Complete lens glossary

by Enche Tjin on August 9, 2010

Lens suffixes/code usually confuse beginners, especially because each lens manufacturers has slightly different name for their lens technology. For example, Canon has image stabilization, Nikon has vibration reduction, Sigma has optical stabilization. All of the technology has the same function, only the naming is different.

Therefore, I manage to compile lens code of popular lens manufactures (Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Sony, Pentax, Tokina) so that it could help us understand faster and better what’s the meaning behind the code.

nikon-lens

Nikon lens glossary
AF-DC Nikon Defocus feature. Usually found in portrait lens to soften face. Example: Nikon AF DC 135mm f/2
AF-S / SWM Internal auto focus motor, or silent wave motor (SWM). Lens with this feature compatible with Nikon entry level cameras without AF motor such as Nikon D3000. Example: Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8
AF Auto Focus
IF Internal Focusing, lens front element does not extend when focusing.
D Nikon lens that has aperture ring for manual focus camera.
G Gelded, Nikon lens that does not has aperture ring for manual focus camera. Example: Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
VR Vibration Reduction, help to prevent blur images as a result of camera shake when shooting in low shutter speed. Example: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 II VR DX
DX Lens that optimized for Nikon digital SLR camera that has crop sensor (APS-C).
N Nano Coating, high quality lens coat minimizes flare and increase image clarity. Example: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 N
ED Extra low dispersion, reduce chromatic abberation
Micro Designed primarily for close-up photography. Example: Nikon Micro 105mm f/2.8 VR
II Indicate second generation
SIC Super Integrated Coating, multi layer coating that reduce ghosting
FX Lens designed for full frame camera and also compatible with crop sensor camera.


canon-lens

Canon lens glossary
USM Ultrasonic motor. Lens that auto focus quietly.
DO Diffractive optical element. Make lens smaller in size. Example: Canon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 DO IS USM
TS-E Canon lens that has tilt-shift feature. Usually for correcting distortion in architectural photography.
L Luxury. Hi quality Canon lens that usually optimized for Canon full frame camera. Example: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM
IS Image Stabilization, help to prevent blur images as a result of camera shake when shooting in low shutter speed. Example: Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
EF-S Lens that optimized for Canon digital SLR camera that has crop sensor (APS-C) and incompatible with Canon full frame camera.
EF Optimized for Canon full frame camera and compatible with crop sensor camera.
UD Ultra low dispersion, reduce chromatic abberation
Macro Designed primarily for close-up photography. Example: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
II Indicate second generation

sigma-lens

Sigma lens glossary
HSM Hypersonic motor. Lens that auto focus quietly. Compatible with Nikon cameras that do not has auto focus motor like Nikon D3000 and D5000.
ASP Aspherical elements: allow more compact lens design and higher quality image.
EX Excellent. High quality Sigma lens collection (built and optic quality)
OS Optical Stabilization, help to prevent blur images as a result of camera shake when shooting in low shutter speed. Example: Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 OS
DC Lens that optimized for crop sensor (APS-C) camera and incompatible with full frame camera.
DG Optimized for full frame camera and compatible with crop sensor camera.
APO Apochromatic, reduce chromatic abberation
Macro Designed primarily for close-up photography. Example: Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro
II Indicate second generation
SLD Super low dispersion lens, reduce chromatic abberation and increase overall image quality.

tamron-lens

Tamron lens glossary
USD Ultrasonic drive. Lens that auto focus quietly.
ASL Aspherical elements: allow more compact lens design and higher quality image.
SP Superior. High quality Tamron lens collection. (optical quality). Example: Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8
VC Vibration Compensation, help to prevent blur images as a result of camera shake when shooting in low shutter speed. Example: Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.4 VC
Di-II Lens that optimized for crop sensor (APS-C) camera and incompatible with full frame camera.
Di Digitally Integrated. Optimized for full frame camera and compatible with crop sensor digital SLR camera.
LD Low Dispersion, reduce chromatic abberation
Macro Designed primarily for close-up photography. Example: Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro
II Indicate second generation
IF Internal focusing. Front element does not rotate or extend when focusing.
ZL Zoom Lock mechanism
BIM Built-in motor for Nikon DSLR camera without AF motor such as Nikon D3000 and D5000.
XR Extra Refractive Index Glass. Allow small and light lens with huge zoom range. Example: Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR

pentax-lens

Pentax lens glossary
SDM Supersonic Drive Motor. Lens that auto focus quietly.
AL Aspherical element: allow more compact lens design and higher quality image.
DA*/DA Star High quality Pentax lens collection (built and optic quality). Example: Pentax DA* 65-250mm f/4 SDM
D FA Lens designed for (APS-C) camera but compatible with full frame camera.
DA Lens that optimized for crop sensor (APS-C) camera and incompatible with full frame camera.
FA Optimized for full frame camera and compatible with crop sensor camera. Example: Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8
ED Extra low dispersion, reduce chromatic abberation
Macro Designed primarily for close-up photography.
IF Internal focusing. Front element does not rotate or extend when focusing.
Limited Pentax pancake lens (very thin lens) collection. Example: Pentax 40mm f/2.8
SP Super coating, protect front element of glass from contamination of the lens by waterbased or oily substance, and easier to clean fingerprint.
WR Water resistant lens. Example: Pentax 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 WR

sony-alpha-lens

Sony lens glossary
SSM SuperSonic wave Motor. Lens that auto focus quietly.
G Gold. High quality Sony lens collection (technology and optic quality). Example: Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G
DT Lens that optimized for crop sensor (APS-C) camera and incompatible with full frame camera.
OSS Lens compatible with mirrorless Sony NEX system
Macro Designed primarily for close-up photography. Example
Zeiss Sony main partner in producing high quality lens. Example: Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Zeiss

tokina-lens

Tokina lens glossary
FC Tokina lens that has focus-clutch mechanism
AS Aspherical element: allow more compact lens design and higher quality image.
AT-X Pro High quality Tokina lens collection (built and optic quality). Example: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
FE Floating Element, correcting astigmatism
DX Lens that optimized for crop sensor (APS-C) camera and incompatible with full frame camera.
SD Super low dispersion glass, reduce chromatic abberation
Macro Designed primarily for close-up photography. Example: Tokina 35mm f/2.8 Macro
IF Internal focusing. Front element does not rotate or extend when focusing.
MC Multi Coating – anti reflective lens for sharp and clear images.
WR Water Repellent
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