Leica M5

35mm MF film rangefinder camera


Production details:
Order No.:10501 - silver chrome
10502 - black chrome
10503 - chrome with SUMMICRON 50/2
10504 - chrome with SUMMILUX 50/1.4
10505 - black with SUMMICRON 50/2
10506 - black with SUMMILUX 50/1.4
System: Leica M (1954)
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Film type:135 cartridge-loaded film
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Speeds:1/2 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL), stop-down
Exposure modes:Manual
Rangefinder and Viewfinder:
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.72x
Actual rangefinder base:68.5mm
Effective rangefinder base:49.32mm
Bright-line frames:35mm & 135mm, 50mm, 90mm
Parallax compensation:Yes
Physical characteristics:
Body cap:14195

Manufacturer description #1


It is the first rangefinder camera with through-the-Iens exposure metering - for correct exposure in any light, for any subject. It is a handy camera - convenient to hold and steady to release, especially with longer exposures. It is functional, compact and elegant - to appeal to people of discriminating taste. The longbase rangefinder ensures optimum focusing precision, important with the ultra-fast lenses. The Leica M5 and its lenses are the last word in image quality, unquestioned reliability in heat, cold and humidity. With it you shoot instantly, silently and inconspicuously.

We could go on in this vein. Let's simply state that the LEICA M5 is the supreme 35 mm rangefinder camera.

LEICA M5-with selective through-the-Iens exposure metering

Light is the photographer's medium, whether he records or creates pictures.

His images and his effects come to life by modulated light and darkness - different in technique from the painter, yet with almost the same facility.

But photography is a scientific process, too. To control what he records on the film, the photographer must be able to measure his light precisely. That is why he needs a camera with a scientifically precise light metering system.

The LEICA M5 with its selective through-the-Iens metering is just such a camera. It measures individual medium, light, or dark tones. It bases the exposure on the reading of a selected image area. With such readings you locate the exposure exactly where you want it in the film's tone range, as easily as with an automatic meter system. It works in the trickiest light conditions: when a ray of sunlight picks out scintillating highlights or when you are faced with extreme contrasts and unbalanced bright/dark patterns. You can equally rely on the reading for interiors with brightly-lit windows or outdoor views from a dark doorway.

With the LEICA M5 you always match the correct exposure to the subject, for the meter reads only the selected subject portion which counts. Such small-area readings are unaffected by ultrabrilliant or extra-dark parts of the scene, or by light sources shining into the lens. You read a representative subject tone, without interference from the background or surroundings, or take highlight or shadow readings to suit whatever exposure technique you prefer. The measuring area is a small fraction of the picture area, to allow tight close-up readings at a distance. Correct exposure is no longer subject to uncontrollable object conditions or uncertain meter characteristics. It is fully in your hands.

You are sure of sharpness and exposure

The famous optical quality of the LEICA lenses comes into its own only with precision focusing and exact exposure. Focusing with the LEICA rangefinder is faster, simpler and more accurate than with any other focusing system. However poor the light, you see the subject clearly in the brilliant finder field. And as a vital new feature the M5 offers selecfive through-the-Iens exposure metering.


Bright-line frames in the universal M5 finder show the exact field of view. They start with the 35 mm wide-angle lens and switch automatically as you switch lenses - to 50, 90 or 135 mm. The 135 mm finder is reflected inside the large wide-angle frame. The focusing movement provides automatic finder parallax correction whatever the focal length. And you clearly see the whole M5 finder image even if you wear glasses.



Self-contained all-metal body - 87 mm (just over 3 3/8 inches) high, 149 mm (5 7/8 inches) long, with an extra 5.5 mm (1/4 inch) for the carrying strap eyelets, 37 mm (nearly 1 1/2 inches) deep - with hinged back and carrying strap eyelets at the side. Chrome plated top and baseplate (available in bright or black finish), 1/4 inch tripod bush.

