The New Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 – The Ultimate Travel Lens?

On December 14th, 2023, Canon began shipping out the newest lens in their arsenal.

The Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z lens unlocks a new dimension of possibility for the travel photographer who wields it. I didn’t even know I wanted this lens, but now I think I may need it!

What’s new?

The thing that excites me about this new Canon lens is that it eliminates the need for 90% of other lenses by giving you an excellent focal length range while also giving you a super low f-stop. 

Focal length (measured in millimeters) is the distance between the focal point (where the light captured by the lens converges into a focused image) and the sensor of the camera. It is measured in millimeters. A longer focal length will be more “zoomed in” whereas a shorter focal length will be more zoomed out.

F-stop is the measure of aperture size. F-stop is a ratio between the length of the lens focal length and the diameter of the aperture opening. You may have seen it as something like f/1.4. This is an abbreviation and the full way to write this is as “f 1/1.4, with the 1 representing the length of the focal length and the 1.4 representing the diameter of the aperture. 

This means that the lower the f-stop number (i.e. f/2.8 versus f/1.4), the wider the aperture. Additionally, halving of the f-stop represents a doubling of the level of exposure (doubling the brightness). 

So for example, f/1.4 will result in twice the exposure of f/2.8. Wide apertures do two things: 1, allow more light to hit the sensor, increasing the exposure, and 2, create a more shallow depth of field, which is the amount of space in focus. Shallow depth of field is a large contributor to the amount of bokeh, or background blur, present in a photograph.

Why this New Canon lens is a game changer for travel photography

In my article on the best Canon lenses for travel photography, I describe how for landscapes, there are two routes you can take. The first which I recommend is to use a wide angle lens. This captures more of the scene and gives a sense of vastness. 

You could also use a telephoto lens, however, if you want to compress space and create associations with that compression. When you’re taking portraits with mountains in the distance, this can be a good way to make the photo better by bringing the mountains closer to the subject.

This lens covers both arenas better than any other lens on the market. The versatility is simply unparalleled. 

Here are some more specs pulled from Canon’s website:

Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z specs and details
From Canon’s website

This lens also provides exceptional options for travel street photography and photography inside interior spaces. The low f-stop allows for crystal-clear photos inside museums, old architectural spaces, and other travel attractions. It also allows you to zoom in and photograph candid scenes that catch your eye while roaming the streets of your travel destination.

If you’ve ever used a Canon USM lens, you’ll know that you’re getting every dollar of quality when you purchase one. Between the super-fast autofocus, the crystal-clear image quality, and the weather-sealed durability, Canon’s USM lenses leave little for the wanting.

The “HEAVY” Drawback…

The biggest downside of the Canon RF24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z lens is its exceptional weight. It clocks in at a whopping 2.9 lbs. This is probably unavoidable given its capability specs but is a considerable downside. This could make it difficult to travel with if you have weight constraints and are needing to travel light. It can also be cumbersome if you are doing hiking or backpacking photography.

For me personally, the functionality of this lens is worth it. The lens also comes with a tripod mount, which can be used as a lens “grip” to increase maneuverability.

Conclusion: Should you buy the Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z?

The Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z lens is poised to become an indispensable tool for travel photographers seeking unparalleled versatility without sacrificing image quality. Its expansive focal range and wide aperture open up a world of creative possibilities, from capturing vast landscapes to detailed travel portraits with exceptional background bokeh. While the lens’s weight may be a consideration for those on the move, the potential to replace multiple lenses with this single, robust workhorse could lighten the overall load.

As Canon continues to push the boundaries of photography equipment, the Canon RF 24-105mm f2.8 USM Z lens is a shining example of innovation that meets the practical needs of photographers. With its release, Canon reaffirms its commitment to quality and versatility, ensuring that travel photographers can capture the world’s wonders in all their glory. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an enthusiast looking to elevate your travel stories, this lens might just be the next must-have addition to your gear bag.

The Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8 L IS USM Z is available now for preorder on Adorama!

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