Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II

Standard prime lens

EFAutofocus lens designed both for Canon full frame and APS-C SLR cameras.
IISecond version of the lens.
Position in the lineup
Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM May 2015
Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II Dec 1990
Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 Mar 1987
Canon FDn 50mm F/1.8 Jun 1979
Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 S.C. (II) Mar 1976
Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 S.C. (I) Mar 1973
Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 Mar 1971

Sample photos:

F/3.2
F/2.5
F/2.2
F/2.2
F/1.8
F/3.5
F/2.2
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/3.2
F/4
F/2
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/3.2
F/8
F/1.8
F/2.5
F/4
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/2.5
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/2.8
F/2.2
F/2.2
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/4
F/4
F/5.6
F/2.5
F/1.8
F/2.5
F/2.5
F/4
F/5.6
F/2.8
F/1.8
F/13
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/2
F/2.2
F/2.2
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/4
F/2.8
F/1.8
F/1.8

Sample photos uploaded by users:

F/4.5
F/2.5
F/2.5
F/5.6
F/1.8
F/1.8
F/5.6
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/2
F/2
F/2
F/2
F/2
F/2
F/3.2
F/2.8
F/2.8
F/2
F/4
F/2
F/2
F/1.8
F/2

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Specification

Announced: December 1990
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Mount: Canon EF
Diagonal angle of view: 46.8° (35mm full frame)
37.6° (Canon APS-H)
30.4° (Canon APS-C)
Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Internal focusing: No
Floating system: No
Closest focusing distance: 45 cm
Number of diaphragm blades: 5
Type of autofocus motor: Micromotor (Canon EF)
Full-Time Manual Focus: No
Image stabilizer: No
Weight: 130 g
Maximum diameter x Length: Ø68 x 51 mm
Materials: Plastic barrel, plastic mount
Weather sealing: No
Fluorine coating: No
Filter size: 52 mm
Hood type: ES-62

Design and Features

The majority of Canon EOS full-frame DSLR cameras are offered for sale as a kit: a body plus a standard zoom lens (Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM or Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM). While the image quality obtainable from modern zoom lenses is very high, it lags behind the very best prime lenses. Besides, zoom lenses are always slower compared to prime lenses with similar focal lengths. For example, Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L IS USM has a constant maximum aperture of F/4, whereas Canon’s 24 mm prime lenses offer maximum aperture of F/2.8 or even F/1.4.

The angle of view of lenses with focal length of 50-55 mm closely approximates that of the human eye. In other words, such lenses capture scenes close to what a person can see without moving his (or her) head. Perspective appears natural and composition is not directly dictated by the angle of view as in case of wide-angle or telephoto lenses. Some people say that 50-55 mm focal lengths are neither wide nor long enough therefore not suited well for, say, landscapes, architecture or portraiture. But for the other people photography is about seeing more than about capturing images. When you use only one focal length, often you can easily visualize the image in your mind even before putting the camera’s viewfinder to your eye. There is something in a good picture shot with 50-55 mm lens that pulls the viewer into the scene, as if he was looking into it with with his own eyes. No lens can communicate feelings like 50-55 mm lens. Not surprisingly, many of the world’s best photos in a variety of photographic genres were made using a standard prime lens. So, if you are the owner of a Canon EOS full-frame DSLR camera and a basic 50 mm lens, your progress as a photographer is only a matter of self discipline and practice. Each lens has its own character which can be revealed in many different ways – this depends on how you see the world.

Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II is currently one of the most affordable prime lenses for Canon EOS DSLR cameras. It is the second version of now discontinued Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 (1987) which had much better build quality but the same optical design. The main task of Canon's designers for version II obviously was the reduction of production costs. A budget lens, however, does not always mean worse image quality compared to expensive professional prime lenses with similar focal lengths. Ways to reduce costs vary from one manufacturer to another and from one lens to another, however a typical budget lens lacks advanced optical technologies (IF, UD, IS, ring-type USM, FTM), has slower maximum aperture and less robust construction, which implies heavy use of plastic in the lens barrel and often a plastic lens mount.

Mechanically the lens is not impressive – despite the positive fact that the lens barrel is compact and extremely lightweight, it is also made of cheap plastic down to the lens mount. Plastic lens mounts are less robust than metallic mounts, so you shouldn’t carry the camera by holding the 50/1.8 II lens, otherwise you will risk to damage the mount.

Note: It is always more natural to hold the heavier part of your gear (camera or lens) to reduce the stress on the mount even if it is made of metal. If both parts are heavy and/or bulky, then it would be even better to try to hold them both when you can, putting one hand under the lens.

The “focusing ring” is actually a narrow ribbed strip around the front element. The angle of rotation of the ring is only 45 degrees. Precise focusing is practically impossible due to play of the ring. There’s no distance scale.

The lens features AF/MF focus mode switch.

AFAutofocus mode without Full-Time Manual Focus.
MFManual focus mode.

The lens uses front filters with standard size of 52 mm which are easy to find. They are also inexpensive.

