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Canon Lens Codes

When you see a price list for a lens or even get the lens it is covered in different types of codes which is supposed to give you information about the lens, but do you know what they all stand for. What we have done here is list out the codes we have been able to identify with their descriptions in order to give you a quick look up list when researching lenses.

Code Description
EF Electronic Focus lenses.
EF-S Electronic Focus lenses that have been designed to only be used on EOS Digital SLR cameras.
USM Ultra sonic motor. There are two types found in Canon EF lenses, Ring-type USM found in large-aperture and super telephoto lenses and the Micro USM used in more compact lenses.
DO Defraction Optical. Lenses contain multi DO elements combined with a convext lens to almost completely cancel out chromatic aberration. This allows the lense to be significantly shorter and lighter to a typical refractive lens. An example is the EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM is 27% smaller and 31% lighter than a conventional 400mm f/4 lens.
IS Image Stabalizer - detects and corrects slight camera shake but also allows steady shooting up to 4 stops lower than conventional lenses. Some lenses have Is mode 2 which detects if movement in a certain direction occurs for longer than a preset time and then it switches off the IS in that direction.
L L Series lenses are all Electronic Focus and they are identified in the Canon range with their white lens barrel. Designed with the professional in mind they have been created to withstand the rough handling and extreme conditions some pro photographers find themselves in as well as being weather proof including water resistant. See this link for information on the L-Lens technology.
Extender Canons name for a teleconverter.
UD Ultra-low dispersion glass used in the lens elements.
Super Spectra A lens coating which has been optimized and shaped to suppress flare and ghosting. Also believed to help achieve true colour balance and increase contrast.
Macro Allows the ability to focus at closer distances for smaller items such as insects and small flowers. Dedicated macro lenses have the rations 1:2.5, 1:2.8, 1:3.5
MP-E Manual focus macro lens 1:2 1-5x. Achieves a higher magnification greater than 1x suitable for small subjects.
TS-E Tilt and Shift mechanism ideal for architectural photography.

If you come across any other abbreviations then please let us know so that we can research their meanings and extend the above list.

Remember to take a look at our Canon Lens Price Comparison for details on what current lenses on the market cost (updated regularly).


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