Breaking Down Nikon and Canon Terminology

Deciphering a camera’s specifications can be confusing, with all the acronyms and fancy names. I’ve compiled a list below to help you figure it all out… at least for Nikon and Canon.

I talk about a few of the terms in this video…


DSLR Nomenclature

Nikon Canon What is this?
FX Full Frame Full-Frame Sensor
DX (1.5x) APS-C (1.6x) Cropped Sensor
n/a APS-H (1.3x) Cropped Sensor
A Av Aperture Priority
S Tv Shutter Priority
M M Manual
P P Program
Continuous Servo Autofocus AI Servo Autofocus Continuous Focusing – the camera continues to focus after the shutter release is half-pressed
Single Servo Autofocus One Shot Autofocus Non-Continuous Focusing – the camera stops autofocusing once the shutter release is half-pressed
Continuous Continuous Shooting Continuous Shooting – as long as you hold the shutter release button, the camera will keep taking photos
Single Single Shooting Single Shot Shooting – one press of the shutter release button equals one photo
i-TTL (Intelligent Through the Lens) E-TTL (Evaluative Through the Lens) Flash metering pattern that weighs all parts equally
Active D-Lighting Auto Lighting Optimizer In high contrast lighting conditions, it effectively lightens the dark areas, while holding the bright areas
Interval Timer Self-Timer Continuous Photos taken at set intervals

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Lens Nomenclature

Nikon Canon What is this?
AF-S USM Silent Autofocus- near-silent focusing
AF n/a No autofocus motor in lens; to use autofocus, the camera body must have a focus motor
Micro Macro Macro- allows the lens to focus when close to the subject
n/a EF Designed for full-frame DSLRs & APS-H DSLRs (though a crop factor of 1.3x is applied)
DX EF-S Designed for cropped-sensor DSLRs; on Canon, will not work on full frame DSLRs in cropped mode
D n/a Aperture ring on lens
G EF & EF-S No aperture ring on lens
IF Internal Focus System Internal Focus- no moving focus ring on outside of lens
n/a Front Group Rotating Non-Internal Focus- moving focus ring on outside of lens
VR (Vibration Reduction) IS (Image Stabilization) Image Stabilization- prevents motion blur; especially helpful if shooting handheld at longer focal lengths

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