This Lens Changes Everything- Canon 40mm Pancake Lens


I now have 2 favorite lenses for my Canon 6D DSLR. Okay, I only have 2 lenses for it, but I love them both equally for different reasons.

My Sigma 35 1.4 is a dream. It’s sharp, it’s fast, it takes stunning pictures inside my home, even in tight spots.

It’s also really heavy and pretty expensive. So it doesn’t make it out of the house very often when I’m out with the kids.

I sold my beloved 50 1.4 because it just seemed glitchy on my 6D. I couldn’t always rely on it to focus, for some reason. It’s possible it needed another tune up, but instead of paying for that, I let it go for a steal, and used part of that to fund a lens I’d heard a ton of great things about, theΒ Canon 40mmΒ Β 2.8 pancake lens.

Now, on paper it doesn’t seem that stellar.* The aperture is definitely far from the 1.4 of my 50 and 35. But what it lacks there it makes up for in the lack of size.

In the words of my daughter, “Awww! So wittle, tiny, cuuuuute!”

This thing makes my camera feel like a point and shoot. It’s so small that I don’t have to worry about knocking against things as I walk with my camera slung over my shoulder.

And so cheap (relatively, in the world of lenses) that I don’t worry too much about it getting damaged. Amazon has it listed for $191 right now.

It also takes pretty great pictures. Here are a few from around the house.

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And here are some I snapped in New Orleans last weekend, where I wouldn’t have even bothered lugging my camera with me with my 35 1.4 on it.

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All of these were shot at 2.8, with slight adjustments made in Lightroom, like some noise reduction and minor sharpening.

I am so excited about this little powerful lens. It makes me feel so much more free to take the “fancy” camera out of the house.

My Sigma 35 1.4 will still be my dream lens (for now), and will still live on my camera most of the time I’m in the house, but the 40 mm has certainly earned it’s place in my camera bag.

*Aperture affects the amount of light that comes into the lens. The smaller the number the more “wide open” the aperture is, and the more light that can get in. So a 1.4 aperture lets in more light than a 2.8, and is better in lower light situations, like indoors. This isn’t a huge issue for me with the 40 2.8 lens because my 6D camera body allows me to shoot at higher ISO without too much noise, and 2.8 is plenty wide for most outdoor shots I take.

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  1. I love your crisp pictures!! I could afford the lens but not the camera πŸ™ I stick with my iphone for now. but I enjoy your pictures!

    • Thanks, Sara! I imagine the lens works equally well on the Rebel cameras. My first camera was a Rebel (much less expensive than the 6D) and it really served me well. iPhone pictures can be pretty amazing, too. πŸ™‚

  2. I always love to hear product reviews! Honestly would have never considered a 40 mm. I long for the Sigma 35 but it is currently a dream πŸ™‚

    Sort of unrelated but I could have sworn you had a 5dmkIII?

  3. Oooh I love the size of that thing! I totally beat the crap out of mine when it’s slung over my shoulder with my 50 1.8 or god forbid my kit lens. I can’t afford a 35 right now, but this would widen my shots a tad but more. I just have a rebel but I mostly shoot at home and we have a TON of natural light in our new house so I think I would be ok with the 2.8. Definitely a great tip! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ugh, I think you just cost me $191 Jill! This post has been sitting at the back of my brain since you shared it. We’re heading to Disneyland in April and I’m thinking the 40 has to come along for the ride. Last year I shot Disney World exclusively with my 50 so I’m pretty sure this will do the trick. Last summer you pushed me into a 6D, now this? Stop buying gear please. πŸ˜‰

  5. Maria Giannadakis Angelopoulos on

    Adding this to my wish list! It does look tiny on the 6D! I noticed that niether the 35mm or the 40mm are stablized lenses? i find with kids they move when you least expect and then so do i! i have a non stablized lens now (24-70 f/2.4 on my 6D) and need to go to 1/200 or faster to compensate for movement but when i do i cut down on light (which is limited to begin with indoors) πŸ™ can up the ISO but then has too much noise for my liking ;( Any suggestions?

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  7. Interesting what you said about the 50 – I have the same lens and while I loved it on my Rebel(s) I have not loved it on the 6d. Can’t explain it really. It misses focus a lot, and front focuses some. (etc).

    I had a 40mm with the last Rebel I had, then sold it (then the rebel).

    I just bought a Fuji x-t1 as a travel camera, and I am finding it impossible to use. I think the 6d (which I’m ok with) and a 40mm might be a great travel (Disney!) system.

    If the weight is even close I will save myself over $1k going that route.

    You have any thoughts about that?

    • Hey Jay! I’m in a FB group with many 6D users and so many have lost the love for their 50 on the 6D body. I don’t know exactly what it is, but focus is a big issue for a lot of us with it. I think the 6D and the 40mm combo is perfect for travel and out and about. You have a fantastic body and a pretty great lens to start with, then you can add more expensive glass as your budget allows.

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