canon 24 f/1.4L II // field review

Another lens I’ve coveted from a distance for the last few months is the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II (US $1749).

This super fast wide angle prime lens is supposed to be one of the sharpest that Canon has ever produced.  Great for landscape photography, and certainly low-light situations.

And for this, I’ve been dying to test it in the field with my night landscapes.

So, along with the new 500/4, Canon sent me the new 24/1.4 for my Rocky Mountain National Park trip.

ef24_14iiusm_1_xl

Photo courtesy Canon

_MG_7705F

As you can see, it is quite low profile and inconspicuous.  I could see myself using it quite a bit while traveling and walking foreign cities.

While obviously not as versatile as the 24-70/ 2.8, the ease of use, amazing sharpness, and small design make it really appealing to me.

_MG_0516F

Forest and Creek, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 13 sec. @ f/22, ISO 200, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer, 77mm Hoya Pro 1 Digital NDx16

_MG_0734F

Forest and Doe, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/10 sec. @ f/8, ISO 320, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer

_MG_0753F

Forest Trail, Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 5D MKII, 1/800 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 160

_MG_6194F

Fishing The Alluvial Fan, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/5 sec. @ f/22, ISO 50, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer

_MG_6923F

Dream Lake Night, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 15 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 1000

One of my favorite applications for this lens while in RMNP was capturing the landscape at night.  It’s difficult to achieve a shot like this without a really fast lens, unless you’re wanting a star trail (from the longer exposure time) or a lot of grain and noise (from the super high ISO).  The 24/1.4 was perfect for keeping the grain and noise low while still shooting fast enough to leave the stars in place.  And this was on a night when the moon light was minimal.

_MG_6925F

Dream Lake Star Trail, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 240 sec. @ f/5, ISO 250

I was even impressed with its macro capabilities.  With a closest focusing distance at 3 in., gorgeous wildflower shot are possible.  Though not a true macro lens, I was impressed with its close-up abilities.

_MG_8420F

Alpine Forget-Me-Not, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/640 sec. @ f/2, ISO 100

_MG_8449F

Bear Lake, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/60sec. @ f/11, ISO 100, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer

_MG_8540F

The Alluvial Fan, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/8000 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 100, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer

_MG_8570 1F

Half Moon Over Odessa, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/250 sec. @ f/2.8, ISO 250

_MG_8588 1F

Odessa Lake Reflection, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/50 sec. @ f/4, ISO 400, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer

_MG_8729F

Stars Over Odessa, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 0.4 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 4000

RMNP_PAN_3b

Odessa Lake Night Panoramic, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 0.4 sec. @ f/1.4, ISO 3200

RMNP_PAN_4

Odessa Lake Sunrise Panoramic, Canon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 5D MKII, 1/80 sec. @ f/4, ISO 400, 77mm Canon Circular Polarizer, Singh-Ray 4×6″ Galen Rowell 3 stop Soft-Step Neutral Density filter handheld

I have a suspicion that this lens comes in handy most with weddings because of how insanely fast it is.  But because of its sharpness and relative versatility, it’s a great landscape/ nature lens.  My main issue with this tool was focal length.  At 24mm, I found myself backing up and still wanting to see more.  I may have found it more helpful with landscapes if it were a 20/1.4.  However, it’s not.  So, with that said, I found it to be gorgeous, with just a few limitations.

Overall, the Canon 24mm f/1.4L II is sharp, fast, versatile, and well built.  This lens is a great tool in the Canon arsenal!

For more detailed specs, I again relied on the great people at the-digital-picture.com.  They have fantastic reviews and accurate information.

all content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013