Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

Started Feb 9, 2018 | Questions thread
Eric Nepean
Eric Nepean Veteran Member • Posts: 4,243
Re: Conclusion: I seem to be the only one ;-)

arbux wrote:

Eric Nepean wrote:

arbux wrote:

Eric Nepean wrote:

arbux wrote:

TomFid wrote:

alex2b wrote:


You nearly all agree that I should not want a pancake, as the multiple suggestions to just be happy with non-pancakes seem to imply. But I am not happy that there is no pancake 35-45mm pancake, as I made clear (why would I request for one...). At the same time I understand that lenses are usually not developed for small minorities.

I am still not convinced it can't be done, but if Panasonic and Olympus do their market research well, then they obviously have concluded already that there are far more of you than of me ;-/ .

Still, it's a pity; the compact m4/3 system would really benefit from this IMO.

The one serious analysis above suggests that it might be hard to do, not that you shouldn't want one.

Serious analysis of who? Professional lens designer?

Nikon makes 300mm f4 that for ff that is half the weight and 2/3 the lenght of olympus 300mm f4. What does this serious analyst says about that?

You're clearly no kind of an expert, or you would have mentioned that the Nikon 300mmF4 contains a phase fresnal lens. This is the first, and so far only, lens in Nikon's portfolio with such an optical element. And then you would also be aware that without such a lens the limitations of the ray diagram shown by David 247 on this thread are in fact limitations unless the designer uses a phase fresnal lens.

Obviously I'm not an expert. I admit what has been already achieved, instead of claiming (after the fact) that it didn't happen.

btw - "one and only" - except canon has few other designs of this type, including consumer zoom.

Interesting - which ones? The articles I found state that Nikon was the first to use this in a consumer lens. A search on "Canon Phase Fresnal" produces no hits.

And you're accussing me of ignorance? I see elementary issues here...

And you are accusing me on the basis of a typo... laughable. You've made quite a number of typos yourself in this posting and previous ones. Unlike you, I don't judge people on the basis of their typos,

First, this is Fresnel, not Fresnal. So try Canon Fresnel.

Indeed, eliminating the word phase gets a lot more good hits. Seems that the Canon lenses did not need special pre processing SW, but have some kind of issue without of focus highlights. So Canon has 2 designs, and Nikon one.

I hace tiny and extremly capable 30mm f2 on samsung nx i.e. covering aps-c (or pancake fisheye 10mm 3.5, that actually delivers quality)

I have the tiny and extremely capable 12-32, 20mm F1.7 and 14-42PZ.

good for you.

I suppose I should have used that nonsensical response on your identical comment.

you did, now twice.

I have not used the nonsensical response "Good for you" which carries no information, has no thought behind it and does nothing except express a rather rude ill-wish on the receiver.

so where is small 40mm pancake?

Where is the 55mm pancake for the NX500? For Sony E-mount?

Why does it matter? Try different forum to discuss other systems.

You set the Samsung system as an example to M43, it is a poor example for this argument as it has no equivalent to the 40mm Pancake.

Small and pancake are redundant by the way. "Large pancake??"

try googling small pancake and large pancake. There is a difference, to be precise, size difference.

I see, one article from B&H saying that a small pancake is less than 25mm long

As explained in other postings, once the focal length of the lens goes significantly above the flange to sensor distance (22mm for M43) a pancake become impossible. Ever hear of an 100mm pancake for Full Frame?

You're confusing explanation with speculation.

Not at all. Some of the posters here provided explanation why fundamental limitations made a 40mm pancake impossible on a camera with a flange to sensor distance of 22mm (without fresnal lenses), observation is useful to confirm theory.

I have the Hexanon 40mm F1.8, which was pancake for an SLR. Add the Hexanon to M43 adaptor and its not a pancake any more. Oddly enough, close to the size of the Olympus 45mm F1.8.

100 years ago.

