DISCLAIMER: This is a total hardcore camera gear review.
I originally bought this lens a month or so after it came out in 2015. I spent a month lusting over it and Canon Price Watch had a great deal on it from one of their street price deals. I ended up buying it right before my camping trip to Copper Breaks State Park.
This review will compare it to my 35 Art, because I had that first, and was hoping to get something akin to it. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. I’ve thought about selling it a few times, and each time I want to sell it, I’ll go use it and remember why I keep it. It really excels as a museum lens. That 24mm is just something special in those close quarters, crappy-lighting kind of shots. I also use it a lot for landscapes. There’s no vignetting with my LEE 100mm filters.
Below is a photo of the Apollo VII capsule. It just has that sharpness and pop that I like from a musuem photograph. There’s really nothing special about it, but I like the detail and microcontrast that this lens presents.
This lens is very sharp wide open, and gets noticeably sharper as I stop it down. I do minimal sharpening and am always happy with results. It does taper off in the corners, even stopped down. It is not as sharp as my 35A, but I am happy with the sharpness, and it beats every kit lens I’ve had – from the 18-55 to the 24-105L.
The autofocus on this lens is is pretty solid, but a step below my 35A. It is a little slower to focus than the 35A and I cannot get focus in as dark of conditions. It’s autofocus though – the 6D spoils me with low light autofocus, and I got used to the 35A with it. The 24A does great, but it’s not on the same level as the 35A.
Chromatic Aberration / Coma / Distortion / Vignetting
I don’t notice much chromatic aberration with this lens, and anything that is there gets cleaned up nicely by the defaults in Lightroom. Coma is pretty bad in the corners, almost to the point where it is unusable for astrophotography. I go back and forth with this lens and my 35 Art for astrophotography. The 24 is just so wide, I always want to use it for stars because it has a very pleasing field of view for those wide landscapes.
This lens has much worse corner performance than the 35A, but it’s much wider, so I go back and forth. I don’t notice much distortion with this lens that isn’t easily corrected with the Lightroom defaults.
Below is an example of coma. The first image shows the entire, uncropped, as-shot image. It’s a bucket-list level shot, but cropping out the upper portion of the image helps a lot.
Below is an upper left crop of the same image. You can see how the stars are no longer circles, and have become ovals. This is present with this image all the time, but taking images at the edge of star-trail territory does not help.
Overall, do I recommend this lens? Heck yeah. It’s sharp. It’s wide. It’s fast. It’s cheap – compared to its Canon counterparts. Autofocus is pretty great. There’s not much more you can ask for in a wide, fast prime lens.