Lens Acronyms

kenmasters

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Hi everyone,

Completely new to lenses. Is there a list of acronyms used to describe lenses? There's AF, EF, EF-S, IS, DX, L, F/# etc, etc... I'm lost in what all this means.

There should be a sticky for all these noob questions ! :)

Thanks,

Ken

:)
 

Sideburns

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there's no sticky, because most of them are pretty straight forward.

AF is autofocus
EF is Canon's lens mount, EF-S is the digital version
IS is image stabilizer
L is luxury
f/# just means the maximum aperture
##mm is the focal length of the lens (bigger = longer/more "zoom" power)

DX is not a lens acronym. It means that the film/camera is compatible with the DX system of automatically setting the ISO speed.

Hope that helps.
 

Helen B

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Here's the direct link to Thom Hogan's page on Nikon lens designations:

http://www.bythom.com/lensacronyms.htm

It includes Nikon's use of DX to mean restricted coverage rather than the method of reading film speed on 135 cassettes. Speaking of confusing, I always thought that an acronym was an abbreviation that was pronounced as a word, like ANSI, SATA, ANFO etc, not just an abbreviation. Am I just behind the times, or is this an American/British thing?

Best,
Helen
 

Sideburns

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Here's the direct link to Thom Hogan's page on Nikon lens designations:

http://www.bythom.com/lensacronyms.htm

It includes Nikon's use of DX to mean restricted coverage rather than the method of reading film speed on 135 cassettes. Speaking of confusing, I always thought that an acronym was an abbreviation that was pronounced as a word, like ANSI, SATA, ANFO etc, not just an abbreviation. Am I just behind the times, or is this an American/British thing?

Best,
Helen

ahaha...leave it to Nikon to make a stupid acronym the same as another...

I read this page when I was trying to find out what all those meant too. It's not as comprehensive, but it'll give you the basics. After reading that, I still don't know what VR is :( but I have a pretty good idea what my next lens will be after reading that page.
GL

http://www.digital-slr-guide.com/best-digital-slr-lens.html


Oh, that's an easy one

VR is Vibration reduction. Same as IS basically.
 

sabbath999

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My favorite lens acronym is "G" on Nikon lenses. This "feature" simply means that "we are screwing you out of the chance of manually setting the aperture on the lens".

Gee, thanks, Nikon... can't tell you how much I appreciate that wonderful feature.
 

jstuedle

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My favorite lens acronym is "G" on Nikon lenses. This "feature" simply means that "we are screwing you out of the chance of manually setting the aperture on the lens".

Gee, thanks, Nikon... can't tell you how much I appreciate that wonderful feature.

I agree Sabbath, I don't own a "G" lens, yet. I'm sure I'll be forced to in the future. I still have a locker full of old aperture ring glass for my vintage film bodies. I is amazing how Nikon can take a thing like backwards compatibility, something they have all over the white lens guys and screw it up.
 
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kenmasters

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Thanks everyone. Everything is starting to make more sense now. There are still lots of acronyms that are out there, and I think different manufacturers uses different terms creating even more confusing for us noobs :D

One question that I haven't been able to figure out yet even after reading everything.

Aperture. There's a preference for a higher maximum aperture. When would you ever want to set your camera at f/32 ? I want to take Macro (close up shots) of small objects. I assume I need a lens with the shortest focal length and lots of light and at the highest aperture (f/14, f/32, etc..) ?

Ken
 

kdabbagh

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I assume I need a lens with the shortest focal length and lots of light and at the highest aperture (f/14, f/32, etc..) ?

Ken

If my time on this forum serves me correctly, to achieve the highest aperture you need to set your f/ stop setting to the lowest number - because the lower the setting the higher the aperture and the more light you will get.

If I got it confused then I am a fool hahaha
 

fatsheep

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If my time on this forum serves me correctly, to achieve the highest aperture you need to set your f/ stop setting to the lowest number - because the lower the setting the higher the aperture and the more light you will get.

If I got it confused then I am a fool hahaha

That's correct. The lower the f number, the larger the aperture (the opening in the lens). Larger apertures let in more light. The higher the f number, the smaller the aperture which conversely makes for less light.
 

KC10Chief

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I want to take Macro (close up shots) of small objects. I assume I need a lens with the shortest focal length and lots of light and at the highest aperture (f/14, f/32, etc..) ?

Ken

You'll want a true macro lens for that. A longer focal length would be better, especially if you're taking photos of bugs or something like that. You don't have to get as close. Also, the lower the F-stop #, the bigger the aperture opening is. That means it lets in more light. That's important on a macro lens. Check out the Sigma 105mm macro lens. I'm thinking that they make it for all the big brands. It's about $400. Probably a good lens to start with.
 

Mav

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Aperture. There's a preference for a higher maximum aperture. When would you ever want to set your camera at f/32 ? I want to take Macro (close up shots) of small objects. I assume I need a lens with the shortest focal length and lots of light and at the highest aperture (f/14, f/32, etc..)
You had it backwards but the others already covered that. For maximum depth of field you'll want to set the aperture to f/8 or f/11. Most DSLRs are diffraction limited at about that setting, so stopping down beyond that (f/22 for example) will result in soft photos. It's like squinting to see a distant object, but if you squint too much everything gets blurry. The only reason you'd want to stop the lens all the way down like this is if you're specifically trying to get some sort of motion or blurred action photo and need a slower shutter speed. These photos aren't going to be sharp anyways due to the blur effect, so then it can be appropriate. An example might be a waterfall shot during the day when you want a nice smooth flow of water. Even better would be a 4-stop neutral density (ND) filter. That'll let you slow down daylight photos enough to get a nice flowing look for water shots while still letting you shoot at a more reasonable aperture like f/8 or f/11 which will leave everything else in the photo at maximum sharpness.
 

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