Zeiss Ikon

35mm MF film rangefinder camera


Production details:
Announced:September 2004
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Film type:135 cartridge-loaded film
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Model:Electronically controlled
Speeds:8 - 1/2000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL), stop-down
Exposure modes:Aperture-priority Auto
Rangefinder and Viewfinder:
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.74x
Actual rangefinder base:75mm
Effective rangefinder base:55.5mm
Bright-line frames:28mm & 85mm, 35mm, 50mm
Parallax compensation:Yes
Physical characteristics:

Manufacturer description #1

Back with Passion: Carl Zeiss Redefines Range-finding Cameras

Carl Zeiss will present a new range-finder camera under the “Zeiss Ikon” brand at Photokina 2004.

Oberkochen/Cologne, Germany – September 28, 2004 – “Zeiss Ikon” is the name given to the newly designed, film-based range-finder camera introduced by Carl Zeiss at Photokina 2004 (Cologne, Sept. 28 – Oct. 3, 2004). It is not without reason that this name recalls the heyday of the German photo industry. A well-thought out camera system constructed to redefine range-finding cameras is behind the name. The original design indicates that Carl Zeiss succeeded. However, it is the ease of use and the many precision aspects of the camera, as well as the performance of the lens, that emphasize this claim.

We always keep the photographer in focus

Dr. Winfried Scherle, head of the Camera Lens Division at Carl Zeiss AG substantiates the claim: “The idea of the Zeiss Ikon camera is based on a philosophy that focuses on photographers and all their creativity when designing pictures. We extensively analyzed the leading range-finder cameras, looked for and found aspects in need of improvement.”

For example, precise focusing and basic requirements for crisp pictures. The Zeiss Ikon camera supports photographers with a uniquely large measuring basis of 75mm. The large measuring basis delivers high precision, particularly for photos in the near range when photographers want to focus on a certain detail in their subject. This is additionally supported by a bright viewfinder image that is approximately 30 percent brighter than the best existing systems as a result of the generously dimensioned optics. Focusing criteria can be significantly better assessed - even under difficult lighting conditions.

The extremely fast shutter speed of 1/2000 seconds opens up an entire new range of possibilities when designing pictures. All functions can be manually set. An intelligent aperture priority is also available to photographers with the Zeiss Ikon camera. It is equipped with an easy-to-use AE lock. This very useful function, particularly for subjects with significant differences in brightness, such as landscapes with bright skies, which are otherwise often under exposed.

User friendly

Anyone who does not constantly use a camera will be happy to have a simple, intuitive system. This is where Zeiss Ikon was systematically constructed to be user friendly. Loading the camera is as easy as with an SLR camera. When selecting the image segment, the frame that best fits the lens focal length is automatically displayed in the viewfinder. The respective objective lens focal length is also shown within this frame. Photographers also receive assistance when they select the correct exposure time or aperture. The actual exposure value (permanent) and the value recommended by the measuring system (blinking) are displayed in the viewfinder window using illuminated diodes. A digital diode is available for each value, twelve in total. The popular exposure correction function is located on the shutter speed knob and can be set without taking the camera away from the eye.

Extensive lens set

Brilliant, true-color, razor-sharp pictures, free from distortion are key requirements in creative photography. Development of this completely new, powerful set of lenses for the Zeiss Ikon camera was geared toward these basic requirements. It comprises a total of seven fixed focal length lenses ranging from a 15mm, ultra wide angle up to an 85mm portrait tele-lens. Thanks to standard lens mounts, these can be used with practically all standard range-finding cameras and are also suitable for digital photography.

Carl Zeiss also paid particular attention to minimal focus shift when developing the lens. The term describes the phenomenon of the focal plane wandering when the diaphragm is adjusted. With Zeiss Ikon lenses, this effect is so strongly reduced that it remains within the depth-of-field range and does not affect the quality of the picture.

Uniform and neutral color rendition was also listed in the Carl Zeiss function specifications given to developers and engineers. Based on knowledge gained from developing lenses for the movie industry and special ZEISS patents in this area, Carl Zeiss succeeded in achieving perfect color matching throughout the entire lens set, enabling each lens in the set to feature a uniform color characteristic.

The lens diaphragm consisting of 10 blades is equipped with a third-step click-stop, enabling particularly precise exposure.