It should be noted that most lenses of the system have such diameter of the filter thread, that is why if you will purchase additional lens with similar focal length and/or speed, you probably will be able to share filters between them.

The filter thread does not rotate during focusing which allows convenient use of different types of filters (including but not limited to polarizing and gradient).

In order to use optional bayonet lens hood ES-62 you must first screw the dedicated Hood Adapter 62 into the lens and then snap the hood onto the adapter using two side pinch buttons.

The front cap that comes with the lens fits the adapter both with and wthout the lens hood attached. The hood adapter also has a filter thread that has the same size as the lens itself. The lens hood can be mounted in reverse but you will loose access to the focusing ring. You can also use third-party screw-in lens hoods designed to fit a 52 mm filter thread.

The lens is equipped with micromotor, the autofocus is moderately noisy and moderately fast. It works very well in good lighting conditions but becomes less reliable in low light which could be noticeable at large apertures.

The focusing ring rotates during autofocus which looks pretty anachronistic by today's standards. It is strongly recommended not to touch the ring or manually stop its movement because it might result in damage to the lens and/or camera.

Image Quality

The lens is based on almost symmetric variant of double Gauss design which is one of the most developed lens designs in the world frequently used for large aperture standard prime lenses and large aperture moderate wide-angle prime lenses. It provides excellent compensation of aberrations, except for the oblique spherical aberration which lowers peripheral contrast.

Elements: 6
Groups: 5

Optically the lens is very good and has a large maximum aperture which makes it suitable for available-light photography. The sharpness is very good at the center of the frame wide open and excellent at subsequent apertures. Some reports that it can be soft wide open may be due more to focusing errors. The edges are good wide open, very good at F/2.8-4 and excellent from F/5.6. The depth of field is quite narrow at F/1.8, especially at smaller focusing distances. The background blur is not especially attractive at large apertures and can be described as neutral. With closing of the aperture out-of-focus highlights are rendered as pentagons due to the lens diaphragm construction (five straight blades).

Test Resultsphotozone.delenstip.com
CameraCanon EOS 5D mark IICanon EOS 5D mark III
Sensor size36×24 mm36×24 mm
Megapixels2122.1
Distortion-1.18 %-1.28 %
Vignetting at F/1.8-3 EV-2.62 EV
×

  1. Put camera on a tripod
  2. Switch camera to aperture-priority automatic exposure mode (A/Av)
  3. Select at least aperture value F/8 to obtain as large depth of field as possible
  4. Use as low ISO as possible (f.e. 100 or 200) to achieve the widest dynamic range of sensor
  5. Use remote shutter control or self-timer (to set a delay before the shutter's firing) to avoid image blur due to camera shake at relatively slow shutter speeds
×

  1. Put camera on a tripod
  2. Switch camera to aperture-priority automatic exposure mode (A/Av)
  3. Select at least aperture value F/8 to obtain as large depth of field as possible
  4. Use as low ISO as possible (f.e. 100 or 200) to achieve the widest dynamic range of sensor
  5. Use remote shutter control or self-timer (to set a delay before the shutter's firing) to avoid image blur due to camera shake at relatively slow shutter speeds
×

  1. Switch camera to aperture-priority automatic exposure mode (A/Av)
  2. Select aperture value F/1.8 - F/2.8
  3. Use as low ISO as possible (f.e. 100 or 200) to achieve the best color reproduction
  4. Shoot in natural lighting conditions, do not use flash
  5. Focus at model's eyes when shooting facial portrait

Typical Application

Landscape photographyArchitectural photographyPortrait photographyStreet photographyTravel photography

See also

User Manual. English, Adobe PDF, 235 KB
User Manual. Русский, Adobe PDF, 544 KB
Prime lenses for Canon EOS DSLR cameras

Alternatives (AF, 44..56 mm)

Canon EF 50mm F/1.2L USM 2007
Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM 1993
Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 1987
Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM 2015
Canon EF 50mm F/1L USM 1987
Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM | A 2014
Sigma 50mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM 2008
Tamron SP AF 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F013 2015

Comments:

Алексей - 28.12.2012 в 07:02

Такое впечатление, что Canon не захотела сделать этот объектив китовым только потому, что многим людям какой-либо другой объектив после него и не понадобится! И, что характерно, они будут правы.
EF 50 1.8 II — очень резкий объектив. Благодаря его светосиле снимать можно чуть ли не при свете свечей. Хорош для портретов благодаря малой глубине резкости.
Зум-объективы хороши для многих сюжетов, но там, где зум не нужен, важно оптическое качество. За те деньги, что просят за этот объектив, качество изображения у него с избытком.Немного мягкий на открытой, но это обычное дело для таких объективов. Если вы только начинаете изучать зеркалки, то лучше варианта, чем этот объектив, не найти.

Марк - 30.12.2012 в 13:21

Снимаю этим объективом примерно три месяца, хочу немного рассказать о нем. Первое, что меня привлекло в нем, это, конечно, цена — объектив очень очень дешевый. Возможно потому, что в отличие от первой версии этого объектива, корпус у него сделан из пластика, а не из металла. Помимо этого, у объектива, как и у любого другого, есть свои плохие и хорошие стороны. Начну с плохого.

