Pentax ME super

35mm MF film SLR camera • Discontinued


35mm full frame
Film type:
135 cartridge-loaded film
Pentax K [45.5mm]
Electronically controlled
4 - 1/2000 + B
Exposure metering:
Through-the-lens (TTL), open-aperture
Exposure modes:
Aperture-priority Auto
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description #1

Pentax cameras have played an important role in the development of the 35mm single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera. From the very day we introduced the Asahiflex - the company's first 35mm SLR - over 28 years ago, Pentax cameras have pioneered in the development of the SLR system with such innovations as the quick-return mirror, through-the-lens metering, popularization of eye-level pentaprism viewing, and the development of fully automatic electronic shutters, to name a few.

As an outcome of our innovativeness, especially in the field of electronics, we are proud to introduce to you another first - the Pentax ME SUPER - the world's first SLR to feature dual "shutter-dial-less" exposure systems: standard fully automatic exposure and revolutionary new "electro-manual" exposure control. Moreover, not only does this remarkable new camera feature fully "shutter-dial-less" operation in both auto and manual modes, but a host of other amazing features, such as the Pentax MFC-E2 vertical-run metal focal plane shutter with a super-fast 1/2000 second top shutter speed - the fastest ever in an ultra-compact camera; innovative 3-color LED display that lets you know instantly the exact status of your exposure; provision for dedicated electronic flash, and winder, and much more.



The ME SUPER is truly a unique and exciting camera. Not simply because it's a smooth handling, ultra-compact offering you both auto and manual exposure control - other compacts offer this. But, because it features two fully computerized exposure systems that are both equally unique, and equally practical. Both systems, in fact, are so easy to use and so professional that it could best be described as two cameras in one.

On AUTO, it's a fully automatic compact, featuring its own version of that now famous "shutter-dial-less" auto exposure control originally developed for the Pentax ME. You merely adjust the lens aperture to agree with the lighting conditions in the picture, and check the exposure. The camera then selects the precise shutter speed, steplessly, over a vast shutter speed range running all the way from 4 seconds to a remarkable 1/2000 second - an unprecedented top shutter speed for such a small camera.

And, equally as remarkable is the fact that even inexperienced photographers can get fantastic results with this mighty compact the first time out. This is due partly to the fact that the camera is so easy to use, and also to the use of incredibly precise GPD (Gallium Arsenic Phosphorus Photo Diode) metering cells - the most exacting on the market. As a result, exposure accuracy is unexcelled no matter who presses the shutter button.

For the same basic reason, advanced amateurs and professionals love the ME SUPER's auto exposure control system: Its reliability is unmatched. Not only do the quick-response GPD cells assure optimum results when shooting in a hurry, but the camera's easy handling and broad shutter speed range also give it a greater range than other cameras in its class.

The other convenient features of the ME SUPER's fully automatic exposure system are equally as invaluable. Such useful innovations as Pentax's newly developed 3-color "Stop/Go" LED display in the viewfinder, which even signals you when to use flash or take precautions against picture blur... a new-type finder-screen matte for unbelievably bright focusing... an enlarged air damper that assures extremely quiet operation.

There's even provision for a dedicated electronic flash: when compatible Pentax auto flash units such as the AF 200S or AF 160 are used, the flash is synchronized automatically at a fast shutter speed of 1/125 second, while the LED "flash ready" indication is also given in the viewfinder when the flash unit charges.

The above features alone are enough to make the ME SUPER a tempting choice for the photographer seeking a handy camera that brings results. But there's more- there's still that "other camera" we mentioned.

Simply switch the exposure mode dial to "M" and activate the metering system for a totally new experience in photography. Immediately, the camera switches over to the revolutionary electronic manual exposure system. Like AUTO, this unique system is also "shutter-dial-less." To select the shutter speed, look through the viewfinder and press either of the two feather-touch pushbuttons located beside the exposure mode dial. When you press the forward button, the LEDs alongside the viewfinder shutter-speed scale climb sequentially from slower to faster shutter speeds. Conversely, when you press the rear button, the LEDs descend the scale. Once you reach your desired speed, merely adjust the lens aperture to zero-in on the correct exposure. It's that simple, in fact, some photographers even use "M" as their main mode setting - occasionally switching to "auto override," of course.

Moreover, in the "M" (Manual) mode, you get all the essential extras, the same as auto: the same quiet operation, 3-color LED readout, provision for dedicated electronic flash, provision for the fast 2 fps Winder ME II and so forth.

