The Canon 40mm f2.8 lens sits in a sweet spot between Canon’s 50mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.4 lens offerings. At f2.8 it probably wouldn’t be my first choice for low light shooting, but it’s compact size and focusing distance of .98 feet make it a very interesting travel lens.

Sharpness on the Canon 40mm f2.8 lens is very good wide open (even in the corners), but the Lens does have strong vignetting wide open on a full frame body. On a crop sensor body like the Canon t2i, vignetting is much less noticeable overall and disappears completely by about f3.5.

Canon has gone out of their way to say that the new STM motor is very quiet and optimized for video users. However, in testing it seemed as though the STM system was much louder then the USM motor used on the Canon 35mm f1.4 L series lens. Focusing speeds of this new motor type are also decent, but noticeably slower then L series glass.

Another strange thing is the implementation of the full time manual focus option. The feature is available, but you can’t use it until you half press the shutter button on the camera. The lens is also “focus by wire” meaning there is no mechanical connection between the focus ring and the lens focusing elements. This is similar to the method used on the Canon 85mm f1.2 lens. So basically if you don’t have the lens on a camera you can’t control the lens using the focus ring. This could be an issue for those of you trying to adapt lenses to other camera brands.

Overall, I feel pretty positive about this lens. For the size and price it will be a lens that travels with me. I would like to see more pancake lenses from Canon, it’s a market that has a large gap in Canon’s lineup. It would also be nice to see an EF-S version of this lens that has an F-stop of something like f1.8 similar to Panasonic’s lens offerings. But I think the 40mm f2.8 will be a keeper for me. On the other hand, if you already own the Canon 50mm f1.4 there really isn’t a compelling reason to buy the 40mm f2.8 unless you really want the compact size.

For more test images check out this earlier post, as well as this one.

Tags: , ,