How To Read Name & Number On Camera Lens

Rupal Asodaria camera lens photography

If you’re a mom like me chasing kids with camera trying to capture little moments- big memories, then you must want to learn about your camera in technical language. 


I always prefer DSLR over my iPhone or any tablets. I just like my DSLR however recently while visiting Boeing museum in Seattle WA, I accidently hit my camera (lens) on a dummy cockpit trying to save my little one from hurting one of the metal bars! Glad he was okay but well, my lens stopped working immediately! I wasn’t able to get any clear pictures but blurry. 

Glad I carry two lenses so I was safe to capture rest of the memories of our remaining vacation! Phew! 

I do take pictures of my products and for that I use 50 mm lens which I called my product photography lens which gives amazing result however I can’t zoom so I definitely needed my original lens which came along with my Canon EOS Rebel T3. 


Finally, I sat down to study that how could I possibly fix my lens and how does this little device work. I thought to share with you some terminology which might help you to understand DSLR more. 

There are two types of primary lenses. ZOOM and PRIME.

Let’s talk about ZOOM lens for a moment. 

ZOOM Lens: A lens having variable focal length. That means you can change the length to get the subject closer or farther. 


You may read below text on your lens

CANON ZOOM LENS EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS II

And following text at the bottom of the lens

Φ 58mm 

That means

CANON is the company name and

ZOOM represents it is a zoom lens. And since it is a zoom lens so, we have variable focal length for this lens. 


It means "Electro Focus S" where "S" in EF-S comes from "Small image circle", meaning a camera with a smaller sensor compared to full frame sensor. 


This is the focal length. This lens has a minimum focal length of 18mm and maximum focal length of 55mm. And since this is a ZOOM LENS so we have a variable focal length. When the lens is at 18mm then we get a wider view. And when the lens is at 55mm then we get a narrower view.


This represents the aperture of the lens.

This lens has an aperture of 3.5 for 18mm focal length and aperture of 5.6 for 55mm focal length.

Smaller the aperture number more the light allowed to enter by lens and bigger the aperture number lesser the light allowed. 


It represents Image Stabilization. This means that the lens can stabilize the image / video when shooting handheld. 

Φ 58mm

It represents the diameter for the ND (Neutral Density) filter. 

You may read below text on the side of camera


MACRO 0.25m/0.8ft

It means that the camera can shoot a subject from a minimum distance of 0.25 meter or 0.8 feet. 


AF represents for Auto Focus means it can enable or disable the autofocus function.

MF represents Manual Focus means user has to adjust the focus of the lens by hand. 


When STABILIZIER set to ON mode then the Image Stabilizer is turned on. And when STABILIZER set to OFF mode then the Image Stabilizer is turned off. 


I love this lens. This lens is great for product photography, potrait or kids photography.


CANON LENS EF 50mm 1:1.8 STM

Company name: Canon 

EF: Electro Focus

50 mm – fixed length (No zoom)

1: 1.8

This lens has a fixed 1.8 aperture which makes it a great lens for low light shooting of pictures.


STM stands for Stepper Motor. STM lenses can autofocus faster and quieter in video. 

Φ 49mm


It represents the diameter for the ND (Neutral Density) filter.

Btw, after spending time to understand this device, my lens started working!! So yay!!

Hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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Rupal Asodaria is a mother of two kids, entrepreneur and artist. She loves reading, photography and travelling while chasing her dreams for NursElet. 

Follow her on @RupalAsodaria or LinkedIn @RupalAsodaria to stay in touch with her.

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