1. Long History of a Short Lens
What’s all the fuss surrounding Canon’s new 40mm “pancake” lens? So called because of their flat, short-barrel look, pancake lenses are primes made with thin glass and have been a convenient carry-along for photographers for over 100 years. They are an unobtrusive lens with aesthetic appeal, a longtime favorite in the mirrorless/Micro Four Thirds crowd. Canon has finally jumped on the bandwagon with its inaugural pancake: the EF 40mm f/2.8.
2. Better Focusing Distance and Bokeh
Most pancakes fall into the normal-to-wide focal range and this one is no exception. While most, especially older, pancake lenses are unable to focus down on anything closer than 18 inches, this one is able to home in at a relatively close 11.8 inches. And with 7 diaphragm blades at f2.8, the bokeh on this lens is quite good.
3. STM Enables Video Auto Focusing on the Canon Rebel T4i
This lens is certainly a great go-t0 for travelers looking to pack light, however, the technology of the 40mm is principally for video and will allow the camera to focus continuously while shooting video. The STM (STepping Motor) feature of this lens offers smooth and quiet continuous auto focusing when used with the video functionality of the new Canon Rebel T4i (for our review of the T4i, click here).
4. Why a 40mm Focal Length?
But why 40mm’s? The focal length is certainly a bit of a novelty. The most commonly-found lengths for prime lenses are 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm (with 24mm becoming a favorite as well). For some, it is just a matter of having a very specific preference–the 35mm, on a full frame camera, is just a little wide while the 50mm is a little long. For a crop sensor camera, the 40mm is the equivalent to about 64mm–still a good “middle ground” length.
In case you missed it, see how the 40mm focal length stacks up to other traditional focal lengths in our Facebook Lens Face-Off Challenge.
If you’re a photographer looking for a lightweight lens with a decent focusing distance, good bokeh, and is unobtrusive (a great feature for street photographers), give the 40mm a try. If you’re a videographer, especially if you are trying out the new T4i, the STM will impress, especially for the price.
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