Not at all. It was introduced in 1979. The physical laws of optics have not changed

And also the small and capable Laowa 7.5mm F2, 15/1.7 and Oly 25/1.8

these are not remotly pancakes.

They are however small and have very good image quality.

You missed the point of this thread - this is not about small lens, it is about pancake lens.

You changed it with your comment "Lack of really smal lenses for m43 is ridiculous" but I'm glad you've come back to the main thread.

Lack of really smal lenses for m43 is ridiculous

That lack exists in your mind only. As you can see by this link , there are at least M43 camera lens combinations which have a smaller front to back depth than the NX500+30mm F/2.

My galaxy S8+ is smaller than any m43 body+lens combination.


The point of a pancake lens is to make a camera lens with short front to back depth so that the user can easily carry it in a pocket or purse. The M43 cameras and pancake lens meet this more effectively than your gear, which you are holding up as an example.

Let's see - NX pancakes:

- 10mm,

- 16mm




all small pancakes. If I need only one lens, then I'd buy x100t or similar compact.

Equivalent to 7.5mm, 10mm, 15mm, and 22.5mm in M43. M43 has the 14,17 and 20.

And this is all from one not very active manufacturer of a dead system.

Yep, revenue didn't meet expenses and had no prospect of doing so.

If we all want to replace our M43 and APSC cameras with camera phones, we will always have something even slimmer than a compact camera with pancake lens. But I'm not about to dump my M43 gear for my iPhone phone and you're not about to dump your NX500 and Nikon gear for you 8+

Dump - no. But I found myself taking my camer out less frequently.

For me, not so much. The camera phone is OK for snaps, but I don't find myself using the iPhone for more than that.

Moot point. nx500 is 28mpix aps-c camera, you need to stack 2m42 bodies to get similar mpix count. 2 m43 bodies, even with lens cap, are larger than nx300 with pancake.

Most folks just take a multi-shot panorama if they want to increase the number of megapixels.

Take panorama of scene with movement.

The discussion here is about lens size.

Lens in my mobile is also small.

And so is the sensor. The fixed wide angle lens which is normally use in a phone camera will typically have a focal length of 4mm to 6mm.

The number of Megapixels is a whole other discussion, and is independent of lens characteristics.

Megapixel has nothing to do with lens and all to do with sensor.

Exactly. There was no reason for you to bring that into the discussion

At the end of the day, I can slip an M43 camera and pancake in my pocket which is slimmer than the camera you can slip into yours.

As long as they both fit, difference is negligible.

So both systems have pancake lenses then.

The Panasonic 12-32, 14/2.5, 14-42Pz, 20mm F1.7, and the Olympus 17mmF2.8, 14-42EZ are all good quality pancake lenses,

olympus 17 2.8 is a worst packae ever produced by anyone, except maybe sony 20mm 2.8

Why would you say that?

I looked for some reviews on this lens, and many say its a decent lens, although the AF can be slow. I found one particularly appropriate comment from a review by Robin Wong11/20/2015 10:29:00 AM

RObin Wong doesn;t produce approprtae reviews. He takes nice pictures and process them well. On top of that he was olympus employee at a time.

You would prefer a review from someone who doesn't take nice pictures and processes them poorly??

Robin Wong  shows what can be done with the gear. In the end his review is not that different from Photozone, both show good images, but say that the slow AF is a problem.

Try photozone, lenstip, slrgear, dxo.

Hmm yes, the Photozone review. Their cons for this lens are that it has two types of significant distortion and the AF is slow. However, both types of distortion are corrected by SW, in camera for JPEGs and by PC Photo Editing SW for RAWs.

I was wondering if perhaps you had some personal experience with this lens that justified the epithet "olympus 17 2.8 is a worst packae ever produced by anyone".

Clearly not.

This is the message i have been trying so hard to tell but still people always conclude with lens choice. It does not matter what lens you use, if you want good images, pay attention to lighting, composition and subject content. Asking me to use which lens more won't make anything better.

