Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

Started Feb 9, 2018 | Questions
(unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
6

Both Panasonic and Olympus have released a lot of lenses lately, and they have been filling in the high-end range that was still missing from their respective line-ups.

While I do understand that this needed to be addressed, I feel that the original premise of m4/3 has been somewhat neglected in recent years: we grow bigger (literally), not smaller. Although I recognize that there are some exceptions to this rule (if you look hard), like the release of the very small and light Olympus 30mm macro.

I currently own two m4/3 kits. One with the Olympus E-M5 (mk.1), Panasonic f/2.8 zoom lenses and some other normal size lenses. And another one based on the Panasonic GM1, Olympus 9mm bodycap, Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake, and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 pancake. I use the latter when travelling light, like city travels.

It seems that the wide angle mini range has been covered well by Panasonic and Olympus, but they did not go beyond 20mm. And that I consider to be a pity.

What about a 40mm pancake? It does not have to be super fast, I would hope for f/2.8. Canon makes this lens; it would make so much sense if Panasonic or Olympus would step in and extend the pancake prime range. Or even a bit longer than that, if they can manage that. And a 25mm pancake to top it off. I would think that this can be an Olympus, as Panasonic already created the 20mm.

What do you think? Am I the only one who really, really likes his diminutive high quality travel kit?

-- hide signature --

Kind regards,

Alex

ANSWER:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1
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Mistajolly Regular Member • Posts: 350
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
13

The Olympus 45mm f1.8 is pretty small already and excellent value. Is it really too big for you?

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windmillgolfer
windmillgolfer Forum Pro • Posts: 15,866
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
1

The Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 is excellent and surprising tiny for its focal length and aperture - bought one aq couple of weeks ago.  I suspect that the physics of lens design, as currently understood, means that a pancake at 40mm is simply impossible, at any price.

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OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
8

Yes, obviously, else I would not post this.

I own the 45mm and for my travel-light kit I consider it to be too long (not too heavy, as it is a lightweight lens), because I want to store the camera as a flat package (in a pocket). IMO, that is the whole point of creating pancake lenses.

My 45mm is part of my E-M5 kit, and I sometimes add it to the GM1-kit, but knowing that it is perfectly possible to create a HQ 40mm pancake, I would rather have a lens fit for that purpose.

OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

I used to think that as well, because neither Panasonic nor Olympus went beyond 20mm, but then I realized that Canon makes the 40mm pancake. If they can do it, why would the masters of lens size reduction not be able to do so?

Luke Forrest Contributing Member • Posts: 504
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
7

The canon 40mm pancake is a FF lens with the same FOV of the panasonic 20mm 1.7, which is also a pancake lens. On a canon crop sensor is more like a 60mm lens, not 80mm which it would be on MFT.

The sigma 30mm f2.8 is the closest thing to the canon 40mm on a crop sensor. Not much bigger than a pancake, and certainly no bigger once you attach it to a small MFT body.

Picture taken from ephotozine.com

It might not be possible to make a 40mm pancake for MFT and even if it was most people would still probably rather have either the Pan 42.5mm 1.7 or the Oly 45mm 1.8. They're both tiny with a fast aperture for some background separation.

Mistajolly Regular Member • Posts: 350
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
2

alex2b wrote:

Yes, obviously, else I would not post this.

I own the 45mm and for my travel-light kit I consider it to be too long (not too heavy, as it is a lightweight lens), because I want to store the camera as a flat package (in a pocket). IMO, that is the whole point of creating pancake lenses.

My 45mm is part of my E-M5 kit, and I sometimes add it to the GM1-kit, but knowing that it is perfectly possible to create a HQ 40mm pancake, I would rather have a lens fit for that purpose.

I kind of understand, personally I'd love to see Oly or Pany produce a new range of weather sealed small lens inc pancakes.

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windmillgolfer
windmillgolfer Forum Pro • Posts: 15,866
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

Hmmm, interesting. Thanks for that. But does crop factor come into the equation?

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OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
6

I am not convinced. If you can create a 40mm pancake for a full frame camera, how would it be impossible to do that for a far smaller m4/3 sensor?

To use your own example: the Sigma 30mm has been designed for the AF-C sensor format, not for m4/3. It still works fine (as one would expect). In other words, it could have been even smaller if it had been designed for m4/3 only. If only Panasonic or Olympus would try that.

And the inner lens element of the Canon 40mm is not particularly big, so I would think that Pana/Oly could make something similar.

By the way, I tried the Sigma on my cameras. On the E-M5 it is a perfect fit, on the GM1 I feel it is already quite large. Therefore my request.

Astrotripper Veteran Member • Posts: 6,873
Mount specs probably
15

I don't know too much about optics design, but here's a little trend that might explain that.

Mount / Flange distance / Pancake lenses

MFT / 19.25 mm / 14, 17, 20 mm

EF-M / 18 mm / 22 mm

EF / 44 mm / 40 mm

EF-S / 44 mm / 24 mm

Sony E / 18 mm / 16, 20 mm

Leica M / 27.8 mm / 28, 35 mm

Pentax K / 45.4 mm / 21, 40, 43 mm

Nikon F / 45.5 mm / 28, 45, 50 mm

Do you see the trend? There are no pancake lenses that have significantly longer focal length than the flange distance of the mount they are designed for. That's probably not a coincidence.

Obviously I omitted collapsible lenses that are only pancakes when collapsed.

So if you are hoping for a pancake short telephoto, I'm afraid you're out of luck.

