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01-08-2014, 05:36 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Hi and welcome to the forum!

Great images; thanks for sharing!


The Rokinon / Samyang / Bower lenses on Pentax are fully supported, i.e., matrix metering works, focus confirmation works, the f-ratio can be chosen on the camera body and is recorded in the EXIF data, etc.

The only limitations are that you have to provide the focal length manually upon start up (if you want to use the in-body image stabilisation with the lens) and you (obviously) have to manually focus.

BTW, the Samyang 85/1.4 is an exceptional lens.

P.S.: Do you know the Pentax O-GPS1, aka "astrotracer"? It goes on the hot-shoe and then enables the camera to track the movement of the stars by shifting and rotating the sensor. It also adds GPS data to the images, but I guess you are probably more interested in the "star tracking" capability.

Depending on the quality of the calibration, the O-GPS1 can achieve impressive results. Unfortunately, calibration quality seems to be a bit "hit and miss" sometimes probably caused by the fact that the compass has a hard time to find its bearings, but with a bit of luck you can get great results. Here's a respective discussion about the merit of the astrotracer.
Yep, the GPS astro-tracking unit is one of the major reasons I am considering Pentax. I'll be requesting one when I am ready to review the system as a whole...

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01-08-2014, 05:42 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by SyncGuy Quote
I would advise you to read up and research more on pentax lens lineup to prevent future complications.
WRT flashes, you're aware that there is simply no way Pentax supports off-shoe pTTL exposure right? Off-shoe, it would be full manual unless you look at the only workaround; Aokatec wireless trigger.

And of course, off shoe full manual, you will need to walk up to the flashes and manual adjust power output.......
Ah, that's the beauty of the RadioPopper JRX system. It is completely independent of any camera / flash built-in system, and as long as you have a PC Sync port you're good to go! I can remotely control the power of all my flashes, even though they're all a bunch of "dumb" Nikon TTL flashes from the 90's. ;-)

You can read more about the system here:

RadioPopper JrX Wedding Photography Field Review

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01-08-2014, 05:46 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Not for much longer. The upcoming Cactus V6 will support remote power control.


The Cactus V5 has very limited support for "grouping" (five channels can be addressed either individually or all together).

Again, I expect the Cactus V6 to improve on the above functionality.



Of course, you can.

As maxfield_photo wrote there is only limited functionality. However, at least the flash and camera communicate in order to achieve a good exposure (by controlling the flash power) and you can dial in a bit of flash exposure compensation in the camera. Better than nothing, but real strobists use manual control anyhow.
I've heard good things about these, but I already have the RP JRX system which I really like. I would only change systems if I could get high-speed flash syncing wirelessly.

I have zero need for off-camera TTL flash, in fact I hardly ever use TTL on-camera either.

=Matt=
01-09-2014, 09:50 AM   #34
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Welcome Matthew! Very nice photographs! Gorgeous!!!

Don't feel bad about lusting for a K-3, a midlife crisis or a lust to relive your youth. It's not. Simply put, you're a photographer and you APPRECIATE good equipment. You have enough experience to know what you want, a discerning buyer. As for Nikon, there's a few here and none of us gets stoned! Allow me to share my story; I got into photography when I was a kid, best I could afford was a Mamiya 35mm. I 'graduated' to a Canon A-1 and I still have that kit (the Mamiya is long gone) so both of those brands have special meaning for me. I always wanted a Pentax, especially a K1000 because 'back when' that was it for me.

I got out of photography as a hobby a long while back; snapshots and stuff were about all I did and of course, long about 2000 I put the A-1 away and all of my snaps were with a P&S Canon Powershot and later, my android. Not that long ago I decided I was tired of crummy pics and went looking for a DSLR. My first was Canon (Brand Loyalty) but I did not like theirs at all. Pentax around here is almost non-existant so...Nikon. I was less than impressed with the 3100/5100 size bodies and the controls but the D300, D7000 size bodies led me to a nicely used D50. I of course bought that lusted for K1000(SE) the same day because my guy had one of those in pristine condition.

