Camera Lens Essential III [Nikon]

Passion Project Day 7

Camera Lens Essential III


Today let’s talk about the technology behind Nikon’s lens. In fact, different camera manufacturers have their own technologies with different naming systems, which is highly complicated, but they all fall into a few universal categories, which are image stabilization, focusing, and optic manufacturing technology. Here I list one representative technology of each category.

Vibration Reduction (VR)

The image stabilization technology of Nikkor lens is called VR (Vibration Reduction). The mechanism behind VR is simple. Photos blur because our hands are shaking when holding the camera. To fix that problem, cameras can analyze the movement of our shaking hands and oscillate critical optics to offset the effect.

Nikon VR
Nikon VR Technology

Every Nikon lens with a golden “VR” letters on its surface features vibration reduction technology. VR technology is commonly used in telephoto lenses, because the larger the focal length is, the more obvious the effect of shaking is.


AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G VR II & AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G VR II

However, keep in mind that some of the wide-angle zoom lens and standard zoom prime lens do not feature VR technology. Because of the large aperture, given the same amount of light, the shutter speed can be relatively faster on prime lenses. The shorter the shutter speed is, the less obvious the blurry effect of shaking hands is.

AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G

Standard zoom prime lens such as 35mm f/1.4G does not feature VR technology.

AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G

The wide-angle zoom lens of the Hebrew Trinity 14-24mm f/2.8G does not feature VR technology either.

Silent Wave Motor (SWM)


Silent Wave Motor is almost the standard technology across all cameras for focusing system. The focusing system in the camera works by changing the distance of the lens from the image sensor. The image is in focus when the light converges accurately at the image sensor. What SWM technology is good at is that it efficiently converts the “traveling waves” into rotational energy to quickly and silently change the distance between lens and sensor when we half-click the shutter. It leads to an almost instant focusing without sound.


@ B&


The specification of Nikkor lens featuring SWM technology starts with “AF-S.”


Nano-crystal Coating (N)

Nano-crystal coating is one of the most unique lens manufacture technologies of Nikon. There is an example of a photo with ghosting and flare.


X-E1 + XF60mmF2.4 R Macro @ 60mm, ISO 200, 1/110, f/22.0


Ghosting and flare exist because lights not only penetrate through the lens but also reflect. All those reflected lights in conjunction with upcoming lights create ghost and flare. The most effective way to fix the problem is to coat the surface of the lens.

The microscopic nanoparticles in the nano-crystal coating make the lens so effective in reducing reflective lights that the lens can even prevent the ghosting effect created by diagonal lights.


AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/1.2G ED VRII


Nikon lenses feature nano-crystal coating have large gold “N” letters on lenses.

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