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Thread: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    There has been a lot of interest in the New Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM "Pancake" lens. However, except for use on a STM equipped body (presently the T4i is the only STM body) the focus of this lens might be slower for stills. Here is a comment from B&H Photo in NYC...

    "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."

    Note: The AFD is older technology and is slower than the present USM focusing which is included in most modern lenses...

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    There has been a lot of interest in the New Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM "Pancake" lens. However, except for use on a STM equipped body (presently the T4i is the only STM body) the focus of this lens might be slower for stills. Here is a comment from B&H Photo in NYC...

    "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."

    Note: The AFD is older technology and is slower than the present USM focusing which is included in most modern lenses...
    I have a Panasonic pancake lens on my Olympus Pen EPL1 and experienced the same performance, however my file setting format is usually RAW + basic jpeg. I changed to saving in RAW only and the speed increased to about half. Not as fast as I would like, but I can still squeeze in 3 to 4 fps before the mechanics of saving to the card go into effect.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    John. perhaps we are talking apples and oranges. You are mentioning the speed of saving files, while the comment from B&H Photo in New Your City was aimed at the speed of autofocus. I can vouch that the USM focus of modern Canon lenses is far faster than the Arc Form Drive (AFD) of earlier lenses. I have a Canon 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens which uses the older AFD focusing technology. It is noticeably slower in AF than is my 70-200mm f/4L IS at 135mm. The f/4L IS, of course, is equipped with USM autofocus.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 17th June 2012 at 03:45 PM.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    John. perhaps we are talking apples and oranges. You are mentioning the speed of saving files, while the comment from B&H Photo in New Your City was aimed at the speed of autofocus. I can vouch that the USM focus of modern Canon lenses is far faster than the Arc Form Drive (AFD) of earlier lenses. I have a Canon 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens which uses the older AFD focusing technology. It is noticeably slower in AF than is my 70-200mm f/4L IS at 134mm. The f/4L IS, of course, is equipped with USM autofocus.
    Richard,

    You are correct, I saw Pancake, fast lens, and speed of performance and related it to my own experiences.

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    will probably use this more under manual focusing majority of the time. wit that said, i dont even care that its focal length is so close to my current fave, which is a 50mm pentax on an eos body.
    cant wait to have a pancake, having shutter priority and full manual settings back and the occasional use of AF

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    Sunray's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Why do they call it "Pancake lense"? Are there more differences than the AF technology compared to a standard USM lense?

    cu
    Robert

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    I get the feeling that the main advantage of the 40mm f2.8 pancake is the video-centric autofocus system and (perhaps more importantly) the sheer cool factor of a lens less than 1in thick. I don't really see the advantage over similar primes, but if you can deal with a slower focus from a non-STM drive system (ie, using any camera but the T4i), the price is pretty darn good. As far as I'm concerned, it's mainly a curiosity.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunray View Post
    Why do they call it "Pancake lense"?
    Because the lens barrel is flat (thin) as a pancake. It's a relatively slow(for a prime) f/2.8, slightly wide prime lens that should produce fairly sharp images in a low-profile design. I think this must be an fashion statement because there are so many around these days.

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Because the lens barrel is flat (thin) as a pancake. It's a relatively slow(for a prime) f/2.8, slightly wide prime lens that should produce fairly sharp images in a low-profile design. I think this must be an fashion statement because there are so many around these days.
    i think its more because a lot more are getting in to street photography... same people that are instagram photographers
    i mean look at the return of digital/rangefinders.

    i also believe lex is right. its mainly for videographers.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Noice View Post
    i think its more because a lot more are getting in to street photography... same people that are instagram photographers
    i mean look at the return of digital/rangefinders.

    i also believe lex is right. its mainly for videographers.
    The street photographer is probably closer to the truth here. If I remember correctly, pancakes made their debut on the mirrorless MFT offerings from both Panasonic and Olympus. The market niche they were after at the time was the consumer that wanted something up from a P&S without getting into a bulky DSLR. The small bodies with the large barrel lenses did not fit the image so the introduction of the pancake lens made these cameras pocketable, and of course great for street photography.

    The video link is also correct, but for a different reason. Us long-time, serious videographers aways had to deal with tiny sensors, which of course meant pretty well everything was in focus, so we could not achieve those lovely shallow depth of field shots you get out of the Hollywood film productions. Enter the large sensor dedicated video cameras (MFT and larger sensors) and of course DLSRs that shoot video and all of a sudden shallow DOF was king. The first affordable, interchangable lens, large sensor dedicated video came out was the Panasonic AF100/1/2 etc, which used MFT lenses. The videographers jumped on the pancake lenses from Panasonic and Olympus, not because they were pancakes, but because they had large apertures and produced shallow DOF. If you look at the video forums; the shooters are all raving about the Voigtländer f/0.95 25mm and the Voigtländer f/0.95 14.5mm (which are huge lenses) because of the narrow DOF and low light capabilities they offer.

    So, a pancake lens on a DSLR? It does make some sense on a crop sensor camera as it does make the shooter a bit less obtrusive and its a lot less expensive than the fast Voigtländers for the Canon video shooters. On the other hand, I would personally probably opt for one of the fast, wide angle primes instead for video work.

