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Canon’s New EF 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens Doesn’t Waffle on Quality


Canon’s newly announced EF 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens has a focal length that places it squarely in that bland category known as “Normal.”  Even used with an APS-C size sensor, it lands on the outskirts of “Normal,” with a view equivalent to 64mm in full-frame format. Several highly prized features help the EF 40mm lens rise above the crowd, however. Most importantly for video shooters; STM technology is a camera-body based attribute that, when paired with an STM designated lens, offers smooth and silent continuous autofocus while capturing video.

Normal lenses are approximately 50mm in focal length. The normal lens is, for many, their default lens—a versatile, everyday tool that’s the jack of all trades. It’s the lens to pack when you‘re only carrying one. Step back and you can use it for “wide-angle” photo situations. Step up, and it can fill in as a portrait lens. It doesn’t provide a creative “crutch” in the form of natural distortion and drama, the way that an extreme wide-angle or telephoto lens does. It’s a lens that will show you how good a photographer you really are. It’s an extremely important lens for any photographer to own.

The EF 40mm lens is a pancake lens—it’s less than 1 inch long, and weighs only 4.6 oz. This is not a lens that draws unnecessary attention to itself—or to you. A bright f/2.8 maximum aperture makes it possible to shoot under pretty much any lighting conditions, and the lens coatings have been optimized to seriously reduce ghosting and flare, while maintaining exceptional color balance. Six elements, including one aspherical element, produce consistently high image quality from the center of the frame to the edge. With seven diaphragm blades, the wide f/2.8 aperture, and the ability to focus as close as 11.8 inches, this is a crackerjack lens that also offers superlative bokeh—the out-of-focus background area in an image.

Focal Length 40mm
Comparable Focal Length in APS-C Format 64mm
Maximum Aperture f/2.8
Camera Mount Type Canon EF
Format Compatibility 35mm Film/Full-Frame Digital Sensor; APS-C size sensor
Angle of View 57.3 degrees
Minimum Focus Distance 11.81" (30 cm)
Groups/Elements 4 groups/6 elements
Diaphragm Blades 7
Autofocus Yes
Front Filter Thread 52mm
Dimensions 2.7 x 0.9" (6.86 x 2.29 cm)
Weight 4.6 oz (130 g)