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)

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I have a EOS SL1 and I'm currently using the 1.4 50mm. Is there any point or would I notice any difference by purchasing this lense?

The EF 40mm f/2.8 STM would have smoother and more silent AF for video.  So, if you are shooting video, the 40mm could be a good option.  That being said, if you already have a 50mm lens, and are shooting stills, I don’t know that there would be much reason to add a 40mm to your kit. 

Hi, I have a Canon Rebel T1i. Which would be a better lens to get.... this one or the 50mm f/1.8? I want a versatile lens that i can use. i have the kits lens and a telephoto 55-250mm. I want a lens that allows me to take portraits. Thanks

The benefit of the 40mm lens is mainly its compact size, and the STM technology allows select newer Canon EOS DSLRs (T4i, T5i, 70D) to have smooth continuous autofocus when capturing video.

The 50mm lenses offer a much wider aperture and therefore will allow for faster shutter speeds in low light, and also offer a shallower depth of field (better background blur) and in some instances can cost less than the 40mm f2.8 pancake.  In general a 50mm lens is the more advisable way to go unless the compact feature is important.


Can I use this 40mm lens with my old Canon 30D?

Best regards,



Yes, the 40mm lens will work on the 30D, but your camera will not support STM focusing during video capture. Standard AF operation will be supported by the lens on your camera.

Would this lens work on a Canon 5D?

The 40mm f/2.8 will be compatible on the Canon 5D.

Heya guys! I'm using CANON 600D. i'm lill' confused what to buy! either 40mm or 50mm? can you clarify me what are the differences between? do they vary in output of image too?

Thank You.

The benefit of the 40mm lens is mainly its compact size, and the STM technology allows select newer Canon EOS DSLRs (T4i, T5i, 70D) to have smooth continuous autofocus when capturing video.

The 50mm lenses offer a much wider aperture and therefore will allow for faster shutter speeds in low light, and also offer a shallower depth of field (better background blur) and in some instances can cost less than the 40mm f2.8 pancake.  In general a 50mm lens is the more advisable way to go unless the compact feature is important.

I have a 40D body. I recently got a heck-of-a deal on one of these 40mm STM lenses. I also have the Nifty-Fifty lens. What I find that I really like about the 40 vs the 50 is that the 40 focuses much closer than the 50. Really handy for my flower close-ups.

Another thing I discovered is that my ES-62 hood fits both lenses, so I don't worry about damaging the 40's front glass when its fully extended.

I like the 40D/40mmSTM combo a whole lot. So much so that I'm considering selling the Fifty.

Now, will someone tell me if the 18-135mm STM lens will work with my 40D? I see conflicting opinions about it.

I am using a Canon 60Da for Astrophotography but thanks to its rather small size I'd like to use it for normal landscape photography with a Canon 40mm "pancake" lens I purchased recently.
My questions are the following ones:
1) Has anyone tried to use that combination without adding a 486 B+W (52mm) filter correcting the IR band in Landscape Photography? Were the results OK or is the use of a blocking IR filter ABSOLUTELY necessary when one uses the 60Da outside of astrophotography?
2) Is indeed the B+W IR filter (486) the correct one to use to use the 60Da in normal photography?
Thanks for your comments!

hello!does anyone have canon 650d with 40mm f2.8 lens?

I have had the pancake on my 650d for a couple of months now an I love it. Besides the obvious size and weight advantage, it's is a nice sharp lens. Great for images, but still makes a little bit of noise in the videos. i use the nifty fifty as well.. which seems to produce a better bokeh. but pancake I feel is sharper. And it only 150 bucks now.


Pancake lenses are very sharp and this thin in design. They are perfect for a small camera set up for example when traveling. If you plan on moving up to newer Canon cameras anytime soon, the 40 is an STM lens and will be able to focus during video capture should that be in your future plans. The 50 f/1.8 is slightly faster and easier to hold in my opinion, I'm just used to cradling my cameras lens. Either will give you excellent results.

I just received my 40mm pancake lens. I've mounted it on my 5D Mark II. I've figured out the manual focus which works well enough but is certainly not silent when played back. I see where an accessory shoe mounted mic would help. But I am thus far unable to achieve auto-focusing with this lens. I can get it to auto focus by pushing the AF-ON button while filming but then it changes the exposure while searching for correct focus on the subject. Then, having found the subject, it returns to proper exposure. This certainly informs your audience that you are playing with the camera while taking the video - a bit of a distraction. What am I not doing right? What setup (menu?) am I not following correctly? Any help would be appreciated.

hi every one! for right now i am using a t3i and am getting into alot of portrait photography where as i use to just do nature and had this as a hobby i am starting just my business. I am highly considering this lens and just want some opinions and possibly other suggestions as to what lens would be best.

I have a Carl Zeiss 45mm f2.8 pancake lens in a Contax mount that is basically always on either my Contax film body or my Canon rebel with an adapter. If it is anything like my Zeiss they are the best travel lenses around. I spend a lot of my shooting time walking around cities and am always happy to have my 45mm around. I would say the only drawback in the aperture - I shoot with a Zeiss 50mm 1.4 a lot of the time, and would say to anyone wanting to use there camera either indoors or at night to get themselves the Canon 50mm f1.8 for $100 it is worth far more than its price.

happy shooting!

Hey guys
Im not sure if this has been asked, but I am really thinking of buying this lens for my canon 60d, Im trying to buy an affordable lens to take good portraits with, my main question is : what are some good lens to use considering the 60d is crop censored?

Your paragraph about a normal lens is a bit too definitive - there's ample room for debate.

