Canon Is Plotting a Nifty Fifty and a Pancake Lens for its Mirrorless Full Frame Cameras

Canon Is Plotting a Nifty Fifty and a Pancake Lens for its Mirrorless Full Frame Cameras

The glass released by Canon for its full frame mirrorless cameras over the last 18 months has been impressive, and has commanded some pretty meaty price tags to match. It’s now rumored that more lower-end lenses are in the pipeline in the shape of a nifty fifty and an f/2.8 pancake.

A few months ago I wondered why an RF nifty fifty didn’t seem to be on Canon’s radar. While it would be nice to think that Canon was listening, it’s much more likely that it was one step ahead of me and, according to Canon Rumors, is now plotting the release of an affordable RF 50mm f/1.8 for some time this year.

Canon Rumors is also reporting that a pancake f/2.8 will also appear very shortly, perhaps inside the next six months. The wonderfully affordable EF 40mm f/2.8 is one of my favorite lenses, and smaller, cheaper lenses will certainly make the EOS RP more appealing to enthusiasts who don’t need super-fast glass and appreciate the compact size.

What will prove to be interesting is Canon’s choice for the nifty fifty. The refreshingly cheap EF 50mm f/1.8 STM has almost legendary status in the history of Canon DSLRs, and, at around $125, there are few lenses that offer so much for so little money. Canon might be tempted to replicate this budget option, but it may prefer to opt for something more expensive, and closer to Nikon’s mirrorless nifty, the NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S which sells for just under $600.

Given the RF 35mm f/1.8 comes in at $449, my guess is somewhere in between, but this is from the guy who wondered why a nifty fifty wasn’t on Canon’s radar, so take that into account. I might still be right in my suggestion that the truly budget option might be a thing of the past, however. Be gentle.

Which should Canon go for? Cheap and cheerful in keeping with EF history, or something a little more expensive? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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I just picked up an EOS RP to replace my aging 6d and I would love a nifty and a pancake for the RF mount. It will be interesting to see the direction Canon takes the RF line

A budget friendly 50mm 1.8 with IS under 500 would be ideal. Tamron makes a VC 45mm 1.8 less than $500 which is pretty decent, but bigger on the R or RP due to the adapter. It would be nice for a 50 1.4 but I think the cost of that would be closer to $800. In addition, an F4 trinity would be nice to get on their road map.

Wouldn't be a real pancake anymore though - unless it's an ultra-wide.

Why's that?

From what I've read, it has to do something with the flange focal distance. For example, the EF (and EF-S) mounts have a flange focal distance of 44mm, which means that the optimal pancake design ends up being a 40mm (or ~40mm equivalent) lens. The RF mount has a flange focal distance of 20mm, so we can make an educated guess that the lens will be somewhere in that realm of focal length.

All that said, I'm honestly not sure why or how 22mm is the pancake focal length for EF-M which is a ~35mm equivalent but the mount has a flange focal distance of 18mm. None of what I've read seems to cover this particular variation of pancake.

Interesting! Thanks!

Like Tony said, Canon (or anyone else) has to work with the math. The focal length is set regardless of flange distance. You can't reduce the distance between the sensor and the focal point in the lens (do correct me if I'm wrong), so a 40mm "pancake" on the R mount will always be thicker than the 40mm on EF - R will be a smaller package overall, but the lens will protrude more.

Interesting stuff! Thanks for explaining.

I am absolutely in love with my 40mm pancake, it's my #1 street photography lens and an RF version will be wonderful.

I think a cheap and light 50 would sell well. Just as the ef version has. If you want and can afford the 1.2 it’s there. But sometimes you just want light and portable. That would also help sales of the r cameras. Not everyone can afford L glass for all there needs. I think that was the intent when the R was first released. Offer the best glass but also offer the affordable 35 for the ones on the fence or don’t have a lot of money.

I also think they will replicate most all the ef lenses to the Rf Mount. Canon has announced they are not going to release any new ef lenses and focus on the R F mount. So maybe we will see in addition to the 50 1.2 with a 1.4 as well as a 1.8 version in the near future. Who knows. But canon seems to be going all in on the R series cameras. We will see I guess.

A cheaper 50mm would be absolutely ideal for the RF mount.

They haven't updated the EF 50mm 1.4 in a very long time, more than 25 years in fact so it's long overdue.

If the new RF mount supposedly allows for much faster and smaller lenses then it makes total sense to launch a cheap 50 that can be bundled in with cameras and will sell like crazy with their new target market with the RP etc.

I'd love for them to launch either a 1.4 or even a 1.8 at a lower price point as I haven't yet picked up any native RF glass due to the insane prices of the L versions.

I'm sure there's many like me who updated to an EOS R with a collection of EF glass and can't justify the upgrade to the new L versions.

It be nice if they continued with a trinity off the RF 35mm 1.8, RF 50mm 1.8 IS and RF 85mm 1.8. That be awesome.

This makes sense to me if they are changing the optical design to take advantage of the RF mount's physical advantages. I absolutely love my nifty fifty and I see no reason why not to do the same thing with the new mount.

Agreed! I'm currently using the EOS RP and the Voigtlander Ultron SL2 and it's so small and light... I dream of a high quality 40mm f2 L with IS and auto focus. I'v used the 50mm RF... it's perfect but too much on a heavy side to bring along all the time. Below EOS RP VS 5DMkII ;)