14-42ex is medicore at best.

and there's another half dozen or so that are small, including the Panny 42.5 /1.7 and the Oly 45mm/1.8

small <> pancake.

But your original, rather negative, comments were about small:

original text "Lack of really smal lenses for m43 is ridiculous"

Because small <> pancake. This is a specific discussion, i.e. every sentence has it context.

, as are attempts to justify it by internet experts. If anything, this is next gap to address by m43 manufacturers.

It seems that Nikon hasn't yet developed another lens product with a Phase Fresnal optical element.

canon did.

Really? which one?

try googling again.

This might have something with the fact that special Nikon SW is required is required to remove some of the strange optical effects due to the Phase Fresnel element, or perhaps manufacturing or design issues.

Aparantly this is not simple. Why would I care about what is simple?

Clearly you don't care.

I don't this is manufacturer problem.

I would not want a 40mm pancake lens with a phase fresnel optical element that makes reduced physical length possible, and that requires special SW to handle the diffraction effects of the fresnel lens.

M43 lens requie special software to correct for distortion and chromatic abberation. How's that different? They have also plenty of special glass. You're very inconsistent in your choices.

No. M43 RAW files contain correction parameters.  Most photo editing SW (Adobe, Phase One, Affinity )  has the ability to apply these correction parameters. There is no SW which must process the image first before handling it with Adobe Lightroom, for example, as is required for the Nikon 400 PF.

Special glass is an old story, its use goes back over a century. Everyone uses it. Fresnel optical elements, with rings etched into glass is a completely different ball game.

I'd be unwilling to pay the extra cost, I wouldn't want the hassle of the special SW,

Why would there be hassle? Cameras are small computers, sw can be build in lens profiles.

You can't build SW into a lens profile. Doesn't work that way. You can build more SW into the camera, and you can build more SW on a PC. The discussion is really about workflow, can you take the RAW image file from the camera directly to the end processing SW such as Adobe lightroom. (Capture One in my case), or does it need preprocessing.

and there are other things I'd rather see. For example, small 7.5mm and 10mm rectilinear primes (pancake would be nice), Small cameras with 24MP sensors, an affordable and good quality 45-200 zoom. A 30mm F2.8 pancake would be nice and is likely smaller and much more achievable (Meike has just released a 28mm F2.8)

Apparently no one told Meike that it is not possible.

No reason to. They likely have competent optical engineers, and a 30mm focal length is not that far away from a 22.5mm flange distance.

Then another company will create another pancake with longer FL. All this talk about phycis on this forium is plain stupid.

No, this epithet you so thoughtlessly apply to others actually is best used to describe yourself. Others seek to understand, you consciously and vocally reject understanding, and seek to berate and belittle those who do.

Of course there is physics, but there is few items that are predetermined. rest is a matter of technology and design, maybe technology that we are not aware about yet or we don't know it's impact yet.

Let's take dynamically curved sensor that canon patented recently. Can be flat, can be curved with various degree of curvature. Would that make pancakes with longer FL possible? Would PF make such pancakes possible? Maybe combination of both? Maybe neither is needed. I'm no expert. I'm customer that says I want to buy, money is on the market to collect it.

You've been out of M43 for years, you would re-enter for a 40mm pancake lens? Really?

For the same effort of designing a 40mm pancake with phase fresnal lens, Panasonic and/or Olympus could probably design two or three of these other lenses.

There is plenty of lenses, identical to lenses available elsewhere. Now, when m43 is kind of mature, is time to make system more unique and not more the same.

If I can buy a 15mm pancake  for NX system, that doesn't help me much if no similar lens is available for M43 (10mm pancake). Which there isn't.

I agree that it's a pity. I'd love to see more compact f2 to 2.8 options. I can't fathom why there's so much enthusiasm for spectacularly large/expensive f1.2 lenses, but not for more innovative ideas.


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