На неполнокадровой зеркальной камере Canon объектив ведет себя так, как будто это объектив с фокусным расстоянием 80 мм, и угол обзора достаточно узкий. Это точно не штатник, а скорее дополнительный к штатному объектив. Ну, по крайней мере для меня — я предпочитаю снимать с более широким углом обзора.

Если вы случайно уроните этот объектив, то можете с ним попрощаться. Со мной такого не происходило, но я могу себе представить эту ситуацию. Корпус непрочный, и это заметно сразу.

Автофокус не особенно быстрый. Если вы когда-либо имели дело с объективами с мотором USM, то на фокусировку с EF 50 1.8 II вам понадобится больше времени. По сравнению с EF-S 18-55 скорость автофокуса примерно одинаковая.

Но есть у объектива и хорошие стороны, которые, пожалуй, перевешивают его недостатки.

Если вы никогда раньше не снимали объективом с фиксированным фокусным расстоянием, то вас ждет приятный сюрприз. Качественный зум разработать гораздо сложнее, чем качественный объектив с фиксированным фокусным расстоянием, вот почему более-менее неплохие зумы стоят дороже. Кроме того, качество изображения у зумов лучше всего только в центре диапазона фокусных расстояний. У EF 50 1.8 II зума нет, зато он самым оптимальным образом просчитан под свое фокусное расстояние. Снимки с него резкие на всех диафрагмах; на f8-11 он демонстрирует превосходную резкость. Я нисколько не преувеличиваю. Canon, конечно, сэкономила на корпусе объектива, но оптику эта экономия не коснулась — она отличная.

Тот факт, что это объектив с фиксированным фокусным расстоянием, при этом с не очень широким углом обзора, заставляет подходить к процессу кадрирования изображения более творчески, чем обычно, поскольку в ходе съемке приходится бороться с ограничением, вызванным фокусным расстоянием объектива.

Ну и последний из положительных факторов — это цена. Комментировать тут, пожалуй, и нечего.

гость - 10.04.2013 в 10:53

Когда-то, давным давно, объектив с фокусным расстоянием 50 мм был ШТАТНЫМ, и всех производителей фототехники оценивали и сравнивали исходя из того, насколько хорош их ШТАТНЫЙ объектив. Несмотря на то, что с тех пор производители объективов сфокусировались преимущественно на штатных зумах, снимая объективом с фокусным расстоянием 50 мм, вы пользуетесь оптикой, за которой стоят многие годы исследований и разработок, поэтому его можно считать одним из лучших объективов по соотношению цена/качество. Вопрос не в том, можете ли вы себе позволить приобрести такой объектив, а в том, почему его до сих пор у вас нет?

Фирме Canon удалось создать объектив со светосилой 1.8, что лучше, чем у любого любительского зума, при этом он демонстрирует очень хорошую резкость (что не всегда хорошо для портретной съемки). Кроме этого, объектив обеспечивает очень узкую глубину резкости изображаемого пространства, так что со светосилой 1.8 вы сможете размывать фон. Объектив очень дешевый. У него нет ультразвукового мотора, поэтому он шумноват. Шкалы дистанции фокусировки тоже нет. Но при своей цене объектив шикарен.

Что касается качества сборки, то да, объектив из пластика, поэтому если вы будете активно и много снимать им каждый день, то он вряд ли выдержит больше года.

Как мне кажется, лучше потратить свои деньги на этот объектив, чем на Canon EF 50/1.4 USM, поскольку он отлично справляется с поставленными задачами, что до более светосильной модели, то разница в качестве сборки (ее основное преимущество), светосиле (умеренное преимущество) и качестве изображения (небольшое преимущество) не обязательно стоит тех денег, что фирма Canon просит за него.

гость - 30.04.2013 в 13:07

Оптически не оставляет желать лучшего — контрастный, хорошая цветопередача, очень резкий даже на 1.8. Тот объектив, которым имеет смысл снимать, когда требуется действительно хорошее качество изображения. Но в плане сборки он не качественней, чем детская игрушка — спустя пару месяцев умеренного использования оторвался байонет. Пришлось купить новый. К счастью, объектив не дорогой.

Сергей Бирюков - 18.08.2013 в 03:20

50 мм Ф/1.8 и 50 мм Ф/1.4 — одни из лучших портретных объективов Canon. Качество изображения у обоих выдающееся, резкость на высоте, узкая глубина резкости, приятная цветопередача, красивое боке (размытие фона при съемке портретов). Некоторые считают, что с кропнутыми камерами полезность объективов с фокусным расстоянием 50 мм под вопросом (50 мм = 80 мм на полном кадре), но на мой взгляд, это удобное и важное фокусное, которое позволяет снимать портреты более крупным планом.

Что общего у этих двух объективов? Оба светосильные, резкие, практически нет хроматики, потемнения углов кадра, фокусировка быстрая и тихая, а качество картинки соперничает с L-стеклами Canon.

