Understanding Sony Lens Abbreviations and What They Signify (An Easy Guide)

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Sony lenses are among the finest pieces of optical equipment available for photographers. In addition, Sony has a collaboration with Zeiss, an optical firm that was founded by Carl Zeiss. In the mid-1800s, Carl Zeiss was a pioneer in the development of optical equipment. With this relationship to a firm recognized for having master lens producers, the quality of Sony lenses has already been established in our minds.

Today, we’ll show you how to recognize the acronyms used by Sony cameras and Sony lenses. More precisely, we’ll look at the acronyms that are used to define the characteristics of each lens. If you read this article to the conclusion, you will have a better grasp of the functionalities included within a Sony lens!

What are Lens Abbreviations?

Lens abbreviations are a great method for firms to highlight the benefits of their products in their product names, and they are becoming increasingly popular. This is beneficial to the user since it allows for quick and easy browsing through the items available.

Although lens acronyms are normally found in the product name, it is possible to discover them printed on the barrel of your lens as well as on the lens itself. Knowing the abbreviations can assist you a great deal, especially when it comes to comprehending and determining the compatibility of the Sony photography range.

The focal range and aperture are the two most crucial pieces of information. These are the figures that we are presented with. This information is surrounded by acronyms that provide further information about the lens’ characteristics. Inferences I may draw from this information include that it is a member of Sony’s highest-quality lens series (G) and that it includes a special optical image stabilization feature (OSS).

Understanding Sony Lens Abbreviations

We’ll go through each of the abbreviations offered by Sony in this list one by one. On Zeiss products, several of these acronyms are the same as on other brands. However, we will not cover any Zeiss-branded lenses in this article.

Sony Zeiss Terms

First and foremost, I will explain any Sony Zeiss terminology you may come across. Although Sony currently produces the lenses, the design is still based on Zeiss technology. Alternatively, Sony obtains Zeiss approval for their lens designs.

Distagon – Distagon is the term given by Zeiss to a formula used to create wide-angle lenses. These lenses may be somewhat weighty due to the fact that they are quite complicated. In all, there are just two Sony Zeiss Distagon lenses available: the Sony Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm F1.4 ZA and the Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F/2 ZA SSM. Both lenses are available in a variety of focal lengths.

Planar – It is almost impossible to find a contemporary 50mm prime lens that does not use the Planar formula. Planar lenses are distinguished by their symmetrical design, in which the aperture is located in the center of the lens, between the other parts. This enables the lens to operate at larger apertures while maintaining sharpness throughout the frame and exhibiting little chromatic aberration.

Sonnar – Sonnar lenses are the most often used of the three alternatives available. This term refers to a certain lens structure that has been developed. It features a straightforward internal element design, a quick aperture, and will provide a lot of contrast while producing very little flare.

Sony Abbreviations

A – A-Mount lenses are intended for use with Sony’s ‘Single Lens Translucent Cameras,’ which are designed to be used with a single lens (SLTs). When Sony acquired Minolta in 2006, the A-mount lenses became available for the first time. The design of this mount had been in use by Minolta since the 1980s. Sony has chosen to phase out the A-mount for the remainder of the year.

AA – Advanced (A) Aspherical (A) lenses have an extraordinarily high thickness ratio between the center and the outer edges when compared to other types of lenses. This implies that you will see a big improvement in lens rendering.

APD – An apodization (APD) optical element catches less light at the edges than a conventional optical element. The optical feature of this lens provides for smoother defocusing as a result of its design.

AR – The lens is equipped with Sony’s proprietary ‘Anti-Reflective’ (AR) technology. This helps to improve light transmission by reducing inter-element reflection. Although you won’t see this abbreviation on the surface of a lens, all G and GM lenses are equipped with this protective coating.

DDSSM – The focusing motor (M) communicates with the direct drive (D) supersonic (SS) wave motor (M). In order to achieve quicker autofocusing, the motor is intended to move heavy and massive lens elements quickly.

DT – When it comes to lenses designed for APS-C sensors, digital (D) technology (T) can be found. On Sony’s full-frame cameras, digital technology lenses can also be utilized in conjunction with them. There is a crop mode setting that allows a full-frame sensor to be converted into a cropped-sensor camera for certain situations.

E – Sony’s mirrorless cameras are equipped with electronic lenses. There is no physical difference between the full-frame E-mount and the APS-C-sized sensors in terms of physical size. Instead, lenses are intended to resolve a variety of picture sizes utilizing Sony’s new ‘one mount’ approach, which allows for greater flexibility.

ED – Extra-low dispersion (E) and low dispersion (D) glass. This type of lens incorporates a glass element that is intended to minimize chromatic aberrations in images.

