If you’re into photography or creating content, you’ve probably heard of Canon. Canon has been a popular choice among photographers and content creators for its quality lenses. And today, we’re going to talk about two of ’em: the Canon RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM, and the RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
Both of these lenses’ versatility and decent form factor make them an option to bring along for travel photography. We took these bad boys for a spin in Japan with the Canon R6 camera, and we will give you the lowdown on all their features, benefits, and limitations.
Canon RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM
Let’s take a closer look at the Canon RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM first. This lens is a wide-angle zoom lens that is ideal for capturing landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture. With its focal range of 15-35mm, it allows users to capture a wide field of view, while its maximum aperture of f/2.8 allows for exceptional low-light performance. The lens is also equipped with Canon’s Image Stabilisation (IS) technology, which compensates for camera shake and helps to produce sharp, blur-free images.
In terms of its build, it uses high-quality materials for its construction and is weather-sealed, making it a durable and reliable choice for outdoor shooting. Little wonder then that it is a popular choice amongst travel influencers and professionals who want to capture landscapes without worrying about the lens getting roughed up in tough weather situations.
The lens is part of Canon’s pro lens lineup, and it shows; its quality is top-notch. During my testing in Japan, the sharpness of the lens was amazing, even at 2.8f. Its low aperture also helps with low-light photography, making it a handy tool for capturing beautiful street scenes at night.
One of the best features of this lens is its ability to capture context. In travel photography, showcasing where you are and what you are doing is essential.
The 15mm wide lens allows you to capture all that you need to know and see, giving attention to your subject but also the scene and context behind it. Additionally, I’ve found that the lens’s 35mm zoom feature allows me to capture tighter detailed shots when necessary with a simple and quick turn of the zoom ring. Versatility like this is an understated quality, especially in travel situations.
Another great use of the RF 15-35mm lens is for vlogging. The 15mm focal length on a full-frame camera allows vloggers to record easily, and coupled with the fully articulating screen of the R6, speaking into the camera was effortless. The ability to zoom in after speaking to the camera is also a great feature allowing for details to be showcased in videos.
That said, the lens itself is a hefty unit, so bringing it along for a long day of shooting will show its effect. If you plan on a light photography setup, this may not be the optimal lens.
Another thing to consider with this lens is its price point. It retails for S$4,049, which is a significant amount of money to part with. However, for seasoned professionals or anyone creating content for a living, the RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM is a must-have in their arsenal of lenses.
Canon RF24-105mm f/4L IS
Moving on to the Canon RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, this lens is another versatile option that can handle a wide range of shooting scenarios.
It has a focal range of 24-105mm, making it suitable for everything from portraits to landscapes, and its maximum aperture of f/4 provides good low-light performance. The lens also features Canon’s IS technology, so images remain sharp and blur-free even in challenging shooting conditions. Like the RF15-35mm, this lens is also constructed with high-quality materials and is weather-sealed — another durable choice for outdoor shooting.
The Canon RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a great travel lens to have, especially when coupled with a light body like the Canon R6. The set-up is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry while travelling. The lens has a zoom feature allowing a wide range of shots. You can use 24mm to 35mm for wide shots, and 50-105mm for tight shots — the lens covers a broad spectrum, which conveniently eliminates the need to change lenses frequently.
One drawback of this lens is its f4 aperture. In low-light situations, the ISO has to be bumped up, or the shutter speed needs to be slowed down, which can introduce unwanted grain or motion blur. At the very least, the lens has a built-in stabiliser, which, when coupled with the in-body stabiliser of the R6, allows for shooting at lower shutter speeds and mitigates the amount of noise garnered within the image.
While there is a big brother to this lens, the RF 24-70mm 2.8f, the 2.8f aperture comes at a considerably higher price point. For casual travellers and new photographers, it is important to consider the cost when building a setup.
Another point worth noting is that some photo enthusiasts may have concerns about the lens’s bokeh capabilities due to its f/4 aperture. They may feel that a wider aperture would be necessary to achieve a more pleasing bokeh in their images. However, one thing to remember when it comes to blurred backgrounds would be lens compression.
To explain lens compression: Camera lens compression is a term used to describe the effect of how a lens makes distant objects appear closer together while separating foreground and background elements. This effect is caused by the distance between the photographer and the subject, as well as the focal length of the lens used.
Telephoto lenses with a long focal length, for example, have a narrower angle of view and compress the perspective, making objects in the background appear larger and closer to the foreground. In contrast, wide-angle lenses with a shorter focal length have a wider angle of view and stretch the perspective, making distant objects appear smaller and farther away.
Once you start to understand lens compression, it is a massive help to budding photographers who look to create dynamic and visually interesting compositions in their photos.
With that explanation of lens compression in mind, The Canon RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens also boasts great lens compression, especially in the 85mm to 105mm range.
This makes it an excellent choice for portrait photography, as you can achieve silky smooth blurred backgrounds, also known as bokeh, that can make your subject stand out and give your photos a professional look. So if you’re looking for a versatile lens that can handle different types of photography, the Canon RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM is a lens to consider.
After extensively testing both lenses, I can confidently recommend the Canon RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM, and RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM; though to different types of photographers and content creators.
If you frequently create video content or vlogs, the 15-35mm is an excellent lens to invest in. The wide focal range and fast aperture make it ideal for capturing cinematic shots and delivering stunning image quality. Additionally, pairing it with a longer lens like the RF 50mm would give you a versatile setup to handle different shooting scenarios.
On the other hand, if you’re a casual traveller or a photographer who wants a high-quality all-purpose lens, the 24-105mm f/4L is an excellent choice. It offers a great balance of image quality, portability, and versatility. The lens compression, especially in the 85mm to 105mm range, delivers great bokeh and is perfect for capturing portraits with a beautiful blurred background.
Overall, both lenses offer excellent image quality, build quality and performance. It ultimately comes down to your specific needs as a photographer or content creator. Consider your shooting style, the types of images you want to capture, and your budget when deciding which lens is right for you.
Where to buy
The Canon RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM os priced at S$4,049, though Alan Photo is offering a discounted price of S$3,549 at the time of writing. Meanwhile, the RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM will cost S$2,069. Links to purchase the lens via Alan Photo can found below:
Photos by Kenneth Tan of the DANAMIC Team.