12 lenses of Christmas: February 2023 begged the question, “What price a pancake?”

7Artisans 18mm F6.3 II Ultra-thin
(Image credit: 7Artisans)

We’ve seen some interesting lenses from 7Artisans but this one is particularly intriguing. The 7Artisans 18 mm F6.3 Mark II Ultra Thin was launched in February, in a range of mount options for APS-C and MFT cameras. It’s probably the thinnest and cheapest pancake lens that we’ve ever seen, and we’ve seen quite a few. So beat the winter blues without blowing your budget. The tiny 7artisans 18 mm F6.3 Mark II Ultra Thin weighs in at just 58g, is barely bigger than a camera body cap and only costs around $59 / £49 / AU$85.

It’s no pancake lens but another downsized delight was announced in the diminutive form of the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM. And speaking of RF mount, Cosina stated that its new Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1 would be the fastest lens for Canon cameras.

With its retractable design, the Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is very compact and lightweight for a full-frame compatible standard zoom, and makes a great travel companion. (Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

We’ve always been impressed with Sigma’s 50mm Art lenses so it was good news that a new edition for mirrorless cameras was on the way, in the shape of the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art in Sony E and Leica L mount. And speaking of impressive, Leica bolstered its SL System range with the announcement of the Summicron-SL 35mm f/2 ASPH and a Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH. Meanwhile, Sony tempted us with the launch of its new 50mm F1.4 G Master lens.

Out with the old, in with the new. The Sony 50mm F1.4 G Master replaces the Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA. (Image credit: Gareth Bevan)

There was big news that Sigma was finally making lenses in Nikon Z mount. In the detail though, they turned out to be a trio of APS-C format 16mm, 30mm and 56mm f/1.4 Contemporary lenses that had already been released in other mount options. And if the devil is in the detail, the OM System M.Zuiko 90mm f/3.5 Macro IS Pro will certainly seek him out. With a bit of trickery, you can get up to 8x effective macro magnification.

The OM System M.Zuiko 90mm f/3.5 Macro IS Pro gives a native 2x macro magnification. The MFT crop factor multiplies that to 4x. Add a 2.0x teleconverter and you’ll get an incredible 8x effective magnification. (Image credit: OM System)

Good news for Fujifilm X system shooters was that new lenses were on the horizon, in the shapes of the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 Di III-A RXD and the Samyang/Rokinon 75mm f/1.8 AF. On a more bizarre note, we brought new of a new Lensbaby Double Glass II Optic that comes with drop-in shaped apertures for creative effects.

February’s reviews kicked off with a brace of budget-friendly Canon wide-angle lenses, namely the Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM and Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM. For a more standard perspective, we tested the Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG DN Art and Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM that we’d dovered in news, earlier in the month. We also reviewed the Leica 28mm Summilux-M f/1.4 ASPH. and, for movie buffs, the Irix Cine 150mm T3.0 Tele.

The Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM gives seriously wide viewing angles at a comparatively affordable price, complete with 5.5-stop optical stabilization. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.