Rolleiflex 3003

35mm MF film SLR camera


Production details:
Announced:July 1984
System: Rolleiflex SL35 (1970)
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Film type:135 cartridge-loaded film
Mount and Flange focal distance:Rollei QBM [44.46mm]
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:16 - 1/2000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL), open-aperture
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description

Camera type: Single-lens reflex camera with interchangeable film magazine, two integral viewfinder systems and built-in motor drive. Highly integrated analogue/digital control circuits, central control and monitoring of all measurement and drive functions.

Picture format: 24 x 36 mm.

Film type: Type 135 35 mm film cartridges for 12, 20, 24, 36 or 72 exposures, and also sheet film and bulk film stock.

Film speed: Magazine setting: 15-39 DIN (25-6400 ASA).

Exposure metering: Through-the-Iens Rollei selective metering, using open or working aperture. Measuring field shown on the viewfinder image. Exhosure correction: -1 to +2 EV intervals. Sensor: two silicon photodiodes.

Measurement range: Exposure values 1-18 for 21 DIN/100 ASA film with aperture 1:1.4.

Shutter: Vertical-running metal-blind focal-plane shutter. Electronically controlled. Automatic selection of shutter speed with aperture priority, or manual exposure balance (follow-up system). Shutter speeds : 1/2000 sec to 16 sec, automatic or manual setting, time exposure B, flash synchronization speed 1/100 sec to 16 sec, X = 1/100 sec.

Interchangeable lenses: Rollei QBM bayonet interlocking with iris simulator, Zeiss lenses with focal length from 15 to 1000 mm, Rolleinar lenses with focal length from 14 to 500 mm and zoom lenses.

Shutter release: Three microswitches, one on each side of the camera as well as one on the top right for reportage applications using the loop handgrip. Electronically controlled automatic release.

Film transport: Built-in high-performance motor. Single or continuous release at around 3 pictures per second.

Multiple exposure: By means of a switch on the magazine.

Reflex mirror: Damped swinging mirror, hard coated.

Viewfinder systems: Two built-in viewfinders: (1) Telescopic viewfinder with rotatable eyepiece for dioptre adjustment and rubber eyecup. (2) Hood with interchangeable viewfinder attachments. Standard version: folding viewfinder hood with flip-up magnifier. Seven interchangeable focusing screens. Can be changed without tools.

Viewfinder information: Indication of aperture by luminous numbers (LEDs). Indication of shutter speed by luminous numbers (LEDs). Indication when shutter speed range is exceeded. Identification of measuring field for exposure metering. Indication of "flash ready" and under-exposure when automatic flash is used. Memory function. Indicator for exposure correction.

Flash synchronization: 1/100 sec. Accessory shoe with synchronizing centre contact and contacts for automatic flash units with Rollei SCA 356 or Metz C 70 special adapters.

Automatic flash control: TTL flash metering in the film plane by means of additional photodiode with "flash ready" indication and exposure monitoring in the viewfinder.

Power supply: Quick-change power pack with soldered-in NiCd batteries. Can be replaced by external electrical supply connection . Charger for normal charging rate. Charging time 14 hours.

Interchangeable magazines: With drawslide for quick change of partly exposed films. For 12-, 20-, 24-, 36- or 72-exposure films, and also for sheet film. Exposed film can also be removed with the magazine attached. The magazine interlocks to prevent errors in operation. Facility for single and multiple exposures. The film speed can be set between 15 and 39 DIN (25 and 6400 ASA). The frame counter only operates when the magazine is loaded. Memo holder for tear-off tab from film box. Polaroid magazine for Polaroid film pack (two pictures 24 x 36). Long-film magazine for 250 exposures.

Connections: Multiple socket for electrical remote release cable, timer, infrared remote operation. 1/4" tripod bush.


Function defines form

The unusual design of the Rolleiflex 3003 is unique among cameras in the 24 x 36 mm format. The impressive shape of this model is primarily determined by function. Its design is based on the concept of combining the proven elements of medium-format technology with the comfort and speed of the ideal modern 35 mm camera, thus creating a new and superior class of pioneering professional 35 mm SLR camera.

The systematic development of this concept has produced the distinctive look of the Rolleiflex 3003. The camera's handy, compact cube shape is the result of completely new product features and intensive ergonomic studies. For this reason, the Rolleiflex 3003 offers an ease of handling that is unique in this class of camera.

Light and easy to handle - universally adiustable

The Rolleiflex 3003: a new dimension in cameras. Made in Braunschweig with Rollei's supreme precision. A marvellous synthesis of robust mechanics and the latest electronics.