F – The fluorine (F) coating offers a layer of protection by reducing the lens’ wettability and repelling foreign objects. This means that you can simply remove water- or oil-based debris from the lens using a soft cloth or sponge.

FE – Full-frame (F) E-Mount (E) lenses are designed to cover Sony’s full-frame digital sensors.

FL – Fluorite (FL) lenses are those that contain a fluorite (FL) element. This is not glass, but rather translucent calcium fluoride, which reduces dispersion and chromatic aberration in the lens. Fluoride also has a lower density than ordinary glass.

G – Gold (G) Old Sony’s previous highest-quality lens line.

GM – Sony’s new gold (G) master (M) lens line is the company’s highest-quality lens line. The G-range has been updated to include lenses for Sony’s newest mirrorless E-mount cameras.

IF – Internal (I) focusing (F) is a feature that allows you to modify your focus by moving the components inside the lens. This implies that when focusing, the length of your Sony autofocus lens will not extend. This is another abbreviation that isn’t printed on the lens barrel.

OSS – Sony’s optical image stabilization technology is known as optical (O) steady-shot (SS). This may be found on Sony’s E-mount lenses.

PL – Sony makes a number of lenses that employ the PL-mount system, which is widely used in the film industry.

PZ – A zoom lens that has both power (P) and zoom (Z) capabilities. An electronic zoom motor is used in these power zoom lenses. A power zoom button will be located on the lens barrel. This function is ideal for video since it allows you to zoom in and out smoothly and consistently.

RDSSM – The ring (R) drive (D) supersonic (SS) wave motor (M) is a motor that allows Sony autofocus lenses to move smoothly and quietly. A position-sensitive detector is also included in these lenses to measure the amount of lens rotation.

SAL – Sony (S) A (A) lens Sony (S) A (A) lens Sony (S) A (A (L). The abbreviation SAL appears in Sony’s product numbers for lenses that use the A-mount system.

SAM – Sony’s less expensive lenses are smooth (S) autofocus (A) motor (M). When compared to SSM or DDSSM motors, they are the least progressive lens motor.

SEL – Lens Sony (S) E (E) Sony (S) E (E) Sony (S) E (E) (L). The SEL abbreviation may be found on Sony’s product number for E-mount lenses, just like SAL.

SMO – Smooth motion (M) optics (O) is precisely what it sounds like. It is advantageous for filmmaking equipment.

SSM – This abbreviation refers to Sony’s supersonic (SS) motor (M). It employs a ring-type piezoelectric motor for ultra-quiet, quick, and precise autofocusing. These lenses offer a built-in distance scale as well as complete manual override capability. This implies that after you’ve established your autofocus, you may modify the focus ring. It’s possible that this abbreviation isn’t found on every lens barrel.

STF – APD (apodization) lens groups are thicker nearer the lens edges on smooth (S), transition (T), and focal (F) lenses. Out-of-focus highlights are smooth with these lenses. These lenses do not have autofocus, thus it comes at a cost.

Super ED – Lenses with super extra-low (E) dispersion (D) have better chromatic aberration adjustment.

T* – This abbreviation indicates that the lens has a Carl Zeiss T* coating and may be found on Sony’s ‘ZA’ lenses. T-coating was invented in 1935 and decreased the amount of inter-element reflection within a lens significantly. In the 1970s, Zeiss improved the coating by adding the * to the T. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; each type of lens or glass requires its unique application to achieve the best results.

TC – Tele (T) converters (C) extend a telephoto lens’ focal length. A magnifying glass is included as an element between your lens and your camera with these lenses.

XD LM – A new autofocusing technology is available on extreme (X), dynamic (D), linear (L), and motor (M) lenses. Linear motors use a contactless electromagnetic drive to provide ultra-quiet movement. The smooth autofocus motor also generates a lot of torque, which is necessary for handling bigger lens elements. This technology was designed to keep up with the quick focusing rates found in other Sony lenses, so you’ll get a lot of speed.

XA – This is common on lenses that have an extreme (X) aspherical (A) characteristic. These are specific shards of glass within the lens with a noticeably wider curvature. This results in a lens that is more compact and performs better. These have been made to the highest standards, with a surface accuracy of 0.01 microns. Only GM lenses have the XA function at the moment.


You now have a comprehensive list of Sony lens acronyms, ranging from AA to XA, thanks to this page. This information aids us in comprehending the anatomy of a photographic lens. The more information we have, the better we will be able to judge this and other lenses.

It’s difficult to remember all of this information, so bookmark this page to come back to when you’re looking for Sony lenses!


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