Leica APO-Summicron-M 75mm F/2 ASPH.

Short telephoto prime lens • Film era


APO Apochromatic optical design.
ASPH. The lens incorporates aspherical elements.

Model history

Leica APO-Summicron-M 75mm F/2 ASPH. [11637, 11701]M7 - 50.70mE49 2005 
Leica APO-Summicron-M 75mm F/2 ASPH. "Drifter" (125 units) 2019 


9 blades
Built-in hood

Optical design:
35mm full frame
Leica M
32.2° (35mm full frame)
7 elements in 5 groups
1 ASPH, 2 AD, 2 HR
Floating element system
On Leica M8/M8.2 APS-H [1.33x] cameras:
35mm equivalent focal length:
99.8mm (in terms of field of view)
35mm equivalent speed:
F/2.7 (in terms of depth of field)
Diagonal angle of view:
Diaphragm mechanism:
Diaphragm type:
Aperture control:
Aperture ring
9 (nine)
Coupled to the rangefinder:
Focusing modes:
Manual focus only
Manual focus control:
Focusing ring
Physical characteristics:
Screw-type 49mm
Built-in telescopic round
14001 (front)
14269 (rear)
14379 (rear)

Source of data

  • Manufacturer's technical data.

Manufacturer description #1

01 - 05/2005 - New: LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH.

Leica Camera AG, Solms has added a compact medium telephoto to its range of lenses for Leica rangefinder cameras. The LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. is the first lens of this focal length class to feature a floating element: During focusing, the last lens element change their position in relation to the rest of the optical system. The LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. is thus able to offer superlative quality in the close-focus range down to 0.7 meters. To take full advantage of the floating element, a highly precise adjustment mechanism has been used, although finding the space for it in a compact M lens was no easy feat!

The extremely natural perspective of the 75mm focal length enables true-to-life rendering of the subject and is useful for many applications ranging from portrait to reportage photography. “True-to-life photographs happen spontaneously – in the daytime and at night, from a distance or at close quarters. The universal LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. is ideal in these situations. For example, it produces a natural 3D effect in portraits so that the face's highlights and contours are emphasized without looking artificial. The high-speed LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. performs just as well in available light situations, too, where use is made of the small amount of natural light, leading to emotional, extremely natural results. The lens's compact dimensions – the field of view of the 75mm viewfinder frame is not restricted by the lens on the camera – make for excellent handling. Together with a Leica wide-angle lens, the universal LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. forms a versatile camera outfit,” says Jean-Jacques Viau, Product Manager Photo at Leica Camera AG.

Even at full aperture, the LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. produces high contrast even of the finest structures. This performance can only be improved slightly by stopping down. Distortion is a mere 1%. The vignetting is normal for high-speed lenses – here up to about 1 stop in the picture corners – is reduced further by stopping down: At f/2.8 it is already negligible apart from the far corners, and at f/5.6 it has disappeared from corners as well. The use of state-of-the-art coating technology and the additional of a new textured matt-finishing to the interior mount guarantees minimum reflections, ensuring natural images at any distance and in any light.

The optical design consists of seven lens elements in five component groups. A homogeneously high imaging performance over the entire image field is achieved by using high-refraction glass types, two with partial anomalous dispersion, one of which originates from the former Leitz glass laboratory.

“Like all Leica lenses, the LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. was developed by Leica optic specialists. It is a particularly reliable and long-lasting product made of high-quality materials and meticulously assembled by hand at our Solms factory. The combination of state-of-the-art technology and experienced craftsmanship ensures the constant quality of every single Leica lens,” adds Jean-Jacques Viau.

The LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. comes with a built-in telescopic lens hood as protection against stray light or dirt. It can be locked in position to prevent it being inadvertently pushed in. The well-balanced proportions of the lens encourage hours of comfortable use.

The LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M f/2/75 mm ASPH. will be available at selected Leica dealers from June 2005.

Manufacturer description #2

By day and night, at a distance or close-up, this Summicron sets new standards. Its high-speed and medium telephoto focal length combined with its compact dimensions make it a flexible alternative. It is particularly well suited to brilliant close-ups and intimate available light portraits with natural perspectives and appealing plasticity. With its wide aperture and limited depth of field, you can emphasize particular areas of the subject for more impact. All details are reproduced in high contrast and true to life, even at maximum aperture. The compact size belies its sophisticated features, including a floating element, an aspherical element, and apochromatic correction

Manufacturer description #3

This compact, fast, short telephoto lens is acclaimed for its excellent image quality at maximum aperture and over the full focusing range from infinity to minimum distance. The speed of this powerful lens allows to single out a sharp detail on a blurred background. Still, the lens offers a natural angle of view that can not be achieved with 90mm telephoto lenses.

