Compact camera or pancake lens?

Lately I realized that I wasn't using my Canon 5D II as much as I should. I also realized that about 70 percent of my uploads were done with my compact camera Canon G1X. Well the reason was quite obvious - I had my Canon G1X most of the time with me when I went travelling, day trips or business trips.

This made me think: Shall I sell my 5D?

Well, to make it short - I didn't. I sold the G1X - it nearly broke my heart but I had to be tough on myself to get rid of the temptation - and bought myself the 2.8/40mm STM from Canon. The idea was that it had to fit into the same compact bag I was using for my G1X and the only way to do that was the pancake solution. Now someone might come up and say that I have no IS anymore, no zoom, no flash. Yes, that's correct but I now have my fullframe 5D with me and also a 12mm extension tube which just happens to fit into that bag too, which is good for closeups up to approx. 1:2.

Now regarding the quality - the 40mm from Canon does an excellent job - I have enough room to crop if necessary and I must say that this light wide angle is a much better normal optic than a 50mm. With 50mm there are too many situations where you just are too close to things. But I now don't want to sell you this lens - but I really want to say that travelling with my camera and this lens is a delight. People don't take you serious as photographer because that lens makes your camera look a bit like a toy - but that's ok - I don't want people to give me the wrong attention :)

So perhaps before you look on the market place for a compact camera - you might also consider this solution. I wonder why Canon sells this lens rather cheap - I bought mine online for A$ 170.00 - they could have easily asked the double price - glad they didn't ;).

These were the first pics I took with the 40mm.

Photo credits: , Martingraf.

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January 28, 2016


meantime things have changed again - I have a Nikon Coolpix A with me nearly all the time - a pity Canon didn't try to build one like that - and the Canon when I'm on a photo trip

January 28, 2016


Very interesting post coz I am in the same dilema, would like to have a second camera for travel and "always with me ", my doubt was exactly that: to buy a good compact or a second hand 5d (I owe already a pancake).

February 16, 2013


Thank you Ekaterina!

February 16, 2013


Hello! Thank you for sharing your experience, it's very interesting! Wishing you many wonderful photos! Kate

February 01, 2013


40mm handhold at 1/40 f4 ISO800 with CANON 5DII --- took this shot while strolling through the city - I suddenly can do handhold up to 1/25 with avoiding shaken pics - with the 50mm I couldn't - there it was usually 1/60 -- this was also one of the typical situations where I usually used the G1X -  Australian Handcraft store window display   

January 31, 2013


nice shot Brad -- and thanks for all the nice comments - I appreciate every single one of them :)

January 30, 2013


I think you did the right thing... Good luck.

January 30, 2013


I've gone a similar way. I used to have a dSLR and a compact, and always found the compact lacking a bit for stock use. I ended up splitting the difference and moving to the micro four thirds format. With the OM-D and a pancake lens it is truly similar in size to the Canon G1X, but even with 4 or 5 primes it still fits into a small bag... Love having my 'best' camera with me at all times.

I do the extension tube thing too - makes for a handy macro lens in a pinch. Here is a shot with my 14mm pancake lens and 10mm extension tube combo while out skiing:

   Unique snowflake   

Here is a look at how truly small the Olympus OM-D is :) Mind you, the sensor is smaller than the one in the G1-X by a little bit: Size comparison

January 30, 2013


Great article. I'm going to check into that lens myself. Thank you.

January 30, 2013


don't sell, many buyer are looking at gear, this indicate the technical quality of the photo.

January 30, 2013


Added to my list :)

January 30, 2013


I got my Canon 40 Pancake as a gift, when I bought my new 6D. I was amazed with the quality of the small lense. It will sure be on my camera while travelling from now on!

January 30, 2013


Honestly - the G1X is a fantastic camera - I still miss "her".

January 30, 2013


Good choice for you. I am going to do the reverse. I am alway tagged with my 60D most of the time. Whenever the weather is nice or great situation appeared, I get it out but I feel like not spontaneous as approach. I think the G1X will give me this capability to stop my bicycle and shoot rapidly that I am missing. To conclude, I would say that we want what we not have. Maybe I will do the reverse later. And it is not a photography anymore :)

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