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4.7 out of 5 stars182
4.7 out of 5 stars
Price:£129.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on 29 September 2013
I must have watched over 10 YouTube videos on this lens, and read 20+ articles and reviews on websites before getting it.
I'm not able to easily just buy lenses, as they cost ££££...
The price seamed to good to be true, it's a real bargain, hence why I researched it thoroughly before buying it.
My advice get it, it's sharper than most canon lenses, right into the corners. Even the 50mm 1.4 is not as sharp as this lens.

UPDATE after a month
Ok so first off when you buy this lens, one major thing to be aware of, it's quite commonly sold with an old version of the firmware.
If the serial number on the lens is xx0, or xx1 even xx2 then you have the older firmware, e.g if the third digit on the serial number is less than 3 you need to update the firmware from the old 1.10. To the new 1.2.0
The reason for this is there is a fault with the lens, where it gets sort of jammed and won't focus if pressure is applied to the front of the lens or the focus ring.
This problem is completely resolved in firmware version 1.2.0, if your Lens serial number is xx3, e.g the 3rd digit is a 3 or higher, the lens is a newer version and already has the update.
I ordered my lens from amazon in 2013 and was a little surprised it had an older serial number xx2, and needed this firmware update to be done by myself.
Ok so to update the firmware, you need a camera with the ability to update "lens" firmware, which only the eos 650D, the 700D and the 5D mark iii can do.
I got lucky and a friend has the 700D, I put the firmware file on an SD card (available from canon website) took my lens and SD around to his house and updated my lenses firmware In what took a few seconds At most,
I was not able to do this on my older canon 60D, so was lucky he had a more recently released camera.

Right now that's out of the way, and please don't let the firmware put you off, you could pop into a camera shop and ask them to do this for you too, sure most palaces would help you use a display. Model of the 5D mark iiii to do it,
Otherwise you will have to send it to canon, but that feels a bit like overkill,
Sooooo back to the actual lens, it's truly my favourite lens, I hardly use my zooms, my 50mm f1.8 or kit lens.... This little 40mm f2.8 is just so sharp from corner to corner and has such little distortion or chromatic aberration that it quite simply gives me the best photos out of my camera iv ever taken.
I love the 40mm it's superb on a crop sensor 60D, it makes the camera so light weight and small, compared to any other lens, that I removed the strap and camera bag, and carry my DSLR in my coat pocket, like its a bridge camera, which means I have my camera with me more often, and thus can take more street photography and pics of the kids.
The lens enables you to use your DSLR is a more subtle, small camera way, I feel less self conscious using my camera In busy public places with this lens, and the beauty is it's taking superbly sharp photographs, better than some bigger lenses.
So in summary, it's small, it makes your camera (especially a non heavy crop 60D) super handy and portable in your pocket, it takes crazily sharp beautiful photos, and costs less than 99% of the lenses canon make, it should cost more as the build quality and image quality are as good as the more expensive 50mm F1.4, which it actually out performs when both lenses are set to F2.8, it's far sharper!! Than the 50mm especially in the corners where the 50mm goes a bit soft. Yes it's not as great I'm low low light as an F1.8 or F1.4, but it's blumin close, and does create nice broker,
So it's really a win win lens, seriously stop reading this, go buy it and love how your camera suddenly becomes a pocket camera, (largish pockets) that's super sharp, and less attention grabbing.
44 comments|91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
As soon as you take this lens out of its packaging, you can't help but fall in love with it. You shouldn't be fooled by the price either - this product ticks all the right boxes.

- It has a metal ring mount, which is crucial for providing longevity to lens itself and in strengthening its connection to the camera. Sadly it's rare to find an 'affordable' lenses without a plastic mount these days, so this aspect of the 40mm is a real luxury.

- The plastic housing is better quality than comparable lenses, and also has a matte non-slip finish. In the hand, it feels weighty and resistant to knocks.

- The focus ring is easy to access and as smooth as butter. It feels like a part of the lens design rather than an afterthought.

When mounted on my 100D, the lens could almost be mistaken for a dust cap! Discreetness has never been a major concern when I'm out with my camera, but this product really does set a standard that is hard to match with other modern lenses. I've inherited a good selection of 35mm camera equipment from the 1970's-80s, and this 40mm is practically the same size as Nikkor 50mm lenses from back in the day, which for me not only creates a little charm, but makes me wonder why the current 50mm 1.8 is more than twice the length of this product.

The 'STM' Stepper Motor - designed to quieten focussing - is only beneficial to those who shoot video with their DSLR. To everyone else, the motor sounds (ironically) like the lens in a DVD drive moving back and forth. In practice STM merely softens the motor noise rather than making it inaudible, and I believe is only fully compatible with certain camera bodies.

I should also highlight that the 40mm focal length is actually 64mm on a cropped sensor camera body. In terms of composition, this makes things a bit easier for group portrait shots than the 50mm 1.8 (cropped to 80mm), but experimenting in different environments really does make you more aware of what's going to come out best on a large screen. Generally speaking, this lens would probably be the first I would mount for group portraiture, but only because there is little logic in paying almost three times as much for a 'wide angle' lens that would still end up only having a 44mm focal length. That's just a compromise we make with cheaper camera bodies.