I think a mathematical normal on a full frame is about 43mm. 50mm is mostly about ease of manufacture and reflects neither what the eye sees nor any magic formula. So I agree that to wring something viable out of it takes some effort but what's the point?

I use a 35mm (FF) which is neutral to the viewer and more accurately reflects what the eyes sees; either that or my eye has adapted to 35mm. But I don't think so.

There's room to disagree here and I just wanted to put that out for readers to think about. Because 40mm is an odd focal length but might be more interesting in this context.

First issue:
Since the front element of the lens moves in and out during focusing,
shouldn't it retract when the camera is turned off? It can be retracted manually ( by turning off the auto focus ) and turning the focus ring until the front element disappears. Not very well protected.
Second issue:
After the first day of use I turn on the camera at the end of the day and the autofocus does not work. I put it in manual, no focus possible. Camera power down does not do it either. Only the unmounting of the lens gets it back to work. I have never experienced this before with any other Canon lens.

So, for my older 300D the nifty-fifty would be a better option?

The new firmware update for 5D markIII re 40mm f2.8 STM compatibility, will the update enable 5D3 to continuous autofocus during video recording using the 40mm f2.8STM?

So, on a Canon T4i in movie mode the ONLY way to auto focus is with a STM lens (currently only the 40mm pancake)? You can't use any other Canon EF lenses in movie mode with auto focus?


Hello, do we have an availability date? thanks!

Does this lens zoom?

I need to know if this lense is a Wide Angle lense line the 28mm or not , even if not the same as wide as the 35mm lense but at least .. is it a Wide angle Lense ??

Would this work on a T2i body? 

How will it go on a D50 will you get all the benefits?

  I know that I'm gonna sound like a dinosaur here, but, back in the day one of my favourite walk around cameras was (and still is) the good old Olympus Trip 35. It came equipped with a very nice 40mm f2.8 lens. I'm looking forward to having this one to try out on my Canon T3i. I've always found that the 40mm focal length is  very comfortable  for composing a good shot.  I can see this as being a very useable lens to have.

You must not forget to take into consideration that Olympus Trip 35 camera had a 35mm sensor(film) and your T3i has an aps-c. The crop factor is 1.6, making your 40mm lens a 64mm (40mm x 1.6 =64mm). So your  "real" focal length will be more zoomed than previously expected.

How will it work with an extension tube set up?  


By moving a lenses optical center away from the focal plane (sensor area) you increase the magnification or macro capabilities. So in theory, if you added 80mm's of extension (double the focal length) to the 40mm lens, you would get 1:1. When used with extension tubes that support TTL,  mettering will be possible. Fine focusing is usually done by moving the camera/tube/lens combination on a focusing rail but AF operation should be possible as well.

Having just purchased a Canon 10-22 USM, is this 40 mm STM compatible with a Canon 7D and Canon XTi, or do the cameras need software updates?


STM focusing lens will be compatible with previous or non STM bodies. Camera models like the 7D and Canon XTi that do not have the new 'Hybrid CMOS' sensor and therfore do not have pixels dedicated to phase detection autofocus will use Canon's legacy Arc Form Drive (AFD) the original Canon EOS motor. At this time, we do not know if firmware updates will be required.

To Make this easy for everyone if you have a DSLR that is NOT a 5 D or higher you hace a cropped sensor and this lens will fit your camere and be at 64MM

Will it work with the EOS 40D. Or is there a better recommendation.


Yes it will work on the 40D but the improved focusing will not be available to you. To get the most out of this lens, it is best used on the new T4i.  There is no other pancake lens options for Canon at this time.

Is this an EF-S lens? Can I use it with my Canon film cameras as well?


This is not an EF-S lens and should work on any EOS mount body.

This lens fills a gap on Canon product line, but still I can't find a normal prime lens for my APS-C camera with image stabilizer.

What about releasing a good and fast 32mm EF-S lens for the Cropped sensor product line?

I regret not having bought a Sony system that has IS on the camera body.

How does this compare to the nifty-fifty? Is it really worth the extra 100 dollars? Thanks!

If you don't have a Canon T4i, yuo are better off with the nifty fifty at half the price.

The key differentiator for this lens is the autofocus while taking video - but this is specific to the Canon T4i - even the Canon 5D MkIII can't do this.

I've got another question. Even though other cameras can't support STM, would the focusing system on the 40mm be faster and more percious than the 50mm?

Would you recommend this lens for a Canon 7D? What about STM autofucus?

In reading the report, how's it on a 60D ? In fact tell me if the 60D is a full frame sensor or not.

If you wanna know if the 60D is full frame or not look it up. The price should suggest something.

A 60D is a cropped sensor, and yes the 40mm lens will work perfectly on that camera

Seriously.. how can someone own a 60D and ask, "is it a full frame camera"? Good grief...

My best friend is one of the top photographers for Getty, and he doesn't know everything about his camera. He was recently named as top 7 photographers in the world for sports. I am an accomplished pianist, have played in symphonies and I still do not know all of the functions on my Yamaha Motif. It is people like you that take the fun out of life. Rather than answering with your ego, how about helping someone with the correct answer. You do not know this persons situation. What if it was a gift? What if this person loves photgraphy but is learning? As I stay up tonight editing photos on my camera, getting paid, published in a major newspaper, photo series in a major magazine, hired all the time to shoot photos, I could not tell you everything about my camera. Should I learn? Eventually. But should I make someone feel small because they haven't? The answer is obvious. Go to a therapist. 

The lens is fully compatible with any of the Canon EOS system DSLRs.  It would work  great on the 60D.  The 60D is an APS-C/crop sensor camera.

The 60d is NOT a full frame sensor.

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