How "silent" is this lens supposed to be? My copy seems to make a humming noise when focusing.
asked by S. Owens on November 2, 2012
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Hi!
I just checked mine on the 5Dmk3 and yes, it's pretty noisy with clicks, a high pitched whine when making major focus changes, and little juddering sounds when making fine adjustments before focus lock. This is a "STM" or Stepping Motor lens, and from what I read it was designed to go with the new T4i which has continuous autofocus while shooting video. Thing is, I *never* use autofocus when shooting video, always manual focus. You will find if you switch to manual that it has a smooth, damped focus ring in manual that is really easy to turn and very quiet. When shooting stills, the focus noise is not an issue unless you're worried about startling wildlife or distracting subjects like children. When shooting video, it's better to use your Canon camera's digital zoom to punch in to 5x or 10x, focus manually, then go back to normal and shoot. With a 40mm lens, if you're shooting at f/4.0 or more, focus shouldn't be too much of a problem especially on a crop sensor camera. But if you are using it on a T4i to shoot video with continuous autofocus, yes it's going to be noisy and probably your camera will pick up the noise as you're shooting. The only way to avoid this is to use an off-camera microphone, a wireless mic setup, or even a dual-system sound method where you record with a mic to an external recorder like a Zoom H4n and then sync the audio when you edit the video. A simple hand clap is all you need to do either right after you start recording on both the camera and the audio recorder or right before you stop the clip (also known as a "tail slate"). Bottom line: the lens is sharp as a tack and easy and silent to focus manually for video, but it's definitely a "talker" if you're using autofocus.
John Marc Green answered on November 2, 2012

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I suggest you listen to the focusing noise on Youtube (for comparison):
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=canon+40mm+2.8+stm+noise
Gil De Sousa, LensTests-com answered on November 2, 2012

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My 40mm f2.8 makes noise, a humming sound as the lens changes focus. It's normal. It's quieter than non USM lenses and that's about it.
Paul Lewis answered on November 2, 2012

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Dear S.

It's not silent. It's quiet but not silent. Quieter than the 50mm f/1.8.

If you want SILENT, try the 18-135 STM and you'll know silent. The 40 STM is a great lens but not silent. If you're shooting video, look toward a USM LENS for fast focus and quiet operation (i.e., 28mm f/1.8).

What camera body are you using??
D Taylor answered on November 2, 2012

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My copy is really quiet although it is slow to focus compared to my other usm lenses but it was perfect for what I used it which is portrait, landscape and editorial stuff.
jc5034 answered on November 2, 2012

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Mine makes noise when focusing as well. It's normal.
Anthony Pantliano answered on November 2, 2012

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I haven't head any humming with my lens. I'm using with with a Rebel XT. I would guess it's supposed to be silent. If it's really making a lot of noise I would return it, It might be defective.
John Trautschold answered on November 2, 2012

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It is quiet but definitely not silent. I have fine ears and can hear it quietly hum from across a 15-20 room if no other noise is being made.
mwill101 answered on November 10, 2012

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Mind sounds kinda like a printer moving its printer heads. It isn't as loud though. To me, this is well within acceptable standards.
Ryan answered on November 13, 2012

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it's silent
YOUSEF answered on November 18, 2012
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