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enossified Regular Member • Posts: 440
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
12

Pentax has a 70/2.4 pancake for APS format (105mm equiv). It's the only pancake I know with a longer than normal focal length.

Most pancakes use the classic 4-element Zeiss Tessar design, so are limited to about f2.8. The Pentax has 6 elements which is pretty amazing...and despite the appearance it is AF. It's also $500!!!!

OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
1

Interesting. For a 70mm f/2.4 pancake for m4/3 I would gladly pay $500!

-- hide signature --

Kind regards,

Alex

SeanR1987 Forum Member • Posts: 82
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

alex2b wrote:

Both Panasonic and Olympus have released a lot of lenses lately, and they have been filling in the high-end range that was still missing from their respective line-ups.

While I do understand that this needed to be addressed, I feel that the original premise of m4/3 has been somewhat neglected in recent years: we grow bigger (literally), not smaller. Although I recognize that there are some exceptions to this rule (if you look hard), like the release of the very small and light Olympus 30mm macro.

I currently own two m4/3 kits. One with the Olympus E-M5 (mk.1), Panasonic f/2.8 zoom lenses and some other normal size lenses. And another one based on the Panasonic GM1, Olympus 9mm bodycap, Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake, and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 pancake. I use the latter when travelling light, like city travels.

It seems that the wide angle mini range has been covered well by Panasonic and Olympus, but they did not go beyond 20mm. And that I consider to be a pity.

What about a 40mm pancake? It does not have to be super fast, I would hope for f/2.8. Canon makes this lens; it would make so much sense if Panasonic or Olympus would step in and extend the pancake prime range. Or even a bit longer than that, if they can manage that. And a 25mm pancake to top it off. I would think that this can be an Olympus, as Panasonic already created the 20mm.

What do you think? Am I the only one who really, really likes his diminutive high quality travel kit?

Are you looking for a 40mm FOV lens? or a 40mm physical lens with an 80mm FOV?

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OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

40mm for the m4/3 mount (so not a replacement of the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, but a slight telephoto).

uRebel Rob Senior Member • Posts: 1,537
Re: Mount specs probably
4

Astrotripper wrote:

I don't know too much about optics design, but here's a little trend that might explain that.

Mount / Flange distance / Pancake lenses

MFT / 19.25 mm / 14, 17, 20 mm
EF-M / 18 mm / 22 mm
EF / 44 mm / 40 mm
EF-S / 44 mm / 24 mm
Sony E / 18 mm / 16, 20 mm
Leica M / 27.8 mm / 28, 35 mm

Pentax K / 45.4 mm / 21, 40, 43 mm

The 70mm/2.4 is pancake. And although rated as an ASPC, it works okay on FF too. On a cropped sensor, that's 105mm FFE.

Nikon F / 45.5 mm / 28, 45, 50 mm

And add the discontinued samsung NX

Samsung NX / 25mm / 16mm, 20mm, 30mm

Do you see the trend? There are no pancake lenses that have significantly longer focal length than the flange distance of the mount they are designed for.

... (except for the pentax 70mm) ...

That's probably not a coincidence.

But yeah, the easiest pancake is around the flange distance, but Pentax has both the 21mm and the 70mm, both pretty far outside the normal range. Canon's EF-S pancake "cheats" a little, as it allows the lens to go into the camera body (and why you can't use canon EF-S lenses on FF bodies).

Pentax is known for it's pancakes, and it's going to be hard to match/beat the ~ 0.5x to 1.5x the flange distance range that they have.

Obviously I omitted collapsible lenses that are only pancakes when collapsed.

So if you are hoping for a pancake short telephoto, I'm afraid you're out of luck.

Based on pentax's 70mm pancake FL being about 1.5x its flange distance, and applying it to m43's flange distance (and heavy rounding): 1.5 * 20 = 30mm. I think a m43 pancake 30mm lens is possible, but 40mm might be outside the flange distance's possibilities.

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OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Conclusion: I seem to be the only one ;-)
2

Clear.

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.

uRebel Rob Senior Member • Posts: 1,537
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
1

enossified wrote:

Pentax has a 70/2.4 pancake for APS format (105mm equiv). It's the only pancake I know with a longer than normal focal length.

Most pancakes use the classic 4-element Zeiss Tessar design, so are limited to about f2.8. The Pentax has 6 elements which is pretty amazing...and despite the appearance it is AF. It's also $500!!!!

You beat me to posting about this great lens.

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Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,011
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
9

alex2b wrote:

I used to think that as well, because neither Panasonic nor Olympus went beyond 20mm, but then I realized that Canon makes the 40mm pancake. If they can do it, why would the masters of lens size reduction not be able to do so?

Because they're making it for a mount with a much longer flange distance. Put the Canon 40mm on an EOS-to-m43 adapter and it's not really a pancake lens any more.

jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 9,325
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?
4

alex2b wrote:

I used to think that as well, because neither Panasonic nor Olympus went beyond 20mm, but then I realized that Canon makes the 40mm pancake. If they can do it, why would the masters of lens size reduction not be able to do so?

Pentax makes a line of crêpe-thin lenses that make the 20mm and 14 f2.5 look obese.

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OP (unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 263
Re: Why no 40mm pancake (or similar)?

Thanks. enossified pointed that out in a response below as well.

I just compared the optical designs of the Pentax 70mm with the Panasonic 20mm, and it seems that the Pentax has 6 elements, while the Panasonic has at least 7. Both are real pancake designs (no trickery in the Pentax). Interesting...

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