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Friday, 08 June 2012


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This is the lens that I will pre-order as soon as Nikon makes one. Same focal length, same aperture, everything - that's exactly what I want for my d700.

There's another 40mm pancake lens that's available for Canon and Nikon (and formerly Pentax) users, the manual focus Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II. A favourite of mine on full-frame 35mm cameras.

It was previously reviewed here on TOP:

(Is that your longest web-page address?!)

Mike, you know about the Pentax DA's. They've had a 40/2.8 for a while. I had some doubts, but it actually makes for a nice, intimate candid lens. Good second lens to stick in your pocket when going out with a 35mm equivalent (how's that for clumsy nomenclature?) on your camera.

Elsewhere on the web, someone pointed to a Canon FL-P 38mm f/2.8. So /technically/ not their first pancake, but certainly their first EF mount pancake.

Even better if this means Canon have a small mirrorless full frame camera in the works...

Now that Canon got a small, leightweight lens, all it needs is an equally small and leightweight body!

[[Even better if this means Canon have a small mirrorless full frame camera in the works...]]

Working from the new hybrid-AF system in the recently announced 650D, a mirrorless system seems like a logical conclusion.

I love this focal length! The 40mm ultron is the only lens I use with my "full-frame" 35mm film camera. Although I miss having AF. Anyone know whether this "STM" technology will work with older film EOS cameras? Might go nicely with a smaller EOS film body for a truly light/small AF combo. Also, can anything be deduced about optical quality from that MTF chart? I don't know how to read it.

Having used the m4/3 Panasonic 20/1.7 and the e-mount Sigma 30/2.8, I have found these pancakes to be pretty tasty. I also have the versatile, but slower kit zooms that cover the pancakes focal lengths, but the pancakes are versatile in their own right being a tad sharper, shorter and faster.

These compact lenses make an EPL2 or Nex 7 look like an unremarkable P&S, so folks never give them a second look. Hmm? That would only make a good sales pitch to a small, select group, I think.

David Pogue's NYT column yesterday "What Pogue Actually Bought" state this about cameras: Camera. I bought the amazing Canon S100, a tiny pocket camera with the biggest sensor on the market. I wrote about my reasons here. But in two weeks, I’ll be switching my allegiance. You cannot believe what’s about to come down the photographic pike. Trust me: If you’re in the market for a small camera with astonishing photographic results, hold off for a few weeks."
I'm intrigued. Any ideas? Not Canon obviously.

I'm always concerned with barrel/pincushion distortion, so I'm going to wait for test results by DPreview and others before buying. Besides, I'm trying my best to save up for the new 24-70 Mk2 so I can finally dump on eBay the old Mk1.

"Also, can anything be deduced about optical quality from that MTF chart?"

Yes, it shows very high performance for the central and near central zone (about the middle 2/3rds of the 24x36 frame) and most probably very good bokeh (which tends to correspond to the overlap of the sag and tan chartlines), with quality falling off beyond that to the corners. From experience I'd guess that the eye wouldn't notice much if any diminution in sharpness except in the extreme corners, but you might notice that the bokeh gets a little worse. Corner performance would be measurably better on APS-C, although whether you'd notice visually or not would require actual trials to say.

The MTF chart provided is very simple without tolerances or aperture notated (which always surprises me--it's a bit like saying a car's acceleration is "7 seconds" without mentioning how fast the car is going after that time elapses), so it says nothing about the lens's consistency through the aperture range. If the chart is for the open aperture, then the performance will be very high indeed. But we can't conclude that. However the general image rendition should be very high at least at the middle apertures.


Alex, keep in mind that the register distance has to remain the same for EF lenses to work properly, so there are limitations as to how compact the body can be. Example: Pentax K-01.

Speaking of electric lighting and indoor plumbing, somebody needs to intervene with Ken's GAS problem.

As per Canon not using the 52mm filter size, the older FD-mount primes almost all have it. So it's sort of back to the roots for Canon, in that respect.

I could be overcome by nostalgia today (my birthday) but I recall most of my Canon FD lenses of the late 70s and early 80s carried 52mm threads. But being a Nikonian and Canonista, among other sins, I have no axe to grind. ;-)

This 40mm lens look terrific and makes me think there's a forthcoming 36x24mm-frame camera from Canon that's smaller and cheaper than the 5D Mk III. Sounds like excellent news to me. Rumours suggest that Nikon's D300 replacement might be a 'full-frame' camera, too. Good times!

Its auto focus is STM which, as I understand it, is optimised for video not still shooting. It focusses smoothly but not quickly. It's probably fine for most applications but not for things like sports and street photography.

I hopped on the pre-order bandwagon myself-and for the first time. As you mentioned, it will work well with a 5D series body. Somebody at Canon must be working harder that I had come to believe.

40mm lenses that have looks that I love are (roughly in order) the Rollei 40/2.8 HFT Sonnar, OM System Zuiko 40/2,and Trip 35 40/2.8. It will be interesting to see how the Canon draws.

Mike, Thanks for the interpretation of the MTF chart.

If I upgrade to Canon full frame I will then have to get the 40. I have long missed using my Pentax LX with 40 2.8 lens. I hope the Canon is as good as the Pentax.

One advantage of the Canon 40mm is that a person who also owns a full frame* body can seamlessly switch between that pair and a m4/3 body paired with a Panasonic 20mm.

Who else remembers this article?