This compact lens uses all of today’s technical possibilities to achieve high speed and remarkable imaging quality. It features aspherical surfaces, special glass types with partial anomalous dispersion and floating elements. It is the ideal lens for delivering intimate views of scenes, nature, landscapes and people, whether at infinity or at close-focus range.

Manufacturer description #4

The new LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. extends the range of telephoto lenses in the Leica M system with a fast high-performance model that is simultaneously extremely compact.

With its more natural perspective compared to a 90mm focal length, where depth is reproduced with less compression, it is ideally suited for many applications including reportage and portraits - particularly in smaller rooms. Its small dimensions result in not only outstanding handling but also a Leica M viewfinder image that is almost completely free of shadowing, thus allowing totally undisturbed viewing of the subject. Whether you are using full stop to deliberately "isolate" critical parts of the subject or working in high-contrast available light - both very common in applications with these focal lengths - or stopping down for sharp reproduction of more extensive areas of the subject, the LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. is convincing in any situation: At full stop, it offers excellent contrast reproduction, even for very fine structures. This performance can only be slightly improved by stopping down. Another outstanding feature is the extremely low distortion of only 1%. The vignetting that is normal for fast lenses at their maximum opening - up to approx. 1 stop in the corners of the image here - is further reduced by stopping down: At f/2.8, it is negligible, except for the extreme corners and at f/5.6 it is negligible even in the corners.

The use of state of the art coating technology and additional measures for dulling the inner parts of the mount also ensure a high degree of freedom from reflection. The optical system comprises seven lens elements in five groups. As on the recently introduced Summilux 50mm ASPH., they are a new version of the double Gauss lens type, with the first three lens elements corresponding to the typical Gauss design. The elements behind the aperture are very similar to those on the Summilux 50mm ASPH. - apart from the use of a single lens instead of one of the two cemented lens element groups. To achieve the excellent imaging performance, glass with anomalous partial dispersion is used (no. 2/3). Lens element no. 2 is made of a fluorite-type glass, while the glass used for lens element 3 can trace its origins back to the former Leitz glass laboratory. Lens element no. 4 has a pressed aspherical surface. To minimize monochromatic aberrations, as well as having an aspherical shape the glass used is also highly refractive (no. 5/6).

To maintain the outstanding imaging performance even at the minimum range of 0.7m - the Summilux-M 75mm only achieves 1m - as on the Summilux-M 50mm ASPH., a so-called floating element is used. This final lens element (no. 6/7) changes its position relative to the rest of the optical system during focusing. While the fundamental technology is common in SLR lenses, to achieve this in a compact M lens with its very limited space, the Leica designers had to develop a brand new, extremely precise adjusting mechanism. Its use allows the benefits of this design to be utilized to the full, while at the same time guaranteeing the familiar silky smooth and absolutely accurate focusing of the M lenses.

A feature that has now become a standard for Leica lenses has also been included on the new LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 75mm f/2 ASPH.: The built-in lens hood, which protects against stray light and dirt, can be locked in its extended position to prevent it accidentally being pushed back in.

Summary: By utilizing every means available in lens technology today - an aspherical surface, glass with anomalous partial dispersion and a high refractive index, a floating element including a brand new, high-precision adjusting mechanism, state of the art coating techniques and sophisticated measures to reduce internal reflection - we have created a lens that not only extends the Summicron-M range but also sets new standards in this focal length class. In the group of four fast M telephoto lenses with focal lengths of 75 and 90mm, the new LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. represents an ideal combination of several properties: It combines optimum imaging quality with high speed and compact dimensions. In conjunction with its moderated telephoto perspective, this makes it ideal for almost any application, and along with a wide-angle lens it forms a complete and versatile but still very compact equipment set.

Manufacturer description #5

February 14th, 2020

Leica Camera AG presents three new lenses for the Leica M-System: the silver anodized APO-Summicron-M 75 f/2 ASPH. as well as the limited-edition Summicron-M 28 f/2 ASPH. and APO-Summicron-M 90 f/2 ASPH. in an olive green “Safari” finish. The technical specifications of the three new lenses are identical to those of their serially produced counterparts. All three lenses are available from end of February.

