Manufacturer's abbreviations explained

Lens manufacturers use the strangest abbreviations in their lens names. Learn what they mean with the following list (most important ones are highlighted):

Canon

AbbreviationMeaning
1-5xThis speciality lens can achieve maximum magnifications from 1.0 x up to 5.0 x. It is used for extreme macro photography
18-55mmShortest focal length: 18 mm (with APS-C cameras: 29 mm effective)
Longest focal length: 55 mm (with APS-C cameras: 88 mm effective)
DODiffractive Optics aim to combine excellent color correction with small lens dimensions
EFUnlike EF-S lenses this lens can be used with all Canon EOS cameras
EF-SThis lens can only be used with APS-C cameras (not with full frame cameras)
f/3.5-5.6Lowest available f-stop at shortest focal length: f/3.5
Lowest available f-stop at longest focal length: f/5.6
FisheyeA fisheye lens is an extreme wide angle lens that often covers an angle of view of 180° or more. Unlike standard wide angle lenses fisheys produce strong barrel-shaped distortions
IIThis is the second edition of this lens. An earlier edition exists
IIIThis is the third edition of this lens. Earlier editions exist
ISThis lens features an image stabilizer
LProfessional grade lense of the "L"-series
MacroSuitable for macro photography (maximum magnification at least 1.0 x)
MP-EThis lens is a speciality lens with an EF mount and thus can be used with all Canon EOS cameras
SoftFocusSoftfocus lenses soften surfaces within the image while retaining sharp edges. They are mainly used for portrait photography (e.g. to enhance the appearance of the skin)
STMStepping Motor lenses enable continuous AF during live view (e.g. while shooting video) when used with a camera that features Hybrid CMOS AF. They are usually less noisy and faster than conventional micro-motors and allow manual override during autofocus operation (One-Shot AF mode only)
Tilt-ShiftWith Tilt-Shift lenses photographers can modify the light's route through the optical system. This allows for very flexible and unique depth of field effects and for intensive perspective distortion correction (used mainly in architectural photography)
TS-EThis lens is a speciality lens with an EF mount and thus can be used with all Canon EOS cameras
USMUltra sound motors are less noisy and faster than conventional micro-motors. They usually allow manual override during autofocus operation

Tamron

AbbreviationCanonMeaning
1:1This lens is a true macro lens capable of maximum magnifications of 1.0 x
1:2This lens is suitable for close-up photography up to a maximum magnification of 0.5 x. Usually a lens is not considered a "Macro" unless it's capable of a maximum magnification of 1.0 x
18-200mmShortest focal length: 18 mm (with APS-C cameras: 29 mm effective)
Longest focal length: 200 mm (with APS-C cameras: 320 mm effective)
AFThis lens has an autofocus motor (the lack of this designation does not necessarily mean that there is no autofocus motor)
AsphericalThis lens uses optics that are not portions of a sphere or cylinder. Lenses like that are more difficult to manufacture but achieve higher image quality
DiEFUnlike "Di-II" lenses this lens can be used with all Canon EOS cameras
Di-IIEF-SThis lens can only be used with APS-C cameras (not with full frame cameras)
F/3.5-6.3Lowest available f-stop at shortest focal length: f/3.5
Lowest available f-stop at longest focal length: f/6.3
LDLow Dispersion: this lens is made of special optics that introduce lesser color errors
MACROThis lens is suitable for close-up photography. Please note that Tamron name lenses "Macro" even if they don't reach a maximum magnification of 1.0 x. Look for the "1:1" designation for true macro lenses
PZDUSMPiezo Drive is a special ultra sound motor that's allows compact lens dimensions. Ultra sound motors are less noisy and faster than conventional micro-motors. They usually allow manual override during autofocus operation
SPLProfessional grade lens of the "SP" series
USDUSMUltra sound motors are less noisy and faster than conventional micro-motors. They usually allow manual override during autofocus operation
VCISVibration Control: This lens features an image stabilizer
XRExtra Refractive glass is used to make the lens more compact
[IF]This lens uses inner focusing - the lens does not extend while focusing

Sigma

AbbreviationCanonMeaning
18-200mmShortest focal length: 18 mm (with APS-C cameras: 29 mm effective)
Longest focal length: 200 mm (with APS-C cameras: 320 mm effective)
APOApochromatic: this lens is made of special optics that introduce lesser color errors
Circular-FisheyeA fisheye lens is an extreme wide angle lens that often covers an angle of view of 180° or more. Unlike standard wide angle lenses fisheys produce strong barrel-shaped distortions. A circular fisheye will show the image as a circle that\s sourrounded by a black frame
DCEF-SThis lens can only be used with APS-C cameras (not with full frame cameras)
DGEFUnlike DC lenses this lens can be used with all Canon EOS cameras
Diagonal-FisheyeA fisheye lens is an extreme wide angle lens that often covers an angle of view of 180° or more. Unlike standard wide angle lenses fisheys produce strong barrel-shaped distortions
EXLProfessional grade lens of the "EX" series
F4.5-5.6Lowest available f-stop at shortest focal length: f/4.5
Lowest available f-stop at longest focal length: f/5.6
FisheyeAlso called "Diagonal-Fisheye". A fisheye lens is an extreme wide angle lens that often covers an angle of view of 180° or more. Unlike standard wide angle lenses fisheys produce strong barrel-shaped distortions
HSMUSMHyper Sonic Motor: ultra sound motors are less noisy and faster than conventional micro-motors. They usually allow manual override during autofocus operation
IIThis is the second edition of this lens. An earlier edition exists
MacroThis lens is suitable for close-up photography. Please note that Sigma name lenses "Macro" even if they don't reach a maximum magnification of 1.0 x
OSISOptical Stabilizer: This lens features an image stabilizer