Built-in bright-line finder with automatically switched reflected image frames for the 35, 50, 90 and 135 mm lenses. Automatic parallax compensation. Viewfinder frames independently switchable by selector lever. Long-base (68.5 mm) rangefinder. Built-in exposure meter with selective through-the-Iens measurement, follow-pointer system coupled with film speed and shutter speed settings and controlled by the lens aperture.

Meter circuit automatically switched off on releasing, switched on by the film transport. Uses a PX 625 cell; battery test provision.

Measuring range of exposure meter covers 13 EV steps of the meter system plus the aperture steps of the lens used. e.g. with a SUMMILUX f/1.4 the range extends from 0.4 to 200,000 asb (from 0.3 with the f/1.2 lens). Covers film speeds from 6 to 3,200 ASA or 9 to 36 DIN.

Quick-change bayonet lens mount. Focal plane shutter: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/1000 sec, plus time exposures of any duration. You can set intermediate times. Shutter speeds indicated on the shutter speed dial and in the viewfinder.

Automatic flash synchronization for bulbs up to 1/500 sec, for electronic flash up to 1/50 sec. Separate standard outlets for bulbs and electronic flash plus accessory-shoe contact.

The latter provides X-synchronization for electronic flash units or flash cube adapters. Self-timer with adjustable delay from 5 to 10 sec. Rapid winding lever with hinged tip tensions the shutter and advances the film.

Removable quick-loading take-up spool for all 35 mm films with trimmed or untrimmed leader.

Rewind crank in base rewinds the exposed film. Frame counter with automatic zero return on opening the camera base. Film indicator combined with time exposure calculator in camera back.

A novel shutter speed dial/meter coupling system linked with the famous LEICA lenses gives the LEICA M5 an immense measuring and setting range, with simple and rapid handling. Exposure measurement with aperture or shutter speed preselection leaves you free to choose the most suitable aperture/speed combination.

Your benefit: Faster and more efficient operation.



The LEICA M5 has a perfect optical view- and rangefinder. You see a faithful and true-colour view of the subject.

A bright-line frame outlines the field. Everything within this frame is recorded on the film, with automatic parallax compensation. You clearly see the whole finder image even with spectacles. The centre of the finder carries the sharply outlined rangefinder focusing field. This combined view- and rangefinder system offers both split-image and coincidence focusing; the high image contrast and long 68.5 mm base ensure extra precision. If viewing conditions - or your eyesight - are less than perfect you still have plenty of reserve. And however inexperienced, you can be certain of optimum and positive sharpness in the poorest light. Try it for yourself - at full aperture and in dim lighting. The LEICA tackles it however difficult the subject. Extra fractional-inch focusing accuracy and precision exposure metering see to it.


Leitz designers have chosen a deflection rather than a zero setting pointer for the exposure meter. This permits a more flexible approach. The bar intersection of the meter needle below the finder makes for the most accurate and fastest readings.

The shutter speed shows up, too, to the left of the scale bar, right in the finder.

For a reading you sight a significant subject area. Usually in the middle of the field. That is why the LEICA M5 measures just there. During a reading you quickly adjust the meter needle with the lens aperture and the follow-pointer with the shutter dial: the two intersect clearly and precisely along the bar at the bottom. And that way you can choose any aperture/speed combination.


The exposure meter cell is centered in the image frame a few mm in front of the shutter. In the LEICA M5 a CdS cell on a swing-away arm directly takes in the light from the lens. A spiral baffle in front of the cell automatically corrects all reading errors that could arise from the cell's position in front of the film plane. Immediately before shutter release the arm and cell swing out of the way to clear the light path to the film. Retensioning the shutter brings the cell back for the next reading.


Balanced electrical and mechanical compensation ensures a linear response of the twin photo-resistors in the LEICA M5. The pointer movement per EV change remains consistent at high, medium, and low lighting levels. So does the measuring precision - even down to -15 C (5 F). For the metering circuit uses so little current that the battery performance stays efficient at low temperatures, too.


The LEICA M5 has a total measuring range of 21 EV steps (0.3 to 200,000 asb). In subject terms this covers brightest highlights from glacier reflections in the mountains down to faintest candlelit scenes. The measuring range consists of the 13 steps of the meter mechanism plus the aperture steps of the lens in use.