For the photographer working in 35 mm, the camera technology of the Rolleiflex 3003 opens up opportunities that up to now were only available with professional medium-format models. The combination of the proven interchangeable film magazine system, the integral twin viewfinder system and the built-in high-performance motor is unique among 35 mm SLR cameras.

Despite its sophisticated technology, the Rolleiflex 3003 is an amazingly simple camera to operate. All the controls are arranged and shaped in such a way that they are easy to adjust in any position and in any situation. They can even be operated with gloves on. Modern electronics ensures that every creative idea can be realized with superlative precision. A well-designed monitoring and safety system practically eliminates sources of error and operating faults.

Completely trouble-free exposure control: you yourself couldn't make a more positive choice between light and dark

With the Rolleiflex 3003, you can be sure of the right exposure in any situation. The superlative technical features of this model are matched by its exceptional ease of operation. The exposure is automatically controlled (automatic shutter with aperture priority). The automatic system can be corrected by -1 to +2 EV intervals or can be switched over to manual exposure compensation (follow-up system).

Rollei selective metering

Most cameras integrate the measured brightness and build up an average value from the light and dark areas of the subject as a whole. With its special selective metering, the Rolleiflex 3003 precisely takes into account important subject details.

In most cases, simple integral measurement is good enough since about 80% of all photographs only show moderate contrast. But a top-class camera must also be able to cope with the other 20% of the cases directly without the need for intricate manipulations. Thus, in the Rolleiflex 3003, the measurement field is defined as a rectangular area in the viewfinder - a method superior in practice to the less accurate total area measurement and the slower spot measurement.

Measured value storage

If the important subject detail is not in the middle of the frame, the measured value can be held. The required framing can then be selected and the picture taken. It is particularly important to remember that the measured value memory functions with sequences of exposures as well as with individual pictures.

Multiple exposure

Particularly striking effects can be achieved by making two or more exposures one after another on the same negative or slide.

Working/open aperture metering

Working aperture metering is useful not only for monitoring the depth of field at a particular aperture, but also when using:

  • older Rollei lenses without aperture transfer,
  • non-standard lenses without aperture transfer,
  • extension tubes not equipped for automatic operation,
  • adapters of all types and bellows units.

The Rolleiflex 3003 proves itselfs to be completely trouble-free because the automatic features continue to function with working aperture operation.

With the Rolleiflex 3003, successful multiple exposures are no trouble at all.

Flashes of perfection - with automatic flash

The TTL flash metering system in the Rolleiflex 3003 reflects the state of the art. Automatic flash units and special adapters make it possible to master flash photography speedily and without problems - with no aperture restrictions either. The Rollei SCA 356 adapter (SCA 300 system) is suitable for flash units from Agfa, Braun, Metz, Osram, Philips and Regula. A sensor built into the camera body measures the light reaching the film through the lens. The special flash control electronics in the external special adapter then meters out the flash power required for the particular subject. The camera automatically sets the flash synchronous speed of 1/100 sec; "flash ready" and the correctness or incorrectness of the exposure are indicated in the viewfinder. Extension factors (e. g. when using bellows, extension tubes, converters, filters, etc.) are automatically allowed for in the metering. Of course other flash units can also be connected directly to the Rolleiflex 3003, without accessories, either by using the hot shoe with a centre contact or via a synchronizing cable.

With the specially designed pistol grip and flash extension unit 1, the flash can be mounted in any position next to the camera - right or left, above or below. In every position, the camera can be held easily and firmly.

The TTL flash metering system can be used with advantage in the close-up and macro range, as well as with the Rollei MF1 Macroflash. And even when using professional studio flash equipment, it is now possible for the first time, using the Rollei FM1 TTL flash exposure meter, to measure studio flash light through the lens. The meter will tell you the correct change of aperture or reduction in flash power to achieve perfect exposure as measured from the film plane. The meter will then check the final exposure measuring 0 or plus or minus EV factors. All this is achieved without wasting film or having to approach the subject with a conventional flash meter.

Unique feature: the built-in twin reflex viewfinder system, the individual perspective

Whether you're taking pictures flat on the ground, over your head or round a corner, you can now achieve the optimum view of your subject in any situation.

The telescopic viewfinder system is for normal applications: it is suitable for all types of photograph that you may want to take from the viewpoint of the human eye. A special feature is the facility to change the dioptre rating of the eyepiece to accommodate visual defects. This does away with the need to change the lenses in the eyepiece.

