August 11th 2012 by Andrew S Gibson
EOS 5D Mark II, EF 40mm f2.8 STM pancake lens, 1/125 second @ f2.8, ISO 6400
I’ve been hankering after a pancake lens for a while now, so when Canon announced the new Canon EF 40mm f2.8 STM pancake lens and I saw that my local camera store had one in stock I bought it. Turns out I wasn’t the only one, the assistant said they received six of the lenses from Canon and they had sold fast – mine was the last left.
An appeal of the 40mm pancake lens for me is the size. I can put it on my EOS 5D Mark II and I almost have a portable camera, certainly one that is much easier to carry around than when I have my EF 17-40mm lens attached. The 40mm pancake lens weighs next to nothing and is easy to carry around – you can put it in a pocket. The focal length is a moderate wide-angle, and if I use it on my EOS 40D it becomes a short telephoto lens, ideal for portraits. Or at least I hope so, I haven’t had chance to try it yet.
Another interesting feature is the minimum focusing distance of 30 cm. Add a close-up lens or extension tube and it becomes even closer. I took the opening photo with an EF 25 extension tube fitted – the extension tube is actually wider than the 40mm pancake lens itself (above).
My girlfriend has just had some new eyelash extensions fitted and I wanted to try out the close-up capabilities of this lens. I asked her to stand next to a window, and the photo is lit just by natural light. It was quite dim, so I had to use ISO 6400.
I took this photo with my EOS 5D Mark II, a full-frame camera. The crop below shows what it would have looked like if I had used my EOS 40D, which has a smaller sensor.
I will post some more photos taken with this lens soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Canon lenses, then take a look at my new eBook Understanding Lenses: Part I. If you’d like to learn more about close-up and macro photography, then you may like Up Close, available from Craft & Vision.