Does your lens has more letters after its name than a retired rocket scientist. What do all these lens markings mean? You can refer to a lens simply by the name of the manufacturer, the focal length, and its maximum aperture – a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6, say, or Canon 50mm f/1.4. But as lenses have often evolved from decades of development, they usually have a line of additional letters after their names, stamped on the barrel or printed on the boxes.
Some lens markings are about manufacturer branding – defining a more recent range, or a lens that’s built to higher standards than another. Others are to do with the optics themselves, and to highlight specific technologies used in the lens construction. In the jargon-busting guide below, we’ll translate these lens markings for you.