Truland Photography

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Canon's New Pancake Lens

Canon announced a new lens for full frame sensor and crop sensor cameras two weeks ago. It started showing up late last week in Singapore and the UK. In the US, for some reason, Best Buy had the lens in stores before the big online retailers had stock to ship out. So, I ran to my local Best Buy, picked one up and cancelled my pre-order.

This lens is exciting because it is cheap, tiny and a focal length that I think is perfect for many different kinds of photography. At less than $200 it is less expensive than good filters for my other lenses. The lens is officially called the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM but most people will call it the 40mm pancake.

Wikipedia describes a pancake lens as "a flat, thin lens (short barrel), generally a normal or slightly wide prime lens. Pancake lenses are primarily valued for providing quality optics in a compact package."

STM stands for stepping motor. A different kind of auto focus motor than used in Canon's line of USM lenses. The lens focuses to just under a foot and with a short extension tube will be capable of nice closeups and still be shorter than a normal lens. I can also get out my Cokin A series filter set which will not fit on my bigger lenses. This will give me a polarizer, graduated neutral density, neutral density and other filter options for the lens.

Here is a picture of the lens on my 5D Mark II with battery grip.

I have mostly been using the lens on my 5D without a grip. Here are a few shots from the last couple of days.

Canon EOS 5D, EF 40mmm f/2.8 STM, f/5.6, 1/20 sec., ISO 400

Canon EOS 5D, EF 40mmm f/2.8 STM, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100

Canon EOS 5D, EF 40mmm f/2.8 STM, f/4, 1/200 sec., ISO 100

If you want your own pancake you can order one from Adorama here.

UPDATE: Here are two more shots taken with the lens. The first is at at the lens' minimum focusing distance, the second at the minimum focusing distance with a 20mm extension tube attached. I was shooting just for demonstration purposes and was hand holding. Not what I would do normally.

ISO was ridiculously high. You wouldn't want to see 100% crops of the full image.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 40mmm f/2.8 STM, f/8, 1/750 sec., ISO 3200

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 40mmm f/2.8 STM, f/5.6, 1/750 sec., ISO 3200

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