Fast forward a bit; I now own FOUR Mamiya DTL/TL bodies, K1000SE, ME Super, Spotmatic, my trusty Canon A-1, a Canon AE-1Program I just couldn't resist because it was so clean, A Nikon F3 (Geez what a tank!) because I fell in love with the darn thing the moment I picked it up (Hold THAT thought) and of course my baby, my lovely Pentax K100D Super.

I'm well on my way to DSLR'dom with my trusty D50. I'm sticking with Nikon because lenses, accessories and the like are plentiful around here. Lots of used gear to choose from and I am a happy camper, learning way cool things about DSLR's and having an absolute BALL re-learning all that film 'stuff' I forgot over the years. I use film because I like to AND, I think it helps me learn the basics. Besides, its just plain FUN. (I already said that, didn't I?) Then I spot this Pentax K100DS, all alone, whimpering with its paws on the glass case...for $150. So of course I take a look because of that pricetag (must be broke, right?) As soon as I pick the thing up it comes alive. Love at first sight. Didn't need a manual to figure out most of it (remember I have a D50 which is fairly simple compared to what they have now and I NEED the manual handy) I'll say again; the Pentax is so easy to navigate!

My D50 and the K100DS both have the same sensor, same MP. The autofocus and so on is probably comparable spec-wise and I shoot both all the time. The image stabilization built into the body is a BOON (Nikon you need VR lenses that = cost) The Pentax does older K mount lenses easier (Can't compare my D50 in that area because the newer Nikons do this way better but on the other hand, it isn't any big deal for me to set it on FULL manual and use my Gossen or Weston meters because I do that with other cameras already) the Pentax and some models of Nikon are weather sealed but I think the Pentax is better there, but here's the kicker; I take a snap with my D50 and then the exact same thing with my K100DS and THAT one just looks better. Better exposure, better colors but beyond that, there's just...something about that Pentax and the way it renders images.

If I had a do-over, given the choice between the D50 and the K100DS I'd have stuck with Pentax.

As it is, as 'old' as that D50 is its still a very capable camera and I am inexperienced and I do not use it to its full capabilities but I am learning. I recently had a chance to look at the new Pentax K-5iis wow, love at first sight! It was a REAL struggle not to whip out the old plastic! I have also looked at the 'new' Nikon (lets just call it the F-Retro) Nice, cool, solid build...not worth $2700 to me. I've yet to get my hands on a K-3; I think I might like that better than a K-5...whatever. Yes, upgrading is planned eventually but...I'll probably do the same with my D50. (D7100 perhaps?) which means, I don't plan on giving up EITHER brand. Both have features that make them unique, both I like and of course, it's MY fault because I simply CAN'T choose one over the other!

01-09-2014, 10:50 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by dubiousone Quote
Welcome Matthew! Very nice photographs! Gorgeous!!!

Don't feel bad about lusting for a K-3, a midlife crisis or a lust to relive your youth.
Funny you should mention mid-life crisis, actually; I just bought a hot-red Nikon D5300 (similar sensor to the K-3 I presume) ...and a hot-red CF tripod. I'm turning 30 and can't yet afford Magnum PI's red Ferrari, so I figured maybe this will stave off any mid-life crisis for another decade. Now if only they made the K-3 in hot red! Either way I'll probably keep the D5300 around for 2nd camera timelapses and B-roll video recording.

That, and one other thing that I kinda gotta be honest about: It is going to be really tough for me to be a senior staff at an online photography review magazine, and NOT regularly shoot one of the big two brands. (big three, including Sony now?) I know it sounds lame or even like a sell-out, but the bottom line is that using an iconic brand does affect the profit margin of any project or tutorial I create, and you can certainly bet that it affects my professional image if I were to switch to Pentax for wedding photography too.

Then again, I'm not at all daunted by those implications. I have always rooted for the under-dog. I have always encouraged my audience to do more with less. And Pentax is, despite what the digital age fanboys say, one of the most iconic brands in photography with a long history of serving photographers' practical and professional needs.

