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Old 01-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Canon 40mm STM 2.8 Pancake Lens Review

So as promised I have today a review of my brand new Canon 40mm STM F2.8 "Pancake" lens.

Outside of it I currently own: 18-55 non IS, 28-105 USM II,50mm 1.8,70-210 F4 so to give you reference as to what these are being compared against.

For this review I chose to take the lens with me for shooting Medieval Times which is a dinner theater show in Toronto Ontario based around a medieval period jousting tournament complete with a dinner which must be eaten with your hands. anyways that's just to give background on the pictures in question ON TO THE REVIEW

So my first question upon starting my picture taking was could I get useable shots wide open at max ISO (1600 for my XTi) and the answer was a resounding YES!. The following shots are shot wide open at 1600 ISO and as you'll see are VERY sharp and also have very little noise as well.













So those are all wide open at 1600 ISO. Now you're probably wondering well how do those wide angle shots hold up to cropping? Well let's see



As you can see still nice and sharp with great color reproduction.

So that closes out 1600 ISO in a bunch of different lighting (extremely dark, with some light in the arena and with the arena lit up like a christmas tree but me in darkness)

Here's an available light shot from earlier today when my son tried apple sauce for the first time to show you how it performs at lower ISO



as you can see at lower ISO it's even sharper which is astounding to me this lens just keeps getting better and better.

Now that IQ and as you'll see in the picture of my friend with the long hair as well as the shot of the souvenir cup the bokeh is quite pleasant I'm sure you're also all wondering how's the focus speed in that dim light? well I'll admit I did cheat a bit I set my focus point so it was in the center only which does help speed the AF up a bit. It can get a bit slower if you use the AF in auto selection mode but with that said it's still faster than 50mm 1.8 and the only lens that comes close is my 28-105 USM II.

Next thing to cover is the macro on this lens. It does produce very nice macro shots though not ridiculously close as the MFD is 30cm or just under 1 foot. With that said I'm sure with an extension tube this would make an AMAZING macro lens as it's sharp at 2.8 and any flaws (of which they aren't many to the naked eye) would be gone by F4 which is what the lens would become with an extension tube.

Last thing to cover is build quality. This lens is extremely well built at this price, it features a metal mount and has a good weight to it as well. It's slightly heavier than the 50mm but hey they don't call that lens the plastic fantastic for nothing. Basically for $200 you get an amazing level of quality in the physical build, the optics and the AF system (especially if you own a T4i to continously AF in video).

Bottom line is that for the $200 or so you'll pay (I paid $172 out the door on sale normal price is around $200 or $230 depending on where you buy) it's an incredible value. It has far nicer bokeh an IQ than the 50mm 1.8 wide open, can AF faster and with far less noise and is without question far better built. Overall I think it's a great fit into the Canon lens lineup and like the 50mm it's a no brainer to own one as it's cheap and takes great pictures no matter what F stop you have it set to.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Theres no red circle around the lens! I don't believe you! /caresses L lens
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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lol there have been several lenses over the years that have garnered the crown of "Canon's hidden L lens" and honestly I think this 40mm may for the moment have it. I don't personally have an L lens to compare but comparing shots against friends that do own L glass I can say it is easily as sharp as some of the high end 2.8 stuff out there now obviously it'll have it's handed to it by the 1.2L 50mm or 85mm but for $200 I dare you to find a better lens. Personally I don't think it can be done. Not even the $400 50 1.4 can get this nice IQ at 2.8
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice review!

And to get off topic, glad to see your son likes apple sauce! I have a six month old and we are feeding foods to him that I have cooked. I'm glad to see someone else capturing the moment of trying foods for the first time!
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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awesome, I wish Nikon offered something like this :P
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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well I'd bet if enough Nikon shooters hinted at it they'd make something
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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great review.

I love this lens, definitely worth the $170 I paid for it
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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yea I'd agree. Personally I think that if Canon were to have put a red ring on this lens and sold it for $800 or more it would still be worth it. As one other poster put it people are comparing the IQ to the 85 1.2 and the 35 F1.4L. Basically we all just stole an L quality lens for peanuts

Bottom line WE GOT SPOILED with this for $200!
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My wife gave me a decent slr for my birthday and I don't really know how to use it. All I know is that the lens that came with it doesn't zoom well at all. So how does this one zoom in?
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My wife gave me a decent slr for my birthday and I don't really know how to use it. All I know is that the lens that came with it doesn't zoom well at all. So how does this one zoom in?
It's what is referred to as a "prime lens", meaning there are no zoom capabilities.

If you are looking for a decent lens that will zoom in well, but retain plenty of wide angle, I'd suggest the 28-135 f3.5-f5.6 lens from Canon. Cheap, but the quality is pretty good. It will just suffer in low light/indoor compared to this 40 f2.8.
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