HomePhotographyHow to/TipsWhat Do Nikon Lens Abbreviations Mean? (An Easy Guide)

What Do Nikon Lens Abbreviations Mean? (An Easy Guide)

If you want to learn more about the characteristics of your Nikon lens, you may either consult the lens manual or look at the acronyms on the lens. The series of letters you discover may appear to be more like hieroglyphics than useful suggestions at first glance.

This article will look at a collection of Nikon lens acronyms and explain what they mean. We will break them down so that you will have a general understanding of what each group of letters represents at the conclusion of the lesson. Keep in mind that you may always go back to this list if you are having trouble remembering something important.

What are Lens Abbreviations?

Nikon Lenses

The lens abbreviations are a collection of initials placed following the focal point of the lens. These abbreviations are written on the barrel of your lens. The initials will provide you with information on the lens’s qualities and attributes.

Its autofocus drive, stabilization qualities, and other features are among them.

Let’s have a look at an illustration.

Example: The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm F/2.8E FL ED SR VR (AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm F/2.8E FL ED SR VR).

The focal range and aperture number, as you can see from the lens’ name, are two pieces of information that you are likely to be familiar with. However, the title contains a slew of acronyms.

We see AF-S, FL, ED, SR, and VR in this sample. From this information, I may deduce that the lens can autofocus and has vibration reduction features. I can also detect that the lens contains extra-low dispersion and fluorite elements, as well as a UV-refracting lens element.

Understanding Nikon Lens Abbreviations

You can see how these abbreviations can provide important information. Let’s look at the abbreviations you’ll see on your Nikon lens barrel in more detail.

A – A lens with a manual focus. The original bayonet lens type from 1959 was discovered. This is considered pre-AI.

ADR – Direct (D) readout (A) aperture (A) aperture (A) aperture (A) aperture (A) aperture (A) aperture ( (R). Because certain Nikon lenses featured an overhanging prism that obscured the aperture numbers, this abbreviation was created. In 1977, this was incorporated in AI lenses.

AF-I – A lens with an integrated (I) core-less focus motor for autofocus (AF). D-type lenses are AF-I lenses. Even so, some vintage film cameras are unable to autofocus with them.

AF-P – A lens with unique stepper motors for autofocus (AF). In 2015, this autofocus function was implemented. It necessitates a digital body with current firmware.

AF-S – A silent wave (S) integrated, a core-less focus motor is used in this autofocus (AF) lens. For Nikon lenses, this is the default autofocus mode.

AI – Automatic (A) maximum aperture indexing (I). This is the mechanical mechanism that connects the lens to the exposure system of the camera. This was implemented in 1977 for manual focus cameras.

AI-P – A variant of the AI function. A built-in CPU in the lens relays metering data from the lens to the camera.

AI-S – Another variant of the AI function. It was designed to be used with shutter priority (S) exposure modes. This was for manual focus lenses.

ASP – The optical design of this will include an aspherical lens (AS). To eliminate lens aberrations and other defects, aspherical lenses employ complicated curves in the manufacturing of lens elements.

C – For pre-AI lenses, this is a form of lens coating. Nikon has a built-in coating.

CRC – Close (C) range (R) correction (C). This lens is meant to focus more clearly at closer ranges.

CX – Nikon 1 is a mirrorless camera lens from Nikon. In 2011, this product was released on the market.

D – Nikon 1 is a mirrorless camera lens from Nikon. In 2011, this product was released on the market.

DC – A defocus (D) control (C) lens. The photographer can adjust the amount of spherical aberration in out-of-focus regions with this technique. The image will have a nicer bokeh as a result of this.

DX – This is a common abbreviation for a lens developed for cameras with smaller frames. DX lenses are designed for DSLR cameras, however, they may also function on 35mm cameras.

E – Electronic (E) aperture activation. This indicates that your lens does not have a physical connection to the camera’s aperture activation arm. Instead, the aperture will be controlled by electric impulses sent between the camera and the lens.

ED – Extra (E) low dispersion (D) elements are in this lens.

FL – This lens has fluorite (FL) components. Fluorite elements are less dense than ordinary glass.

FX – A full-frame sensor lens with a 35mm focal length. The lens’ ability to cover the Nikon FX sensor is referred described as this.

G – There will be no aperture ring on this lens. This will have to be done in-camera.

HRI – High (H) refractive (R) index (I). A single HRI lens may simulate the effect of many conventional glass components. This is only for spherical aberrations and field curvature.

IF – Internal (I) focusing (F) lenses instead of rotating exterior lens components.

IX – A lens that is made for the Pronea system.

N – Nano (N) coating. A crystalline coating will be used on this lens to eliminate internal lens element refractions. This coating eliminates ghosting and flare.

NIC – Nikon (N) integrated (I) coating (C). The Nikon glass coating technology will be used on this lens to assist reduce flare and ghosting.

PC – A perspective (P) control (C) lens. This means you can fix perspective by shifting the front of the lens.

PF – Phase (P) fresnel (F). A diffraction optic that reduces the size of lenses.

RF – Rear (R) focussing (F). This implies that the back elements of the lens move to focus the image.

S-line – Superior (S) lens. The Nikon mirrorless Z series has this feature.

SIC – Super (S) integrated (I) coating (C). It’s a multi-layer flare reduction lens coating that’s usually seen on more complicated zoom lenses.

SWM – This lens will have a silent (S) wave (W) motor (M). AF-I and AF-S lenses have this sort of motor.

SR – Short-wavelength (S) refractive (R). A lens with a specific lens element that refracts UV wavelengths is known as a UV refractor. This is significant because chromatic aberration is reduced.

UW – For the Nikonos system, underwater (UW) lenses are available.

VR – This indicates that the lens will be capable of vibration (V) reduction (R). This reduces motion blur and camera shaking by correcting camera movement while capturing the photo.

Z –  Lenses for Nikons mirrorless Z range.


We can see how important it is to know these Nikon lens acronyms from this list. Nikon’s lens technology will very certainly be encapsulated in an acronym that will be shown on the lens barrel. It’s a terrific approach to highlight the lens’s qualities and gives it more authority, much like a combat veteran flaunting their medals.

Now that you understand what everything means, look through your glasses to see what traits they have. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a feature that inspires you to try out a new photographic style.


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