Budget-leans manufacturer 7Artisans has just released quite possibly the smallest (and cheapest) pancake lens (opens in new tab) we’ve ever seen. Available for Sony E-mount, Fuji X-mount and Nikon Z mount APS-C cameras, this 18mm f/6.3 lens might not be the fastest lens but it does offer photographers a very cheap wide-angle solution.
When mounted on the Sony A6400 (opens in new tab), Nikon Z fc (opens in new tab) or Fujifilm X-S10 (opens in new tab), it doesn’t look much bigger than a body cap. Weighing just 58g it’s incredibly lightweight, making it an ideal accompaniment to some of the best cameras for street photography (opens in new tab) or travel. And it's just $59 (£49 / AU$85)!
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Taking the 1.5x crop factor into account, the equivalent focal length is 27mm but it’s worth noting it has a fixed aperture of f/6.8 – which is unsurprising considering its size. It has a minimum focusing distance of 30cm, is made up of 6 elements in 5 groups and has a 76° field of view.
This 18mm optic is the lightest pancake lens we’ve come across by a pretty long way. Some of the best pancake lenses include the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ (opens in new tab), Olympus M.Zuiko 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap (opens in new tab), the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM (opens in new tab) and the Fujifilm XF 27mm f/2.8 (opens in new tab) – and this one could be right at home, especially given the price.
In an age when most new lenses seem to cost thousands of dollars, it’s refreshing to see one that costs so little, as it opens up photography as a hobby to so many people. You can’t expect exactly the same quality as more expensive lenses but, judging front the sample photos, they are sharp, bright, have little vignetting and color fringing, and for an f/6.3 lens you can even achieve a soft, blurred background when shooting portraits. Sounds like a winner for anyone who wants a new lens but can't spend a lot of money.