The selector lever brings the field of different lenses into view. You select the best focal length before you switch the lens itself.


The LEICA M5 is an elegant camera, especially the professional-looking black chrome finish. Like the bright chrome surface, this black finish is abrasion resistant, hard, permanent and durable. And it offers outstanding corrosion protection.


The novel lug attachment at the side of the LEICA M5 keeps the right hand completely free for the transport and release operation without tangling with the strap. The LEICA also becomes more comfortable to carry over the shoulder.


The LEICA focal plane shutter is world famous for its accuracy and reliability. It runs extremely smoothly and silently. Both roller blinds are rubber coated cloth. A braking system makes their action almost inaudible; vibration-free exposures.


Ultra-fast lenses demand optimum film flatness. The LElCA M5 has a precision film track to correct film curl without making the film bulge into the camera. That means precise film location in the sharpest image plane during exposure.


A fast camera must allow fast film changing. With the LElCA M5 you just push the film leader into the quick-loading spool - that is all. You never had a faster and easier film loading system for a standard 35 mm cartridge with trimmed or untrimmed leader.

Manufacturer description #2


  • All-metal body with hinged back and carrying strap eyelets on one side, available with bright or black chrome top and cover and base-plate. 1/4 inch tripod bush.
  • Built-in brilliant-frame viewfinder.
  • Coupled rangefinder with 68.5mm base length.
  • Bright-line illuminated frame for focal lengths of 35, 50, 90, 135mm; changes automatically on fitting the appropriate lens.
  • Automatic parallax compensation.
  • Image frame selector.
  • Interchangeable lenses in quick-change bayonet mounts.
  • Selective through-the-Iens exposure meter with built-in CdS cell. Meter needle and follow pointer visible in the finder, coupled with aperture settings, shutter speeds, and film speeds from 6 to 3,200 ASA (9 to 39 DIN). Takes Mallory PX 625 mercury battery.
  • Measuring range of 21 EV steps; exposure times marked on the shutter speeds dial. Visible in the viewfinder from 1/ 1000 second to 30 seconds.
  • Meter circuit automatically switches off after exposure - switched on by winding the film.
  • Battery test switch built into finder frame selector.
  • Focal plane shutter with speeds of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 (1/50), 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1000 second, and time exposure of any length.
  • Automatic flash synchronization for flashbulbs up to 1/500 second and electronic flash up to 1/ 50 second.
  • Separate standard flash outlets (M and X) for bulbs and electronic flash respectively.
  • Hot-shoe outlet (X-synchronization) in the accessory shoe.
  • Adjustable self timer (delayed action release).
  • Rapid winding lever with release lock tensions the shutter and advances the film.
  • Rapid film loading: removable quick-loading take-up spool for all standard 35mm films (with or without trimmed leader).
  • Rewind crank in base for rewinding the exposed film; blocks the film transport when the crank is swung out.
  • Exposure counter with automatic zero return on opening the base-plate.
  • Film type indicator combined with calculator for converting alternative aperture/exposure time combinations from exposure readings.
  • Film plane index mark.
  • Adjustable carrying strap with non-slip pad.

Manufacturer description #3

As LEICA M 4, but with built-in CdS exposure meter for selective light metering through the lens. Focal-plane shutter 1/2 to 1/ 1000 sec. and B.

Exposure measurement up to 30 sec. coupled with the shutter speed dial.

Additional accessory-shoe contact for electronic-flash units.

Novel onesided camera suspension. Removable rapid-loading spool.

Rewind crank in the detachable baseplate.

Serial No. from 1287001.