Regarding the rest of your post:

Yep, I still have a Nikon FM-2 that I purchased on Ebay, and I recently inherited a Pentax K1000 from my grandfather who passed away. Feels like a fantastic camera, I have been meaning to put a roll of film through it for a while now to see if it still works.

Like you said, I enjoy photography for the sake of photography. I enjoy putting a roll of Velvia through an old 35mm SLR, just because.

I also still have an old D70 on my shelf, too. That was my first DSLR ever and I still have a place in my heart for it. Good 'ol 6 megapixel sensor, it served me well for much of my adventures.


No DSLR will ever come close to capturing GREEN like my favorite slide films!!! (Okay that's a lie, the latest DSLRs seem to handle such colors very well, but man it used to be a huge chore back in the day!!!)


Nikon's 6 MP sensor (Okay, Sony's) produced some incredible images that I am still often re-visiting to this day!

Take care,
=Matt=
01-09-2014, 10:57 AM   #36
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One more question!

ONE MORE QUESTION!

Okay, I thought of another question I have as a Nikon user for Pentax veterans: Can someone explain the nomenclature for me? I've gathered that SDM is the equivalent of Nikon's SWM, Sigma's HSM and Canon's USM. But does WP mean "weather-proof"? And all those other letters....


Also, what is up with those teeny-tiny lenses? They look like manual-focus rangefinder lenses, and yet they're AF lenses for an SLR? How is this possible, do they use a "screw-drive" AF mechanism in-body like Nikon does?

While I'm on the topic of mechanical legacy compatibilities, one more question: Does Pentax have mechanical aperture couplings, or electronic, or both? As a Nikon user I've always enjoyed the extra control and compatibility that I get with mechanical aperture control, however I've also always been jealous of how Canon's lenses are 100% electronic because that means there isn't that silly little metal tab poking out of the back of the lens; all it ever does is snag on things when I try to toss it in a fleece jacket pocket un-capped, etc. etc. I know, this is a minor nit-pick, I'm just curious.

Thanks again everybody, for all the intelligent discussion and friendliness that you've shown here! I'm really enjoying the community so far, as someone who has participated in practically every forum ever created about photograph LOL, I must say this is a delightful combination of "not a ghost town" and yet "not a flame-fest". ;-)

=Matt=
01-09-2014, 12:14 PM - 1 Like   #37
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Teeny-tiny lenses - you mean the "pancake" primes? The DA 40mm for example? Just little stacks of awesome, that's all.
Yes, they use screw-drive for focus.
01-09-2014, 12:32 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
ONE MORE QUESTION!

Okay, I thought of another question I have as a Nikon user for Pentax veterans: Can someone explain the nomenclature for me? I've gathered that SDM is the equivalent of Nikon's SWM, Sigma's HSM and Canon's USM. But does WP mean "weather-proof"? And all those other letters....


Also, what is up with those teeny-tiny lenses? They look like manual-focus rangefinder lenses, and yet they're AF lenses for an SLR? How is this possible, do they use a "screw-drive" AF mechanism in-body like Nikon does?

While I'm on the topic of mechanical legacy compatibilities, one more question: Does Pentax have mechanical aperture couplings, or electronic, or both? As a Nikon user I've always enjoyed the extra control and compatibility that I get with mechanical aperture control, however I've also always been jealous of how Canon's lenses are 100% electronic because that means there isn't that silly little metal tab poking out of the back of the lens; all it ever does is snag on things when I try to toss it in a fleece jacket pocket un-capped, etc. etc. I know, this is a minor nit-pick, I'm just curious.

Thanks again everybody, for all the intelligent discussion and friendliness that you've shown here! I'm really enjoying the community so far, as someone who has participated in practically every forum ever created about photograph LOL, I must say this is a delightful combination of "not a ghost town" and yet "not a flame-fest". ;-)

=Matt=
Yes, all of the Pentax bodies have screw drive, and that's how those small primes autofocus. If you want a positively tiny lens (looks more like a body cap) check out the DA 40xs. That is small.