Чем отличаются? У меня получилось найти 5 отличий:

1) 1.4 более светосильный, что удобно при недостатке освещения, при съемке в помещении.
2) У 1.4 нет хроматики
3) 1.4 поддерживает Full Time Manual, а с 1.8 нужно переключаться в режим MF, и только потом фокусироваться вручную
4) У 1.4 качество сборки выше. 1.8 сделан из дешевого пластика — такое впечатление, что он может развалиться на части в любой момент. 1.4 металлический, увесистый
5) Размытие фона у 1.4 приятней из-за того, что у лепестков диафрагмы у 1.4 — 8, а у 1.8 — всего 5.

Какой объектив имеет смысл покупать? Тут все зависит от полезности объектива конкретно для вас. 1.4 прослужит дольше, 1.8 скорее всего сломается в течение года при нормальном использовании. Если вы хотите просто поиграться со светосилой, то 1.8 более чем достаточно. Если вы серьезный фотолюбитель и вам нужны идеальные по качеству кадры, то вам захочется взять 1.4, и вы вряд ли сможете устоять 🙂

Alex - 04.11.2013 в 15:58

Объектив — такая штука, на которую легко можно потратить десятки (иногда даже сотни) тысяч рублей. Факторы, которые оказывают влияние на картинку — боке, светосила, качество оптики — приходится соизмерять с толщиной своего кошелька. Лично я трачу на оптику приличные суммы — не скажу, что мне это нравится, но иногда просто невозможно отказаться от приобретения объектива, который обладает всеми нужными тебе функциями и возможностями.

В свое время я приобрел Canon 40D. Отличная камера, делает все, что мне нужно, и делает это хорошо. Это была моя первая камера Canon, кстати. Объективов на тот момент для нее у меня не было. Долго думал о том, какой же объектив приобрести. Выбирал среди самых разных моделей, благо выбор был очень большим. Так в итоге ни к чему не пришел, но потом увидел этот Canon EF 50/1.8 II. Подумал — возьму, поиграюсь с ним, пока не найду что-нибудь более серьезное.

Купил и теперь уже не понимаю, на кой черт мне понадобились «более серьезные» объективы. Этот 50/1.8 II реально хорош. У него не так много лепестков диафрагмы, как у более профессиональных моделей, поэтому размытие фона не такое плавное; но это не такой уж большой недостаток. Помимо этого объектив реально резкий. Чем больше света, чем короче выдержка — тем выше детализация. Четкость снимков с 10 МП сенсором Canon 40D просто феноменальная. Снимки идеальные. Автофокус точный даже при фокусировке только по центральной точке — это не типично для дешевого стекла.

Объектив весьма светосильный. Но если вам недостаточно, то у Canon есть L-объектив со светосилой 1.2, который стоит раз в 20 дороже. Я подозреваю, правда, что большинство людей все-таки найдут себе более доступный по цене вариант.

В плане функционала это простой объектив. Он просто работает, и все. Но как бы это именно то, что и требуется, правда?

Объектив автофокусный, в процессе автоматической фокусировки трогать кольцо фокусировки нельзя — объектив не поддерживает FTM. На корпусе есть переключатель режима фокусировки AF/MF. Диаметр резьбы для фильтров составляет 52 мм, проблем с установкой и снятием фильтров нет. Бленда ES-62 вместе с объективом не поставляется, покупать ее нужно отдельно.

Корпус пластиковый. Ничего плохого в этом нет, пластик бывает разный — он может быть и довольно прочным, при необходимости. Для каждого объектива производитель выбирает наиболее подходящий тип пластика. В руках объектив ощущается нормально, никакого ощущения дешевизны нет. Крепко фиксируется на камере, нет никаких скрипов и других разнообразных признаков недостаточно хорошей сборки.

Благодаря тому, что объектив пластиковый, он очень легкий, благодаря чему длительная съемка становится приятным удовольствием. Объектив почти что ничего не весит, так что баланс веса при этом смещен в сторону камеры.

При фокусировке объектив немного выдвигается вперед, и в этом заключается разница между ним и более дорогостоящими моделями. Это влияет на то, как вы будете снимать объективом. Другими словами, нужно просто не забывать про эту особенность. Поясню. Большинство людей, которым «повезло» сломать этот объектив спустя пару дней или недель после покупки, скорее всего держались за кольцо фокусировки во время автофокуса, а мотор объектива при этом пытался двигать оптическую схему назад или вперед и, в результате, сломался. Просто не забывайте — делать этого нельзя — ни с этим объективом, ни с любым другим, у которого нет внутренней фокусировки. В режиме автофокуса кольцо фокусировки этого объектива трогать не нужно! Если вы будете тщательно за этим следить, то объектив прослужит вам много лет.

