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Easy Guide to Sony Lens Abbreviations

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Related course: Photography for Beginners

Sony is one of the largest lens manufacturers in the world. They create lenses for their own mirrorless and digital camera systems. Like any other lenses, you’ll find letters and numbers adorning them. What do these mean?

These abbreviations let you know the features of each lens. These include special lens elements, coatings, features that remove camera shake and more.

Read on to learn more about Sony Lens Abbreviations.

A photographer holding a Sony DSLR with Sony lens

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What Are Lens Abbreviations?

Lens abbreviations appear on each lens. They let you know what features the lens offers you. A portrait photographer might need something specific from a lens, like a wide aperture.

With lenses containing more and more complex features, it is impossible to write them all down. Knowing the abbreviations means not having to go through your camera manual to find out about everything your lens can give you.

Let’s look at an example.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

We can see a few abbreviations here: FE, GM, and OSS. These mean that the lens will cover a full-frame camera system. It also includes image stabilization and is part of a range of lenses that are superior to others.

You will be able to read them easily with a little practice.

a flat lay of a sony camera body with sony lenses

Sony Lens Abbreviations

A-Mount – This mount was first introduced in 2006, which came from Konica/Minolta. These are for the alpha (α) camera systems.

DT – Digital Technology. These lenses are specially designed for cameras with a crop sensor.

E – E-Mount for Mirrorless. These lenses are specifically designed for APS-C cameras.

E -Mount – This mount works for the NEX mirrorless camera systems.

ED – Extra-low Dispersion. These lenses elements remove chromatic aberrations.

FE – Full-frame. These lenses are for full-frame camera systems that use the E-mount. Crop sensor cameras can also use these, but the focal length will change. See our Crop Sensor Vs. Full-Frame article for more information.

FisheyeFisheye lenses. These are very wide-angle lenses, showing a large amount of distortion. The distortion is so large, that the scenes appear as circles.

G – Gold. These lenses are professional. It means they have the highest quality and are also the most expensive.

a range of Sony lenses on a shelf, highlighting the different Sony lens abbreviations

IF – Internal Focus. As all focusing takes place inside the lens, the lens doesn’t change when focusing in or out.

Macro – These lenses can achieve 1:1 magnification or better.

OSS – Optical Steady Shot. This feature is part of E-mount lenses. It allows the photographer to handhold a lens without the risk of camera shake while using slower shutter speeds.

Pancake – Compact, lightweight lenses.

PZ – Power Zoom. These lenses house a motor that allows for a fast optical zoom. This is used more in filming, as it gives a constant movement without jittery, human action.

SAL – Sony Autofocus Lens. These lenses are A-mount lenses that allow for autofocusing. You might see the Sony α Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 ZA lens written as SAL-1680Z.

SAM – Smooth Autofocus Motor. This is a motor that drives autofocusing and is more common and a budget version of the SSM.

SEL – Sony Autofocus lenses. These lenses are E-mount lenses that allow for autofocusing. Lenses such as the Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Wide-angle Zoom Lens are also known as SEL1018.

A Sony camera with a Sigma lens.

SSM – SuperSonic Motor. This ultrasonic motor is fast and quiet, and a step-up from the SAM.

STF – Smooth Transition Focus. These lenses create smooth, out-of-focus areas, allowing for circular bokeh. But, you lose autofocusing capabilities and effective aperture sizes.

Super ED – Super Extra-low Dispersion. This is the same as ED, except stronger.

T – T-star coating. This coating on lenses elements reduces flaring and ghosting.

TCTele Converter. This lens is specifically designed to extend the focal length of another lens. They come in 1.4x and 2x versions.

ZA – Zeiss Alpha. Lenses made for sony by Zeiss, and used by the alpha (α) camera systems.

Check out our guide to Nikon, Canon, Tokina, Sigma or Tamron lens abbreviations next!

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