Nikon F3

35mm MF film SLR camera


Production details:
System: Nikon F (1959)
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Film type:135 cartridge-loaded film
Mount and Flange focal distance:Nikon F [46.5mm]
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:8 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL), open-aperture
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description #1

Built on the performance-proven concept and heritage of the original Nikon F and F2, the hand- assembled Nikon F3 is a precision instrument that represents the culmination of over 34 years of camera building experience. The Nikon F3 is the electronic camera of the 1980's; as rugged and durable as it is versatile, for almost any photographic requirement. In the camera, large-scale integrated circuit micro- processors (LSI), which analyze and control camera functions, are protected within the F3's die-cast aluminum alloy chassis, effectively sealed to resist moisture and dust. They provide aperture-priority automatic exposure control and full manual operation with the added accuracy of quartz crystal shutter timing, as well as other sophisticated electronic functions such, as TTL flash metering when combined with the Nikon Speedlight SB-12, or SB-11 and SB-14 when connected via the TTL Cord SC-12. A sensitive silicon photo diode (SPD), located in the mirror box, is heavily center weighted with 80% sensitivity at the center and 20% towards the edges of the frame. The same SPD is used to measure both available light and flash illumination. The F3's light meter remains operational with any accessory finder or focusing screen. The Nikon F3s power consumption is extremely low, thanks, in part, to the revolutionary liquid crystal display (LCD) for exposure readout and other energy-saving features including its automatic meter shut-off circuit. When the F3 is coupled to its motor drive, all power is derived from the MD-4's power supply. Every feature of the professional Nikon F3 has been engineered to the highest quality and maximum efficiency. Its titanium shutter can withstand the rigors of six-frames-per-second motor drive operation, and has been tested to an extraordinary level of 150,000 cycles. In fact, to ensure reliability, the entire Nikon F3 camera is computer tested and retested as each component is assembled. It's this unsurpassed design, construction and quality control that make the Nikon F3 the ultimate SLR.

LCD Viewfinder Display

Full information viewfinder shows either automatic or manual shutter speed with Nikon's aperture-direct-readout (ADR). Power efficient liquid crystal display facilitates comfortable reading even in extremely bright light. Depressing the electromagnetic shutter release halfway activates the F3's meter and LCD readout. The meter circuit remains active for exactly 16 sec. after pressure is released from the shutter button, turning itself off automatically to conserve battery power. On automatic, display shows the nearest standard calibrated shutter speed, with over- or underexposure warnings. On manual, an "M" appears next to the selected shutter speed with "+" and/or "-" indicators for manual metering.

Exposure Compensation

This dial is used to bias the exposure when shooting backlit scenes or dark-toned subjects in deep shade. Settings are in one-third f/stop increments from +2EV to -2EV. (At ASA/ISO 12 and 6400, ±1EV can be set.) This control is also used to bracket or create intentional over- or underexposures with the F3 set on automatic.

Exposure Memory Lock

For proper automatic exposures of subjects in difficult lighting situations, place the subject in the 12mm diameter metering reference area of the focusing screen and press the memory lock to hold the automatic shutter speed setting. Then you may recompose the scene with the subject off-center while maintaining the memorized automatic exposure. The meter reading will then be based on the main subject, not the background.

Depth-of-Field Preview / Mirror Lock-Up Lever

To preview actual depth-of-field or for stopped down metering when using non-meter coupled lenses, press this button. The surrounding lever locks up the mirror for vibration-free operation during critical work such as photomicroscopy.

Electronic Self-Timer

The switch below the shutter speed dial activates the F3's electronic self-timer. Pressing the shutter release button starts the timing cycle. The red LED on the front of the F3 blinks with increasing frequency at the end of the 10 second delay. Turn the switch off to cancel the timing cycle at anytime.

On/Off Switch

The main power switch located around the hub of the fIlm advance lever activates the camera for metering and shooting. Pressing shutter release halfway turns on the LCD viewfinder display. The LCD display will turn itself off automatically in 16 sec. when pressure is removed from the shutter button. When the F3 is switched off, the shutter release button is locked.

Multiple Exposure Lever

This lever disengages film transport mechanism for intentional multiple exposures. The shutter may then be cocked without advancing the ftlm or exposure counter. The multiple exposure lever can also be engaged during motor drive operation. Excellent for special effects.

Mechanical Shutter Release

This lever is used to trip the shutter mechanically at 1/60 sec. when the camera batteries are removed or to conserve battery power when the shutter speed dial is set at "T" for long time exposures.

Viewfinder Illuminator

When the light gets dim, the liquid crystal shutter speed display and aperture-direct-readout in the viewfinder can be illuminated by pushing the red button on the standard DE-2 or DE-3 High-Eyepoint finder. Lights only when meter is on.

