canon-40mm-pancake

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Canon 40mm 2.8 Pancake lens. The first month.

Here’s a bunch of photos. Many of them for work, many of them just bits and pieces to give you an idea of how it performs. They’ve all been through Lightroom.

So this lens costs about $160, is about the size of a teleconverter, a great focal length, and is sharp as a tack. 

The step focussing is pretty shit, don’t bother trying to focus this thing manually. The whole feel of a lens barrel turning is lost, and it seems like the ring needs to be turned a million times to get the tiniest movement. Also, it’s motorised, so if you’re shooting video you’ll get a delightfully annoying robot sound in your audio. It’s also 2.8, unlike the glorious 35mm f1.4L. But it’s also about a tenth of the price. 

Otherwise, it’s a terrific walk around lens. The size means my 5d mkii fits in my little satchel, which is impossible with any of my other lenses. I find the focal length really excellent, being wide enough to capture scenes, but low distortion enough to get close to things when needed. I’ve even had my camera in my bag at gigs I’ve been up, run up the front and taken a few snaps wielding pretty decent results. It’s got a bit of natural vignetting wide open, but it’s quite pleasing (and can be corrected in Lightroom in a second if it’s undesired). 

I’ve toyed with the idea in the past of buying a Fujifilm x100 or something similar to use as a walk about camera, but something in the back of my mind just balks at the idea of spending over a thousand dollars for something that won’t make me any money.. I feel like every shot I take should be going towards making my technique more and more invisible, and bringing me closer to mastering the camera I have. You know, the whole make do with what you’ve got thing. And I think this lens really solves that problem. 

So at the moment, the 40mm also acts as a lens cap in my pelican.. It’s only about 5mm longer than the standard Canon lens cap anyway, so it means my camera now lives with a lens on it. I think I’ll still eventually get the 35mm L, but for now, this is still a really, really useful bit of kit for the price of a pair of jeans. Really love it.

Fried oysters and a 40mm Pancake

“What kind of lens is that?” is a question I here often lately.  The lens that other photographers and casual observers are referring to is the Canon 40mm 2.8 Pancake.

Canon has taken the simple and tested optics of mirrorless and rangefinder cameras and adapted it to the SLR line.  It’s small, lightweight and cute. Aside from that it is a flat out beautiful lens, sharp, light and only $199.00. $149.00 at B&H til 6/1/13

The 40mm on the X makes it look even smaller.


For street shooting or travel, it is an unassuming partner.  On a 7D or 5D3 it is a pleasure to carry compared to a 24-70mm 2.8.  While it looks like a toy, the performance is solid, shot wide open at 2.8 shows a beautiful falloff around the edges, tack sharp focus and nice bocah. (sp? boca, bo-Cuh, lol)

You can see a couple reviews here and here. My thoughts, it is a must have.  Pair it with a 70-200 and a 17-35 and you are set.

5D3, iso 320, 40mm 2.8 at 2.8 1/160

Oh yeah, the fried oyster (see above).  If you are in Savannah, check out The Olde Pink House restaurant. The fried oysters are coated in corn meal, lightly fried and only $2. You can’t beat that or the pancake.

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meep meep by Roland Brunner
Via Flickr:
plymouth road runner 1969 - moparnats he(i)miswil 2016 - canon 5d mkII - 40mm f2.8 pancake