If it says WR, that means weather resistant, so it is sealed.

SDM and DC are both in lens autofocus, much like the Sigma HSM is.

None of the Pentax DSLRs have a mechanical coupling for the aperture, so while older lenses do have it, it doesn't work with the body. See the "crippled" K mount stuff on here. If you have an A, F, or FA lens the aperture is controlled electronically as long as the aperture ring is on the A setting, the DA lenses are controlled electronically.

01-09-2014, 01:21 PM   #39
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K-3 + Krylon = Hot Red Camera! LOL
Something about the Nikon F series cameras...maybe because I remember when they came out! The K1000 is one of the sweetest Pentax's around; dirt simple, as basic as it gets and they RUN! The later ME, MX and of course who remembers the Canon A-1, AE-1 and so on; those programmable exposures were the bomb and when you find one now, they usually still work wonderfully. Nothing wrong with decades old technology!

That D5300 is one sweet camera; I wouldn't have one simply because its too small for my big mitts and I prefer the controls set up differently with a top LCD like the D300/D70000/D7100.

If you like using the older lenses, Pentax makes it far easier I think but the newer Nikons are close I've heard. (Can't compare to my D50) I'm thinking that 6MP sensor in the K100DS and some nice 1970's-80's glass ought to turn out some really nice photos! (Then again I bet the K-3 would too!)
01-09-2014, 02:19 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
Thanks again guys for all the responses! I keep thinking of more questions, though... Here's another!

How is the battery life in near-freezing temperatures for timelapse photography? most of my current Nikon "prosumer" DX gear gets about ~200 images into a timelapse and the battery dies, which isn't long if you're trying to run back-to-back 30-sec. exposures for a few hours straight.

Bonus points if you know how the V-grip lasts in near/sub-freezing temps when using AA batteries, since I have about a zillion Eneloops... :-)

=Matt=
Great questions! I haven't tried any timelapses with the K-3, but the K-5 would require 2 to 3 D-Li90 batteries for an overnight timelapse (30s exposures every 32 seconds, temperatures near or below freezing, usually about 900 to 1000 pictures total). Battery life seems to be much better when using an external intervalometer than when using the internal one (uses 2 batteries per night vs 3 batteries). I found this out after the intervalometer on my K-5 was disabled after an incident with a lake, a windy night, and a failed timelapse. It's fully functional now, but the hour spent partially submerged caused the camera to misbehave for about a month. I haven't tried eneloops or a grip, I just connect additional batteries through the external power port.

The K-3 looks like it burns much more power according to the CIPA ratings, so I expect it to drain the batteries quite a bit faster than a K-5. The K-5 did a reasonable job of compressing RAW files, I'm not sure what the K-3 is doing, night DNG files seem larger than they should, I need to do some testing.

Here's a useful link if you want to connect those zillion eneloops to the camera and don't want to wake up and replace the battery in the middle of the night. DIY Power Supply for Pentax K5 DSLR
01-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
While I'm on the topic of mechanical legacy compatibilities, one more question: Does Pentax have mechanical aperture couplings, or electronic, or both? As a Nikon user I've always enjoyed the extra control and compatibility that I get with mechanical aperture control, however I've also always been jealous of how Canon's lenses are 100% electronic because that means there isn't that silly little metal tab poking out of the back of the lens; all it ever does is snag on things when I try to toss it in a fleece jacket pocket un-capped, etc. etc. I know, this is a minor nit-pick, I'm just curious.