Но, в конце-концов, даже если этот объектив у меня и сломается, я тут же, не задумываюсь, куплю новый. Это же CANON, а не какой-то непонятный китайский производитель. Если они сделали этот объектив именно таким, какой он есть, то это не потому, что там сидят дураки (думаю, всем понятно, что это не так), а потому, что в CANON знают, что они делают и почему они это делают. Отличный объектив, рекомендую!

Георгий - 15.08.2014 в 14:25

Преимущества:

Компактный
Дешевый
Легкий
Красивое боке
Хорошее качество на 1.8, еще лучше на 2.2, 2.5, 2.8
На 3.2 резок, как и большинство объективов, но все еще может размывать фон
При съемке в условиях имеющегося в наличии освещения на 1.8 резче, чем китовый зум на любой диафрагме
Отличный портретник с неполнокадровыми камерами Canon

Недостатки:

Медленная фокусировка
Неэффективный автофокус в условиях недостаточного освещения
Плохо справляется с фокусировкой в режиме следящего автофокуса
Дешевый пластиковый конструктив
В комплекте нет бленды

А теперь по порядку мой опыт съемки этим объективом и разнообразные мысли на этот счет.

Приобрел Canon EF 50/1.8 II, т.к. мне нужна была более резкая картинка чем та, которую способен выдать китовый объектив. L стекла Canon я тогда еще не мог себе позволить по деньгам. Резче ли он, чем китовый 18-55? Однозначно!! Протестировал оба объектива со штатива на разных диафрагмах — на 1.8 он резче, чем китовый на любой своей диафрагме и фокусном расстоянии. На неполнокадровой камере объектив отлично подходит для съемки портретов, в том числе в условиях имеющегося в наличии освещения — эффективное фокусное расстояние составляет 80 мм, что идеально для этого жанра фотографии, боке очень красивое, а контрастность высокая.

С другой стороны, для остальных сюжетов объектив не очень то хорош. Угол обзора на неполнокадровой камере слишком мал, чтобы охватить всю нужную вам сцену, и если например, хочется снять ростовой портрет, то придется отходить назад. Неудобен в плане угла обзора для съемки портретов на фоне каких-нибудь достопримечательностей или красивых пейзажей — тут больше подойдут фокусные 17-24 мм. Для съемки удаленных объектив слишком, что называется, короткий. Почему я все это пишу? Потому, что уверен, что в дополнение к этому объективу вам пренепременно захочется приобрести какой-нибудь хороший зум-объектив. НЕ ПОКУПАЙТЕ это объектив для вашей камеры в качестве единственного — покупайте как дополнительный, на тот случай, если нужно снять портрет или вести съемку в условиях недостаточного освещения (или и то, и другое). К тому же, вам по-любому придется постоянно менять объективы, чтобы по очереди заснять и портрет, и широкоугольную сцену. Если вам нужен универсальный объектив, то на неполнокадровой камере EF 50/1.8 II таким не является. Под универсальным объективом я понимаю такой объектив, с которым можно быстро менять угол обзора или фокусироваться на быстро движущихся объектах.

Подводя итог: если вы ограничены в средствах и вам нужен портретник для неполнокадровой камеры Canon, то покупайте этот объектив (EF 50/1.8 II). Если денег хватает, то можно рассмотреть такой вариант, как EF 50/1.4 USM — он фокусируется быстрее, качество сборки у него выше, и с теми же самим задачами он справляется лучше. Если вам нужен только один универсальный объектив, то НЕ НУЖНО покупать EF 50/1.8 II, лучше оставайтесь с китовым 18-55. Он не такой резкий, зато более удобный. Со временем можно докупить EF 50/1.8 II и снимать ими по очереди, по мере необходимости.

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Aperture

The aperture stop is an important element in most optical designs. Its most obvious feature is that it limits the amount of light that can reach the image/film plane. Typically, a fast shutter will require a larger aperture to ensure sufficient light exposure, and a slow shutter will require a smaller aperture to avoid excessive exposure.

A device called a diaphragm usually serves as the aperture stop, and controls the aperture. The diaphragm functions much like the iris of the eye – it controls the effective diameter of the lens opening. Reducing the aperture size increases the depth of field, which describes the extent to which subject matter lying closer than or farther from the actual plane of focus appears to be in focus. In general, the smaller the aperture (the larger the number), the greater the distance from the plane of focus the subject matter may be while still appearing in focus.

The lens aperture is usually specified as an f-number, the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. A lens typically has a set of marked "f-stops" that the f-number can be set to. A lower f-number denotes a greater aperture opening which allows more light to reach the film or image sensor.

The specifications for a given lens typically include the maximum and minimum aperture sizes, for example, f/1.4–f/22. In this case f/1.4 is the maximum aperture (the widest opening), and f/22 is the minimum aperture (the smallest opening). The maximum aperture opening tends to be of most interest, and is always included when describing a lens. This value is also known as the lens "speed", as it affects the exposure time. Lenses with apertures opening f/2.8 or wider are referred to as "fast" lenses. Zoom lenses typically have a maximum relative aperture (minimum f-number) of f/2.8 to f/6.3 through their range. High-end lenses will have a constant aperture, such as f/2.8 or f/4, which means that the relative aperture will stay the same throughout the zoom range. A more typical consumer zoom will have a variable maximum relative aperture, since it is harder and more expensive to keep the maximum relative aperture proportional to focal length at long focal lengths; f/3.5 to f/5.6 is an example of a common variable aperture range in a consumer zoom lens.