If you haven't already tried a normal/standard prime you might benefit from reading my article at

*It's curious that 24x36mm has gone from "miniature" to "full frame". Such is the nature of relativistic terminology.

He might have been talking about the new Sony RX100.

It has the same sensor size as the Nikon V1 - 1" or CX sensor.

Plus it is just slighly thicker than the S100

It's interesting that you describe the 52mm filter as a Nikon standard. Others have mentioned FD lenses but Canon have used it on their small EF lenses for some time. Off the top of my head, of those I own, the 28mm f/2.8, 50 f/1.8, 70-300 DO, and (old) 35-70 all have 52mm filters.
It makes a lot of sense - small, cheaper and easy to come by. Nicely matching the lens target audience.

Well Canon may be fishing in the Micro 4/3 crowd......"yes, sir with this lens, you have a light fullframe too.......", Ï see, I'll have a D800 then please". If I go the FF route I WANT things to be heavy....but why bother....

BTW, Mike go and take a look at a most American made camera-item I bought the other day.....the Panosaurus 2.0, build in suburban Montana......and proving the fact that not everything cheap and great has to be build in China.

And this:


is what you can do with it.....900 grams of weight and 99 dollars of gear that turns a GF1 into a digital 4x5.

Greetings, Ed.

What? No lenshood?

Apparently I'm the crabby old man in the crowd, but here goes:

Bah humbug. Yet another lens that makes sense for full frame, but not so much for APS-C, which represents the vast majority of Canon's DLSR sales.

The 64mm equivalent is just weird. What I really need from Canon is a reasonably sized normal lens for my 7d, other than the ancient 35mm f2.

"It's interesting that you describe the 52mm filter as a Nikon standard."

I was mistaken...in the old days I shot Contax, which has a "more or less standard" of 55mm filters, and my studio partners had Nikons which I thought of as having 52mm filters. I wasn't really much aware of Canon in those days. I was thinking Canon was the one with 55mm filters, but I'm wrong, it was Contax I was thinking of.



Certainly looks like a nice lens, but I also can't help wondering if or when Canon is going to have a mirrorless "strategy". That little pancake is going to be a lot larger on a mirrorless body.

That and I can't help making the comment that on the 650d DPReview pictures it looks like an oversized lens cap on a giant behemoth of a body (coming as an E-PL1 and E-M5 user). That said, even if the bodies are big and heavy (at least by comparison to m4/3 and NEX), a small lens is a small lens and it looks to be both of good quality and light on price.

Call me old an cynical but I never came across a pancake that came close to matching the quality of a normal prime. On an averaged size SLR it doesn't really save much weight or space either and costs a couple of stops as well.

For mirrorless cameras it makes more sense, keeping the package size well down and cargo-pocket friendly, but with a 7D - or even a 650D - I need a camera bag anyway and 40mm is probably more useful on a 5D anyway.

I did own two pancakes for my Pentax 7D, but in practice their performance was only average and I sold both. Lack of corner sharpness was a real issue.

Of course 52mm was a common Canon FD filter size.

Hmmm...if this means a stream of 40mm f:2 Voigtlander SL-II's heading for eBay, I'll take that as a windfall. Opposite Ken, I'd much rather have the extra stop and a lens designed for manual focus.

52mm was the Nikon standard, in fact Nikon went out of its way to shoehorn lenses that should have had larger filter sizes into a 52mm filter. Most of their lens lineup until the late-70's was 52mm across the board. It was only the introduction of faster AI and AI-S lenses like the 20/2.8, 85/1.4, 105/1.8 and 135/2 that brought in non-52mm filter sizes in non-exotic primes.

That's not to say other makers didn't (and don't) use 52mm, but Nikon standardized on 52mm even more than Contax or Minolta standardized on 55mm.

On the Canon site that you provide a link to, I note that Canon will sell you an accessory polarizer filter for your 199 dollar lens for 250 dollars. Maybe that's how they plan to make their money. :)

This lens is actually a great addition to their line up. I've always thought that 35mm was just a bit wide for most snapshots.

Just read the official announcement and like John Wilson, I noted the STM and mention of video. The focal length makes more sense in that context and he spec matches with the new 650D camera.
Yet another indication that Canon seems to regard stills shooters rather lower than their video brethren these days.

Tom, 52mm is the size that Canon's superteles use in their filter drawers. Thus the absurdly inflated price.

I was thinking Canon was the one with 55mm filters, but I'm wrong, it was Contax I was thinking of.

Nah, you're not wrong. Canon redesigned its entire lens line (in the 70's?) with compactitude and uniformity as a design goal. These were called "FD", and mostly have 52mm filter threads.

(Imagine a 21st century company undertaking to redesign every lens it sells, just to make customer's lives easier. Not.)

The previous line, used examples of which hung around forever, were not so uniform, but mostly 55.

"This new one does make the hope of an image-stabilized 35mm lens to go with the new 24mm and 28mm IS primes much more dim, I suppose...."

yeah, but this lens doesn't have image stabilization, which is the main purpose of updating the non-l prime lenses. a pancake can be forgiven for not having it, but there's not much about this lens that will satisfy the demand for a 35/2 USM IS. it's coming, i'm sure of it! =)

Not strictly a pancake, but the Summicron C can be added to the list of favourite 40mms. A bargain Leica lens, and from my experience a better performer than the current 35mm Summicron.

Canon finally comes (late) to the game. I'll take my Pentax 40mm f/2.8 XS on the image-stabalized K5. 50g of fun.

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