Thanks again everybody, for all the intelligent discussion and friendliness that you've shown here! I'm really enjoying the community so far, as someone who has participated in practically every forum ever created about photograph LOL, I must say this is a delightful combination of "not a ghost town" and yet "not a flame-fest". ;-)
Your question about the mechanical coupling was partially answered I think. Just to expand on it :

For any lens that has an "A" position on the aperture ring, you can put the aperture ring to the A position and the camera controls the aperture. You can use any exposure mode on the camera. If it's a manual focus lens, you manually input the focal length. Someone mentioned that you have to input this value every time you turn the camera on, but to be fair, the camera remembers the previous setting, and that's the value that comes up on the display. So if you haven't changed the lens, you just hit OK. I think you can even go ahead and push the shutter and the camera takes the hint that you don't want to change the focal length from the previous setting.

For the Older K mount lenses that DON'T have an 'A' position on the aperture ring, you set the aperture, but the camera is oblivious to the setting you've chosen. You use these lenses in manual mode, setting the shutter speed manually, or "semi-automatically". Pushing the green button triggers the camera to stop the lens down, take a meter reading, and set the shutter speed. It's not always bang on, but it's usually in the ball park. Many bodies offer the option of metering the scene via DOF preview ( ie. DOF preview stops down your old lens, and you pan around your scene to meter on various elements, and you manually adjust your exposure settings accordingly ). So you can use older K mount glass on the K-3, but it's fiddly, particularly in rapidly changing light. There is mechanical coupling to the extent that the camera body can actuate the aperture, but the body can't read what the ( manual ) aperture setting is. The best it can do is stop the lens down and take a meter reading ( either in response to the green button, or via DOF preview ).

For older screw mount lenses, full stop down metering is the only option.

As to the lens acronyms - it's a bit of a dog's breakfast. I'm not sure I've got it straight, but here's my best attempt at a summary:

M series - older ( all manual ) K mount lenses. Small in size as they were designed for the M series bodies ( MX, ME, etc. )
A series - manual focus lenses with a "A" position on aperture ring to allow body to control aperture setting. Generally very similar to corresponding M series lens
F series - first autofocus lenses ( full frame )
FA - newer autofocus ( full frame )
DFA - Full frame but optimized for digital (?)
DA - for cropped sensor
DA* - high end weather resistant cropped sensor lens
DA L - bargain version of DA lens ( usually has plastic mount and lacks quick shift focus )

SDM - in lens motor - seems to have a reputation for poor reliability
DC - newer in lens motor, replaces SDM (?)
WR - weather resistant
Limited - modern high quality all metal construction lenses that many Pentaxians lust after

The lens review database on this sight is invaluable for sorting through the various versions of the lenses.
01-09-2014, 02:58 PM - 2 Likes   #42
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Your photos look great. Welcome!

I got up at 4 this morning to try and shoot the aurora but I didn't get it. But not because the battery died!
I also like to shoot adventure and astro and I think the K-3 is about as good as it gets, except for having a little more noise at high ISO than the K-5 (which I also have). But it's pretty manageable for the most part.
I have the Rokinon 8mm and it's great on Pentax bodies. You get auto aperture but you have to enter the FL for exif and SR (Shake Reduction).
The Limited lenses are great and perfect for adventure shooting. I used one of those tiny pancake 40mm Limited on New Year's Eve to shoot fireworks and a torchlight parade at Crested Butte. I XC skied to my location, so the small primes were nice for my back since that was a few miles and some vertical each way.

01-09-2014, 06:20 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by arkav Quote
Your question about the mechanical coupling was partially answered I think. Just to expand on it :

For any lens that has an "A" position on the aperture ring, you can put the aperture ring to the A position and the camera controls the aperture. You can use any exposure mode on the camera. If it's a manual focus lens, you manually input the focal length. Someone mentioned that you have to input this value every time you turn the camera on, but to be fair, the camera remembers the previous setting, and that's the value that comes up on the display. So if you haven't changed the lens, you just hit OK. I think you can even go ahead and push the shutter and the camera takes the hint that you don't want to change the focal length from the previous setting.

