Rolleiflex SL66SE

Production status
Rolleiflex SL66 system cameras

Rolleiflex SL66SE

Medium format MF film SLR camera • Discontinued


Medium format 6x6
Film type:
120 roll film
220 roll film
Rolleiflex SL66 [102.8mm]
1 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:
Through-the-lens (TTL), open-aperture
Exposure modes:
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description #1

Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and Rolleiflex SL66X - The State of the Art in Medium Format

Outstanding results can be achieved more easily and reliably with the advanced technology of a professional camera system.

These cameras incorporate the very latest developments in photographic technology but are easy and straightforward to operate. Now that the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and the Rolleiflex SL 66 X are on the market, very few technical obstacles stand between the photographer and the realization of his creative ideas. The main features of these systems are:

  • Mechanical SLR cameras for 6 x 6 (2 1/4 x 2 1/ 4) and 4.5 x 6 (1 5/8 x 2 1/4) format
  • Built-in bellows for close-up photography without accessories
  • Lens mounting with ± 8° tilt for application of the Scheimpflug principle (extended depth of field)
  • TTL exposure metering. Can be switched from spot to integral metering (on the Rolleiflex SL66SE)
  • TTL automatic flash control with flash metering at the film surface
  • Focal plane shutter, 1 to 1/ 1000 sec and B
  • Professional film magazine for 6 x 6 (2 1/4 x 2 1/4) or 4.5 x 6 (1 5/8 x 2 1/4) format or Polaroid stock
  • Top-performance Zeiss lenses from 30 to 1000 mm.

Both these cameras are distinguished by their great versatility, which is why they are so popular with serious photographers in many different fields of photography.

The Basis of a Perfect System

The photogropher can now rely on professional-quality mechanics without giving up the precision and speed offered by modern methods of exposure metering. The Rolleiflex SL66SE has built-in exposure metering which can be switched from integral to spot readings. In this sense, it is a "universal" camera, i.e. it can be used in the studio or outdoors, in constant or changing light conditions. Even when the battery is low, all the camera features apart from exposure metering remain fully operational.

The Rolleiflex SL66X is the ideal camera for assignments carried out mainly in constant light conditions, e. g. studio photography. Aperture and shutter speed are balanced using external metering. With this camera, even difficult shots, i.e. in the close-up or macro range, can be taken without major problems. This model also incorporates the modern TTL automatic flash system, which monitors and controls the flash light at the film.

The Whole Spectrum of Professional Photography

The wide range of applications of the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and the Rolleiflex SL 66 X is more than ample proof that these models represent the most advanced examples of pioneering photographic technology. This camera system successfully combines robust, reliable mechanics with fast-acting electronics that virtually make wear and tear a thing of the past. The system incorporates built-in bellows with a tilting lens holder, automatic flash with TTL flash exposure metering off the film, a range of lenses that leaves nothing to be desired - and much more. Every part of these cameras is built to the highest standards of precision. The truth is that these models are the envy of camera manufacturers all over the world! In terms of improved picture quality, they open up almost unlimited possibilities in every branch of classical photography.

Built-in TTL Exposure Metering - Spot or Integral Metering at the Flick of a Switch For the Last Word in Picture Quality

The Rolleiflex SL 66 SE has the most reliable exposure metering system available on the market today; through-the-Iens metering built into the camera body. LED indicators in the viewfinder show red for over- or under-exposure, yellow when the exposure deviates by half a stop, or green for the correct exposure. Exposure can be balanced with aperture or shutter priority. This method of exposure control simplifies and speeds up the photographer's work and ensures reliable measurements. The built-in exposure electronics provide problem-free camera operation, even with difficult shots or subjects. Angle of view and extension factors are automatically taken into account by the meter and remain fully operational with all the finder systems.

But the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE offers even more than this! The measurement characteristics can be set to either spot or weighted integral metering (simultaneous-multi-spot-measurement). With integral metering, the centre-weighted silicon cell is connected up with four other photocells aimed at various points in the image field. This extensive metering not only provides a higher weighting in the lower half of the image, but also substantially compensates for any stray light entering through the viewfinder. This dual metering system makes the camera ideal for any photographic situation. It offers integral metering for relatively evenly lit large-area subjects and spot metering for back-lit shots and subjects with high contrast.

Through-the-Lens Flash Metering: for Reliable Results in the Studio or Outdoors

The flash metering system in the Rolleiflex SL66SE and SL66X incorporates the very latest photographic technology. When used in conjunction with automatic flash units and a special adapter on the SCA 300 system (e.g. Rollei SCA 356), a sensor monitors the light falling on the film through the lens during the exposure. It then meters out the flash energy required for the particular subject. This process automatically takes account of extension factors for filters, extension tubes or bellows - an invaluable asset, particularly in the close-up and macro range. And experienced photographers know that this is where exposure control is the most difficult, so the Rollei SL 66 accessory range includes a special macro flash.

