Customer Reviews: Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens - Fixed
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on March 27, 2015
I use this lens with my Canon sl1. This is a very small and light lens that makes a DSLR camera very nice to tote around. It's great for portraits, not too close and not too far away. I like the f2.8 and use it quite often, but sometimes it almost seems too shallow and I have to close it up to f3.5. This lens takes an excellent picture, very clear and the colors are nice. My only complaint is that it is a little slow to focus, however, it's not terrible in speed it's just a bit slower than my kit zoom lens and makes capturing a wiggly toddler just a little bit harder, mostly when they are running towards the camera. But the "back button focus" really helps to get a greater % of in-focus pictures during a shoot. When recording in movie mode, I swear I hear the lens focusing in real life but when I watch my movie I can't hear it in the video. I've only had this lens for about 10 days, but I already love it, I use it all the time, and I would buy it again!
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0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 2, 2015
Received this as a gift for my Canon T2i DSLR. I had been using the 18-55 kit lens. And find this 40mm f/2.8 delivers far superior images: improved clarity, contrast, edge-to-edge definition, color, and resolution at all ISO settings. The APS-C sensor in EOS cameras does increase the focal length to ~64mm; but the focal length on a 1.6 crop-sensor doesn't diminish the lens' ability to capture exceptional images. Although it's not a macro lens, the minimum focusing distance is about 6.5 inches, making it suitable for close-focus photography. It has become my everyday lens, replacing my kit lens. I had been interested in several zoom lenses; but the chromatic aberration and lack of well-defined edge-to-edge resolution convinced me to look into a prime lens.

I had owned a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens; but I find the 40mm delivers better quality images than the higher-priced 60mm (~96mm on a cropped sensor) flat-field lens. This 40mm lens is an exceptional optic from Canon; and it has steel rather than plastic camera-mount.
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on February 13, 2014
I use this lens almost exclusively. It's quiet. It's 40mm so not too close and not too far. It's TINY so the thieves don't look at you like you're their shopping dream come true. It's tiny so it's light-weight. It's tiny so your subjects don't freak out when you shove a 30-pound piece of glass in their faces. The low-light performance is great. The depth of field is awesome.

I've gotten SO MANY good pictures with this lens. And the videos aren't filled with the loud screeching of the lens refocusing like the 50mm or the stock lens that comes with the various Canon kits.

I can't recommend this lens highly enough.

Cons: If you hand the camera to someone, they start spinning the focus ring to zoom in/out. Most humans holding an SLR assume you can zoom and don't grok prime lenses. It is a LITTLE close, so when you are backed up to get a full-body shot of your subject, most humans nearby won't put 2+2 together that you and the subject are related and will walk between you. Subject needs to be flambouyant and obvious that their pic is being taken.
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on September 12, 2013
This is a surprisingly good lens - a more-or-less "normal" prime on both a full frame and a camera with an APS-C size sensor I bought it for night photography on a Canon 5D Mark II, because the focal length is useful and a zoom tends to be more susceptible to flare than a prime. I use it most of the time at at f/8, and teh image quality is very sharp across the frame, even on the full frame camera. The STM motor is slower to focus on the 5DII than it would be on a newer Canon like the Rebel 100 or Canon M that is designed with STM lenses in mind. Mounted on an EF to E-mount adapter for use on a Sony NEX-6, the image quality is very good and it's easy to manually focus. Build quality is good. It has a plastic barrel and a metal mount. The focus ring is reasonably well damped. It's a very good value for the price, and the 40mm focal length turns out to be very versatile.
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on April 4, 2015
Love it for the portability and ease of use. Sharp and very good color rendition; slight distortion but easily corrected in post processing. The 40mm is versatile to be used as either a portrait or landscape lens. Can go as close as 0.3m for interesting point of view.

Focusing is a bit slow but it is silent if used in video mode (by turning the focusing ring slowly. if you turn it quickly, it will make noticeable noise.)

Very versatile. see my photo samples for reference.
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11 comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 pancake lens makes a great addition to your gear, with its small size, sharp photos, and low price.

Despite being so petite the lens is very nicely made and has decent heft to it. There is a small switch to change focus modes and that's it. The very slender manual focus ring on the front of the lens is rubberized and moves smoothly. I use the lens on my Canon 7D and it makes the package significantly smaller than any other lens Canon makes.

In use the lens is fairly quick to focus, and does so with little noise, but my Canon 24-105 L lens focuses faster and quieter. About 95% of my images were accurately focused when I used the 7D's automatic focus point selection mode. Manually focusing is easy and fluid, with the ability to very finely adjust focus. Additionally, you can fine tune focus after holding the shutter button down halfway when using auto focus. When manually focusing the focus points light up in my 7D indicating what is in focus. Noise levels are higher when manually focusing, however, and it sounds like the lens is moaning. Lastly, during focusing the lens moves in and out, so I manually focus to retract the lens when done using it.

The lens' image quality on my 7D is great. Images are sharp and have nicely blurred, smooth looking backgrounds. The corners are a touch softer than the center wide open, but it's barely noticeable. There is no vignetting and distortion is quite low. Colors are rich and contrast is high. I'm not using any filters or hoods with the lens at this point.

f/2.8 and the lack of image stabilization doesn't make this lens a low-light star so you'll be raising your ISO speed a lot under less than ideal lighting. Additionally, on an APS-C SLR the crop factor results in a 64mm field of view, so it's a bit tight, but is easy to adjust to after a few shots. The lens' small size makes these tradeoffs ones I'm willing to make.

All in all...a great little lens that makes your camera less of a hassle to carry around.