For the Older K mount lenses that DON'T have an 'A' position on the aperture ring, you set the aperture, but the camera is oblivious to the setting you've chosen. You use these lenses in manual mode, setting the shutter speed manually, or "semi-automatically". Pushing the green button triggers the camera to stop the lens down, take a meter reading, and set the shutter speed. It's not always bang on, but it's usually in the ball park. Many bodies offer the option of metering the scene via DOF preview ( ie. DOF preview stops down your old lens, and you pan around your scene to meter on various elements, and you manually adjust your exposure settings accordingly ). So you can use older K mount glass on the K-3, but it's fiddly, particularly in rapidly changing light. There is mechanical coupling to the extent that the camera body can actuate the aperture, but the body can't read what the ( manual ) aperture setting is. The best it can do is stop the lens down and take a meter reading ( either in response to the green button, or via DOF preview ).

For older screw mount lenses, full stop down metering is the only option.

As to the lens acronyms - it's a bit of a dog's breakfast. I'm not sure I've got it straight, but here's my best attempt at a summary:

M series - older ( all manual ) K mount lenses. Small in size as they were designed for the M series bodies ( MX, ME, etc. )
A series - manual focus lenses with a "A" position on aperture ring to allow body to control aperture setting. Generally very similar to corresponding M series lens
F series - first autofocus lenses ( full frame )
FA - newer autofocus ( full frame )
DFA - Full frame but optimized for digital (?)
DA - for cropped sensor
DA* - high end weather resistant cropped sensor lens
DA L - bargain version of DA lens ( usually has plastic mount and lacks quick shift focus )

SDM - in lens motor - seems to have a reputation for poor reliability
DC - newer in lens motor, replaces SDM (?)
WR - weather resistant
Limited - modern high quality all metal construction lenses that many Pentaxians lust after

The lens review database on this sight is invaluable for sorting through the various versions of the lenses.
Thank you for the breakdown, that's awesome!

It looks like I would certainly love to own a couple / few of those WR / Limited primes for adventure photography, even though I'll probably wind up 100% third-party for wedding photography, if I decide to dumb full-frame for a K-3.

=Matt=
01-09-2014, 06:36 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
Also, what is up with those teeny-tiny lenses? They look like manual-focus rangefinder lenses, and yet they're AF lenses for an SLR? How is this possible, do they use a "screw-drive" AF mechanism in-body like Nikon does?
The teeny tiny lenses are a thing of beauty. I would HIGHLY recommend that you grab a few (15mm, 40mm, 70mm etc etc) and test them out. You will be very pleased. They are golden pieces of photography goodness. The only problem with them is there aren't enough of them.

For travel, yes you can have the WR (weather resistant) zoom and that's good, but those primes...it's all I use. The smallness and sharpness are one reason I rave about Pentax. For travel... yeah. It's just awesome. Full strength DSLR with glass that rivals anything made by anyone but in a small package.
01-09-2014, 06:51 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by arkav Quote
As to the lens acronyms - it's a bit of a dog's breakfast. I'm not sure I've got it straight, but here's my best attempt at a summary:
The ones I know that you've forgotten:

For lens types:
FA J - The budget line for the FA lenses. Full frame auto-focus, but aperture control only from the camera body. (Which isn't that big of a deal on any of Pentax's DSLRs.) I've never used one of these, but the lens review database suggests that they're not that well regarded.

There are also FA*, F*, and A* lenses, and at least one M* lens. The * in these cases indicates high quality optics but not weather sealing.

(For Matt's sake: only the DA, D FA, DA*, and DA L lenses are still in production. Anything else is legacy. Edit: And actually a handful of the FA lenses. Forgot about those.)

For lens properties:
SMC - Super-Multi-Coated. Pentax's previous lens coating.
HD - High Definition. Pentax's recently released lens coating.
ED - Extra-low Dispersion glass.
AL - Aspherical Lens. One or more aspherical elements were used in order to reduce chromatic aberration.
IF - Internal Focusing.

There's also "XS", but I don't actually know what that means and there's only one lens that uses it anyway. (Extra Small, most likely.)

Last edited by g026r; 01-10-2014 at 06:19 PM.
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