Vivitar Series 1 450mm F/4.5 Catadioptric Aspherical VMC

Super telephoto prime lens • Film era • Discontinued

Abbreviations

ASPHERICAL The lens incorporates aspherical elements.
VMC Multi-layer anti-reflection coating is applied to the surfaces of lens elements. This anti-reflection coating increases light transmission, eliminates flare and ghosting, and maintains color consistence among all lens models.

Features highlight

T
M/R
1
ASPH
IF
MF
Fixed
DP/WR
TC

Specification

Production details:
Announced:1982
Production status: Discontinued
Original name:Vivitar Series 1 450mm 1:4.5 VMC
System:-
Optical design:
Focal length:450mm
Speed:F/4.5
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Interchangeable mount (T)
Diagonal angle of view:5.5° (35mm full frame)
Lens construction:11 elements in 7 groups
1 ASPH
Internal focusing (IF)
Diaphragm mechanism:
Diaphragm type:Fixed
Aperture control:None
Focusing:
Closest focusing distance:3.5m
Magnification ratio:1:5.6 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics:
Weight:1640g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀117×147mm
Accessories:
Filters:Removable front filters are not accepted
Rear screw-type 35.5mm
Lens hood:Screw-type round
Teleconverters:Vivitar Series 1 2X Macro Matched Multiplier for 450mm F/4.5 VMC → 900mm F/9
Source of data:
Scarce manufacturer's technical data + own research.

From the Popular Photography magazine (October 1982)

At Bauer, some Vivitar people showed us the first results of their cooperation with this (German) firm. Their first jointly made product is truly international. It is designed by an American, and parts of the lens will come from Taiwan, W. Germany, and Cincinnati, Oh.

It's made like no other lens that we know of. It is a glass/plastic hybrid with a front and rear window, along with an "O"-ring system of mounting the various 13 elements for a moisture-resistant sealed construction. The lens is a 450mm f/4.5 catadioptric with a plastic aspherical element. That's the main reason for the elaborate sealing measures: to prevent the plastic element's exposure to moisture.

What's more, the plastic barrel's exterior is rubber-coated from improved shock resistance. Focusing is internal, with the close limit being 3.5m for a reproduction ratio of 1:8. The near setting is reached by a 238-degree twist from infinity. With an aperture of f/4.5, the new mirror lens should cause no black-out of the focusing aids in most SLRs. Its rear-mounted filters are the 35.5mm threaded type.

Thanks to its unique construction of glass, plastic, and aluminum, the lens is compact and lightweight, measuring 105x148mm and weighing 1.2kg. It will be available in "T" mount with adapters from Vivitar for most popular SLR cameras. It will be the latest addition to Vivitar's Series 1 line of lenses, all of which feature something unique (in their judgement) to qualify for that designation.

From the Popular Photography magazine (January 1983)

Additional details are now available on the Vivitar Series 1 450mm f/4.5 mirror lens, first seen in our October issue. This multinational design uses a large, acrylic element with one aspheric surface to achieve its relatively high speed at a reasonable weight. Closest focus is 3.5m, giving 1:5.6 image magnification on film. With the seven-element 2X Matched Multiplier, the lens becomes a 900mm f/9, with 1:2.8 focusing capability.

An innovative Vivitar T-mount adapter has a click-stopped rotating adjustment to allow proper orientation on any SLR. The adapter is removed to permit the multiplier to be threaded on the rear of the lens, then it's reattached behind the multiplier. Available: February, 1983.

From the Modern Photography magazine

Just as incredible today is the hand-holdable Vivitar Series 1 450mm f/4.5 macro focusing mirror optic with a coated aspheric plastic element, first announced in 1982! The U.S.A. designed optic (by Opcon Associates under contract to Vivitar) with plastic element made by U.S. Precision in Cincinnati, then shipped to Taiwan for assembly with other parts made in Japan and Taiwan, should be reaching photo dealers just about now in actual production form - and it too appears to be well worth waiting for. Our early production lens is 5 3/4 in. long, 4 1/2 in diameter weighing some 3 1/2 lbs., has a water resistant gray, rubberish, easy-to-grip outer coating and a handy rear focusing ring providing focus to less than 12 feet.

While there have been many good [text omitted] and 600 f/8 mirror lenses, Vivitar is the first - and only handholdable one in that range - with an incredible f/4.5 aperture providing excellent finder brightness with no split-image range-finder blackout. You can virtually focus on an eyelash at 25 feet.

