)||77||2018|
|Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Lens||13.9||(395)||3.0 x 3.5||(76.6 x 88.8)||67||2020|
|Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM Lens||26.5||(750)||3.2 x 4.8||(80.4 x 122.5)||72||2019|
|Sony FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 Lens||5.9||(167)||2.6 x 1.8||(66.6 x 45.0)||40.5||2020|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Here is a visual comparison:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
Remember that the RF-S lenses only cover the smaller APS-C image circle. The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens to other lenses.
The RF 24-50 uses relatively small and affordable 67mm front filter threads.
Canon still does not provide a lens hood in consumer-grade lens boxes, making the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens's EW-63C hood an optional accessory. The EW-63C is a relatively shallow petal-shaped, semi-flexible, friction-fit (no release button) plastic hood. The hood is large enough to provide good protection to the front element, including from bright flare-inducing light.
Also excluded from the lens box is a case. This lens requires only a little case, and Canon suggests their Lens Case LP1014, a drawstring pouch that adds dust and minor impact protection (the bottom is well-padded).
The caps are always included.
At review time, the only RF lens with a lower list price is the Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM Lens. The RF 24-50's utility-to-price ratio is very high.
As an "RF" lens, the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is compatible with all Canon EOS R-series cameras, including full-frame and APS-C models. Canon USA provides a 1-year limited warranty.
The reviewed Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lenses (2) were on loan from Canon USA.
The Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is part of the initial buildout of the Canon RF Lens series. As such, there are no direct alternatives. Still, the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Lens is another consumer-grade standard zoom lens worth comparing.
In the image quality comparison at equalized apertures, the 24-105mm lens shows itself slightly sharper over most of the range, but the 24-50 performs better at 50mm. The 24-50 has modestly stronger peripheral shading at wide-open apertures, and the difference is bigger at equalized apertures. The 24-105 has strong barrel distortion at 24mm, but it looks great compared to the 24-50 and has a noticeable advantage at all focal lengths.
While this 24-105mm lens is compact and lightweight, the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens vs. RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Lens comparison shows the 24-50 weighing about half as much as the 24-105 and measuring noticeably less. The 24-105 has a considerably longer focal length range and wider apertures available at comparable focal lengths. It also has a much higher maximum magnification, 0.50x vs. 0.19x, and a slightly higher image stabilization rating, 5.0 vs. 4.5 stops. The 24-50 uses 58mm filters vs. 67mm. The 24-50's price is 25% lower than the 24-105's price.
For a reality check, let's compare the RF 24-50 to the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens. This professional-grade L lens is an outstanding performer and one of my favorite lenses. It is also in a different price class.
The image quality comparison shows the L lens performing to its higher price, delivering better resolution and contrast at equal apertures. The L lens has moderately less peripheral shading wide open vs. the 24-50's wide-open apertures, but the 24-50 has less at narrow apertures. The L lens has dramatically less geometric distortion at all focal lengths.
The Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens vs. RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM Lens comparison shows theL lens weighing over 3x as much and measuring considerably larger. A larger lens typically uses larger filters, and 77mm vs. 58mm are the numbers in this case. The L lens has a higher maximum magnification, 0.24x vs. 0.19x, a higher IS rating, 5.0 vs. 4.5, and Nano USM driven AF vs. STM. The L lens has considerably wider apertures, especially when the RF 24-50 hits an f/6.3 max, and it has a much longer focal length range. The L-grade build quality, including weather sealing, is another advantage. At review time, the street price of the L lens is $1,000.00 higher, and that difference will be a big decision factor for many. If you look at the price per pound, the difference is only $841.00 vs. $645.00.
Use the site's tools to create additional comparisons.
At the risk of overstating the obvious, I'll say it again: the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is a compact, lightweight, and highly affordable zoom lens. Despite those features, this entry-level, consumer-grade lens still produces good image quality, and image stabilization helps ensure that quality is achieved.
This lens's short range of general-purpose focal lengths has a steady supply of subjects requesting them.
The Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is a good choice for travel, for kids, for long carrying periods, and any other time the primary features of this lens are needed.
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