Built-In Anatomical Grip

An integral part of the F3 camera body, the contoured handgrip serves as a comfortable handle while shooting. Made of a resilient, slip-resistant synthetic material.

Shutter Speed Dial

Knurled dial locks at "N" and "X" position to prevent accidental movement. In manual operation, all speeds from 1/2000 - 8 sec. and "X" (1/80 sec.) are quartz-timed for accuracy and consistent performance. For time exposures longer than 8 seconds, the F3 can be set at "B", or the mechanically controlled "T" position.

Eyepiece Shutter

During remote camera operation and extreme macrophotography, direct sunlight entering the eyepiece may influence the automatic exposure. Push this lever to close the blind and prevent erroneous exposure readings.

TTL Flash Metering

The Nikon F3's internal silicon photo diode metering cell exhibits instantaneous response to changing light and, therefore, is also used to control flash exposures through-the-lens from light reflected directly off the film plane during the exposure. The TTL system works with Nikon's Speedlight SB-12, or SB-11 and SB-14 when connected to the camera by the optional TTL Sensor Cord SC-12. In addition to providing automatic through-the-Iens flash exposures, each flash unit automatically sets the shutter to its proper synchronization speed of 1/80 sec. when the camera is on automatic or when the shutter speed is manually set to 1/125 sec. or faster. At slower shutter speeds, the F3 will fire at the set speed, permitting fill-flash operation while the TTL function remains operational. When the flash is recycled, a red LED flash ready-light appears in the viewfinder.

When the shutter release button is depressed, the mirror goes up, the shutter opens for 1/80 sec. and the flash begins to fire. The light travels out to the subject and is reflected back through the lens to the film plane. When the silicon photo diode determines that the correct amount of light has reached the film, it electronically tells the flash unit to cut its light output and the shutter then closes.

If the light output was insufficient for a proper automatic exposure, the LED ready-light will blink as a warning. The LED also blink if the camera's ASA/ISO has been set outside the Speedlight's range or if the flash is not properly mounted.

Automatic TTL flash metering with the Nikon F3 provides a number of distinct advantages compared to non-TTL flash photography. Exposure accuracy is more accurate because coverage of the TTL metering cell corresponds to the lens in use rather than the fixed angle for non-TTL units. And, because the exposure is based on the light at the film plane, there's no need to calculate a compensation factor when bouncing the light, using filters or a diffuser on the lens or flash, or even when the lens is extended for close-up photography. Unlike the conventional flash operation which limits the photographer to a few auto-flash aperture settings, TTL flash photography with the Nikon F3 allows free choice of shooting apertures for more complete control over depth-of-field and recycling time. Automatic TTL flash exposures can also be bracketed by engaging the F3's exposure compensation dial.

Manufacturer description #2

TYPE OF CAMERA: 35mm single-lens-reflex

PICTURE FORMAT: 24mm x 36mm (standard 35mm size)

LENS MOUNT: Nikon bayonet mount

SHUTTER: Horizontally traveling quilted titanium focal-plane shutter

SHUTTER RELEASE BUTTON: Electromagnetically controlled: switches meter on when depressed halfway (after power switch is turned on), meter then remains on for 16 sec. after finger is taken off button and turns off automatically; threaded to accept standard cable release

BACKUP MECHANICAL RELEASE LEVER: Trips shutter at 1/60 sec. regardless of shutter speed dial setting (except "T"); used when batteries become weak or exhausted, or none are installed in the camera

AUTOMATIC EXPOSURE CONTROL: Aperture-priority automatic exposure control; stepless shutter speeds from 8 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

MANUAL EXPOSURE CONTROL: Quartz digital control for 16 shutter speeds from 8 sec. to 1/2000 sec., including "X" (1/80 sec.); "B" and "T" also provided, as well as 1/60 sec. mechanically controlled speed

MECHANICAL SHUTTER CONTROL: Possible at "T" setting on shutter speed dial or at 1/60 sec. when using backup mechanical release lever

VIEWFINDER: Interchangeable eyelevel pentaprism type DE-2 as standard; 0.8X magnification with 50mm lens set at infinity; virtually 100% frame coverage

EYEPIECE SHUTTER: Provided; prevents stray light from entering viewfinder through the eyepiece

FOCUSING SCREEN: Type K as standard; interchangeable with 19 other types

EXPOSURE METERING: Through-the-lens center-weighted metering with an 80/20 balance; silicon photo diode (SPD) and metering circuits incorporated into camera body; meter works with all interchangeable viewfinders and focusing screens