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Autofocus motor

Micromotors and built-in motors of Nikon, Pentax and Sony digital SLR cameras provide moderately noisy and acceptably fast autofocus.

With ultrasonic, linear or stepping motor it is possible to achieve very fast and virtually silent autofocus. Moreover, the use of linear or stepping motor ensures smooth continuous focusing which makes lenses with such types of motors ideal for video recording.

The accuracy of autofocus does not depend on type of used autofocus motor but depends on focusing method (contrast or phase detection), autofocus algorithms, lighting conditions and other factors.

See also:

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Full-Time Manual Focus

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

See also:

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Full-Time Manual Focus

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Full-Time Manual Focus with lenses equipped with stepping or linear motor is performed in the following way - half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the manual focusing ring.

See also:

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Internal focusing

Only the group(s) of elements in front or behind the diaphragm move during the internal or rear focusing respectively. The filter thread (if available) does not rotate during focusing which makes it easy to use different types of filters (including but not limited to polarizing and gradient). The internal or rear focusing is usually used in large telephoto lenses to provide faster autofocus. The true focal length of the lens is reduced when not focused at infinity.

See also:

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Image stabilizer

Allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

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The performance of older lenses designed for film SLR cameras is less than perfect with full-frame DSLR cameras, especially at the corners of the frame. To get the best results, you need to use lenses announced at least after 2000, since they are optimized for digital cameras.

The optimization typically involves the following measures performed by the lens manufacturer:

Improvement of light distribution to provide more even image illumination from the center to the edges.

The structure of an imaging sensor requires that light should strike the entire surface at the angle of 90 degrees. With conventional lenses designed for 35 mm film cameras, the light strikes an imaging sensor at an increasingly oblique angle as you move toward the edges of the image. This causes decrease in illumination and sharpness at the edges of the image, especially when using (ultra) wide-angle lenses at large apertures.

Improvement of multi-layer coatings to reduce reflections from the imaging sensor to the minimum.

An imaging sensor with its almost mirror-like surface is far more reflective than photographic film. When light reflects from the surface of the imaging sensor, it bounces to the rear lens element and can create flare that degrades image contrast and sharpness.

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Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

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Efficiency of Image Stabilizer

The efficiency of image stabilizer is measured in stops and each stop corresponds to a two-times increase of shutter speed. For example, if you are shooting at focal length of 80 mm and it is known that the efficiency of image stabilizer is 3 stops, it means that during handheld shooting at such focal length you can use shutter speed of 1/10 second which is exactly 23 times longer than the shutter speed 1/80 second needed to obtain sharp image in sufficient lighting conditions.

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Zooming method

The rotary zooming method means that the change of the focal length is achieved by turning the zoom ring and the manual focusing - by turning the separate manual focus ring. The push/pull zooming method means that the change of focal length and the manual focusing is achieved by one and the same ring. The change of focal length is happens when the photographer moves the ring towards the mount or backwards and the rotation of the ring leads to change of focus.

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Lens Hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background The light source itself may be in the lens' angle of view, but it doesn't have to be to cause a lens flare. It is only necessary that stray light from the bright light source enter the lens.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section (much like a lamp shade) to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. These more complex shapes take into account the final image's shape and aspect ratio. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood, thereby reducing the amount of vignetting in the final image.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood (away from the end of the lens) cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods that are supplied by the manufacturer of the lens are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. Rubber lens hoods are flexible and generally collapse for storage. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

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Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Digital sensors are usually smaller than 35mm film, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a constant factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website calculates angles of view of lenses automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

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Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a photographic camera body and a lens. It is confined to cameras where the body allows interchangeable lenses, most usually the rangefinder and SLR cameras.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock (friction lock) type. Modern still camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body. Screw-threaded mounts are fragile and do not align the lens in a reliable rotational position.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different. These incompatibilities are probably due to the desire of manufacturers to lock in consumers to their brand.

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Closest focusing distance

Distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject.

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Closest working distance

Distance from the front of the lens to the subject.

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Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. A magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size". A lens is not considered to be "true" macro unless it can achieve at least life-size magnification.

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Weight

Excluding caps and detachable accessories such as lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.

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Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding caps and detachable accessories such as lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.

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Distortion

A form of optical aberration, a deviation from rectilinear projection in which straight lines in a scene remain straight in an image.

Although distortion can be irregular or follow many patterns, the most commonly encountered distortions are radially symmetric, or approximately so, arising from the symmetry of a photographic lens. These radial distortions can usually be classified as either barrel distortions or pincushion distortions.

