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Lenses and bodies - Canon 24 - 70 F/2.8 L II USM vs 24 - 70 F/2.8 L USM

ErinCErinC Member
edited January 2014 in wedding photography
I have been asked to take some pictures at a marriage blessing for a friend's sister. She was married last year overseas in a London registry office, and while she is back home in April her parents are having their priest do a blessing, then holding a small lunch in the grounds of the church (being a Lebanese event, small means 120 pax)

On telling my friend I lack both the equipment and the skill required, she offered to hire the required lenses and told me to consider it practice as her sister was not intending to have any photography at the event if I decline. Herein lies my question:

I can get the 24 - 70 F/2.8 L II USM and the 70 - 200 F/2.8 L II USM for about $160 a day, or $230 for the weekend.
I can alternatively get the earlier models of these, the 24 - 70 F/2.8 L USM and the 70 - 200 F/2.8 USM for about $120 for the weekend.

Those who have used both lenses - Is there a sufficient increase in quality jumping from the I to the II for these lenses to justify the additional hire cost?

Further - I have a 5D Mark III and a 60D for backup. Would you put either of these lenses on the 60D as a second working body, or leave it just as back-up, or is it imperative that I talk her into the quite large additional cost of hiring another 5D body? (Or something with a few more focus points than the 60D)

Thanks in advance for your wisdom!!


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    The older 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is a problem lens. It easily goes out of spec and would need calibration.

    When I have Canon shooters as 2nd photographers, they are not allowed to use that lens, even if they insist it is sharp. It is a near guarantee that it will back-focus and be soft, the wider you zoom and the closer you focus to infinity.


    The newer 70-200 is also sharper wide open than the older lens, and the stabilization is more aggressive.

    I'd definitely go with the newer lenses.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited January 2014

    There are my personal thoughts, having used all but 1 item of that equipment (shoot Nikon now but still have some Canon gear).

    1) Yes, I would get the second generation Lenses, especially the 70-200mm f2.8 as that is simply awesome, it was a big step-up from the first for sure.

    A lot of people were not happy with the initial 24-70mm f2.8 Canon lens (version 1) as it had a tendency to be soft at outer edges and sometimes even across the board.

    The vII of that 24-70mm lens Neil did a review and he had some mixed feelings on it. When it was 'on' it was super duper sharp, but every now and then he experienced some not so sharp images. MORE ON REVIEW HERE

    As to the bodies, you have a superb main body the 5D MkIII first up. I have no experience with the 60D, but I would be inclined to use it solely for backup if main body goes belly-up.


    As it would not be so much a 'pressure job' you could have 1 lens on the 60D, say the 70-200mm only for the ceremony, for easier use, but then later I would stick to the 5D MkIII body, changing out lenses to really get the best out of a full frame sensor.

    Just my opinion. :)

    ahhh, I had this sitting in my drafts as I was on a phone call, and when I posted it Neil had already replied, but at least confirms what I said.

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I did end up buying a copy of the Canon 24-70 vII and I am very happy with it.

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Oh yes, totally forgot about that review Neil.

    So Erin, definitely get the VIIs of the lenses. Worth the $$ for sure.
  • Thanks Neil and Trev, appreciate the info!
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