Automatic flash can also be used with professional studio flash equipment, in conjunction with the FMI TTL flash exposure meter. The quantity of light can be regulated by adjusting the camera aperture or the light output of the flash equipment. For the trial flash required to balance the exposure, metering camera backs are available with spot or integral readings.

Unique Feature: the Built-in Tilting Bellows with Three Different Applications

The Rolleiflex SL66SE and SL66X have a built-in bellows for distance adjustment, which can also be tilted up to ± 8° in the vertical plane. This device offers the photographer additional advantages and creative opportunities:

1. Extended depth of field by tilting the bellows (the so-called Scheimpflug* effect)

2. Access to close-up and macro photography without accessories, especially when using a reverse- mounted lens

3. Shorter distance from the subject, even with long-focus lenses (e. g. 60 cm with 150 mm focal length)

Photos Sharp Right to the Edge: No Other Camera Can Offer This Kind of Quality!

By tilting the bellows ± 8° relative to the film plane, the depth of field can be significantly increased without altering the aperture. This is an advantage when poor light conditions require a wide aperture.

Or when the edges of the subject extend further than the depth of field available with the smallest aperture. The Scheimpflug* principle provides the answer to the problems of photographing subjects with vertical surfaces, e.g. in architectural photography (fronts of buildings, facades, walls, frescos, painted ceilings, etc!. And it has its advantages in table-top photography too. Less flat subjects can be brought into sharp focus by stopping down. This procedure is particularly useful when employed in conjunction with the PCS-Rolleigon shift lens.

* Named after the man who discovered it, the geodetic surveyor Theodore Scheimpflug. This principle states that if the planes of the film, lens and subject can be made to converge, the resulting image will be sharp overall.

Close-up and Macro Photography with Reverse-mounted Lenses

With the bellows, close-up and macro photography are possible without any other accessories. In particular, the image scale can be significantly increased without any need for extra equipment by simply mounting the lens back to front. For example, over 3:1 can be achieved with a 50 mm wide-angle lens. The lenses that can be reverse-mounted on the SL 66 SE and SL66X are the f4/50 mm, f3.5/60 mm, f2.8/80 mm and f5.6/120 mm lenses. With the aid of the scales on the bellows extension, the camera can be set directly to the required magnification for each focal length. For superior reproduction, the image scale should be greater than 1:1.

Shorter Subject Distance - even with Longer Focal Lengths

The full extension of the bellows is 50 mm. With the standard f2.8/80 mm lens, a bellows movement of 7.5 mm covers the range 1 m to infinity. The remaining 42.5 mm extension is available for close-up photography. The scales on the slide rail also show, next to the magnification factors, the exposure value corrections for three lenses (80, 120, 150 mm). (This is only significant for the Rolleiflex SL 66 X, since the SL66SE has automatic exposure metering). A millimetre scale is a further aid to precision.

The Rolleiflex Interchangeable Magazine System: the Right Film for Every Situation

Photographers know the situation only too well: a new subject or a fundamentally different interpretation calls for a change of film stock. Or you want to slip in a Polaroid shot to check the lighting. With this in mind, the Rolleiflex SL 66 SE and SL 66 X incorporate a professional interchangeable magazine system. Magazines for 6x6/120, 6x6/220, 4.5x6/120 and 4.5x6/220 films were designed in close cooperation with well-known photographers. These magazines can be changed in an instant without losing a single frame. The small, handy crank for leading in and winding up the film, the film speed input facility (for exposure metering), the interchangeable film inserts and the slot for storing the darkslide are just a few of the useful features on these magazines.

In addition, the accessory range includes a cassette adapter for use with sheet film cassettes and a Polaroid magazine for 8.3 x 10.8 cm (3 1/4 X 4 1/4 in) Polaroid pack film-types 107, 108, 667, 668, 669 and 665. The Polaroid magazine gives you the choice, for each frame, of exposing two photographs in the 4.5x6 format or a single shot in the 6x6 format. The use of a single frame for two 4.5x6 exposures has obvious advantages for the cost-conscious professional: two lighting or exposure alternatives can be compared on a single Polaroid print.

Peak Lens Performance

The key advantages of a professional camera design are quality and versatility. Here, the lenses available for the camera system are vital. Even the best camera is only as efficient and versatile as its interchangeable lenses. A complete range of lenses was designed for the Rolleiflex SL66SE and Rolleiflex SL66X in close collaboration with Carl Zeiss. The outstanding performance of these lenses has earned them a world-wide reputation for being "Made in Germany."

