The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens grabs the 'best in class' award at DXO Mark, as the highest scoring professional fixed-aperture mid-range kit zoom of any brand, but scores very high in the price department too.

"With an DxOMark score of 26, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 MkII is the highest scoring professional fixed-aperture mid-range kit zoom of any brand in the DxO Mark database and comfortably outperforms rivals as well as the firm’s earlier Mark I version, particularly with regard to the sharpness levels across the frame. We’re used to seeing a noticeable deterioration in performance in the outer fields at longer focal lengths even with high-quality optics from the big-name marques but the new Canon bucks that trend.

As for distortion and vignetting, it manages to hold its own against rivals even if it hasn’t quite managed to improve on those over the outgoing Mk I version.  In spite of the complex optical construction, some chromatic aberration is visible in the corners that may require additional removal in post-production software but levels remain in line with the best of rival offerings. The main downside, however, is the very high price. At $2,500 the lens is far less accessible than the model it replaces, but the reduction in weight and size coupled with the boost in optical performance looks set to satisfy future demands from as yet unannounced high-resolution cameras."

"Introduced in 2002 as the successor to the 28-70mm f/2.8, the first generation EF 24-70mm f/2.8L proved itself a very capable performer. Comparing the performance side-by-side the two share similar scores for distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration (in fact the older lens was measured with slightly lower levels, though it’s unlikely to be noticeable in real-world use), however, significant advances have been made in sharpness (equating to a 33-percent improvement overall) and transmission values, down from T3.4 to T3.0.

Both lenses are sharp in the centre but the improvement in the sharpness across the field accounts for the dramatic improvement. We’re also used to seeing the performance drop significantly at longer focal lengths, and, while it’s not quite at the same quality levels as the shorter lengths, it’s still noticeably better than the previous model."

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