10/31/2012 Update: So it turns out my lens was one of those affected by the service advisory where the lens can sometimes stop focusing if there is pressure applied to the front of it at any time. Since I can't update the lens' firmware with my 7D, I called Canon and they are sending me a pre-paid shipping label and will update the firmware for me in 5-7 days. Great service.
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on July 15, 2012
I like hiking and always carry a camera with me when I hike. Sometimes, carrying Canon 5D MkII + 24/105L combination becomes a burden because of the size and weight. I was hoping to find an alternative. Lately, I have been using M43, but the picture quality has not been as satisfying. Then I found this tiny lens online last week. I ordered right away and received it the next day. The size and weight are beyond what I hoped for. It is almost nothing on 5DMkII. Initially, I was not as hopeful with picture quality out of $200 pancake. Yesterday, I went up the Mt.Tamalpais East Peak from Pantoll and took 5DMkII+40mm f/2.8 with me. It was so easy as I did not feel the weight of camera. I even took the longer way on Temelpa trail coming back down. Back at home, I was amazed by the quality of pictures, especially the sharpness, corner to corner. Saturation is not as great, but I can adjust it in post processing to my liking. Same for vignetting - though it is present as with any lens.
Sure, 24/105L covers its focal length of 40 mm and takes as good or better pictures in some aspects. If you do not mind the size and weight of L lens, you may not "need" 40mm EF f/2.8. Furthermore, if you really need versatility of zoom lens, this lens cannot fulfill the task. To me though, the size and weight advantages are huge and I find 40 mm focal length quite useful for many hikes. I am totally satisfied with the quality of pictures this lens produces. As the matter of fact, I am very happy with everything about this lens.
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on November 11, 2014
With close to 600 reviews already I don't know if it makes sense to write another one for the Canon 40mm. However, this is a great lens.

Compared to the 50mm f1.8 II it has much less chromatic aberration, a better autofocus and is smaller while having a more solid construction/build. The 40mm is much sharper when looking at the entire frame. The 50mm 1.8 II is somewhat sharp in the center but not in the corners.

Compared to the 50mm f1.4 it has about the same low amount of chromatic aberration, a slower, noisier but equally accurate autofocus and is smaller while having a equally good construction/build. Same as with the 50mm f1.8 II, the 40mm is sharper when looking at the entire frame. The 50mm f1.4 is sharp in the center when stopped down to at least f2.0, but never gets as sharp in the corners as the 40mm.

I'm using this inexpensive 40mm glass as a private walkaround lens. I also use the 24-70mm f2.8 II, and compared to that at 40mm, the pancake lens does a really good job. Besides the sharpness throughout the frame, the 40mm has a nice contrast and a pleasing bokeh.

You should consider the 50mm f1.8 II if you
a) rather do portrait work with it (corner sharpness unimportant)
b) are really really on a budget
c) have an old camera body that cannot do clean high ISO images (the higher aperture might help then).
Besides that I don't think the 50mm f1.8 II is a good lens. Let me go out on a limb here and say that it is actually a pretty crappy lens that gets its good reviews only because it's so freaking cheap and 90% of its buyers have never actually shot with decent glass before (can you say kit-lens upgrade?).

If you really need the high aperture you could go with the Canon 50mm f1.4 instead, but keep in mind that when stopped down to f2.8 or higher (f4... f5.6...) it does not perform better than this 40mm lens (maybe a tiny bit in the very center). The 50mm f1.4 is an old construction that was designed for film cameras in 1995, the 40mm is a much newer construction designed for digital sensors. I have probably shot 10,000 photos with the 50mm on full frame bodies, never been really super excited about its performance.

For portrait work either of the 50mm lenses might be your better choice. If you have a somewhat decent camera body (high ISO capable) I recommend the 40mm f2.8 over both any time.
If you have a cropped sensor body and don't plan to upgrade to full frame any time soon, I would rather look into the Sigma 30mm f1.4 for Canon. More useful focal range for cropped sensor and better image quality.
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on February 24, 2014
Be aware that if you're getting a used lens, you might get a 'buggy' one - if too much pressure is applied to the lens while its attached to the camera, all focus stops working (manual and auto). There is a firmware fix for this, but you have to have a newer camera to put it into effect (t4i, 5DMKIII, etc). The other alternative is to send it in to Canon to have it updated. I got a used one and it was buggy (seller didn't indicate this, unfortunately) but it hasn't caused too many problems - it was just scary to have a brand new lens stop working on me. For now, I'm just taking the lens off and putting it back on again to solve the problem.

On that same note, there is no true "manual" focus - its all electronic. Finetuning focus has been more difficult for me, but the 2.8 aperture helps. There is also a slight issue with the manual focus - if you focus, then stop down the lens, you'll need to re-focus.

This lens is a great all-purpose lens - you can capture a three-story building from about 40 yards away, and get some great portraits. It's also a lens that the average person can kind of just pick up and start shooting with - so it's a lens I will put on my cheaper camera body if a family member wants to snap some photos and not get a photography lesson before they do.
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on March 10, 2013
Ok, everyone rants about the 50mm 1.8 being the ultimate first prime. At about 100$ it's the cheapest prime Canon makes, and produces decent images. My problems with it stem from several things.

Number one, it uses five straight aperture blades. You end up with pentagon shaped "Bokeh". This lens uses seven curved blades, much nicer, rounder "Bokeh".

Number two, build quality. The thing is cheap, and it feels like it. The 40mm feels weighty and solid, despite the miniscule size.

Number three is that while 50mm is standard, odds are that if you're looking at the 1.8, you have a crop sensor camera. The 50mm equates to 80mm on a crop. Decent portrait size, but not a walk-around standard. The 40mm comes closer at 64mm equivalent.

In short, unless you really need the extra stop, or can't spring for the extra 50$, this is the best first prime for a Canon. Plus, on a crop body this is a little nicer for street work. The small size is just that much more unobtrusive.
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