In barrel distortion, image magnification decreases with distance from the optical axis. The apparent effect is that of an image which has been mapped around a sphere (or barrel). Fisheye lenses, which take hemispherical views, utilize this type of distortion as a way to map an infinitely wide object plane into a finite image area. In a zoom lens barrel distortion appears in the middle of the lens's focal length range and is worst at the wide-angle end of the range.

In pincushion distortion, image magnification increases with the distance from the optical axis. The visible effect is that lines that do not go through the centre of the image are bowed inwards, towards the centre of the image, like a pincushion.

In photography, distortion is particularly associated with zoom lenses, particularly large-range zooms, but may also be found in prime lenses. Barrel distortion may be found in wide-angle lenses, and is often seen at the wide-angle end of zoom lenses, while pincushion distortion is often seen in older or low-end telephoto lenses.

Correction usually requires cropping out curved edges of the corrected image which can influence the composition. Moreover, correction leads to redistribution of image resolution – the center of the frame will lose some sharpness and the edges become sharper after the correction of pincushion distortion and vice versa, the center of the frame become sharper and the edges will lose some sharpness as the result of correction of barrel distortion. The results of correction could be especially noticeable for wide-angle lenses because most of lenses of such class suffer from resolution drop at the edges and especially at the corners of the frame. Thereby the correction should be performed only for those pictures which contain straight lines (f.e. images of architecture).

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Vignetting

Vignetting is a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation at the periphery compared to the image center. Vignetting is often an unintended and undesired effect caused by camera settings or lens limitations. However, it is sometimes deliberately introduced for creative effect, such as to draw attention to the center of the frame. A photographer may deliberately choose a lens which is known to produce vignetting to obtain the effect, or it may be introduced with the use of special filters or post-processing procedures.

Correction of vignetting requires brightening of the edges and corners of the frame. Such correction however increases digital noise at the corresponding areas of the frame because digitally brightening an image amplifies both the signal and the noise equally. That’s why shooting at the maximum aperture should be avoided whenever possible since the all lenses have the strongest vignetting at their maximum aperture.

In some cases, the optical vignetting can be minimized by closing of the aperture by one or several stops. However even the significant closing of the aperture may not have the noticeable effect with some models of wide-angle lenses.

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Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

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Floating system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance.

See also:

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Spherical aberration

Because of the spherical aberration the parallel light rays passing through the edge of the lens converge at the focal point closer to the lens than the rays passing through the lens center. Large aperture lenses suffer from stronger spherical aberration. Rays of light passing near the optical axis form a sharp point on the image sensor of a camera but under the influence of the peripheral rays of light the point light source receives a uniform halo. Spherical aberration affects the whole image field from the center to the edges and results in a blurred image with lower contrast.

The correction of spherical aberration of spherical lenses is very complex and does not ensure its complete elimination. The residual aberration can be significantly reduced by closing of the aperture, because the edges of the lens are thus blocked. The only effective way to substantially compensate for the spherical aberration at the maximum relative aperture of the large aperture lens is the use of aspherical elements. Uncorrected spherical aberration can cause a focus shift.

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Bokeh

Bokeh is a quite subjective concept as the perception of the image depends on the viewer. Some like "nervous" bokeh with twisted or doubled background. Some prefer out-of-focus highlights to take the form of a polygonal shape. However most of the people like the following characteristics:

  • Gaussian blur - smooth and uniform foreground and background blur without any kind of doubling or twisting;
  • Circular form and uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights with no color outline;
  • There's no longitudinal chromatic aberration (color fringes in the transition zone).
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Filters

There are two basic types of lens filters - circular that screw directly on the filter thread in front of the lens, and square ones, which slot into a filter holder.

Circular screw-on filters protect the surface of the front lens element against dust, moisture, fingerprints, scratches and bumps. Square gelatin filters are dropped into place in slot that keeps it flat and parallel to the focal plane in order to maintain optimal image quality. Drop-in filters are mostly used in super telephoto lenses due to the large size of the front lens element.

The primary function of lens filters is to improve the image quality and/or produce special effects.

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Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

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Weather sealing

Weather sealed lenses contain a rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

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Hybrid IS

The image stabilizer has Hybrid IS technology which corrects not only angle but also shift camera shake, which is more pronounced in close-range shooting when a camera moves parallel to the imaging scene. Hybrid IS dramatically enhances the effects of image stabilization during shooting, including macro shooting, which had proven difficult for conventional image stabilization technologies.

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Dynamic IS

The image stabilizer has Dynamic IS technology which especially effective when shooting while walking because it compensates strong camera shake. Dynamic IS activates automatically when the camera is set to movie shooting.

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Mode 1

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake. Mainly effective for shooting still subjects.

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Mode 2

Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots in a horizontal direction. Corrects horizontal camera shake during following shots in a vertical direction.

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Mode 2

Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots in a horizontal direction.

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Mode 3

Corrects camera shake only during exposure. During panning shots, corrects camera shake during exposure only in one direction the same as Mode 2. Effective for following fast and irregulary moving subjects.