METERING RANGE: EV 1 to EV 18 (i.e., f/1.4 at 1 sec. to f11 at 1/2000 sec. with 50rnm f1.4 lens and ASA/ISO 100 film)


ACCESSORY SHOE: Provided; special Nikon type located at base of rewind knob; accepts SB-12 Speedlight Unit or SC-12 TTL Sensor Cord from SB-11/SB-14 for TTL direct flash output control; flash couplers are available for mounting ISO-type or F2-type direct mounting flash units

FLASH SYNCHRONIZATION: Speeds up to 1/80 sec. with electronic flash; with SB-12 (or SB-11 and SB-14 when connected via the SC-12 TTL cord), flash sync is automatically set to 1/80 sec. when shutter speed dial is set to "A", or 1/125 sec. or above; at manual shutter speeds of 1/60 sec. or slower, flash sync speed corresponds to that setting; threaded sync terminal provided for off-camera or multiple flash photography

VIEWFINDER DISPLAY: Liquid crystal display (LCD) shows shutter speed; on Auto, +2000 indicates overexposure, -8- underexposure; on Manual, "M" appears with "+" indicating overexposure, "-" underexposure, and "-+" correct exposure; LED ready-light glows when SB-11, SB-14 or SB-12 Speedlight unit is completely recycled; aperture in use also shown through aperture-direct-readout (ADR) window

VIEWFINDER ILLUMINATOR: Provided; illuminates both LCD and ADR f/number

EXPOSURE COMPENSATION DIAL: Provided; +2 to -2 EV in one-third increments



SELF-TIMER: Quartz-controlled 10-sec. delayed exposure; LED blinks at 2 Hz for first 8 sec., then at 8 Hz for last two sec.

REFLEX MIRROR: Automatic instant-return type with lockup facility; incorporates air-damper and brake mechanism for reduced vibration and noise; special non-silvered spots provide TTL meter operation

DEPTH-OF-FIELD PREVIEW: Provided; coaxial with the mirror lockup lever

FILM ADVANCE LEVER: Wound in single stroke or series of strokes; 30 stand-off angle and 140 winding angle

FRAME COUNTER: Additive type; automatically reset when camera back is opened

FILM REWIND: By crank after film rewind button is depressed; automatic film rewind possible when MD-4 Motor Drive is used

CAMERA BACK: Hinged, interchangeable type; opened by pushing safety lock while pulling up rewind knob; memo holder provided

BATTERIES: Two 1.5V silver-oxide button type cells installed in clip fitting into camera's baseplate; when MD-4 Motor Drive is attached, camera gets battery power entirely from batteries in motor drive

Manufacturer description #3


  • Top-of-the-line professional quality camera.
  • Responsive, accurate aperture-priority automatic exposure control; quartz oscillator assures precise manual shutter speed timing from 8 to 1/2000sec.
  • Viewfinder with virtually 100% picture coverage shows you the exposure information you need at a glance.
  • Complete interchangeability of six finders, 22 focusing screens and camera backs including the MF-4 250-exposure Film Back, the MF-14 Data Back, the MF-6B and the MF-17 250-exposure Data Back.
  • Dedicated, direct, through-the-lens (TTL) automatic flash metering capability with SB-11, SB-14, SB-17 and SB-16A.
  • Accepts the MD-4 Motor Drive which fires at up to six frames per second.
  • Viewfinder exposure readout consists of easy-to-see Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) of shutter speed, ADR (Aperture Direct Readout) aperture number in use and flash ready-light.


  • Offers all the F3 advantages, and uses DE-3 High-Eyepoint view-finder which provides comfortable viewing whether you wear eye-glasses or not, or even with your eye up to 25mm away from the eyepiece.


  • Offers all the features of the F3HP in a tough body with a titanium finish; one of the world's strongest metals, titanium gives added protection to the camera's high-eyepoint viewfinder, camera top and bottom, and the entire camera back.


  • Auto focus operation with dedicated AF Nikkor lenses having built-in motor.
  • Auto focus Teleconverter TC-16 enables auto focus operation with Nikkor lenses having f/2 or faster.
  • Motorized autofocus shooting with the MD-4 Motor Drive and MK-1 Firing Rate Converter at a pre-selected firing rate of 3.2 and 1 fps.

Special limited editions (2)

Similar cameras (4)

35mm full frame • Manual focus • Film • Singe-lens reflex • Nikon F mount

Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
Kiev-17 M, 1/1000 -- M 1978
Kiev-19 M, 1/500 TTL • WA M 1985
Kiev-19M M, 1/500 TTL • OA M 1988
Kiev-20 M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1983
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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.

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, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance (distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane) is also different.

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 lens element 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.