Nikon FE

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

Nikon FE offers critically accurate, electronic exposure automation and special, interchangeable focusing screens to expand the intrinsic versatility of the Nikon FM model, which it complements. Its exposure memory lock, selective exposure compensation control, and special SB-10 thyristor flash facilities further validate its position as a uniquely-advanced compact automatic with full motor drive capabilities in the Nikon tradition.

The Nikon FE signifies a dramatic advance in 35mm capabilities. Exceptionally small and light, it blends electronic automation with a seemingly endless array of creative options including interchangeable Nikkor lenses, motor drive, and interchangeable focusing screens for far-reaching versatility. Perhaps most important, all these advances are achieved in the classic Nikon tradition of rugged, reliable construction and quick, comfortable handling which have made Nikon the acknowledged quality standard for 35mm SLR photography.

Advanced Nikon Electronics

In both automatic and manual exposure modes, shutter speeds are timed electronically by a unique Nikon-developed monolithic Integrated Circuit for unexcelled speed, accuracy and consistency. Meter data is relayed to shutter mechanism by exclusive Nikon Functional Resistance Element (FRE), incorporating gold-plated electrical contacts and a highly stable variable resistance element for lasting reliability. Pioneered by Nikon,this innovative; solid-state precision assures shutter and meter performance consistent with the most exacting professional requirements.

Automatic Exposure Control

With shutter speed dial in 'A' position, the FE meter transmits exposure information to the electronically-controlled shutter, which automatically sets the precise speed for optimum exposure. Offering full-aperture operation with all AI-Nikkor lenses and compatible accessories, this versatile aperture-priority automation gives creative depth-of-field control as well as accurate, automatic operation at taking aperture through uncoupled lenses, extension tubes and bellows , and other image-forming attachments including microscopes and telescopes.

Center-Weighted SPD Meter

Dual Silicon Photo Diodes provide virtually instant response, ideal for all automatic exposure requirements including motor drive applications. Wide-ranging sensitivity extends from EV 1 to EV 18 with ASA 100 film and f1.4lens; films from ASA 12 to ASA 4000 may be employed. Based on proven Nikon center-weighted measurement, the meter observes the entire image area, but concentrates more than half of its sensitivity in a central 12mm area (defined by a circle in the finder). Assures consistently accurate exposures whether camera is held horizontally or vertically. Dual SPD sensors assure unexcelled uniformity of center-weighted readings, equally consistent from camera to camera - a special advantage to professionals employing multiple camera bodies.

Exposure Control Options

Offers four additional methods in addition to automatic at full and taking aperture:

  • Memory lock: Convenient control (activated by dual-purpose self-timer lever) instantly "memorizes" automatically determined exposure setting, ideal for backlighting or other special situations;
  • Exposure Compensator: Provides selective exposure adjustment from - 2 to + 2 EV (e.g. 1/4 to 4X normal exposure) in 0.5 EV increments - particularly valuable in motorized applications (EV - 1 to + 1 when meter is set at extreme of ASA range);
  • Match-Needle: Maintains through the lens center-weighted metering even in manual operation. Simply align two needles in finder by manually adjusting aperture or shutter speed as indicated by the meter;
  • Full Manual: Select any desired aperture and marked speed (from 8 seconds to 1/1000th second) for full manual control while maintaining electronic accuracy. Additionally, shutter operates mechanically at M90 (1/90th sec.) and B independently of battery for reliable back-up assurance.

All-Metal Vertical Shutter

Special electronically-timed shutter travels upwards, incorporates a unique sealed braking system for reliable and extra-quiet operation. With shutter speed dial in 'A' position, speeds are steplessly and continuously variable from 8 seconds to 1/1000th second; alternatively, shutter may be set to any of 14 marked speeds within this range for electronically controlled manual use. 'B' and 'M90' (1/90th sec.) settings are also provided, both mechanically controlled. Special 'lock' prevents inadvertent movement from 'A' position. Shutter is powered by two S-76 1.5v silver oxide batteries, with provision for manual, mechanically-governed operation at 'M90' or 'B' even if batteries become depleted.

Full-Information Finder with Interchangeable Focusing Screens

Eye-level pentaprism finder shows large, brilliant image with all exposure information: (a) complete shutter speed display; (b) shutter speed in use (automatic or manual); (c) aperture of AI-Nikkor lens (reflected by Nikon Aperture Direct Reading System); (d) center-weighted meter area; and (e) LED ready- light in eyepiece for Nikon SB-10 electronic flash. Eyepiece rim is rubber-cushioned.