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    If I remember correctly, pancakes made their debut on the mirrorless MFT offerings from both Panasonic and Olympus. ...
    They made a resurgence with µ4/3, but they've been around for much longer. Zeiss's four-element Tessar design has been around since 1902. Pentax has until now, been the only dSLR brand to keep pancakes in their current lineup. Nikon, Olympus, and Zeiss all made 40-ish pancake lenses in their day. One of the more popular lenses to adapt onto Canon EOS bodies for a while was the Contax/Yashica-mount Zeiss Tessar T* 45mm f/2.8:

    40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens
    (Canon XT w/ adapted Tessar 45/2.8).

    And until this announcement, the only native-mount option you currently had for Canikon cameras was the manual-focus Cosina-Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II. I have a feeling their sales may dip, though, on the Canon-mount version, now that there's an AF alternative.

    And yes, street shooting or travel would be the main reasons you'd want one. The profile makes you less conspicuous/threatening, and the overall bulk of the body/lens combo is greatly reduced. On m4/3, where the main attraction is the small size & weight, pancake lenses have become very much in demand, because it can make some of the body/lens combinations pocketable (or at least coat-pocketable).

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    They made a resurgence with µ4/3, but they've been around for much longer. Zeiss's four-element Tessar design has been around since 1902. Pentax has until now, been the only dSLR brand to keep pancakes in Nikon, Olympus, and Zeiss all made 40-ish pancake lenses in their day. One of the more popular lenses to adapt onto Canon EOS bodies for a while was the Contax/Yashica-mount Zeiss Tessar T* 45mm f/2.8:


    And until this announcement, the only native-mount option you currently had for Canikon cameras was the manual-focus Cosina-Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II. I have a feeling their sales may dip, though, on the Canon-mount version, now that there's an AF alternative.

    And yes, street shooting or travel would be the main reasons you'd want one. The profile makes you less conspicuous/threatening, and the overall bulk of the body/lens combo is greatly reduced. On m4/3, where the main attraction is the small size & weight, pancake lenses have become very much in demand, because it can make some of the body/lens combinations pocketable (or at least coat-pocketable).
    You are quite right; the Zeiss Tessar has always been around and to say that pancake lenses came back with MFT is a bit of an oversimplification. Re-popularized would probably be a better term. This lens has been around in various forms (fixed and removable) on less expensive film cameras just about forever (well, since 1902). That being said, the Tessar is a 4 element 3 group design, and the newer lenses all seem to be 6 elements in 4 groups. I suspect these are just an update of another one of Paul Rudolph's classic Zeiss designs; the 1896 Planar.

    40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens


    The Voigtländer lenses have never really been mainstream. Cosina, who make these lenses (they licence the Voigtländer brand) have been a contract lens and camera manufacturer for a long time, in addtion to producing the Cosina and Bessa lines. They still build the film FM-10 for Nikon and produce all of Zeiss's small photographic lenses, so I suspect that the new Canon f/2.8 40mm will not affect them too much.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 23rd June 2012 at 08:39 PM. Reason: Added 1896 Planar image

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Richard: I just ran across this review:

    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012...d-they-do-that

  14. #14
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    ... That being said, the Tessar is a 4 element 3 group design, and the newer lenses all seem to be 6 elements in 4 groups. I suspect these are just an update of another one of Paul Rudolph's classic Zeiss designs; the 1896 Planar.
    Cool! Thanks for the info. I've just been assuming Tessar. Planar design would explain the performance these newer pancake lenses are giving. Cicala's review pretty much has me deciding I want one.

    The Voigtländer lenses have never really been mainstream. ... They still build the film FM-10 for Nikon and produce all of Zeiss's small photographic lenses, so I suspect that the new Canon f/2.8 40mm will not affect them too much.
    Oh, definitely. Canon is probably the smallest segment of their customer-base. I just meant sales for that specific lens. The Leica M customer base is probably still their bread and butter, and there's been a resurgence with mirrorless compact users wanting to adapt those M-mount lenses. So many m4/3 and NEX users were adapting the CV 40/1.4, that I was disappointed for a while they never created an m4/3 version of it. Smart of them, though, to avoid collision with the Oly/Panny offerings and start out with super-expensive f/0.95 lenses instead.

    ====
    added.

    Oh, yeah. Good call. If the diagram below really is for the 40/2.8, it looks Planar-ish to me. Found on the canonrumors.com website:

    40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens
    Last edited by inkista; 22nd June 2012 at 08:46 PM.

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by RustBeltRaw View Post
    I get the feeling that the main advantage of the 40mm f2.8 pancake is the video-centric autofocus system and (perhaps more importantly) the sheer cool factor of a lens less than 1in thick. I don't really see the advantage over similar primes, but if you can deal with a slower focus from a non-STM drive system (ie, using any camera but the T4i), the price is pretty darn good. As far as I'm concerned, it's mainly a curiosity.
    I agree with most of this, not least because I'll probably pick one up precisely because it is so thin and unobtrusive. For me, I think it will be more than a curiosity, and more of an encouragement for some candid shots.
    Last edited by musickna; 23rd June 2012 at 08:44 PM.

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    Re: 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Lens

    Thanks for the input.

    bye
    Robert

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