a-z of Nikon lens jar­gon

NPhoto - - FEATURE -

for its full-frame mir­ror­less Z sys­tem cam­eras, ‘S’ stands for su­pe­rior, and S-line lenses fea­ture out­stand­ing op­ti­cal qual­ity. All the Z-fit lenses an­nounced to date have the S badge, but Nikon has con­firmed that at some point in the fu­ture there will be lower-cost non-s-line lenses for its range Z sys­tem cam­eras.


Su­per­sonic Wave Mo­tor, a type of aut­o­fo­cus­ing sys­tem that’s used in many of Nikon’s cur­rent lenses. It moves the fo­cus­ing el­e­ments with ul­tra­sonic vi­bra­tions, rather than a con­ven­tional elec­tric mo­tor. Nikon lenses that in­clude SWM tech­nol­ogy have AF-S in their ti­tles, and SWM in­scribed on bar­rel.

TC and TC-E

TC stands for tele­con­verter, so it’s only on these where the term is used.


This in­di­cates that a lens em­ploys a Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion sys­tem, which is Nikon’s name for its im­age sta­bi­liza­tion tech­nol­ogy. This prom­ises some­where be­tween 3-4.5 stops of cor­rec­tion, al­though the ben­e­fit you ac­tu­ally see in your pho­to­graphs de­pends on sev­eral ad­di­tional fac­tors, such as cam­era-to­sub­ject dis­tance.


This is where things get a lit­tle con­fus­ing. Nikon uses the term VR II on its web­site and in mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als to show that a lens fea­tures its sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy. The term ‘VR II’ on the lens bar­rel when it’s writ­ten on a lens it­self, how­ever, ac­tu­ally in­di­cates that the lens has VR and is the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion ver­sion of that par­tic­u­lar lens, rather than it hav­ing this sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion VR sys­tem. There ap­pears to no way of de­ter­min­ing whether a lens has a first or sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion sys­tem from look­ing at the lens it­self, so the only way it to check mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als or an in­struc­tion manual. Like­wise, the ben­e­fits as­cribed to sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion VR lenses are in some cases bet­tered by ones that do not claim to have sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion VR.


The Z pre­fix means that the lens is de­signed ex­clu­sively for Nikon’s range of full-frame mir­ror­less Z sys­tem cam­eras, which have a larger-di­am­e­ter mount than F-mount lenses de­signed for DSLRS. While F-mount lenses can be used on a Z-mount cam­era by us­ing Nikon’s FTZ mount adap­tor, Z-sys­tem lenses can­not be used on Nikon DSLR bod­ies.

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