Special, interchangeable focusing screens provide added benefits to the FE photographer. The 3 screens are: Type K (standard), an all-purpose screen combining split-image rangefinder with microprism collar and overall matte Fresnel field; Type B, suitable for telephoto and close-up requirements, with 12mm matte spot and overall matte Fresnel pattern; and Type E, excellent for micro/macro, multi-exposure, and architectural work, with inscribed horizontal/vertical lines on overall matte Fresnel surface with 12mm central matte spot.

Multi-Function Advance Lever

Patterned after that on Nikon cameras built for U.S. Apollo Space project; winds film and shutter and counts exposure in single 135 deg. stroke. Moving lever 30 deg. from flush position activates meter; pressing lever flush turns meter off and locks shutter, preventing inadvertent exposures and battery drain. Special electrical contacts activate meter and shutter internally when Nikon Motor Drive MD-11 is in use.

Precise Multiple Exposure System

Convenient top-mounted control permits any number of exposures on same frame, in critical registration. May be employed with or without motor drive. Frame counter disengages during multi-exposure operation.

Instant Depth-of-Field Preview

Permits accurate observation at taking aperture via simple one-touch control on camera front. Operates whether camera is in automatic or manual mode. May also be used for obtaining automatic exposure control with auto diaphragm lenses which are not meter coupled.

Variable-Delay Cancellable Self-Timer

Triggers shutter after selected interval (up to approx. 10 sec.); may be 'cancelled' without making exposure. Same lever also activates exposure "Memory Lock" when pushed towards lens.

LED Battery Check

Press button for instant, accurate verification of battery strength, easy to see even in dimmest light - an important advantage in assuring correct meter/shutter operation.

Professional Film Flatness System

Unique Nikon multi-point design assures true film flatness via oversize pressure plate, extra-long film rails, anti-bellying roller, cassette stabilizer, and emulsion-side-out winding for optimum image sharpness.

Motor Drive Capabilities

Nikon FE accepts Nikon Motor Drive MD-11 without modification, for automatic or manual operation in single, continuous, or multiple exposure modes at rates to 3.5 shots per second, according to shutter speed. Easily-attached motor features integral, anatomical handgrip with built-in shutter button and provision for automatically-timed or remote-controlled operation.

Motor attaches via a convenient, knurled screw; special electrical contacts on motor interface with matching contacts on camera base to activate FE electronic shutter and meter system. Using 8 1.5v AA alkaline batteries, approximately 100 36-exposure film rolls are accommodated. Selector permits either single-shot or continuous-burst operation; in continuous mode, firing rate is automatically determined by shutter speed in use. MD-11 (Product No. 101) accepts Nikon Modulite (ML-1), a transmitter/receiver set which activates motorized FE camera at distances to 200 feet via unique modulated-light beam (may be 'bounced' indoors if required); Nikon Wireless Remote Control Set (MW-1), for remote activation at distances to approx. 2300 feet via 80mw CB impulse; and Nikon Intervalometer (MT-1), for time-lapse photography at predetermined intervals as long as 8 minutes.

Special Capabilities with Nikon SB-10 Thyristor Flash

SB-10 is specially designed to couple with FE shutter for automatic flash photography. With camera in automatic mode, switching unit on automatically programs shutter for correct synch at electronically-controlled 1/90. LED ready-light in finder eyepiece lights up when SB-10 is recycled and shutter control is set to A or any calibrated speed from 8 seconds to 1/125th (the highest X-synch). If speed higher than 1/125 is selected, ready-light blinks intermittently as warning signal when camera meter is turned on. SB-10 provides automatic flash exposure accuracy at choice of two lens apertures and distances to 20 feet, with possible recycling times faster than 1 second, according to distance. Other Nikon FE facilities include safety hot shoe (activated only when unit is in place), accepting all standard hot shoe-mount units for cordless operation, and PC outlet, threaded for screw-in Nikon flash cords (also accepts conventional PC cords).

