The smallest and bestest: the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM

Panos Voudouris
4 min readJan 16, 2023

I’m currently a bit in a phase where I just find big photo equipment annoying. It is big, heavy, a pain to lug around, it drags you down, tires you as you walk about. Just…not nice. And then, something comes along that is refreshing: the pancake Canon 40mm f/2.8 is one of those.

On my ancient EOS 300 (yes the pop-up flash is broken)

A tiny little lens, a minuscule one. There has been a bit of a trend nowdays where lenses are ever better, faster, sharper, more…expensive, more premium. Size and weight have taken a back seat as a requirement, everything gets bigger and heavier. Well…boooooriiiiing.

The Canon 40 is none of those things. It is tiny, it is light, it is cheap, it is slow (f/2.8), it is slow (to focus…well not that slow actually). And it is sharp.

Tiny! The hood is on too.

When I put it on a EOS 300 (yes the film one), it weighs less than most lenses or bodies weigh alone. It fits in my jacket pocket (admittedy it is a big pocket). When I put it on something like a Canon 6D, it still fits in that same jacket pocket. The depth of the 6D is effectivly the body itself, the lens hardly sticks out beyond the grip.