Olympus Lens Glossary

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Olympus does not attempt to snow consumers with obscure acronyms. Nor does Olympus tack on fancy German brand names to lenses that they design and build. The Olympus America lens page refers to

"super high grade",

"high grade", and

"standard" lenses.

APO Definition for apochromatic corrected lenses (mostly made of fuorit-glas). Apochromatic corrected lenses have the property of breaking the beams of light so that the red, green and blue beams/waves exactly will meet on the same point and therefore will not be any chromatic abberation.

"OM" are old Olympus film system lenses; they don't work on the modern bodies without Olympus MF-1 OM Adapter, $84. Even with the adapter, Olympus recommends for each lens a limited range of apertures, e.g., f/5.6 and f/8 for the old 85/2 lens.

"ED" is extra-low dispersion glass, a more expensive and higher-quality glass that reduces chromatic aberration or color fringing. All but the crummiest Olympus lenses include at least one ED element.

"Super ED" is, presumably, a newer more effective version of "ED", glass that reduces chromatic aberration or color fringing. Olympus does not explain what this means any more than Dean Wormer explained "double secret probation."

"SWD" is Supersonic Wave Drive, a piezoelectric motor that contributes to smooth and silent AF operation, similar to USM (ultrasonic motor) on Canon or AF-S (silent wave motor) on Nikon lenses.

All Olympus lenses incorporate modern multilayer anti-reflective coatings to improve contrast and light transmission. Mercifully Olympus does not have a brand name for their coating.