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Panning Detection

The image stabilizer automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction

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Tripod Detection

It is often thought that image blur caused by camera shake can be prevented by using a tripod. Actually, however, even using a tripod may result in image blur because of tripod vibration caused by mirror or shutter movement at the time of exposure. The image stabilizer automatically differentiates the frequency of the vibration from that of camera shake, and changes algorithm to correct image blur caused by slight tripod vibration.

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VR NORMAL

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake. Automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

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VR ACTIVE

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake when shooting from a moving vehicle, or some other unstable position. Panning is not detected.

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VR SPORT

Allows a continuous shooting frame rate and release time lag similar to those that are possible when image stabilizer is turned off. Automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

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VR TRIPOD

It is often thought that image blur caused by camera shake can be prevented by using a tripod. Actually, however, even using a tripod may result in image blur because of tripod vibration caused by mirror or shutter movement at the time of exposure. The image stabilizer automatically differentiates the frequency of the vibration from that of camera shake, and changes algorithm to correct image blur caused by slight tripod vibration.

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Altix

Designed By: VEB Altissa Camera Werk
Announced: 1956
Discontinued: 1959
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Viewfinder
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 42.5 mm
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Fujifilm X

Designed By: Fujifilm Holdings Corporation
Announced: 2012
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: APS-C
Camera Type: Mirrorless
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 17.7 mm
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Samsung NX

Designed By: Samsung Group
Announced: 2010
Discontinued: Yes
Maximum format: APS-C
Camera Type: Mirrorless
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 25.5 mm
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Sony E

Designed By: Sony Corporation
Announced: 2010
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Mirrorless
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 18 mm
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Nikon F

Designed By: Nikon Corporation
Announced: 1959
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 46.5 mm
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Pentax K

Designed By: Pentax Corporation
Announced: 1975
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 45.5 mm
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Canon EF

Designed By: Canon Inc.
Announced: 1987
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 44 mm
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Canon EF-S

Designed By: Canon Inc.
Announced: 2003
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: APS-C
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 44 mm
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Canon EF-M

Designed By: Canon Inc.
Announced: 2012
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: APS-C
Camera Type: Mirrorless
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 18 mm
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Canon R

Designed By: Canon Inc.
Announced: 1959
Discontinued: 1964
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 42 mm
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Canon FL

Designed By: Canon Inc.
Announced: 1964
Discontinued: 1971
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 42 mm
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Canon FD

Designed By: Canon Inc.
Announced: 1971
Discontinued: Yes
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 42 mm
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Minolta/Sony A

Designed By: Minolta Corporation
Announced: 1985
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 44.5 mm
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Sigma SA

Designed By: Sigma Corporation
Announced: 1993
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 44 mm
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Leica M

Designed By: Leica Camera AG
Announced: 1954
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Rangefinder
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 27.8 mm
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Leica L

Designed By: Leica Camera AG
Announced: 2014
Discontinued: No
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Mirrorless
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 19 mm
×

Leica R

Designed By: Leica Camera AG
Announced: 1964
Discontinued: 2009
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 47 mm
×

Contax/Yashica

Designed By: Yashica, Carl Zeiss (Oberkochen)
Announced: 1975
Discontinued: 2005
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 45.5 mm
×

Contax G

Designed By: Kyocera
Announced: 1994
Discontinued: 2005
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Rangefinder
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 28.95 mm
×

Contax N

Designed By: Kyocera
Announced: 2000
Discontinued: 2005
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 48 mm
×

Fujica X

Designed By: Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd
Announced: 1980
Discontinued: 1985
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 43.5 mm
×

Rollei QBM

Designed By: Werkstatt für Feinmechanik und Optik, Franke & Heidecke
Announced: 1970
Discontinued: Yes
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 44.46 mm
×

Konica AR

Designed By: Konica
Announced: 1965
Discontinued: 1987
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 40.5 mm
×

Konica F

Designed By: Konica
Announced: 1960
Discontinued: 1965
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 40.5 mm
×

Olympus OM

Designed By: Olympus Corporation
Announced: 1972
Discontinued: 2002
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 46 mm
×

Minolta SR

Designed By: Minolta Corporation
Announced: 1958
Discontinued: 2001
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 43.5 mm
×

Mamiya E

Designed By: Mamiya Camera
Announced: 1980
Discontinued: 1984
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 45.5 mm
×

Mamiya ES

Designed By: Mamiya Camera
Announced: 1971
Discontinued: Yes
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance:
×

Mamiya CS

Designed By: Mamiya Camera
Announced: 1978
Discontinued: 1980
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 45.5 mm
×

Topcon RE

Designed By: Tokyo Kogaku Kikai K.K.
Announced: 1963
Discontinued: 1981
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 44.7 mm
×

M42

Designed By: Carl Zeiss (Dresden)
Announced: 1949
Discontinued: Yes
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 45.5 mm
×

M39

Designed By: Leica Camera AG
Announced: 1930
Discontinued: Yes
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera Type: Rangefinder
AF Support: No
Flange focal distance: 28.8 mm