Looking for the Best Pancake Lens? We Really Liked These 3

The pancake lens is a favorite of so many photographers who want to travel light.

Mmmm, the pancake lens. It’s seriously one of our most favorite optics for any camera. Mount it to your mirrorless camera and the whole package will be small and lightweight. It’s hard to hate on the image quality when the feeling is this great. Luckily for you, we’ve reviewed a ton of different pancake lenses. So we dove into the old Reviews Index to figure out which ones on the market are the best. Without further adieu, here’s the list.

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Spend Your Money Better: The Funleader 18mm F8 Lens Review

The Funleader 18mm f8 lens can surely be a joy to use, but you’ll use it maybe once and then give it up.

We’ve been asking manufacturers for something different for a long time now. And thankfully, we’re experiencing a lens renaissance. So the Funleader 18mm f8 seems like just the right tool, right? It’s a pancake lens for a variety of lens mounts. It’s got an 18mm focal length with a fixed f8 aperture. Plus, you can’t even focus the lens. It’s got a fixed focus to a certain distance away. Best of all, this lens packs in character to it that’s beautiful.

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This Is One of the Most Compact Leica Camera Setups You Can Have

Every photographer wants a smaller and more Compact Leica camera setup.

The Leica camera, no matter the model, is always in demand. But the Leica CL has the hearts of many photographers. It’s the smallest M mount camera made. And on eBay, the Leica CL is crazy cheap right now. This isn’t the digital version with an APS-C sensor. (I always felt that was a slap in the face to that part of Leica’s history.) Instead, this camera uses 35mm film. It also boasts a light meter. The Leica CL was created in collaboration with Minolta. And there’s a very excellent and super small 40mm f2 Rokkor that is still one of Leica’s sharpest lenses. But there’s an even smaller lens for Leica M Mount that makes photographers’ hearts beat. That’s the MS Optical 28mm f2.

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Review: Canon 22mm f2 STM (EF-M)

As perhaps one of the most perfect pancake lenses on the market at the moment, the Canon 22mm f2 for the EOS M mount system has the unfortunate problem of being stuck with a system that grows slower than a bonsai tree. Canon’s lenses have always been good but in the case of this pancake you’re never going to want to have it leave your camera. It’s so small. Attach it to an EOS M5 and the package will fit easily into a coat pocket. You can take it anywhere and everywhere with you.

But of course, it has a few drawbacks.

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The CM33 is a New 33mm f2 Manual Focus Lens


It’s rare to see lenses funded on Kickstarter, but the new CM33 seems to be one that could show lots of promise for mirrorless camera users. The lens is being developed for Sony E mount (or FE in APS-C mode), Canon M, and Fujifilm X series cameras. It’s being billed as a pancake 33mm lens with manual focus and modern optics.

Part of the design involves being able to focus very closely–we’re talking about 5 and a half inches.

More tech specs and the company’s Kickstarter video are after the jump.

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Prototype for Mitakon 25mm f0.95 MFT Pancake Lens Appears


We knew that it was possible for a 25mm f0.95 lens to be created for the Micro Four Thirds system, but we had no idea that it was possible for it to be done in a pancake lens. Yes, you heard that right. According to 43Rumors, a prototype is floating around. There isn’t much information out there, but Mitakon says that it’s going to cost as much as the Voigtlander version–so over $1,000 for a manual focus, pancake lens that can shoot as wide open at f0.95. Considering the 2x crop factor, that means that wide open it will have the equivalent depth of field and field of view of a 50mm f1.9 lens on a full frame camera.

Crazy, huh?

The sample images published so far as also quite nice.

If this indeed is something that comes to the market, it’s going to be a big deal. A Mitakon 25mm f0.95 pancake lens for the micro four thirds system that is also capable of shooting at f0.95? That’s incredible. Yes, lots of people love to autofocus, but you don’t really need to if you just get used to working with manual focusing. In fact, it’s pretty fun and for street photography (the market that would totally pick this lens up) it’s pretty much perfect.

At the same time though, Fujifilm has been eating into the street photography market, so if something like this could be made for an APS-C sensor, that would be even more incredible. Unfortunately, we doubt that that’s going to happen.

Review: Sony 20mm f2.8 (APS-C E Mount)


Who doesn’t like pancake lenses? They’re small, perform well, and often are stuck to our cameras because of their portability. So when Sony created the 20mm f2.8, we just had to get it onto a camera for a try. Pancake lenses often trade performance for size, and the 20mm f2.8 isn’t an exception. It ranks on the bottom of the company’s prime offerings, but also is still better than their zoom lenses when it comes to image quality.

But that’s not why you’ll want to keep it on your camera.

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Five Pancake Lenses That Will Make You Drool

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer 5 Panckae article (1 of 1)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 2.2

Small lenses quite obviously help keep your camera package portable and lightweight. Since the mirrorless camera movement has been around, folks have been asking for small pancake primes to really make the system work towards its original intentions. But DSLRs also have great small pancakes, and if you’re looking for one, check out this list.

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Three Lenses Every Beginning Fujifilm X Series User Needs

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XM1 First Impressions product photos (7 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

When Fujifilm first started to develop their X series of interchangeable lens cameras, it was targeted at the higher end. But then the cameras started to trickle down more towards the lower end and more entry level consumers. We knew this when they launched the XM1, which is when the company began to talk about their strategy to target those that didn’t reach for higher fruit. Later the XA1 would be released. With these, also came some more entry level lenses.

But one of the best things about the Fujifilm X series system is its lenses–and even if you’re just getting started there are a couple that you might want to spring for and that you’ll hold onto for your dear life.

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Panasonic’s Well Loved 20mm f1.7 Is Now Discontinued

GF-1 with 20mm F1.7

Get ready to bow your heads down, Micro Four Thirds users. One of the most well loved and popular Micro Four Thirds lenses is now discontinued. When it was first announced, it was praised very highly due to the fact that it allowed large sensor cameras in a small form factor to stay small due to its pancake construction. The lens gave off a 40mm field of view–which is quite popular for those that don’t want something as large at 35mm but not as narrow as 50mm. 40mm is also close to true normal; which is actually 43mm.

The lens always focused fastest on Panasonic cameras instead of Olympus’s, and was one of the first lenses (and in many cases, the only lens) that Micro Four Thirds users sprung for.

You can still snag one at Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama or eBay.

Via 43 Rumors

Sony Announces a New Pancake for NEX: 20mm f2.8

Remember that 16mm f2.8 pancake lens that Sony had a while back when the NEX system was still super young? Yeah, it’s been gone for some time and the company is announcing their new 20mm f2.8 pancake for the system. The new lens will become a 30mm f2.8 on any NEX camera and should prove to be quite popular for the format. But that’s not all, the company is re-announcing their 18-200mm power zoom lens that can now be purchased as a standalone product.

The new E 20mm F2.8 will be available this April for about $350 while the E PZ18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS (SELP18200) motorized telezoom lens will be available this March for about $1200.

All the tech specs you care about are after the jump.

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