The amazing Pentax ME SUPER. Whether you choose "AUTO" or "M" as your main shooting mode is up to you. Either way, you get professional quality with minimal fuss!

Manufacturer description #2

Pentax would like you to recall the days of manual through-the-lens metering. Or, if you don't mind dating yourself, the days when a meter was something you carried in your hand and used to meticulously measure light. So that you could turn the act of making an exposure into a true act of creativity.


Pentax makes several automatic exposure single-lens reflex cameras. So you know we're highly commited to this form of photography. No matter how advanced you are in photographic technology, there is no substitute for automation for its speed in responding directly to your images.

And yet, when you have the time to analyze your subject, the light and a mental image of the final photograph, there's no substitute for the control of manual metering.

To assimilate these two very distinct photographic philosophies, we developed the ME Super.


Until the advent of the Super camera, most automatic cameras featured manual control as something of an "add on" feature. They could be used for manual in many cases. But never with the full facility of a camera built for manual metering.

In the ME Super, there are two discrete systems. One is a fully automatic, electronic, aperture-priority exposure system of outstanding accuracy. It will yield near-ideal exposures under a wide range of conditions.

The other system is the innovative Pentax ElectroTouch manual override, in which we replaced the ubiquitous shutter speed dial with a pair of push buttons. When you press one, the speed increases; when you press the other, it falls. It's a system that would do justice to the best-conceived all-manual camera.

In every sense of the word, the Pentax ME Super is two cameras in one, neither of which compromises the other in any way.


With the ME Super's manual control, you can make virtually instantaneous exposure adjustments, fine tuning the light or bracketing for security. As a critical photographer, you know that as little as 1/2 stop can mean the difference between an exciting photograph and an also-ran.

With the ME Super, total control is literally at your fingertips.


Something else you'll find on the ME Super is a top shutter speed of 1/2,000 second. It's only on a few cameras in the world. And it isn't on any in the Super camera's price range. This high speed is an invaluable feature for stopping ultrafast action or shooting in bright light with high-speed films.

And it, too, is available at the touch of a push-button switch.


There are times when you're faced with lighting that can't be accomodated by any manual or automatic system without continuous compensation. So that's just what the ME Super has. Its handy exposure compensation dial lets you set the camera to compensate for high-contrast scenes (in the snow, at the theater) and continue to shoot either automatically or manually as if the light were normal.


A fine camera is nothing without a fine system of lenses to back it up.

Each of the more than 40 Pentax lenses in out line is Super-Multi-Coated (a 7-layer Pentax innovation) on every surface. It's costly and time-consuming. But it reduces flare to negligible levels and increases contrast and color saturation to a corresponding degree.

Pentax lenses are a perfect match for Pentax cameras, with a consistent optical performance, color rendition and "feel" from focal length to focal length. And each features the Pentax bayonet mount (another Pentax innovation), one of the fastest and most secure ever designed.


The ME Super has become, in a very short time, one of the most popular new SLRs ever introduced. It is the ideal non-compromise camera, whether your photographs are based on the instant reactions of automation or the studied manipulations of manual.

Manufacturer description #3

TYPE: 35mm SLR camera with aperture-preferred automatic exposure; "pushbutton" electronic manual; auto flash sync (with AF 200S and AF 160 Units)

MOUNT: Pentax Bayonet Mount with fully automatic diaphragm linkage

SHUTTER: Seiko MFC-E2 vertical-run metal focal plane shutter; automatic shutter speeds electronically controlled between 4 sec. and 1/2000 sec. (stepless variation); electronic manual shutter speeds at 14 viewfinder settings (varied by dual pushbutton controls), plus mechanical settings of "125X" and "B" (operates without batteries at mechanical settings); selection via exposure mode dial; shutter button lock also provided

AUTO FLASH SYNCH: Synchronizes automatically with AF 200S or AF 160 Flash Units at 1/125 sec. via hotshoe in both "AUTO" and "M" modes. LED flash synch/ready indication provided in viewfinder

MANUAL FLASH SYNCH: Direct X synch via hotshoe or cord synch via X socket on camera body; 1/125 sec. flash synch speed at "125X" setting of exposure mode dial

SELF-TIMER: Delays shutter release 4-10 seconds

EXPOSURE METERING: Open aperture, center-weighted through-the-lens light metering by GPD cells. Exposure range from EV 1 - EV 19 (ASA 100 with 50mm f/1.4 lens). Film speed range: ASA 12 - 1600; 3-color LED shutter-speed readout in viewfinder. (20-35 sec. display given on particularly pressing shutter button which acts as metering switch +/2 EV exposure compensation via dial (1/4X, 1/2X, 2X, 4X)