Programmed quality

When it comes to processing quality and expected product life, customers place high demands on products from Carl Zeiss. In order to achieve this during production of the Zeiss Ikon camera, tolerances on the housing and all mechanical interfaces between the camera and lens lie in the range of a few micrometers. Extensive tests, such as shock, vibration, cold, heat and moisture are carried out in the Carl Zeiss environmental laboratory and the performance of the system under all realistic conditions is checked. A protocol is created that guarantees maximum quality and long life expectancy – beginning in production.

Worldwide availability

Long-time Carl Zeiss partner, Victor Hasselblad AB (Sweden), will take over worldwide (except Japan) distribution for the Zeiss Ikon camera system. “Distribution of the Zeiss Ikon system required a partner with years of experience in high-quality cameras and who boasts a worldwide sales network. We are very pleased to have found such a partner in Hasselblad. A unique basis of trust exists as a result of the long-lasting partnership with sophisticated medium format systems which both companies view as an important requirement for success,” explains Dr. Winfried Scherle on the decision to select Hasselblad.

Focused on the future

Four lenses – 50mm Planar f/2 ZM, 35mm Biogon f/2 ZM, 28mm Biogon f/2.8 ZM and 25mm Biogon f/2.8 ZM – will be available after Photokina 2004. The actual camera will be in stores in early 2005 followed by three additional lenses which will round out the line: Biogon 2.8/21 ZM, Distagon 2.8/15 ZM and Sonnar 2/85 ZM. The lenses have already been developed taking into account the special requirements of a foreseeable digital camera and can be used with all common range-finder cameras – both digital and analog.

Manufacturer description #2

2005-05-24: Shipment information

The Carl Zeiss lenses Biogon T* 2.8/25 ZM, Biogon T* 2.8/28 ZM, Biogon T* 2/35 ZM and Planar T* 2/50 ZM lenses have now been available on the market for some time. The demand has initially been higher than the production capacity, but the supply is now in good balance with orders.

However the Zeiss Ikon camera body, originally planned for shipments from late May 2005, is now scheduled for serial deliveries to start in August 2005. Additional time has been allocated to further improve the camera in order to meet highest possible customer expectations. The total time for the deliveries of the Limited Edition starting in August is expected to be four months.

Deliveries of the Carl Zeiss lenses Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZM and Biogon T* 2.8/21 ZM will also start in August 2005. The Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM is scheduled for start of deliveries in September 2005. We regret the delay but are sure that the Zeiss Ikon camera and the Carl Zeiss T* ZM-mount lenses above will be worthwhile waiting for.

Manufacturer description #3

2005-08-30: Shipment information concerning Zeiss Ikon products

The Zeiss Ikon camera body, which we previously hoped would be shipped from late August 2005, will now unfortunately be delayed a little. The meticulous prototype field testing and quality verification program carried out by Carl Zeiss has shown a potential for improvements, which we definitely want to implement in the serial products. Deliveries of the Zeiss Ikon Limited Series body are therefore scheduled to start in October 2005. The total time for the deliveries of the Limited Edition is expected to be four months.

Deliveries of the Carl Zeiss lens Biogon T* 2.8/21 ZM will start in September 2005. The Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZM is scheduled for start of deliveries in October 2005 and the Sonnar T* 2/85 ZM is supposed to follow at the end of 2005.

We regret the additional delay but are sure that the Zeiss Ikon camera and the Carl Zeiss T* ZM-mount lenses above will be well worth waiting for.

Manufacturer description #4

2005-10-28: Deliveries of Zeiss Ikon cameras now starting!

We are happy to inform you that the deliveries of Zeiss Ikon Limited Edition cameras are now starting. The camera bodies are presently being distributed to the various markets worldwide.

We will begin by delivering the orders we first received and we must therefore apologize for any waiting times initially experienced.

Manufacturer description #5

The new Zeiss Ikon camera combines a classical design with easy-to-use operation. Features and controls are designed to make practical photography comfortable and free from unpleasant surprises caused by the camera. Manual or auto TTL exposure metering as well as an AE-lock function gives you complete control of the exposure situation. So that you can make best use of the entire system – from the film to the lens. Quite simply, you can count on a highly versatile creative tool that won’t let you down.

Unlike 35 mm SLR camera viewfinders, for example, that can only show little more than 90% of what will be recorded on film, the Zeiss Ikon viewfinder lets you see the area that surrounds the actual image giving you greater possibilities and confidence as you compose each image. What’s more, the triangulation rangefinder combined with a viewfinder base that is the widest available means that you can expect extreme accuracy and wide-angle focusing precision. All of this and more so that you can follow your passion: creating great images.