Special limited editions (1)

Similar cameras (13)

35mm full frame • Manual focus • Film • Rangefinder • Leica M mount

Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2 M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2002
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2A E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2004
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R3A E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2004
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R3M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R4A E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R4M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-T M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2001
Konica HEXAR RF E, 1/4000 TTL • WA AM 1999
Leica CL
aka LEITZ minolta CL
M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1973
Minolta CLE E, 1/1000 TTL • WA AM 1980
Rollei 35 RF M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2002
Zeiss Ikon E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2004
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Chromatic aberration

There are two kinds of chromatic aberration: longitudinal and lateral. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is a variation in location of the image plane with changes in wave lengths. It produces the image point surrounded by different colors which result in a blurred image in black-and-white pictures. Lateral chromatic aberration is a variation in image size or magnification with wave length. This aberration does not appear at axial image points but toward the surrounding area, proportional to the distance from the center of the image field. Stopping down the lens has only a limited effect on these aberrations.

Spherical aberration

Spherical aberration is caused because the lens is round and the film or image sensor is flat. Light entering the edge of the lens is more severely refracted than light entering the center of the lens. This results in a blurred image, and also causes flare (non-image forming internal reflections). Stopping down the lens minimizes spherical aberration and flare, but introduces diffraction.


Astigmatism in a lens causes a point in the subject to be reproduced as a line in the image. The effect becomes worse towards the corner of the image. Stopping down the lens has very little effect.


Coma in a lens causes a circular shape in the subject to be reproduced as an oval shape in the image. Stopping down the lens has almost no effect.

Curvature of field

Curvature of field is the inability of a lens to produce a flat image of a flat subject. The image is formed instead on a curved surface. If the center of the image is in focus, the edges are out of focus and vice versa. Stopping down the lens has a limited effect.


Distortion is the inability of a lens to capture lines as straight across the entire image area. Barrel distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to bow toward the center of the image, producing a barrel shape. Pincushion distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to curve in toward the lens axis. Distortion, whether barrel or pincushion type, is caused by differences in magnification; stopping down the lens has no effect at all.

The term "distortion" is also sometimes used instead of the term "aberration". In this case, other types of optical aberrations may also be meant, not necessarily geometric distortion.


Classically, light is thought of as always traveling in straight lines, but in reality, light waves tend to bend around nearby barriers, spreading out in the process. This phenomenon is known as diffraction and occurs when a light wave passes by a corner or through an opening. Diffraction plays a paramount role in limiting the resolving power of any lens.


Doublet is a lens design comprised of two elements grouped together. Sometimes the two elements are cemented together, and other times they are separated by an air gap. Examples of this type of lens include achromatic close-up lenses.

Dynamic range

Dynamic range is the maximum range of tones, from darkest shadows to brightest highlights, that can be produced by a device or perceived in an image. Also called tonal range.

Resolving power

Resolving power is the ability of a lens, photographic emulsion or imaging sensor to distinguish fine detail. Resolving power is expressed in terms of lines per millimeter that are distinctly recorded in the final image.


Vignetting is the darkening of the corners of an image relative to the center of the image. There are three types of vignetting: optical, mechanical, and natural vignetting.

Optical vignetting is caused by the physical dimensions of a multi-element lens. Rear elements are shaded by elements in front of them, which reduces the effective lens opening for off-axis incident light. The result is a gradual decrease of the light intensity towards the image periphery. Optical vignetting is sensitive to the aperture and can be completely cured by stopping down the lens. Two or three stops are usually sufficient.

Mechanical vignetting occurs when light beams are partially blocked by external objects such as thick or stacked filters, secondary lenses, and improper lens hoods.

Natural vignetting (also known as natural illumination falloff) is not due to the blocking of light rays. The falloff is approximated by the "cosine fourth" law of illumination falloff. Wide-angle rangefinder designs are particularly prone to natural vignetting. Stopping down the lens cannot cure it.


Bright shapes or lack of contrast caused when light is scattered by the surface of the lens or reflected off the interior surfaces of the lens barrel. This is most often seen when the lens is pointed toward the sun or another bright light source. Flare can be minimized by using anti-reflection coatings, light baffles, or a lens hood.


Glowing patches of light that appear in a photograph due to lens flare.

