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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!

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The 24-70mm | What’s In Our Bag | The Everything-In-Between Lens.

June 14, 2015

Hey everyone! Caleb here!! Welcome back to our blog series, What’s In Our Bag, about the different pieces of gear we use to photograph weddings! So far, we’ve looked at the 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM, + the 85mm f/1.2L II USM. Today, we are going to be taking a look at the 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. Everybody seems to have very different opinions on this lens … it’s either one of the best lenses ever made + covers one of the best focal ranges (especially when paired with the 70-200mm), or it doesn’t quite live up to the dramatic bokeh (how the blur appears) + low light performance of its prime equivalents. I, by no means, want this to be a post about my opinions. Rather, I plan to share what I like + dislike about the lens, show its focal range, + compare it to the 50mm f/1.2 + f/1.4 lenses.

To start, I’ve never shot with either the 24mm f/1.4L or the 35mm f/1.4L, so I can’t comment on how this lens compares to those. That being said, we don’t shoot at wide focal lengths unless we have to because we don’t like how they tend to distort images. We use the wide focal lengths of this lens primarily for buildings, dramatic scene portraits (used to show the whole scene), full church shots, variety during ceremony + reception settings, the occasional 35mm groom shots, + if we run into a tight space where the 50mm isn’t wide enough (like large family photos or cutting the cake). This lens handles all of these situations very well, is tack sharp, has great corner sharpness (especially at f/2.8) + focuses very quickly.

Now that I’ve talked it up, I do have to say that we don’t LOVE this lens. This is 100% personal preference, but to us, it just seems to lack the magic of the 50mm + 85mm prime lenses for detail + portrait shots, so we use those lenses for most of our portrait (50mm + 85mm) + detail (50mm) shots. That’s really the only reason we don’t LOVE it.

Overall, it truly is a wonderful + professional lens, however if you are drawn to the look of the prime lens bokeh, it won’t live up to your expectations. If you are in the market for a lens(es) in this focal range, I definitely recommend taking the time to test each lens! Use them in situations where you would likely use the lens. What is your budget for lenses? What focal length(s) do you need to cover? Do you like the convenience of the zoom lens or the character of a prime? Does the zoom perform well enough at f/2.8 or are you looking to use the shallower f/1.4? Do you use wide focal lengths often?

To conclude, here is a quick showcase/test/comparison of the 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens:

PRICES:

Zoom

24-70mm -$1,799.99

Prime

24mm f/1.4L II USM  +  $1,549.00

35mm f/1.4L USM      +  $1,329.00

50mm f/1.2L USM      +  $1,3999.00

Grand Total    =  $4,277.00

FOCAL RANGE:

This image shows the indicated 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, + 70mm ranges in one image.

Shot at: f/5.6.

Bokeh Comparison at 50mm:

50mm f/1.2L at f/5.6 vs 24-70mm f/2.8L at f/5.6 

50mm f/1.2 @ f/5.6 50mm f/1.2 @ f/5.6 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/5.6 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/5.6

 

50mm f/1.4 at f/5.6 vs 24-70mm f/2.8L at f/5.6

50mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6 50mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/5.6 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/5.6

 

50mm f/1.2L at f/2.8 vs. 24-70mm f/2.8L at f/2.8

50mm f/1.2 @ f/2.8 50mm f/1.2 @ f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8

50mm f/1.4 at f/2.8 vs. 24-70mm f/2.8L at f/2.8  

50mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8 50mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8

 

50mm f/1.2L at f/1.2 vs 24-70mm f/2.8L at f/2.8 

50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8

50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4 vs. 24-70mm f/2.8L at f/2.8  

50mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4 50mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8 24-70mm f/2.8 II @ f/2.8

 

50mm f/1.2L at f/1.2 vs 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4

50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 50mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4  50mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4

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