Special Tasks Need Special Solutions: Rollei Has Them

Photography is a fascinating pursuit for people from all walks of life. The tasks and requirements of photographers are just as varied. Rollei offer top-performance professional equipment for unusual and "way-out" applications as well as standard photographic assignments. This is evident from their elaborately developed technology and their range of lenses for special applications.

For instance, the PCS-Rolleigon shift lens with a ball/tilt adapter is an ideal addition to the SL 66 SE and SL 66 X. It opens up the wide field of still life photography and for many jobs makes these models real alternatives to the view camera.

The Luminar magnifying lenses serve a completely different purpose. They give access to subjects that are invisible to the human eye and show fascinating and even disturbing aspects of the microscopic world. Thus, whether it's for architectural photography or macro work, the preparation of photographic records or creative portrait photography, Rollei's advanced camera technology and lens designs have the answer.

Manufacturer description #2

TYPE: A 6 x 6 SLR automatic camera with TTL exposure meter, built-in bellows and interchangeable film magazine. Lens holder with bellows, lens vertically tiltable by +/-8° for extended depth. Mirror pre-release and multiple exposure switch. Equipped for automatic flash units with through-the-lens exposure metering.

INTERCHANGEABLE MAGAZINES: Magazines for 6 x 6/120 film, 6 x 6/220 film, 4.5 x 6/120 film and 4.5 x 6/220 film. They are equipped with magazine drawslide, magazine winder knob, holder for tear-off tab from the film box and storage compartment for the magazine drawslide. Film wind-up with automatic stop at frame 1. Film speed setting for the exposure meter on the right side of the magazine. ASA 25-6400 (15-39 DIN). Film counter for 1-12, switchable to 1-24, returns to zero when the film is changed. Magazine 4.5 x 6 horizontal format with counter 1-16, switchable to 1-32. Rollei Polaroid magazine 6 x 6 or two times 4.5 x 6 for Polaroid film packs. The Rollei magazine can be interchanged irrespective of the number of pictures taken.

STANDARD LENS: Planar f 2.8/80 mm, angle of view 52°. Distance range in normal mounting INFINITY to 16 cm, in reverse mounting 16 cm to 12 cm.

INTERCHANGEABLE LENSES: Zeiss lenses with focal lengths of 30-1000 mm, some mountable in the reverse position.

SHUTTER: Focal plane shutter, speed range 1 s - 1/1000 s and B, X-contact, X-synchronization 1/30 s.

VIEWFINDER: Mirror-reflex viewfinder, damped mirror movement with partially transparent multicoating, clear focusing screen with microprism area and split-image wedge (interchangeable). Folding viewing head with magnifier lens (3x), interchangeable with rigid magnifying head or prism head.

EXPOSURE METERING SYSTEM: Spot measurement through integral metering by means of 5 spectral-corrected silicon photo-elements behind the swinging mirror. The measuring range for ASA 100/21 DIN spans exposure values 1-18, measured with the standard Planar f 2.8/80 mm lens. The exposure meter is activated by lightly pressing the shutter release. Switchover from the spot to integral metering mode is done via the select switch. Stray light compensation. Metering angle for spot measurement is <3° with f:80 mm. The film speed is adjusted on the magazine, in the range 25-6400 ASA (15-39 DIN). The measured exposure is balanced by means of 5 different-coloured LED indicators in the viewfinder. Exposure correction switch for -1.5 to +1.5 EV steps.

BATTERY: 6 V silver oxide or lithium (PX 28).

FLASH EXPOSURE METERING: Through-the-lens flash metering by the use of a fully automatic flash unit with Rollei SCA 356 adapter. A sensor measures the light reflected from the film surface and an electronic control system in the Rollei flash adapter measures out the necessary flash energy. Mounting and electrical contact for the system adapter or the Rollei FM 1 take place via the hot shoe on the left side on the camera.

FOCUSING: By means of built-in bellows, 50 mm extension. Focusing knob at the side with distance scales built in for 50, 80, 150 and 250 mm focal lengths.

EXTENDED DEPTH: (According to the Scheimpflug principle). The lens holder can be tilted 8° upwards or downwards; it is self-locking in the middle and two end positions.

FILM TRANSPORT: By means of a transport crank, coupled to the shutter cocking mechanism. The multiple exposure locking device can be disengaged.

From the editor

Manufactured 04/1986 – 10/1992 in Germany, 3.500 units.

Special editions (1)

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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.