From the Field & Stream magazine (April 1984)

Basically the 500mm f/8 is a sunshine lens for offhand use. But there are faster, shorter models - Sigma's 400mm f/5.6, and the soon-to-be-available Vivitar Series I 450mm f/4.5, for example. With these you could use slower, higher-resolution films in bright light. Loaded with ASA 400, you could operate when lower light levels would knock out a 500mm f/8.

Typical characteristics of mirror (reflex) lenses

  • Catadioptric system consisting of curved mirrors and optical glass;
  • Much shorter, lighter and less expensive designs than conventional super telephoto lenses;
  • Outstanding correction of chromatic aberrations;
  • Since the aperture is fixed, neutral density filters are used to obtain a smaller aperture;
  • Doughnut-shaped out-of-focus highlights.

From the editor

This lens is unique not only because of its speed of F/4.5, but due to the aspherical plastic lens element adopted in the front group, plastic lens barrel, inner focusing, dedicated teleconverter, rotatable T mount adapter, etc. It is packed with a number of features that set it apart from previous mirror lenses.

ND-2X, ND-4X, K2 and 25A rear 35.5mm screw-type filters were part of the package.

Notes

  • Independent-brand lenses were made for 35mm film SLR cameras by companies that competed with the camera manufacturers. Some came from factories that made lenses under their own brand names (Angenieux, Kiron, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina). Many others were national and international marketing organizations (Kalimar, Panagor, Rokunar, Soligor, Starblitz) that bought lenses from anonymous manufacturers. One firm — Vivitar — actually designed its own lenses and accessories, which were then subcontracted to manufacturing firms. Still others were private labels, sold only by specific photo specialty shops (Cambron, Quantaray, Spiratone).
  • The actual manufacturer of a Vivitar lens can be identified by the first digits of the serial number: 09 - Cosina, 13 - Schneider-Kreuznach, 19 - Sigma, 22 - Kino Precision Industries, 25 - Ozone Optical, 28 - Komine, 32 - Makina Optical, 33 - Asanuma, 37 - Tokina, 42 - Eugen Bauer, 44 - Perkin Elmer, 47 - Chinon, 51 - Tokyo Trading, 56 - Kyoe Shoji, 61 - Samyang, 6x - Olympus, 75 - Hoya, 77 - Kobori, 81 - Polar, 9x - Cosina. This numbering system, however, was used by Vivitar only between 1969 and 1991 (approx.).
  • This Vivitar lens has s/n 42xxxxxx, therefore it was produced by Eugen Bauer.