Then there is the optical quality of this lens. On this basis alone, I dare say it is comparable with Canon's L-Series, it really is that good. Colours favour very natural tones right from f2.8, but this only improves as you get to f5 and above. You lose a stop compared to the 50mm 1.8, but don't forget that the former, while lovely in its own right, is very soft wide open. This isn't the case with the 40mm - it's as sharp as a tack right from 2.8 and still offers decent bokeh. Definition is also better than the price would suggest; head and shoulders above the latest 18-55mm kit lens.

This brings me to an important question; what incentive is there to pick a kit lens over this little marvel? As I've found the hard way, zoom offerings bring good flexibility in the way of performance, making you want to avoid certain focal lengths as you know the edges won't be sharp. 64mm may sit on the narrower side of the spectrum, but the optics and portability alone make this a joyful product in the long run, and certainly one that you actually can't wait to use.

In short, I only wish that I had bought this lens earlier so that I could have used it for my holidays. If you're new to DSLRs and can't decide between the 50mm 1.8 and this offering, then my only arguments would be that the shorter focal length, better build quality, small housing and (marginally) better optics are surely more important than an extra stop in the aperture rating.
77 comments|69 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Please don't take the Amazon star rating too serious - every lens has its pros and cons that I wouldn't want to squeeze into a single one-dimensional figure...
A quick note about me: I have been into SLR cameras and lenses for more than 20 years - as a hobby in the beginning and professionally later. Maybe because of my technical background I started testing my own lenses quite a while ago. I have a (no longer so) little test lab of my own where I do 6 different image quality tests (after taking a lens out for a while).

Canon's first-ever "pancake" EF lens is a real treat. It's so small that it looks like a 20 mm extension ring rather than a lens and yet it feels solid as a rock and delivers very respectable image quality. It comes with Canon's stepping motor technology (STM) that allows continuous AF during video recording or live-view mode (when used with a hybrid CMOS AF system) and that gives the lens a fast, silent and accurate autofocus performance. The EF 40mm f/2.8 STM is best used for street and travel photography but can also make great portraits or other things. Its maximum aperture of f/2.8 is great but not good enough for available light photography (which requires even lower f-stops i.e. wider apertures) and I would have loved to have an image stabilizer - but of course that would have been very difficult to build into a 2.7" x 0.9" (68 mm x 23 mm) lens.

In regard to image quality the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM is really a high-end lens. The difference is most apparent if you compare it to a zoom lens but also amongst prime lenses of similar focal length the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM is a high performer. The resolution is great straight from f/2.8 both in the image center and corners. If you use a fullframe camera the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a little sharper and the EF 50mm f/1.8 II is about as sharp as the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM (compared at the same aperture). But if you shoot with an APS-C camera the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM easily outperforms both of those lenses (apparently it can cope better with the usually higher pixel density of APS-C cameras). It is roughly as sharp as the APS-C-only EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM (which is more than 3 times its size).

While the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM shows only very little distortion it does express some serious curvature of the focal plane ("field curvature") on a fullframe camera (none on an APS-C cam) but whether that's really visible in an actual image depends a lot on the subject you are shooting and the aperture you are using (the lab tests I am doing are close to the worst case so expect real life results to be better). Color fringes ("chromatic aberrations") in focused parts of the image ("transverse CA") are noticeable and so are the ones that occur in out-of-focus parts of the image ("axial CA"). On the good side, the nicely shaped aperture creates evenly smooth background blur but if you are bothered by corner shadows ("vignetting") be aware that the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM shows quite intense shadows up to about f/5.6 (with fullframe cameras).

Overall the image quality is quite astonishing for a lens that's as small as the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM and that comes at such a low price tag. This also means that from now on you can always have a decent f/2.8 prime lens with you that virtually needs no space in your camera bag!

Canon set out to create their first pancake EF lens and they did it the right way - combining great features with an incredibly small size at an acceptable price. I am sure many people will love the lens just for its size and the way it feels but even beyond that the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM has a lot to offer.

A much more detailed review of this lens together with all test shots, sample images and technical data is available on my website LensTests_com.
22 comments|187 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
After labouring away with the kit lens on my EOS650D for too long, this year I finally chose this 40mm f/2.8 lens and it has totally reinvigorated me - I carry my camera around with me everywhere. This isn't just because the compact size makes it more convenient to carry, it's that the pictures I'm getting are so very crisp. Paired up with Adobe Lightroom this has become the main way that I spend my spare time - taking interesting photos and manipulating them in software.

It is a lens you have to adjust to - it takes longer to focus, particularly when using the screen on the back of the camera to preview images. And the fixed focus means you spend longer framing your shots by moving around, but the thing I wasn't expecting is that because the pictures are so crisp you can often get the result you want by cropping the picture when you've got it back to your computer.

If someone stole my camera with this lens attached I would buy this lens again in a heartbeat.
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0Comment|30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 March 2014
Optically this lens is amazing!

