These days, camera lenses are high-tech pieces of kit. Each manufacturer uses many abbreviations and acronyms to refer to the various technologies and it can get confusing to compare lenses – especially when different manufacturers use different names to refer to the same technology.
You can look up the abbreviations on each manufacturer’s website (see below), but it’s a pain and it takes ages. So I compiled a table to compare the most common lens designations. This table is not exhaustive – I have only included terms that are used by more than one manufacturer.
|Full frame sensor||EF||FX||DG||Di||FX|
|Crop sensor||EF-S||DX||DC||Di II||DX|
|Ultrasonic focus motor||USM||SWM / AF-S||HSM||USD|
|Optical image stabilisation||IS||VR||OS||VC|
|Professional grade||L||EX||SP||AT-X Pro|
|Inner or rear focusing||I/R||IF / RF||RF / IF / HF||IF||IF|
|Aspherical lens elements||AL / L*||APS||AS / F&R|
* All Canon L lenses make use of aspherical lens elements. Many of their other lenses use one or more aspherical lenses too but are not labelled as such.