Many people prefer the road less traveled. The journey is more important. The opinions of the masses are irrelevant. They question the norm and do often the unexpected. The Zeiss Ikon Rangefinder Camera is the ideal photographic tool for these individuals, allowing maximum creativity with the freedom and intimacy of 35 mm rangefinder photography. Combining the ultimate refi nement in optical and mechanical possibilities, it literally pushes the limits of today’s film technology.

The Zeiss Ikon unites a traditional design with modern conveniences, for picture taking – without any surprises caused by the technology. It thus enables photographers to turn a creative idea for an image into a real picture. Equipped with the renowned M bayonet, this camera is the tool for optimum use of the ZEISS ZM lenses and is also compatible with all other lenses equipped with an M bayonet.

Manufacturer description #6

Camera type: Compact rangefinder system camera with focal plane shutter and TTL light metering system.

Viewfinder: 0.74x magnification, bright range- and viewfinder with bright line frames activated by lens type in use, displayed frames 28/85 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm; separate frameselector lever for manual frame selection independent of mounted lens, automatic parallax compensation, diopter correction eyepieces -3 to +3 diopters, standard setting -0.5 diopter.

Large base rangefinder: Coincident-image rangefinder patch in the center of the viewfinder image, measurement base 75 mm (effective 55.5 mm), coupled object distance range: 0.7 m - infinity.

Exposure metering: TTL center-weighted metering at working aperture, metering range at ISO 100 and f/2: EV 0–19 (f/2: 4 s, f/16: 1/2000 s).

Film speed range: ISO 25-3200 manually in 1/3 f-stop increments.

Exposure modes: AE with aperture priority or manual, AE lock option for a sequence of exposures, exposure compensation +/- 2 f-stops in 1/3 steps set at shutter speed dial.

Viewfinder display: LED symbols for selected shutter speed along left side of frame, warnings for out of range shutter speeds and low battery.

Shutter: Vertical-travel metal focal-plane shutter, with electronically controlled speeds (1/12 f-stop resolition) from 8-1/2000 sec. in automatic mode; 1-1/2000 sec. in 1-stop increments in manual mode; B.

Flash synchronization: 1/125 s or longer.

Film transport: Rapid-wind manual advance lever, with ratcheted partial advance.

Camera body: One piece aluminum base structure, external magnesium covers, tripod thread 1/4 inch in base.

Batteries: 2 x 1.5 V, type LR44, SR44, or 1x lithium CR 1/3.


The best photographers are often characterized by their individuality. They go their own way instead of keeping to the beaten track. With the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera, we offer them the ideal equipment to give full expression to their individuality.

Rangefinder cameras from Carl Zeiss have always stood for the optimal fusion of creativity and comfort. And also for their legendary ZEISS quality.

The classic model: Its large, extremely bright and precise rangefinder optics as well as its outstanding ease of use are the most impressive features of this traditional rangefinder camera. It is convenient, discreet and uncomplicated, and allows extremely authentic photography.

From the editor

The camera was announced in September at Photokina 2004 but became available only at the end of 2005.

Special limited editions (1)

Similar cameras (28)

35mm full frame • Manual focus • Film • Rangefinder • Leica M mount

Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2 M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2002
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2A E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2004
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R3A E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2004
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R3M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R4A E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R4M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-T M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2001
Konica HEXAR RF E, 1/4000 TTL • WA AM 1999
Leica CL
aka LEITZ minolta CL
M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1973
Leica M-A (Typ 127) M, 1/1000 -- M 2014
Leica M2 M, 1/1000 -- M 1958
Leica M3 M, 1/1000 -- M 1954
Leica M4 M, 1/1000 -- M 1967
Leica M4-2 M, 1/1000 -- M 1978
Leica M4-P M, 1/1000 -- M 1981
Leica M5 M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1971
Leica M6 M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1984
Leica M6 (Typ 2248) M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 2022
Leica M6 Panda M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1990
Leica M6 Titanium M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1992
Leica M6 TTL M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1998
Leica M6J M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1994
Leica M7 E, 1/1000 TTL • WA AM 2002
Leica MP M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 2003
Leica MP Original M, 1/1000 -- M 1956
Minolta CLE E, 1/1000 TTL • WA AM 1980
Rollei 35 RF M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2002
Notify of

Copy this code

and paste it here *

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2012-2024 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

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, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

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 and/or rear lens elements 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.