a-z of Nikon lens jar­gon

NPhoto - - FEATURE -

Nikon uses many suf­fixes and abbreviations with its lenses. Some are com­mon enough for their pur­pose to be widely known. Oth­ers, not so much. Here, we take a look at all the terms the com­pany uses in the names of its op­tics and on the bar­rels them­selves. This in­di­cates a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion of a lens. This can some­times be con­fused with Nikon’s VR II sys­tem, which in­di­cates the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of Nikon’s Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy (ex­plained be­low). When it’s in­scribed on a lens, how­ever, it only in­di­cates the ver­sion of the lens, rather than any­thing to do with the VR sys­tem.

The third gen­er­a­tion of a lens. At the time of writ­ing, how­ever, Nikon has only used this on a few se­lected tele­con­vert­ers, such as the Nikon AF-S TC-14E III, rather than some of the more con­ven­tional op­tics.

AF lenses are those that of­fer aut­o­fo­cus. Nikon has tra­di­tion­ally used the term AF in con­junc­tion with an­other let­ter, such as D or S. The ma­jor­ity of its cur­rent

op­tics are AF-S lenses (see be­low). Nikon lenses that do not have AF any­where in their ti­tle are manual fo­cus op­tics.

One of Nikon’s most re­cent suf­fixes, this shows that a lens has been de­signed with a ‘pulse’ step­ping mo­tor. These are de­signed to pro­duce smooth aut­o­fo­cus dur­ing movie record­ing, as op­posed to AF-S lenses, which were de­signed be­fore video was made avail­able on DSLRS. AF-S lenses can still be used to per­form aut­o­fo­cus dur­ing video record­ing, it’s just that they do not man­age to do so as dis­creetly as AF-P lenses. AF-P lenses are not com­pat­i­ble with all Nikon bod­ies, and firmware up­dates may be re­quired with bod­ies that are com­pat­i­ble.

An AF-S lens is a lens that con­tains Nikon’s Silent Wave Mo­tor (SWM), which Nikon claims is de­signed to be fast and silent (which is what the ‘S’ stands for). Some of Nikon’s most ju­nior DSLR cam­eras, such as the D3400 and D5600, lack a fo­cus­ing mo­tor in their bod­ies, so they need to be used with ei­ther AF-S or AF-P lenses for aut­o­fo­cus to be pos­si­ble. Most of Nikon’s most re­cent lenses of­fer AF-S mo­tors.

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