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06-03-2008, 06:16 PM   #1
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All the Initials confuseing to a novice

In searching for lenses, All the initials in the description of the lense are confusing. Is there a List of what each means? Thanks

06-03-2008, 06:34 PM   #2
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SDM = Quiet in-lens motor
IF = Internal focusing (does not rotate the front lens element, only the groups inside the body)
AL = Aspherical Lens (using an aspherical element enable the lens designer to use fewer lens elements. The benefit can be a smaller, compact and lighter lens; with fewer lens surfaces, there is also less potential for internal reflection ) from Aspherical Lenses
ED = Extra low Dispersion. Lens element to help correct chromatic aberrations.

Good start?

p.s. Chromatic aberrations are coloured 'halos' created on the edge of high contrast surfaces (building against sky, etc). Has a bit to do with lens design and a bit to do with the camera's sensor.
06-03-2008, 06:45 PM   #3
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this webpage may help

Pentax Digital Camera and lens resources from
06-04-2008, 01:51 PM   #4
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LBA - Lens Buying Addiction. You won't notice the sypmtoms at first but one day you will find your self sleeping by the front door waiting for FedEx to deliver your 20th lens. It will be a 5 to 500 f1.2 sigtonakaron that you just raided the kids college fund to buy

06-04-2008, 03:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by KA5TXL Quote
LBA - Lens Buying Addiction. You won't notice the sypmtoms at first but one day you will find your self sleeping by the front door waiting for FedEx to deliver your 20th lens. It will be a 5 to 500 f1.2 sigtonakaron that you just raided the kids college fund to buy
Unfortunately,you are almost right. The long end will more than likely be around 750 mm.
06-04-2008, 04:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by steven smith Quote
In searching for lenses, All the initials in the description of the lense are confusing. Is there a List of what each means? Thanks
From an old Mike Johnston email:

1952: Takumar lenses. Allegedly named after a man named Takuma Kajiwara, who
was either a Japanese painter [Comen], or "a Japanese photographer who lived
in New York in the 1950's [sic]...a personal friend of George Eastman, the
founder of Eastman Kodak Co. It's reported Mr. Kajiwara designed the early
Takumar lenses" [Jonkman]. These were M42 screwmount lenses. The M42
screwmount was a German invention that came to be known as "Pentax
screwmount" because Asahi made the most popular camera line to use it. It is
distinct from the Leica screwmount, which Marc James Small dubbed "LTM"
(Leica Thread Mount). Many enlarger lenses still use Leica screwmount, and
recent years have seen the first new Leica screwmount lenses in decades,
made by Cosina under the Voigtlaender name. There are no current-production
M42 screwmount lenses that I know of.

1958: a series of semi-automatic lenses called "Auto-Takumar." M42

1963: The "Super-Takumar" line. M42 screwmount.

1971: The "Super-Multi-Coated Takumar" line. M42 screwmount. Introduced with
the Spotmatic SPII. These lenses had early multicoating nearly identical to
Zeiss T* coating, and linkages for open-aperture metering with the Spotmatic
F. Early versions had metal knurled focusing rings and the words
"Super-Multi-Coated" spelled out on the front of the lens. Later versions
switched to a rubberized focusing rings and were marked "SMC Takumar."

Note that both "Super-Multi-Coated Takumar" and "SMC Takumar" lenses are
often both indiscriminately called "SMCT" and "SMC Takumar." People should
really be specific and either spell out the name of the earlier lenses or
else abbreviate it "S.-M.-C. Takumar" to distinguish earlier from later

1975: Pentax switched from M42 screwmount to the "K" bayonet mount. The
Pentax screwmount had been universal, with many manufacturers making lenses
that would fit any M42 camera; Pentax attempted to do the same with the K
mount, leaving the patent open to anyone who wanted to use it--and bucking
the trend towards proprietary bayonet mounts. Consequently, a number of
smaller manufacturers also used the Pentax K-mount. Despite this, it never
really achieved universal status.

The early Pentax K-mount lenses are called "SMC Pentax" lenses and are
briefly referred to as "K" lenses. Many carried over from the last of the
M42 lenses and are very fine lenses optically and mechanically. They were
contemporaneous with the first three Pentax K-mount cameras, called the KX,
KM, and K2.

1977: A lens line introduced for the compact M bodies. They are smaller than
the SMC Pentax lenses and are generally neither quite as good optically nor
quite as nicely built, although they are mostly still of very fine quality
and very well-made. They are marked "SMC Pentax-M," abbreviated "SMCP-M" and
referred to briefly as "M" lenses.

Although they are K-mount lenses, they are NOT "K" lenses, an appellation
which refers to the SMC Pentax line.

1983: A line of lenses usable with program mode, marked "SMC Pentax-A,"
abbreviated "SMCP-A" and referred to as "A" lenses. Although they are
generally slightly better than the M lenses optically, they are generally
not quite as well made. They are the first Pentax lenses that more or less
lacked the legendary smooth focusing feel of the Super Takumars.

1987: F lenses. The first autofocus line. Compatible with the K-mount.

1991: FA lenses. The current autofocus line, also compatible with the

1997 (? someone correct me if I'm wrong): The Limited lenses. Designed for
an autofocus rangefinder that was shelved. FA lenses with metal barrels sold
as premium, deluxe autofocus lenses with metal barrels, they are in fact NOT
"limited," but are regular stock items. There are now three, all with
unusual focal lengths: the 43mm, the 77mm, and the 31mm.

So, to recap, it looks like this:

M42 screwmount lens series:
1952: Takumars
1958: Auto-Takumars
1963: Super-Takumars
1971: Super-Multi-Coated Takumars, later ones marked SMC Takumar

K-mount lens series:
1975: SMC Pentax lenses, also called K lenses
1977: M lens line
1983: A lens line

Autofocus lens series:
1987: F autofocus lenses
1991: FA autofocus lenses
1997(?): Limited (FA) lenses

Now we have DFA and DA lenses, but I don't know their timelines. Others have some of the technical acronyms described already.
06-04-2008, 07:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info guide

06-04-2008, 08:37 PM   #8
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Just as an FYI:

Every lens manufacturer has their own set of acronyms. Sigma has a whole different set of designations (they list the meaning of these somewhere on their website BTW), and so does Tamron.


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