Is The Canon RF 24-105mm Lens Any Good
(Which One is Best)



You're looking at the Canon RF 24-105 lens, but not sure if it's worth the money and which lens is right for you. I was wondering the same thing when I bought my copy.

I've had my Canon RF 24-105mm lens since August of 2023, so it's about time I wrote this comparison and gave you my thoughts and recommendations. I combined my own geeky tests, along with researching the technical test results by professional lens testers, and then added my own out-in-the-field real world photography with this lens. Look for the full review soon.

RF 24-105mm lens sample sunrise"Sunrise on the Beach at The Jersey Shore"
RF 24-105mm lens at 73mm focal length

In the mean time, let's start by taking a look at what's right about the RF 24-105 lens.

Strengths: What the RF 24-105mm lens IS good for

The RF 24-105mm lens is a versatile all-purpose lens, good for shooting most types of photography. The 24-105mm focal length gives you a versatile range of focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto, enabling you to get good compositions with most subjects.

At the 24mm wide end you can shoot landscapes, candid photos, posed group photography, and indoor images in tight spaces.

Lake reflection photo at 24mmLake reflection taken at 24mm

The midrange focal lengths of 24-105mm lenses are good for everyday photos where you want to shoot with a "normal" perspective that is similar to what we see through our own eyes.

At the 105mm focal length you can shoot vacation photos, headshots, close-up macro images, street photography, detail photos and some sports photography. See a collection of high resolution 24-105 sample images.

Weaknesses of the 24-105MM Lenses

OPTICAL. The biggest optical weakness is the barrel distortion, which is very typically a common defect that comes along with lens with this much zoom range. Fortunately, the Canon R cameras have built-in distortion correction settings that will correct both barrel and the pin cushion effect, as well as other defects like peripheral illumination correction and chromatic aberration.

INTENTIONAL BLUR. The f/4-f/7.1 version of the lens (the version that I first bought) is somewhat limited at getting the amount of background focus blur that many photographers seek. See the example below.

SPORTS AND WILDLIFE. The 105mm maximum magnification in the zoom comes up short for shooting sports, wildlife, and action photos of distant subjects. This makes the RF 24-240mm lens a possible alternative for the 24-105mm lens. For higher level sports and wildlife photography, photographers prefer longer lenses like the RF 100-500mm lens or one of the 100-400mm lenses.

Canon 24-105 lens at f/7The Canon 24-105 f/4-7.1 lens at 105mm has maximum aperture of f/7.
A wider maximum aperture would give better background blur.

RF 24-105mm Compatibility

The RF 24-105 lenses are intended to be used on full-frame mirrorless "R" cameras, but they are also fully compatible with Canon's mirrorless crop sensor cameras, although the field of view will be cropped, of course.

This compatibility makes it good for using on full frame cameras, like the Canon R3, R5, R6, R8 EOS R or R6 Mark II or crop cameras, like the R10 or R7. The RF 24-105mm lens not compatible with the less popular "M" series of Canon mirrorless cameras. See the RF lens compatibility table below.

Canon lens compatibility tableCanon RF 24-105mm Lens Compatibility Table

From looking at the 4th row in the table above, you can see that the RF 24-105mm lenses are also not compatible with the now "older" Canon DSLRs, both full frame and APS-C crop cameras.

Which RF 24-105 Is Best

The big question might not be if the RF 24-105mm is the right focal length, but rather which version-there are three of them-is the right one for you.  See the comparison table below of all three versions of the RF 24-105mm lens. Note that the most glaring differences are the pricing and the size/weight

  • All 3 of these lenses will fit both Canon full frame and crop mirrorless cameras in the "R' series.
  • All versions of the RF 24-105 have image stabilization. This allows you to shoot with slower shutter speeds without causing any blur from camera shake.
LENS RF 24-105 f/4-F/7.1 IS STM RF-24-105 f/4.0 L IS USM RF-24-105 f/2.8 L IS USM
PRICE $399 $1299 $2099
WEIGHT 13.9 Ounces 25.0 Ounces 47.0 Ounces
FILTER SIZE 67mm 77mm 82mm
RELEASE DATE February 2020 September 2018 November 2023

It's a great time to be researching your options for an RF 24-105mm lens. The best part about all of this is that you get to choose the right one for your situation. Here are the main arguments for each version being the best one to buy.

1. RF 24-105 f/4-F/7.1 IS STM

This version of the Canon RF 24-105 is the best value. The 4x zoom range of the focal length, its compact size and weight, and solid performance, make it a versatile take-anywhere lens at a remarkable price. This is the top choice to pick as the most affordable lens for the beginning photographer.

The f/4-f/7.1 lens gives you the biggest bang for your buck when looking for this versatile 24-105 focal length lens. Here's more on what the RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 lens is good for.

2. RF 24-105 f/4.0 L IS USM

The f/4.0 version is the best RF 24-105 lens for the advanced enthusiast as well as many pro shooters, who want the industry-standard Canon "L" quality at a reasonable price. It's fast focusing, weather sealing, and constant maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the zoom range give it added usability.

Not surprisingly, this is the top selling RF 24-105mm lens.

3. RF 24-105 F/2.8 L IS USM

The RF 24-105mm F/2.8 L IS USM is a professional lens in every sense of the word. Price, size, weight, and performance where the high price tag isn't be a dealbreaker. This is the easiest choice for shooters who want the fastest lens for shooting in dimly lit situations and getting the focus-blurred backgrounds.

The RF 24-105 F/2.8 L IS USM is by far the least popular choice in terms of  the number of buyers because of its big price tag. This lens now ends the 24-70mm f/2.8 versus 24-105mm f/4.0 debate once and for all.

Most Popular RF 24-105mm Lens

If your curious about which version of the RF 24-105mm is actually the best seller, I researched and combined sales statistics to find out. Seeing the data of the most popular choices other photographers made may help you decide.

I compiled the date from user reviews left on the 3 biggest camera retailers in the USA and added them with the top selling 24-105 lenses on Amazon and the results surprised me. See the bar graph below.

Bar graph of best selling Canon RF 24-105mm lensesBar graph of best selling Canon RF 24-105mm lenses
(Source of Data: B+HPhoto, Adorama, BestBuy, and Amazon)

Suumary of Canon RF 24-105mm Lens Comparison

Here are the key points regarding the best selling Canon RF 24-105mm lens data 

  • Based on the number of reviews given, the RF 24-105mm f/4.0 outsells the other two versions combined by almost 3 to 1.
  • Hardly anyone buys the f/2.8 version. likely to its steep price tag, extra size and weight.
  • Despite it's very affordable price point, the f/4-7.1 is not a top seller, probably because of its relatively slow maximum aperture at the telephoto focal lengths.

I hope you found this article helpful. For more information see the related posts below my signature.

Author Bruce Lovelace
Bruce Lovelace Signature

Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the tribe of followers on YouTube. Bruce also runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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