Retrofocus design

Design with negative lens group(s) positioned in front of the diaphragm and positive lens group(s) positioned at the rear of the diaphragm. This provides a short focal length with a long back focus or lens-to-film distance, allowing for movement of the reflex mirror in SLR cameras. Sometimes called an inverted telephoto lens.


A photographic lens completely corrected for the three main optical aberrations: spherical aberration, coma, and astigmatism.

By the mid-20th century, the vast majority of lenses were close to being anastigmatic, so most manufacturers stopped including this characteristic in lens names and/or descriptions and focused on advertising other features (anti-reflection coating, for example).

Rectilinear design

Design that does not introduce significant distortion, especially ultra-wide angle lenses that preserve straight lines and do not curve them (unlike a fisheye lens, for instance).

Focus shift

A change in the position of the plane of optimal focus, generally due to a change in focal length when using a zoom lens, and in some lenses, with a change in aperture.


The amount of light that passes through a lens without being either absorbed by the glass or being reflected by glass/air surfaces.

Modulation Transfer Function (MTF)

When optical designers attempt to compare the performance of optical systems, a commonly used measure is the modulation transfer function (MTF).

The components of MTF are:

The MTF of a lens is a measurement of its ability to transfer contrast at a particular resolution from the object to the image. In other words, MTF is a way to incorporate resolution and contrast into a single specification.

Knowing the MTF curves of each photographic lens and camera sensor within a system allows a designer to make the appropriate selection when optimizing for a particular resolution.

Veiling glare

Lens flare that causes loss of contrast over part or all of the image.

Anti-reflection coating

When light enters or exits an uncoated lens approximately 5% of the light is reflected back at each lens-air boundary due to the difference in refractive index. This reflected light causes flare and ghosting, which results in deterioration of image quality. To counter this, a vapor-deposited coating that reduces light reflection is applied to the lens surface. Early coatings consisted of a single thin film with the correct refractive index differences to cancel out reflections. Multi-layer coatings, introduced in the early 1970s, are made up of several such films.

Benefits of anti-reflection coating:

Circular fisheye

Produces a 180° angle of view in all directions (horizontal, vertical and diagonal).

The image circle of the lens is inscribed in the image frame.

Diagonal (full-frame) fisheye

Covers the entire image frame. For this reason diagonal fisheye lenses are often called full-frame fisheyes.

Extension ring

Extension rings can be used singly or in combination to vary the reproduction ratio of lenses. They are mounted between the camera body and the lens. As a rule, the effect becomes stronger the shorter the focal length of the lens in use, and the longer the focal length of the extension ring.

View camera

A large-format camera with a ground-glass viewfinder at the image plane for viewing and focusing. The photographer must stick his head under a cloth hood in order to see the image projected on the ground glass. Because of their 4x5-inch (or larger) negatives, these cameras can produce extremely high-quality results. View cameras also usually support movements.

135 cartridge-loaded film

43.27 24 36
  • Introduced: 1934
  • Frame size: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2
  • Double perforated
  • 8 perforations per frame

120 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated

220 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

Shutter speed ring with "F" setting

The "F" setting disengages the leaf shutter and is set when using only the focal plane shutter in the camera body.

Catch for disengaging cross-coupling

The shutter and diaphragm settings are cross-coupled so that the diaphragm opens to a corresponding degree when faster shutter speeds are selected. The cross-coupling can be disengaged at the press of a catch.

Cross-coupling button

With the cross-coupling button depressed speed/aperture combinations can be altered without changing the Exposure Value setting.

M & X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for M- and X-settings so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In M-sync, the shutter closes the flash-firing circuit slightly before it is fully open to catch the flash at maximum intensity. The M-setting is used for Class M flash bulbs.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.

X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for X-setting so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.


Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.


Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

Unable to follow the link

You are already on the page dedicated to this lens.

Cannot perform comparison

Cannot compare the lens to itself.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology 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.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


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.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

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.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

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

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


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


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

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 can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

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.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. Magnification is expressed as a ratio. For example, 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".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

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.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

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.

Electronic manual focus override 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 focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

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.

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.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

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 geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. 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.

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 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 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. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.