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Nikon Lens Codes

When you see a price list for a lens or even get the lens it is covered in different types of codes which is supposed to give you information about the lens, but do you know what they all stand for. What we have done here is list out the codes we have been able to identify with their descriptions in order to give you a quick look up list when researching lenses.

Not all lenses will operate on all cameras, in particular you will find the D40, D40x and D60 cannot autofocus lenses that do not have the Silent Wave Motor (AF-S), as they don't have a mechanical drive to drive the lens in and out.

For example: 18-200 F3.5-5.6G IF ED AF-S DX VR

18-200 is the zoom length from 18mm to 200mm

f3.5-5.6 is the aperture range where it is f3.5 at 18mm and f5.6 at 200mm

The codes below explain all the other letters G IF ED AF-S DX VR

AF-S Auto focus incorporating Nikon's silent wave motor (see SWM below).
ASP Aspherical Lens Elements. A type of lenses that virtually eliminates the problem of coma and other types of lens aberration. The are particularly good at correcting distortion in wide-angle lenses as well as contributing to a lighter and smaller lens design.
CRC Close Range Correction System. Used in fisheye, wide-angle, Micro and selected medium telephoto Nikkor lenses. It provides a focusing system which works well even at close distances using lens elements configured in a 'floating element' design which each one moves independently.
D Distance information. D-type Nikkor lenses relay subject to camera distance information to Nikon AF camera bodies, which allows for 3D Matrix Metering and 3D multi-sensor balanced fill flash. D-type lenses also have a manual aperture ring.
DC Defocus-image Control technology. Auto-focus DC Nikkor lenses alls the photographer to control the spherical aberration in the foreground or background by rotating the lens DC ring. It creates rounded out-of-focus blue that some portrait photographers like to use.
DX DX coded lenses are Nikon's range of compact and lightweight digital-only lenses featuring a smaller image circle that is optimised for use with the DX format image sensor. Picture angle is approx. 1.5x focal length of a 35mm format equivalent and they allow a greater wide-angle coverage. They can only be used on Nikon Digital SLR's. Teleconverters cannot be used with DX lenses. If you put a DX lens on to an FX camera for example the D3 it will drop into a DX crop reducing the pixel count by more than half.
ED Extra-low Dispersion. ED Glass - an essential element of Nikkor lenses. Provides superior sharpness and colour correction by effectively reducing chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration is what occurs when light rays of varying wavelengths pass through optical glass. Nikon have developed several types of ED glass suitable for various lenses which deliver stunning sharpness and contrast even at their largest apertures.
G Genesis.  G-type Nikkor lenses relay subject to camera distance information to Nikon AF camera bodies, which allows for 3D Matrix Metering and 3D multi-sensor balanced fill flash. G-type lenses have no manual aperture ring.
IF Internal Focusing. The lens is able to focus without physically changing its size, where optical movement is limited to the interior of the non-extending part of the lens barrel, allowing for a more compact and lightweight lens as well as closer focusing distances.
M/A M/A Mode. Allows switching the lens from Auto-focus to Manual focus with virtually no time lag.
Micro Found on lenses for Macro Photography of 1:1 ratio, life-size close-ups. Each lens offers stops down to f/32, this permits maximum depth of field for close-up and macro shooting.
N Nano Crystal Coat an anti-reflecting coating. It virtually eliminates internal lens element reflections and reduces ghost and flare particular to ultra-wide zooms.
PC Perspective Control. These lenses are equipped with a tilt and shit mechanism that allows photographers to manipulate image perspective, distortion and focus. They have 1:2 life size macro capability. Ideal for commercial photographers who shoot table top product photos, or building photography.
PC-E New perspective control lenses, we haven't yet worked out what the E stands for.
RF Rear Focusing. A system were all the lens elements are dividing into specific groups, with only the rear group moving for focusing, making the auto-focus operation smoother and faster.
SIC Superior Integrated Coating. This is a multilayer lens coating that helps reduce ghost and flare to a negligible level, as well as minimising reflection in the wider wavelength range and superior colour balance and reproduction.
SWM Silent Wave Motor. This gives lenses a quick, ultra-quiet focusing system. This system works by converting travelling waves into rotational energy to focus the optics. This enables high-speed auto focusing.
VR Vibration Reduction. Nikon's innovative system to minimise image blur caused by camera shake, and allows shooting at a shutter speed 3 stops (eight times) faster. It enables handheld shooting at dusk, at night, and even in poor light. It also detects automatically when the photographer is panning. VR lenses have two angular velocity sensors, one to detect  up-down motion  and the other to left-right motion. Calculations are performed on the collected data and the results are used to compute the target position to which the VR lens group is moved. Voice-coil motors then move the VR lens group into that position.

If you come across any other abbreviations then please let us know so that we can research their meanings and extend the above list.

Remember to take a look at our Nikon Lens Price Comparison for details on what current lenses on the market cost (updated regularly).


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