I'm a pro photographer and I hate lugging an slr with huge heavy lenses attached, I just wanted a little 35mm lens for candids and 'general out-and-about' photography, but Canon's 35mm lenses aren't brilliant, so when I saw this new 'pancake' lens I was intrigued!

40mm is a bit of an odd focal length I have to admit, but it's fine for so many situations, and on say a 5D it turns a big SLR into the most amazing compact camera!

The optics in this lens might be seen by some to be simple and basic, old fashioned even, but that's what makes it great! The optics in this lens are simple, so it's not doing much to ruin anything! It's images are very sharp, very clean, and extremely detailed. It is a prime lens after all, and a bleedin' good one at that!

It does look a bit odd on the front of your camera, but it's fun, practical, very VERY good, and a real bargain too! Good work Canon!
0Comment|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 December 2013
I bought this because I gained extra cashback from canon by buying two lense at once and it made sense! Also the reviews have said its much better than the 50mm f1.8 prime (which I already love) so I thought I'd give it a go. I have a 600d and I am loving this so far. It's sooooo small and lightweight. Makes me feel like I've got a smaller bridge camera. In fact when you first put it on it looks like you haven't got a lens on the camera at all! :D But the sharpness is very good. And you just get that little bit more in the frame than a 50mm prime - which is perfect. For example with my 50mm I've been finding lately that taking pictures of people when there's more than one person in the frame (say 3 for instance) that I have to be so far away to get them in the shot. I know that's probably not the purpose of that lens. But with this 40mm you can get more in which is fantastic. I can't comment too much on sharpness as I haven't inspected any images up close yet. I think this may replace my 50mm prime however! I wish I'd paid the extra at the beginning and got this before my 50mm.
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on 21 August 2012
I do a lot of street photography and I have ditched my faster 50mm 1.4 for this lens because it is small and discrete and really captures a great image (on my 5D) and does not attract undue attention during my lunch break wandering around London City.

I have yet to understand the full potential of this lens and the STM motor drive - something appreciated by the video guys who need the quiet focus motor.
0Comment|37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 21 November 2012
Good Canon lenses normally cost an arm and leg but they do have few lower cost gems - of which this is one.

It's fair to say it's not exactly a looker; the front element is small and for such a small lens it has a lot of black plastic around the place. Did I say it's small? It's really small! Once you take the rear cap and screw it into the camera nearly half of the lens disappears. Low cost, small, light - so far so good.

So what about the optical quality? I'm pleased to say it's excellent too, even across the sensor on my full-frame 5D3. While f2.8 isn't that fast it does produce really sharp results wide-open; at f2.8 I would say it's sharper than my 50mm f1.4. (at f2.8). I haven't stopped it down past f8 so I can't report past there but it does improve a little at f4, but I'm more than happy to use it at f2.8. I didn't notice a benefit or disadvantage for the STM focus motor, I just found it fast and quiet.

Now the downsides, though I must say I don't think any are worth losing a star over. The first is the focal length - 40mm is a bit of an odd one on a full frame dSLR - it distorts a bit on portraits if you frame it from the wrong angle but it's not really that wide for landscapes either. On a crop sensor (Canon 1xxxD, xx0D, xxD & 7D) the 1.6 multiplier makes it a 64mm equivalent which is also odd - not close to a 50mm standard and not really a good length for portraits either. That said I think 40mm makes a bit more sense (to me at least) on a full-frame body like the 5D and 6D series (it would look a bit mad on a 1D series!). The next downside is really minor but it is the size - it does look a bit out of place on a large dSLR like the 5Dx cameras; but I can live with it!

Where it's a total winner is that you can slide it in your bag with along with a kit or long zoom on your camera and if you find yourself needing a faster max aperture (than the average f4 or smaller zoom) or something close to a standard lens then it cost you almost nothing in terms of space or weight. It's also nice if you want to take your dSLR and feel like travelling light(ish). Recommended!
77 comments|33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 March 2014
For a low cost Canon lens, this will have wide appeal for different purposes. Optical sharpness is first class even at wide aperture. Auto focus on Canon cameras is accurate even in low light, although the focus speed is slower than with USM lenses. The quality of the build is first-class - without wobble or rattle; movements are smooth, the switch is positive and there is a metal mount. The lens is amazingly small and lightweight.
I use it for indoor low light photography on two Canon SLR's -
As a short portrait telephoto on the (cropped frame sensor) EOS 40D and
As a standard (landscape) lens on the (full frame sensor) EOS 5Dii.
Maximum aperture is F2 .8 and can produce very pleasing out of focus effects, especially as it will focus down to 30 cm. The out of focus bokeh is smooth.
For many photographers on a budget, this would be a better buy than Canon's 50 mm F1.8 offering. Shop around - I found a good deal on Amazon marketplace, fulfilled by Amazon.
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on 26 January 2013
This has to be the lightest lens in the Canon range. Great as a street shooter lens as it is so small. Quite fast at F2.8 and from F2.8 to F 7.1 it has wall to wall sharpness.
That sharpness drops off after that, though not by much, but is very soft at F22. Not a problem though as I use it at F5.6 mostly.
The AF is not the fastest or quietest, but it is ver smooth for video. The AF noise however is a bit intrusive on video, unless you use an external mike.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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