Lenses with similar focal length

Sorted by manufacturer name

Interchangeable mount (31)
Chinon 500mm F/8 Mirror [T]
aka Hanimex 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Listar 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Marexar 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Porst 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Quantaray 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Starblitz 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Super-Danubia 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Toyo Optics 500mm F/8 Mirror
--5 - 42.50m⌀77
Kenko 400mm F/8 Mirror MC [T]--6 - 21.15m⌀67 2012 
Kenko 400mm F/8 Mirror MC N II [T]--6 - 21.15m⌀67 2017 
Kenko 400mm F/8 Mirror MC N II S [T]--6 - 21.15m⌀67 2021 
Zoomar Muenchen Sport-Reflectar 500mm F/5.6 [II]--4 - ?5.60m-- 1970 
Zoomar Muenchen Sport-Reflectar 500mm F/5.6 [I]--4 - ?5.60m-- 1968 
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC [T]--8 - 62.20m
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC [T]--8 - 61.70m
Panagor 500mm F/8 Reflex [PMC] [T]
aka Osawa 500mm F/8 Reflex MC
--6 - 54.00m--
Samyang Mirror 500mm F/6.3 DX [T]
aka Bower Mirror 500mm F/6.3 DX
aka Kenko Mirror 500mm F/6.3 DX
aka Opteka Mirror 500mm F/6.3 DG
aka Phoenix Mirror 500mm F/6.3 TDX
aka Rokinon Mirror 500mm F/6.3 DX
aka Walimex Pro 500mm F/6.3
--7 - 62.00m⌀95 2008 
Samyang Mirror 500mm F/8 MC [T]
aka Albinar Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Bower Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Cambron Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Centon Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Danubia Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Exakta Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Focal Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Hanimex Mirror 500mm F/8 [HMC]
aka Kalimar Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Kenko Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Nikura Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Opteka Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Phoenix / Samyang Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Phoenix Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Promaster Spectrum 7 Mirror 500mm F/8
aka Prospeo Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Quantaray CN Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Rokinon Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Rokunar Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Sakar Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Vivitar Mirror 500mm F/8 MC 1:2.7x Macro
aka Vivitar Series 1 Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
aka Walimex Mirror 500mm F/8 MC
--7 - 61.72m⌀72
Sigma[-XQ] MF 500mm F/4 Mirror [T]
aka Accura 500mm F/4 Mirror
--5 - 515.00m-- 1971 
Sigma[-XQ] MF 500mm F/8 Mirror [T]
aka Spiratone Mirror-Ultratel 500mm F/8
--5 - 54.00m⌀77 1967 
Soligor C/D 500mm F/8 Mirror MC [T]--5 - 42.50m⌀72
Soligor S/M 500mm F/8.8 Mirror MC [T]
aka Cambron 500mm F/8.8 Mirror MC
aka Sirius 500mm F/8.8 Reflex MC
--7 - 52.50m⌀67 1989 
Soligor C/D 500mm F/8 Mirror MC [T]--? - ?2.50m⌀67
Soligor C/D 500mm F/8 Mirror MC [T]--5 - 42.50m⌀77
ZM-5A 500mm F/8 [MC] [T]--4 - 44.00m⌀77
ZM-6A 500mm F/6.3 [MC] [T]--? - ?6.00m⌀95
Spiratone Minitel-M 500mm F/8 Mirror Plura-Coat [T]
aka Cambron 500mm F/8 Mirror MC
--7 - 61.70m⌀72 1981 
Spiratone Minitel 500mm F/8 Mirror [T]
aka Revuenon 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka SP Zivnon 500mm F/8 Reflex
--6 - 54.00m⌀77 1978 
Spiratone Minitel-C 500mm F/8 Mirror [T]--5 - 43.60m⌀77 1980 
Tamron SP 500mm F/8 Mirror 55B [Adaptall-2]--7 - 41.70m⌀82 1979 
Tamron SP 500mm F/8 Mirror 55BB [Adaptall-2]--7 - 41.70m⌀82 1983 
Tokina SZX 400mm F/8 Reflex MF [T]--6 - 51.15m⌀67 2020 
Tokina SZ 500mm F/8 Reflex MF [T]--7 - 71.70m⌀72 2022 
Lentar 500mm F/8 Mirror [T]
aka Camron 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Chinon 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Hanimex 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Kalimar 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Listar 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Prinz Miroflex 500mm F/8
aka Quantaray 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Rexatar 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Samigon 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Soligor 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Telesar 500mm F/8 Mirror
aka Vemar 500mm F/8 Mirror
--? - ?3.50m
Prinz 500mm F/8 Mirror [T]--4 - 43.00m
Celestron 500mm F/8 Mirror MC [T]--? - ?1.70m⌀72
Carl Zeiss Mirotar 500mm F/4.5--5 - 53.50m-- 1975 
Carl Zeiss Jena DDR Spiegelobjektiv 500mm F/4--4 - 37.00m-- 1955 
Canon FD mount (6)
Canon FD Reflex 500mm F/8 S.S.C.--6 - 34.00m-- 1978 
Canon FDn Reflex 500mm F/8--6 - 34.00m-- 1980 
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
Contax/Yashica mount (7)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
Yashica ML Reflex 500mm F/8--8 - 62.50m-- 1982 
Yashica Reflex 500mm F/8--6 - 54.00m-- 1975 
Carl Zeiss Mirotar T* 500mm F/8--6 - 43.50mE82 1997 
Konica AR mount (4)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
M42 mount (8)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
Rubinar 500mm F/8 Mirror MC Macro--? - ?2.20m⌀77
Rubinar 500mm F/5.6 Mirror MC Macro--? - ?2.20m⌀105
ZM-5SA 500mm F/8 MC--4 - 44.00m⌀72
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
Yashica Reflex Yashinon 500mm F/8--6 - 54.00m-- 1973 
Yashica Reflex Yashinon-DX 500mm F/5--6 - 510.00m--
Minolta SR mount (5)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Minolta RF Rokkor 500mm F/8--6 - 54.00m⌀77 1977 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
Nikon F mount (7)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Nikon Reflex-Nikkor 500mm F/5--5 - 415.00m⌀122 1961 
Nikon Reflex-Nikkor[·C] 500mm F/8--5 - 34.00m⌀88 1968 
Nikon Reflex-Nikkor 500mm F/8--6 - 61.50m⌀82 1983 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
Olympus OM mount (5)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Olympus Zuiko Reflex 500mm F/8--5 - 24.00m⌀72 1983 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
Pentax K mount (6)
Makina Makinon 500mm F/8 Reflex MC--8 - 62.20m 1980 
Makina Makinon 400mm F/6.7 Reflex MC--8 - 61.70m 1980 
Sigma MF 400mm F/5.6 Mirror--7 - 72.00m⌀86 1982 
Rubinar 500mm F/8 Mirror MC Macro--? - ?2.20m⌀77
Rubinar 500mm F/5.6 Mirror MC Macro--? - ?2.20m⌀105
RMC Tokina 500mm F/8--7 - 21.50m-- 1978 
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3dreal
3dreal
1 year ago

