Update: Adorama also has the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM for $149 (click here)
A Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM reviews roundup. The small and super sharp Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM ($149 on Amazon) pancake gets absolutely positive reviews. Keep in mind that this is a sub $199 lens! I really would like Canon was giving us more high quality gear at an affordable price.
Let’s start with The Digital Picture’s comprehensive review. Some excerpts from their review:
- Small size and small price are great, but … image quality is a sacrifice one would expect to make to gain these attributes. Amazingly, the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens delivers impressively in this regard.
- The Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens is very usably sharp at f/2.8 with a modest increase in softness as the outer portion of the image circle is reached. Stopping down to f/4 results in a sharp image across the frame save the extreme full frame corners. At f/5.6, even the extreme full frame corners are very sharp – allowing this lens to compete with lenses at far higher prices.
- CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled – nearly absent. Same with flare. Even with the sun in the full frame corner, flare is hard to notice. Flare performance is certainly advantaged by the use of only 6 lenses in 4 groups.
Next, The Phoblographer:
The compact size of this lens was the main reason for my purchasing this lens. Moreso than focal length or lens speed, I was dying to have a compact lens that would allow me to take my 5DmkII with me daily and not have to carry a bulky setup. This is because I no longer have a compact camera system and my 5D remains as my main digital camera. Right out of the box I was really impressed with the level of build quality for a lens of this size and price. By comparison, the EF 50mm f/1.8II is pretty much entirely plastic, right down to the lens mount. Does this make it a bad lens? No, certainly not, I just tend to prefer things with a more solid construction. Because, even though I am careful with my equipment, it does get used hard and I expect it to hold up for more than a year.
Scott Bourne at Photofocus:
It’s fast – f/2.8. It’s light and small, less than one inch long – it uses a high-quality aspherical element and is coated to reduce flare. The detail this lens produces is nothing short of a miracle given its price point.
One of my favorite features about this lens is it’s close focusing distance of just under one foot. This means that those of you who want to use this for street photography and who understand how to use hyper-focal distance will never have to worry about focus – AF or not. You’ll be able to shoot thing anywhere from one foot to about forever.
Finally, EOSHD thoughts about Canon’s pancake
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.
I want one!