The 5 Best Pancake Lenses For Canon

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in August of 2018. There are a lot of photographic situations that call for as small a footprint as possible, and there isn't a lot you can do to reduce the size of your camera body. Fortunately, thanks to these pancake lenses, Canon shooters can minimize the amount of space their rig takes up without necessarily sacrificing their image quality. We've ranked them here by optical quality, durability, and value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

2. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Editor's Notes

December 04, 2020:

The market for Canon-specific pancake lenses hasn't changed too much since we last updated our list. The only notable new model out there is a slightly upgraded version of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, which technically brought it into more full-size prime lens territory, so we decided it didn't quite fit this particular category.

While the selection we'd compiled previously still solidly holds it down as far as quality is concerned, we did move the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM up to position number one, as it is compatible with both APS-C and increasingly popular full-frame cameras, whereas our previous top pick, the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM, is not full-frame compatible.

Due to availability issues, we removed the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 from the list. And for those interested in dreamier aesthetics, we added a special honor item from Yasuhara that's perfect for the soft-focus geeks out there.

October 17, 2019:

At this point in Canon's history, there hasn't been much R&D poured into their pancake options, and as a result there are no new on-brand options to add to our list. It would be reasonable to assume that their relatively new line of full-frame mirrorless cameras will get a pancake option or two in the years to come, especially considering the fact that the whole point of a mirrorless system is to shed size and weight from your kit. At the time of this writing, however, no such lens exists.

The one new addition to this list comes from a company that no one would have expected to manufacture a reliable lens just a few years ago. It's small enough to fit into a slightly stretched definition of a pancake lens, and it's made by third-party manufacturer Neewer. For about the last decade or so, Neewer has created a variety of budget camera gear, from flashes to tripods. They've grown in reliability and quality without seeing a corresponding increase in their prices, and they've very recently begun to add lenses to their catalog, including the surprisingly capable 35mm option we've place on our list.

Without much to add, we wanted to scrutinize the order of our previous ranking, and we've shaken it up from a new perspective, namely that these lenses are likely more often used on APS-C bodies than they are on full-frame cameras, meaning that their wider options (the 24mm and 40mm, specifically) will prove more useful with Canon's 1.6x crop APS-C crop factor than anything tighter than that.

Special Honors

Yasuhara Momo 100 43mm f/6.4 This lens designed specifically for a soft focus effect may be a special-order item, but it in fact has a very approachable price tag, and is available for both Canon and Nikon mounts. Its simple doublet design employs spherical aberration to achieve its signature soft focus, bringing an ethereal glow to an otherwise in-focus image. Softness can be adjusted manually on this lens, whose 43mm focal length is pleasantly realistic, if slightly unusual.

4. Neewer 35mm f/1.7

5. Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.