The SB-10 is additionally compatible (without automatic shutter programming or eyepiece ready light coupling) with other Nikon cameras with standard ISO type hot shoe contact. Guide No. 80 for ASA 100 film. Color-coded for automatic operation at choice of apertures (f4 and f8 with ASA 100), at distances to 20' or 10' respectively. Energy saving Thyristor circuitry gives 160 to 1000 flashes on 4 AA alkaline batteries, according to distance. 40° X 56° coverage covers field of 35mm Nikkor lens; accessory Wide Adapter (SW-2) increases to 48° X 67° for 28mm lens field. Measures 1.5 X 3.1 X 3.9", weighs 9.5 oz. less batteries. Nikon SB-10 thyristor Flash, Product No. 280.

Nikon FE is supplied both in satin chrome finish (Product No. 1621) and professional black finish (Product No. 1625). The FE accepts the same cases, motor drive, and other Nikon accessories presently available for the companion Nikon FM model.

Manufacturer description #2

CAMERA TYPE: Compact automatic electronic 35mm SLR with through-the-lens Dual Silicon Photo Diode metering, interchangeable lenses, finder screens, and accessory Motor Drive.

LENSMOUNT: Stainless-steel Nikon bayonet accepts all reflex-viewing Nikkor lenses 6mm-2000mm and all Nikon-mount accessories. Flange/film distance 46.5mm. Automatic diaphragm coupling.

EXPOSURE CONTROL: Automatic through-the-Iens, with aperture priority; manual match-needle control with aperture or shutter priority.

METER SYSTEM: Two Silicon Photo Diode cells accurately concentrate more than half of their sensitivity on central 12mm area shown by circle in finder; operates at full aperture with all AI-Nikkor lenses; stop-down measurement with non-AI lenses, attachments, or instruments. Automatic maximum aperture indexing with all AI-Nikkor lenses.

METER RANGES: ASA 12-4000; EV 1 to 18 (with ASA 100 film and f1.4 lens). Full-aperture coupling range: f1.2-f32.

SHUTTER: Electronically-timed, all metal vertical-travel focal plane; speeds B, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/90, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, and 1/1000th second in manual mode; continuously variable 8 - 1/1000th second in automatic mode. Shutter operates at B or M90 (1/90th second) in manual mode even if battery is depleted.

FLASH SYNCHRONIZATION: "X" synch at "B" and 8-1/125th second; "M" synch at "B", 8 - 1/30th second. Automatic flash synch changeover and eyepiece ready light activation with Nikon Thyristor Flash SB-10.

FLASH CONTACTS: Built-in hot shoe with automatic safety switch and special contact for SB-10 flash; single PC outlet accepts Nikon screw-in or conventional PC cords.

VIEWFINDER: Built-in pentaprism finder with - 1.0 diopter eyepiece; information display includes complete shutter speed scale with indicators for speed in use in automatic and match-needle operation, under/over exposure, auto/manual signal, also selected lens aperture with all AI-Nikkor lenses through Nikon Aperture Direct Readout (ADR) system. Eyepiece contains LED ready-light for use with SB-10 flash.

FOCUSING SCREEN: Nikon Type K Screen (supplied) with 3mm-diameter split-image rangefinder, 1mm microprism circle plus overall matte Fresnel area; interchangeable with optional Types B and E screens, all specially-designed for exclusive use with FE.

REFLEX MIRROR: Oversize instant-return type with special pneumatic damping mechanism. Mirror is mounted on durable low mass titanium for extra smooth operation.

FILM LOADING: Multi-slotted easy load take-up spool, hinged back with safety lock and additive automatic-reset exposure counter for fast loading.

FILM TRANSPORT: Single-stroke lever advances film, winds shutter, switches meter on, and counts exposures in 135° action, may be left at "ready" position 30° from camera body to activate meter; when folded flush, lever turns meter off and locks shutter button.

FILM REWIND: Rewind-release button on camera baseplate; fold-out rewind crank pulls up to open camera back, after safety catch is released. Operates with motor drive attached. Special safety lock prevents back from being opened during rewind.

MULTIPLE EXPOSURE CONTROL: By moving control on camera top while operating film transport lever; also operates with MD-11 motor drive.

BATTERY TYPE: Two 1.5v silver oxide batteries (Eveready S76 or equivalent) power meter and shutter; LED battery tester built in.

OTHER FEATURES: Depth-of-field preview; stainless steel reinforced neckstrap eyelets; built-in self-timer with variable delay to approximately 10 seconds (may be 'cancelled' before exposure); memo holder on camera back stores film carton tab or other data.

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.