9 out of 10 points and recommendedImage quality, size, AF speed, weight (compared to zooms)Price, weight (compared to other primes)
First the less important :reviewed April 25th, 2014
The workmanship is very solid, metal and plastic, nothing jerky or shaking. What you expect from an L lens.
The ring for the distance has the perfect resistance, moves exactly like you want it to. Autofocus works just like it should as well of course. And it offers full-time manual override , so you can take corrective action at any time when the AF does not get it right, which rarely happens. Internal Focusing
Lens hood and bag are included in the bag.
As for the image quality with afull-frame sensor, a 5D MkII in this case:
With the 24-70/2,8 I had certainly not a bad lens , but this is better. Having the possibility to use f 1.4 in really low-light conditions has a very special appeal for me. Of course with the aperture being this far open, you have to pay special attention to the shallow depth of field. But when you get it right, the effect is just magical, and the bokeh produced with this lens is really beautiful.
However, one should keep in mind as razor-thin depth of field this is at full aperture, and it is also important to remember that the image is slightly soft and vignetting (easily correctable) is visible.
With stopping down to f/2 things improve and in the f/2.8 range the best imaging performance begins in terms of resolution and saturation. But remember, a good image is not defined in terms of sharpness, no distortion or whatever, it's mainly the composition!!
I like shooting people in their every day environment, and that is often indoors without flash (which ruins the atmosphere for me). This lens is perfect for me for this - including shooting people opposite of me at the table.
Not a cheap lens. But worth the money. And it serves the full-frame sensor as he deserves it and can do. I've had the Sigma 30mm 1.4 for my crop-sensor before. But the AF performance and build quality of the Canon lens is much better.
A general note on primes: not being able to zoom makes you think so much more about your composition with is the most important element that makes a good picture (exposue being OK). 35mm on a full frame is slightly wide, but even on a crop is a very good focus length to shoot most situations. Get close to the action, shoot with intent and care less about technical stuff, your material is rarely the limiting factor.
I shoot a lot with this lens for weddings, you can see some examples here (all photos in those galeries execpt for the really wide and the tele shots):
10 out of 10 points and recommendedImage Quality, Bokeh, Build Quality, ISWeight, Price, Bulky Size
I don't carry many lenses for a wedding, but this thing is always in my bag. I have, like so many I suppose, thought about replacing it with primes just because they are lighter and can open even further to let in more light, but there is just no alternative to it.reviewed May 9th, 2014 (purchased for $1,400)
The image quality is just amazing, even at f/2.8. It has IS which as for now the primes don't have. It is very versatile as it's a zoom lens (obvious, but still a point) - this replaces a 85mm, 100mm, 135mm ... you name it. So this relativates the heavy weight of this lens.
IS is a must for the zoom range and its weight. I would not be able to get sharp images under dark conditions without going to crazy ISOs.
There is a version II, yes, and it's supposed to be better but this lens has been the very best available for the last 15 years, and having a new one out there does not make this lens any worse!
Here are some real life examples and not stupid test shots of boring ducks and brick walls:
9 out of 10 points and recommendedWeight - Sharpness - VersatilityPrice - Size
I highly recommend this lens in combination with an EOS 7D without hesitation.reviewed March 10th, 2014 (purchased for $800)
The autofocus is very fast focus and the focal length of the crop sensor is completely sufficient for most images.
Since then I have bought it, I've shot several 1000s of pictures with it and all of them are keepers.
My recommendation: Save a little longer for this lens instead of an EF-S 18-200 or even 18-135. The build quality of the 17-55 is easy worlds above those of the cheaper EF-S or Tamron lenses (speaking here from personal experience).
I shot a number of weddings with this lens (blonde woman):
9 out of 10 points and recommendedQuality - Sturdyness - Wedding - RangeWeight - Price - Size
I bought this lens to replace the 24-70 L 2.8, because I had some problems with it.reviewed March 10th, 2014 (purchased for $850)
The 24-105's image quality is a bit worse than the 24-70s under the same conditions. But you pay less money for a better focal length and in everyday life definitely better pictures (due to IS and reduced flare in backlit conditions).
The physical condition is flawless and justified the price. I made the decision to buy the 24-105s and give back the 24-70s and never looked back.
To get an idea for quality professional wedding photography where you need a good range and good quality, look at my webpage http://www.two-in-love.ch The couple from the side with the mountains was shout with the 24-105mm.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedQuality - Bokeh - FeelingWeight - Price
Like so many others I suppose, I started with the 50mm 1.8, then moved to the 50mm 1.4 and then eventually buying this lens. On the way, I spent countless hours on the net going over reviews, opinions, price lists, Flickr pictures with that lens and so on.reviewed March 11th, 2014 (purchased for $1,500)
I will not go through technical details, weight, corner sharpness, vignetting ... who really cares? If you look only at those things in images then you miss the whole point in my opinion.
In short - it's expensive and it's worth it. I was very hesitating, is it really worth it, what's the difference?
Difficult to describe really. Sharpness, contrast, colors, feeling with the lens - everything. On a full frame camera, indoors at f/1.2 this is just incredible. Shallow depth of field that allows for no error since the DOF is like 3 cm at some distances, but when you get it right it's magic.
A couple of days ago, I shot a couple in magical backlight with my 5D II and the 50mm 1.2 at apertures around 1.6 - 2.8 when I needed both faces sharp. Seeing the pictures in Lightroom I was blown away.
See them yourself: