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Entries in 40mm (2)


40mm f/2.8 VS 50mm f/1.8 Canon EF Prime Lens Face-Off! 

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

The nifty fifty or the fantastic forty? Two budget primes that offer the Canon dSLR owner an interesting choice of focal lengths. 

The 50mm is a great price, but is the slightly wider 40mm a better bet on crop sensor bodies? Watch my video and find out!

Thanks, Rob.


Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 Pancake STM Prime Lens Review Video

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

I'll admit that I probably wouldn't have purchased the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 Pancake Prime Lens if it hadn't come free with my Canon 600d / T3i dSLR, but as I've got it, let's see what it can do.

First up, it's important to understand the weaknesses of this lens before we can talk about it's undoubted optical strengths. The 40mm pancake is an EF lens - so it'll work fine on crop sensor bodies like the 600d / t3i, 60d, 7d, etc, and full frame bodies like the 5d and 1d.

However, it isn't a wide angle lens on a crop sensor body. If you're anything like me, when you're out shooting you'll be spending a lot of time at the wide end of your 18-55 kit lens. 75% of my photographs are probably taken between 18 and 35mm - wide on a aps-c type sensor - so the 40mm pancake is a little too telephoto, or close, than what I would normally use.

This means in practice that you'll find you'll need to back up more when using the 40mm, which is pleasing for portrait and people shots, but can be difficult (or impossible) for landscape of urban type photography. You just haven't got a large enough angle of view.

The Canon 40mm also doesn't have IS, image stabilization, so although it has an extra stop of light over your kit zoom, you might need that to keep your shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake or subject blur.

I don't think that the 40mm would end up being a walk around lens to replace your kit zoom. It's just not versatile enough - they'll be too many times when you'll wish that you could squeeze more into the frame. I'd say that the 40mm f/2.8 is a great additional lens to have, along with your wide-angle zoom - but it isn't the lens to replace it.

Now onto the 40mm's strengths. It is incredible small, light and inconspicuous. Snap this glass onto the front of your dSLR and you'll be amazed how little it is. All of a sudden that nasty big black camera becomes a lot less visible, making it a great lens for street and candid photography, as long as you can adapt your style to the smaller angle of view.

Being a prime lens (no zoom) the 40mm f/2.8 is noticeably sharper than my 18-55 kit lens. Photos appear crisper, with more contrast and better colour. It's not a huge difference, but enough to make you take a second look when editing the images in post.

Having STM, a new stepped focus motor, this lens is very quiet, and with compatible cameras (the T4i / 650d onwards) you can have silent continuous auto focus during video capture.

The 40mm EF is also a bit of a bargain. Priced at just over £140 on, and under $200 on it's American counterpart, this isn't an expensive lens to add to your collection. The build quality is better than the 50mm f/1.8 mk II, it's more useful on a crop sensor body, and it makes your camera almost inconspicuous.

So, as I said at the beginning, although this is a great lens, I don't think I would have bought it if it didn't come free when I purchased my Canon 600d / T3i. I've already got a 50mm f/1.8 for low-light / small depth of field work, and I'd probably have spent the money on a new microphone or tripod.

Having said that though, I really like the lens, and if you're not on a limited budget (like myself) and haven't got a nifty fifty, I'd say get the 40mm f/2.8, it's a great, value for money piece of glass.

Thanks, Rob.

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