The Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z is a fast standard zoom lens for Canon EOS R full-frame mirrorless cameras.
This is the first model in a new generation of hybrid lenses for both photo and video, with Canon saying that there will be plenty of similar cross-over products to come in the future.
Bridging the gap between Canon’s separate ranges of Cinema EOS and RF lenses, the Z at the end of the product name stands for “Power Zoom”, to denote a non-standard lens to which a power zoom accessory can be fitted.
Canon claims that this new lens offers similar optical performance to the RF 24-70mm F2.8 and is better optically than the RF 24-105mm F4.
It features four Ultra Low Dispersion and three Aspherical elements to reduce chromatic aberrations and it has both Air Sphere and Super Spectra coatings to help reduce flare and ghosting.
This lens has a 11 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image and it’s fully weather-sealed.
It’s equipped with an optical Image Stabilizer that offers 5.5-stops of built-in stabilisation, or up to 8-stops when used with an EOS R camera that is equipped with IBIS.
An internal focusing mechanism means the lens barrel doesn’t move and it uses 82mm filters.
There’s a configurable control ring on the lens barrel which allows you to quickly change the exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings.
It also boasts a clickless Iris / aperture ring with 32 steps between stops and a lock switch for the Auto position and two configurable lens function buttons.
It offers focus breathing suppression and electronic parfocal focus stability while zooming (unlike video lenses which are optical), thanks to the dual Nano USM motor which controls it.
The Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z lens will be available in December 2023 priced at £3439.99 / €3929.99 in the UK and Europe, respectively.
The PZ-E2 and PZ-E2B power zoom accessories will be available in March 2024 priced at £1149.99 / €1309.99 (PZ-E2) and £1529.99 / € 1749.99 (PZ-E2B) in the UK and Europe, respectively.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 1330g / 2.93lb and measuring 199mm in length and 88.5mm in diameter, the RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z is quite a large, heavy lens given the standard focal range of 24-105mm that’s on offer.
It does feel well-balanced though, even when using it with a mid-sized camera body like the Canon EOS R5 body that we tested it with, as shown in the product photos.
The lens doesn’t extend at all when fully zoomed out to 105mm, although the large petal-shaped lens hood adds even more length.
Compared to the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM which weighs in at 700g and measures 10.7cm in length, the new hybrid version is much bigger and heavier, although of course it does offer a constant F2.8 aperture.
The equally fast Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM weighs 900g and measures 12.6cm in length, so again the Power Zoom version is much bigger and heavier, although of course it does offer the longer reach between 70-105mm.
Build quality is excellent. The RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z feels very solid in your hand, even if it is mostly made out of plastic, and it features a weather-resistant design to help protect it against dust and moisture.
There are four switches on the left hand side of the lens barrel. From top to bottom, the first one is a Focus Limiter switch with two settings, Full or 1m-Infinity.
The second one is a switch for choosing between auto-focusing and manual focusing. Note that this lens usefully offers full-time manual focusing even when AF is selected.
The third one is a switch for turning image stabilisation on or off, and the fourth and bottom one is for choosing the stabilisation mode from the three available settings.
The RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z boasts Image Stabilisation which Canon claims offers an advantage of up to 5.5 f-stops over lenses without a stabilizer.
This increases to a very impressive 8-stops of compensation if you pair it with a camera body that has IBIS, like the EOS R5 that we tested it with.
This being a hybrid photo/video lens, there is a clickless aperture ring that runs from F2.8 to F22 and has a lock switch marked IRIS for the Auto position.
Unfortunately the Aperture ring only currently works in video mode at launch – Canon were unable to say if this will change in a future firmware update.
For still photos, instead there is the option to customise the lens control ring for setting the aperture, which unlike the actual aperture ring does have a clicked operation.
The lens control ring at the end of the lens barrel can be used to quickly access certain key camera settings (TV, AV, ISO and exposure settings).
The fly-by-wire manual focusing ring is fairly narrow but it is ridged to help you to get a firmer grip on it.
There are also no hard stops at either end of the ring to help you know when the minimum or maximum focusing distance has been achieved.
Polariser users should be pleased that the 82mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.
Auto-focusing with the Canon RF 24-105mm F2.8L IS USM Z and the EOS R5 camera proved to be quick, quiet and accurate.
The Nano USM auto-focusing system delivers quick autofocus performance with full-time manual focus override in the one-shot AF mode. The lens is also very quiet, making it ideal for discreet situations, as well as for use while filming videos.
We didn’t experience too much “hunting” at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing virtually all of the time, thanks to the superb low-light capabilities of the EOS R cameras.
There are two Lens Function buttons which by default act as Focus Hold/AF Stop buttons. You can choose to assign different functions to these buttons from the Customize Buttons section of the camera’s menu system.
Around the base of the lens is a removable tripod collar/foot. This is not only useful when using the lens with a tripod, but also when handholding the lens to help keep it as steady as possible.
You can move the foot around the lens to whichever position you need, giving you good flexibility to move your camera.
There are two power zoom accessories available for this lens, the PZ-E2 and PZ-E2B. The PZ-E2 just has a USB-C port, while the PZ-E has both USB-C and 20-pin type ports.
They offer both smooth zoom control and remote zoom operation via controls on the camera body.
There is a petal shaped lens hood and a soft case available for this lens, both of which are included in the box.
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