The APO-Summicron-M 75 f/2 ASPH. counts among the most high-performing lenses for the Leica M, and is particularly well suited to portrait photography. Now the lens is also available in a silver anodized finish which perfectly emphasizes its sophisticated design. In contrast to the black-paint variant, the feet markings on the distance scale as well as the focal length engravings are inlaid in red, while all other engravings feature black inlays.

Other short telephoto prime lenses in the Leica M system

Sorted by focal length and speed, in ascending order
Leica M mount (22)
Leica Summarit-M 75mm F/2.5 [11645]M6 - 40.90mE46 2007 
Leica Summarit-M 75mm F/2.4 [11682, 11683]M6 - 40.70mE46 2014 
Leitz Canada Summilux-M 75mm F/1.4 Type 1 [11814]M7 - 50.90mE60 1980 
Leitz / Leica Summilux-M 75mm F/1.4 Type 2 [11815]M7 - 50.75mE60 1982 
Leica Summilux-M 75mm F/1.4 Type 3 [11810]M7 - 50.75mE60 1998 
Leica Noctilux-M 75mm F/1.25 ASPH. [11676]M9 - 60.85mE67 2017 
Leitz Wetzlar Elmar 90mm F/4 [I] Type 4 [ILNOO / 11131, 11631]CollapsibleM4 - 31.00mE39 1954 
Leitz Wetzlar Elmar 90mm F/4 [I] Type 3 [ELGAM / 11830, ELANG-M / 11130]M4 - 31.00mE39 1954 
Leitz Wetzlar Elmar 90mm F/4 [II] [11830, 11128]M3 - 31.00mE39 1964 
Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit 90mm F/2.8 [ELRIM / 11129, 11026]M5 - 31.00mE39 1959 
Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Tele-Elmarit 90mm F/2.8 [I] [11800]M5 - 51.00mE39 1964 
Leitz / Leitz Canada Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm F/2.8 [II] [11800]M4 - 41.00mE39 1974 
Leica Elmarit-M 90mm F/2.8 [III] [11807, 11808]M4 - 41.00mE46 1989 
Leica Summarit-M 90mm F/2.5 [11646]M5 - 41.00mE46 2007 
Leica Summarit-M 90mm F/2.4 [11684, 11685]M5 - 40.90mE46 2014 
Leica Thambar-M 90mm F/2.2 [11697]M4 - 31.00mE49 2017 
Leitz Canada Summicron 90mm F/2 [I] Type 1 [SOOZI-M / 11127]M6 - 51.00mE48 1957 
Leitz Canada Summicron 90mm F/2 [I] Type 2 [11122, SEOOM / 11123, OESBO / 11124, OERDO / 11126, 11133, 11132]M6 - 51.00mE48 1959 
Leitz Summicron-M 90mm F/2 [II] Type 1 [11136, 11137]M5 - 41.00mE49 1980 
Leica Summicron-M 90mm F/2 [II] Type 2 [11136, 11137]M5 - 41.00mE55 1982 
Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm F/2 ASPH. [11884, 11885]M5 - 51.00mE55 1998 
Leica Summilux-M 90mm F/1.5 ASPH. [11678]M8 - 61.00mE67 2019 

Lenses with similar focal length

Sorted by manufacturer name
Leica M mount (3)
Cosina Voigtlander Heliar 75mm F/1.8 VMM6 - 30.90m⌀52 2010 
Cosina Voigtlander Nokton 75mm F/1.5 Aspherical VMM7 - 60.70m⌀58 2019 
Cosina Voigtlander Ultron 75mm F/1.9 VMM7 - 50.50m⌀49 2023 
Leica screw mount (4)
Cosina Voigtlander Color-Heliar 75mm F/2.5 MC LSMM6 - 51.00m⌀43 1999 
Leitz Wetzlar Hektor 73mm F/1.9 [HEKON, HEKONKUP, HEKONCHROM, HEGRA, HEGRAKUP, HEGRACHROM]M6 - 31.50mA42 1931 
Rollei HFT Planar 80mm F/2.8 LSM (90 units)M5 - 41.20m⌀43 2002 
Sankyo Kohki Komura 80mm F/1.8 LSMM5 - 41.25m⌀48
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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.


Sorry, no additional information is available.


Replacement lens cap, black finish, for Leica E49 lenses.


Replacement rear cover for Leica M-mount lenses.


Replacement rear cover, plastic, black finish, for Leica M-mount lenses.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

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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.

Floating element system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance. It is particularly effective for the correction of field curvature that tends to occur with large-aperture, wide-angle lenses when shooting at close ranges.

The basic mechanism of the floating element system is also incorporated into the internal and rear focusing methods.

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 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/2 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.