The Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM No-Brainer Pancake — First Lens With Canon Mirrorless in Mind?

This lens, at this price, size and quality, is an absolute no-brainer. And — if you ask me — a sign of things to come. Well the new Canon 40mm F2.8 pancake might indeed say something about Canon’s upcoming mirrorless camera system entry. EF mount? Most likely not. But there’s always an adapter.

The Canon 40mm F2.8 pancake — a first early sign of Canon mirrorless?
This unique powerful little pancake sets you back $199 only. It’s in stock at Amazon, so what are you waiting for. This pancake sells like hotcakes!

Looks like a first lens with Canon mirrorless in mind. Depending on the crop factor this might make for a nice all-rounder or even portrait lens.

From EOSHD‘s review:

Canon have produced a decent lens here for the price. It does make your Canon DSLR more stealthy like a mirrorless camera. Well — 50% of the way there. It has advantages with an anamorphic as outlined above although that is a very niche use for it, it is the main reason I bought one. AF on the lens although not silent is fast, and the aperture seems to have the ability to be continuously variable rather than stepped in movie and live view mode on cameras that support it.

Close focus is excellent, right down to 0.3m or just less than 1ft. By comparison the already quite nifty Olympus 45mm F1.8 gets to around 0.5m and the Lumix 20mm to 0.2mm although that has a considerably shorter focal length. Vignetting is fair on full frame, no disaster and certainly not an issue on a crop sensor. Corner sharpness wide open isn’t great on full frame but again this is fine on a crop sensor. Centre sharpness wide open is pretty good, I’d say above average here as is suppression of lens flair although there’s some purple fringing when not removed in-camera or in post. Distortion I’d say it was average. Nothing to get too excited about here. Build quality though is definitely above average for the price range.

LensRentals‘s Roger Cicala asks, “How did they do that?”:

My first impression was the build quality was better than I expected. It has a metal mount, not plastic. The aperture blades appear more curved than most of the Canon 7 blade aperture rings, making a more circular opening. The little STM motor is not silent, but it’s pretty quiet. It’s also not lightning fast (as expected) but autofocus is certainly quicker than a Canon 85mm F1.2 lens. And it’s amazingly tiny — the rear lens cap is about half as big as the lens. So far, so good, if the image quality doesn’t suck too bad (…)

Overall, though, I’m extremely impressed. I’d be impressed if a lens this size and price was just decent, but this one is excellent. I might as well go ahead and get in trouble with the business manager: if you think you want this lens, just go ahead and buy it. At this price, unless some of the more thorough reviewers find something I missed on this quick overview, you can’t go wrong.

TechRadar‘s early verdict:

Although it’s not an ‘L’ lens, the new 40mm Canon optic feels nicely put together and has a reasonable weight.

We found that its focusing motor was much quieter than the 18-55mm kit lens sold with many of Canon’s APS-C format DSLRs. Naturally we will want to test this properly when we get a full production sample in, but on the basis of the time spent with the early sample, we think that it should be possible to shoot video and focus automatically without the sound of the AF system spoiling the footage.

Here some background from B&H:

This EF 40mm F2.8 STM Pancake Lens from Canon is a welcome addition to Canon’s lineup of EF lenses — a light, inconspicuous “normal” lens. At a featherweight 4.6 oz, this is the lightest lens (along with the 50mm F1.8 II lens) in the EF family. It’s less than one inch long, so it will never draw unwelcome attention to you when you’re shooting in public. A bright F2.8 maximum aperture allows you to shoot under pretty much any lighting conditions, and the sophisticated lens configuration, including one aspherical element, guarantees high image quality from the center to the edge of the frame. The optimized coatings used in constructing the lens greatly reduce ghosting and flare, and deliver superb color balance.

STM functionality provides quiet, smooth and continuous autofocus during video operation. The circular aperture formed by 7 diaphragm blades combined with the wide aperture can give you beautiful bokeh–the out-of-focus background areas of your images. This 40mm lens will give you a view equivalent to 64mm when used on a camera with an APS-C sensor, and is able to focus as close as 11.81″. If you’re looking for a “normal,” everyday lens, this is a good place to start.

  • Newly developed STM technology for smooth and quiet continuous AF while shooting video.
  • Lightweight and unobtrusive 4.6 oz lens is less than one inch long
  • Bright F2.8 aperture for shooting under all light conditions
  • High image quality from the center to the periphery thanks to its advanced lens configuration including an aspherical element
  • Optimized coatings that minimize ghosting and flare while providing exceptional color balance
  • A circular aperture (7 blades) for beautiful soft-focus backgrounds
  • Short minimum focusing distance of only 11.81″
  • Mounted on a camera with an APS-C sensor, this lens offers a view similar to a 64mm lens in 35mm format

And here’s Fstoppers’ review:

+++ Order the Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM pancake from Amazon, B&H or Adorama.