My Review of Canon EF 11-24mm Wide Angle Lens

Well it's been a while huh? My apologies for not updating the blog after March, balancing my career, social life, photography with maintaining a blog is some serious work. Nevertheless I'm back for now and I've even been doing a little photography too! 

A few weeks ago I rented the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4 lens from LensRentals.com and below are my thoughts as well as some photos to share. I rented the lens with the intention to shoot the Perseid Meteor Shower from the mountains and it also happened to be sunflower season out near Denver International Airport. I rented the lens for 10 days and thought I didn't take a ton of photos with it, I spent enough time shooting with it to give a review. This will not be a technical review, if you're looking for a technical review please head over to Ken Rockwell's excellent site

First thing is first, this a big and heavy lens. Yes, you get used to it and after a while it's hardly noticeable but at first you'll be surprised. I read this same thing before I rented it and dismissed it, upon picking it up for the first time I was shocked. There is a lot of glass in this lens! The other thing you'll immediately notice is how far the lens element in front sticks out from the lens. There is almost no chance you'll be able to use a filter system with this lens, though it does allow for rear filters. Finally, the price is quite steep at $2,999 as of this writing so this lens will set you back quite a bit if you decide to purchase it. Of course, you can always rent it from LensRentals.com like I did and test it for yourself. 

Now that might seem like I didn't like the lens, that could not be further from the truth. The 11-24mm F/4 lens is a joy to use and create interesting and compelling photos where other wide angle lens might not be able to. You never realize how much wider 11mm is than 16mm and this could not be overstated when using this lens, you'll have to get CLOSE to your subject. Portraits are extremely amusing but borderline useless with this lens. I used this lens first to go out to the Denver sunflower fields in mid-August and had two photos that were absolute keepers in the matter of 15 minutes. 

 Canon 5D Mk. III, 11mm, f/14, 1/10 sec. Two exposures blended by hand in Photoshop CC. 

Canon 5D Mk. III, 11mm, f/14, 1/10 sec. Two exposures blended by hand in Photoshop CC. 

I tried to place the flowers close to the lens and in reality, these flowers were less than 20" from the front of the lens. Very wide lens! This is perfect for landscape photography and especially if you want to capture detail up close while maintaining the rest of the scene. I simply would not have been able to capture this image with a 16mm lens. To give a little more perspective, the next photo was raised above the level of the sunflowers and point slightly downward toward the flowers. 

denver-international-airport-sunflowers.jpg

So yes, I really enjoyed shooting the sunflowers with the 11-24mm lens and I'd rent it again in a heartbeat to go out and shoot more! I also went up to Jones Pass with Rick Louie to shoot the meteor shower and while we got skunked on the meteor side of things, we did get to catch up and laugh a little. I always enjoy taking photos with Rick and it's always time well spent, even if we didn't come away with the bangers! 

denver-meteor-shower-perseids.jpg

If you're looking for a list of positive and negatives, I'll get to that below but I do want to mention that the Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens does have some drawbacks besides the price and weight. As expected, the corners at 11mm are not very sharp (nor should they be expected to be) and it's easy to include items in photos that you did not intend to because it is so wide. For example, I have a number of photos that include my tripod, my friends, and even myself. You really have to be thinking about just how wide this lens is when you're composing the scene and if not, you'll end up including something in the photo that you didn't intend to. Take my word for it, take an extra minute to really look around the photo that you're composing and pay attention to the corners! 

Pros:

  • Extremely wide
  • Great contrast 
  • Very high quality build
  • Versatile with landscapes
  • Produces very interesting photos because of the focal range

Cons:

  • Price
  • Weight
  • Somewhat slow (f/4)
  • Lots of glass means auto-focus searches sometimes
  • Easy to forget about surroundings and ruin a photo
  • No filter system works with it except for rear filters

Thank you for reading my review, I'm not paid by LensRentals and have no affiliate links in this blog and all opinions are my own. I want to do more reviews, so if there is a lens that you're curious about let me know in the comments!