D-Filter-Designation misleading: ND 0.3 Not ND-3 if then ND.3
ND 3= 10 stops 1000x Kodak Filter for the Professional Photographer page 15 (Red A4 Informationbook) P-I 1 Kodak Stuttgart Germany
35.5mm filter
ND-3(2x) 1 Blende ND 0.3
ND-6(4x) 2 Blenden ND 0.6
K2 MittelGelb (K1 Hellgelb, K3 Dunkelgelb)
25A Rot
Heliopan.de has these also special coated. see their pdf preisliste/pricelist
35.5mm is right not 35 mm like elsewhere.

Przewrocki Michael
Przewrocki Michael
1 year ago

original Series 1 adapters must be used since they have all the mandatory rear filter.600/8 has it screw in rear element where other filters can be used. adding or replacing? they have genious 10° segmented (36x) rotation since no rotator on lens itself.
cam-adjustment/centering) made by playing with the screws and rotation-mechanisme.hard to explain. How is the adapter removed. how is it attached. with screws maybe inside. accessible after removing rotatary ring? i am think about using heat-laying on ceramic stove disc at periphers for 5 10 or 15 sec after heating up(at half no 5 or 10).old working method when having stiff screws or helicoids(the latter only temporarily working). no plastic or rubber near heat. gloves used and pressing against rubber surface.

Przewrocki Michael
Przewrocki Michael
1 year ago

tried to remove nikon-mount with no success. there is a dustfilter 32 x2mm with 35.5mm thread ring. most be also mandatory bit its in the mount not lens like in 600/8 CAT or 800/11.was unsure if its plastic or not and thing or thick. soi removed before adding heat. it doesnt move. someone told its T-mount. difference to T2? why cant i remove? solution?

Michael Przewrocki
Michael Przewrocki
1 year ago

found THE solution how to remove sticky rotatary adapter. here Nikon. first i took apart unmounted FD version to know the mechanisme. its highly sophisticated 10° segmented rotation. the solution is using a zyliss glassjars-opener. there are two versions. the ones i have are 1. wide rubber string, only one end attached. for opening sticky P6-mount-ring when bellows is attached(no real space for fingers let alone when sticky) i cut down from 12 to 7mm. 2. same instrument but easier to use since both ends attache to handle which with rotation can adjust lenght. product from zyliss here not rubber more stiff material. at handle -end which is holding to force by pressing against the adapter here i added thin double-tape. the problem now are the two rotation-blocking/releasing buttoms on eigher sides. they would be pressed and camera-side would rotated, the lens-side would stay mounted. i added 2-3 thin spacers bigger than the knobs to slip over them and pushing under the knob-heads. taped with metallic tape. instrument layed around, tighend and in 10 sec. adapter was freed. no real force no zippo nothing. i have the protection glass and adapter removed. its unneeded also possible 35.5mm filter can stay attached. here UV-haze- so protection filter must be neutral but may have an optical function. who knows.

Michael Przewrocki
Michael Przewrocki
1 year ago

series 1 450/4.5 adapters for rotation are not all identical. pushing knobs for rotation are different. means the method of removing adapter for nikon-version differs from other one. one must use the removal tool i described elswhere how to open kiev60/P6 ring when bellows are stuck. it has wide rubber-band which must be cut down to 8mm. only this tool cab be used since band can be wrapped around. its made for kitch and its lid-opener.

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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

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

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

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.

Diffraction

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

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

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.

Flare

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.

Ghosting

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.

Anastigmat

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.

Transmittance

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.

MF

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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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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

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),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

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.

Speed

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".

Fixed focus

There is no helicoid in this lens and everything is in focus from the closest focusing distance to infinity.

Internal focusing (IF)

Conventional lenses employ an all-group shifting system, in which all lens elements shift during focusing. The IF system, however, shifts only part of the optics during focusing. The advantages of the IF system are:

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/4.5 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.

Weight

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.

Filters

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

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.