What Is a Pancake Lens?

Pancake Lens

A pancake lens is a plastic sheet with a number of small holes cut out of the front. The idea is to use this to magnify objects such as plants or insects. There are different kinds of pancake lenses, with the holes cut in different shapes. You can also buy a “zoom lens” with variable magnification. This has two plastic sheets with the same holes cut in the same pattern, attached to one another by rubber bands. The difference between a pancake lens and a zoom lens is that the pancake lens is fixed in one place and the zoom lens is attached to your camera, so you can move it around. If you are taking photographs of flowers or insects in a garden, you can put the lens on the camera’s lens and zoom in closer. For example, you can zoom in to see the tiny details on an insect’s antennae or legs. You might also use the zoom to take a picture of your pet cat and then zoom in close to capture a picture of the whiskers on his face.