The hood viewfinder system is particularly suitable for unusual viewpoints - subjects near ground level, for example - but also for situations in which the subject cannot be viewed directly. Thus, it is possible to take photographs over crowds or walls, or from viewpoints that previously would have been out of the question. In these situations, you hold the camera over your head and look into the viewfinder from below.

You can change from the telescopic to the hood viewfinder in a flash. With the Rolleiflex 3003, you don't lose any time removing and fixing finder systems because they are already built into the camera. Focusing screens for the viewfinder can be changed easily without tools. You have a choice of seven different screens that can be interchanged to suit the subject. Hence, the Rolleiflex 3003 is a custom-built instrument for use in any photographic situation.

Clear information in the viewfinder

Shutter speeds are indicated on the left-hand edge of the viewfinder as soon as the shutter release is pressed to the first stop. If two speed indications light up at the same time, the camera uses the intermediate value.

The selected aperture is indicated on the right-hand edge of the viewfinder. When Rollei lenses not designed for the Rolleiflex SL 2000 or 3003 are used, the aperture cannot be indicated for technical reasons. In this case, all the aperture values in the viewfinder light up. However, this has no effect on the correct exposure measurement and the automatic operation of the camera.

The measurement field for selective exposure metering is recognizable in the viewfinder as a precisely defined light-grey rectangle.

Focusing aids. The standard focusing screen has a split-image rangefinder and micro-prism grid as a focusing aid. It can be interchanged with other focusing screens according to the photographic requirements.

Follow-up exposure adjustment. When the exposure is set manually, a shutter speed indicator will flash if the setting is not correctly balanced. As soon as the correct shutter speed is obtained by alteration of aperture and/or speed, the light in the viewfinder will glow steadily.

The "memo" function: measured value storage is signalled by the fact that only the shutter speed indicator lights up.

Flash monitoring. When automatic flash is used, a green flash symbol in the viewfinder indicates when the flash is ready. After the flash exposure, the flash symbol indicates whether the light output of the flash was sufficient.

Exposure correction. When you are working with exposure correction, a red LED reminds you to switch off again before taking photographs in the normal way.

Unique feature: the built-in high-performance motor

This is also a first for a camera in this class. A high-performance motor efficiently and precisely operates all the camera functions, including the shutter and film transport.

Two modes of operation of the motor allow for individual exposures or sequences of exposures. When the release is pressed for a single picture, the motor moves the film on by just one frame. If rapid movements are to be captured or a series of frames is to be shot for information purposes, the continuous release provides photographs at 3 frames per second. Those who take a lot of photographs will appreciate this facility, for how often in action photography has the subject moved at the moment of shutter release so that you only hit the mark with a quick second shot.

Between shots the exposure is automatically checked and, if necessary, the shutter speed is corrected.

Designed as an uncomporomising motorized camera for the professional, the Rolleiflex 3003, with its interchangeable magazine, is altogether one of the fastest and most versatile camera systems available today.

Unique feature: the interchangeable magazine system

The Rolleiflex 3003 is the only 35 mm reflex camera in the world with a professional interchangeable magazine system. This enables you to take advantage of the sweeping developments in photochemistry, which have given a new impetus to professional photography with new films and emulsions: high-speed colour film for photography with very short exposure times or true-to-life atmospheric pictures in poor light conditions; colour transparency film for bright projection or rapid direct copying; black-and-white film that is both highly sensitive and very fine-grained. With the Rolleiflex 3003 and its unique interchangeable magazine system, you will always be able to cope with future innovations in chemistry.

Quick magazine change means exacting creative photography. You can change quickly and easily from colour to black-and-white film, from standard to high-speed film, from negative to reversal film - without losing any pictures from partly-exposed films.

In this way, the use of several magazines can multiply the creative possibilities of the Rolleiflex 3003. The performance of the camera will no longer be hampered by a film that does not meet the changed photographic situation.

Inside a church you are taking atmospheric pictures with a super high-speed film. For further photographs outside, the range of shutter speed/aperture combinations is not sufficient or else the grain is disturbingly noticeable. A second magazine with standard film provides the ideal solution to the problem.

An ingenious interlock system prevents errors in operation. The cassette can only be disengaged when the magazine drawslide is inserted, protecting the film from unwanted light. On the other hand, the camera shutter can only be released when the drawslide is pulled out, leaving the film free.

From the editor

Manufactured 07/1984 - 06/1994 in Germany, 2,800 units only.

The weight and dimensions are indicated for the camera body with the Carl Zeiss Planar HFT 50mm F/1.4 lens mounted.

Special limited editions (2)

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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.