It can be difficult for photographers with no FORMAL photography training to understand camera gear terminology because they have had no real introduction to it. And let’s face it, formal education in photography is becoming less and less of a barrier to entry to the field, even for those planning to pursue the art professionally. But what terminology should you learn? First and foremost, you should know your equipment. So here is a list of the parts of your camera lens!

the parts of a camera lens

The Parts of a Camera Lens

Front Lens Cap

This is the part you always forget to take off and wonder why your pictures are coming out black or why the exposure mode on your camera is reading a 20 second shutter speed.

Under this cap you will also find printed the filter thread size for your lens around the actual glass of the lens (not on the outside ring).

Lens Type

On the outside ring closes to the front of your lens, the focal length and the widest aperture the lens is capable of will be printed.

Focus Ring

This wide ring is used to adjust the focus of your lens.

Auto/Manual Focus Switch

Usually placed just below the focus ring is a switch to toggle between automatic and manual focus of the lens. Obviously, if you have a manual focus lens, this switch won’t exist on your lens.

Image Stabilization

While not shown on the diagram above, on lenses with image stabilization, there will be another switch, usually near the auto/manual focus switch. It will usually just be labeled with an “IS”

Depth of Field/Focusing Distance

This readout tells you what distance your lens is currently focused at. This is especially helpful when you’re doing astrophotography or landscape photography and want your focus set to infinity.

Zoom Ring

If your lens zooms at all, you will have another ring (usually closer to the rear of the lens) that controls the focal length or ‘zoom’ of the lens.

Focal Length Indicator

Much like the depth of field readout, this indicator tells you what focal length you are at on your zoom lens.

Rear Lens Cap

The cap that goes on the back of your lens when you take it off your camera. It is extremely important to keep this cap secured to keep dust from getting into both your lens AND your camera.

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