VIEWFINDER: Silver-coated pentaprism finder with split-image/microprism focusing screen; shows 92% of the picture area, 0.95X magnification with 50mm lens; -1.0 diopter eyepiece (accepts correction eyepieces)

VIEWFINDER INDICATIONS: 2-color shutter speed readout: GREEN LEDs indicate speeds from 1/60 to 1/2000 sec. (adequate range for handheld shooting) YELLOW LEDs give camera shake warning for speeds from 4 sec. thru 1/30 sec.; RED LED "OVER/UNDER" exposure warning; RED LED exposure compensation warning, "M" (manual) exposure warning when "M" LED is continuously lit, "M" auto flash ready indication when "M" LED flashes; auto flash synch indicated by GREEN LED at "125X"

FILM LOADING: Magic-needle quick/sure loading

FILM ADVANCE AND REWIND: Single-stroke, rapid wind lever, plastic-tipped for winding comfort. 135° throw with 30° standoff angle. Rewind via film rewind crank. Couplings provided for use with 2 fps Winder ME II automatic film winder (also accepts Winder ME)

EXPOSURE COUNTER: Automatic reset type

BATTERIES/BATTERY CHECK: Two 1.5V silver-oxide batteries power electronic systems in both AUTO and "M" exposure modes. LEDs in viewfinder flicker when batteries are low, cease to light on battery failure

BACK COVER: Standard camera back with spring catch; removable for use of camera with Dial Date ME; memo holder on back

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35mm full frame • Manual focus • Film • Singe-lens reflex • Pentax K mount
Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
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M, 1/1000 -- M 1980 
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Chinon CA-4
aka Agfa Selectronic 2
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Chinon CA-4s E, 1/1000 TTL • OA A
Chinon CE-4
aka Agfa Selectronic 3
E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1979 
Chinon CE-4s E, 1/2000 TTL • OA AM 1982 
Chinon CE-5 E, 1/2000 TTL • OA AM 1982 
Chinon CG-5 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1982 
Chinon CM-4
aka Agfa Selectronic 1
M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1980 
Chinon CM-4s
aka Vivitar XV-11
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Chinon CM-5
aka Vivitar XV-5
M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1982 
Chinon CM-7 M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M 1987 
Chinon CP-5 Twin Program E, 1/1000 TTL • OA PAM 1983 
Chinon CP-5s Twin Program E, 1/1000 TTL • OA PAM 1984 
Chinon CP-6 Spot Twin Program E, 1/1000 TTL • OA PAM 1985 
Chinon CP-7m Multi-Program E, 1/2000 TTL • OA PAM 1986 
Chinon CP-X Program E, 1/1000 TTL • OA PAM 1985 
Chinon DP-5 Double Program E, 1/1000 TTL • OA PAM
Chinon DSL M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M
Cimko LS-1
aka Lindenblatt KL-2
E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1982 
Cosina C1
aka Phoenix P1
aka Voigtlander VSL 40
M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M
Cosina C1s M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M
Cosina C2 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM
Cosina CS-1 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1978 
Cosina CS-2 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA A 1978 
Cosina CS-3 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1978 
Cosina CT-1
aka Vivitar XV-1
aka Vivitar XV-10
M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1979 
Cosina CT-10 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA A 1981 
Cosina CT-1A
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M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1980 
Cosina CT-2
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E, 1/1000 TTL • OA A 1980 
Cosina CT-20 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA A 1981 
Cosina CT-3 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA A 1981 
Cosina CT-4
aka Vivitar XV-3
E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1981 
Cosina CT1 Super
aka Exakta HS-2
M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M 1984 
Cosina CT1EX
aka Exakta HS-10
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M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M 1988 
Cosina CT1G
aka Exakta HS-1
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Cosina CT9
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Cosina E1 Solar M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M 1994 
Cosina PM-1 M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M
Cosina [Computer] CT7
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Ricoh KR-10
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Ricoh KR-10SE E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1980 
Ricoh KR-5SV M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M 2000 
Ricoh XR Solar M, 1/2000 TTL • OA M 1994 
Ricoh XR-1 M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1977 
Ricoh XR-1S M, 1/1000 TTL • OA M 1979 
Ricoh XR-2 E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1977 
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Ricoh XR-F E, 1/1000 TTL • OA AM 1983 
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Ricoh XR500
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Zenit-AM / AM2 / AM3
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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.