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Wednesday, 26 August 2009


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Darn it Nikon needs a book now that they've got the 14-24 and new FX bodies. I want juicy exploded diagrams and interviews with very serious engineers.

It is an excellent book! I've had a copy for quite a few years now. I know Canon Australia had stock last year and assume they still have. Even if B&H don't have it you should try Canon USA.

I like the Canon book's introduction to a wide array of optical topics, but I don't like its shallow treatment of MTF. The booklet by HH Nasse from Carl Zeiss is far more informative and eye-opening.


The book is definitely in print. The local Canon office sometimes uses the book as one of the freebies in promotions from time to time.

I bought a copy of the Canon book a few years ago. It is part "advertising" -- descriptions of each of Canon's lenses -- and part technical -- descriptions of how lenses are designed. All in all it is worth the $20 for the print copy. Note that the print copy does not include the latest lenses (I think, but am not sure, that the on-line version has been updated).

Canon has published a few other books besides this one, also available in hard copy and in electronic form.

I remember the Olympus book fondly. Olympus also published a magazine, which was in English, but not available easily in the US. I was able to cajole a copy out of their Tokyo office back in the 1980s.

I also remember (and have copies of) Minolta Mirror, an annual publication of the Minolta company, which featured photography using their cameras. Leica, I believe, publishes one or two magazines, which can be purchased on newsstands in NYC that feature foreign magazines.

Yes Lens Work III really is real and it has even been updated as recently as March 2008. At least that is the date of the copy I have here at my desk. That copy is the most recent version as far as I know.

Here's your official book at the top of this page--


I think it's still in its second edition from 2000.

Last year when I graduated from the school of journalism at Indiana University I was walking down the hall and saw a box of these books with a sign saying "free to good home." I shoot Nikon but I love this book.

I have a copy I bought a couple of years ago and my understanding is that its not updated in its printed format. I would be interested. I happen to have a copy of Lens Work I, II, and III. If this one is up to date then I would want one to add to my collection.

Sony made one for the buyers of Alpha cameras. I got one for free from a friend who works in Sony. Cool book, hardcover, with sample shots from the entire lens line and some basic photo technique text.

Egads, I don't think I can take another hip cool Mac vs chubby nerd PC commercials. Frankly, I die a little inside each time one comes on TV, since it's hard for me to imagine a more utterly pointless and shallow pursuit in life than desperately trying to stay trendy and hip.

(Now where in the world did I put my asbestos shorts.)

It's still around, Mike. I've had mine for quite some time but I bought a copy for my niece perhaps a year ago.

I think it's still one of the best, and most accessible overviews of lens design I've seen anywhere. I also very much enjoy the discussions of each EF lens (and would be mortified to admit how many I own).

I know I'm not alone in wishing for an "EF Lens Work IV".

Hi Mike,

The EF Lens Work III, March 2008, Tenth Edition is indeed for real. It is up to date, except for the two newest T/S lenses, the 24/1.4 L II, and the EF-S 18-200/3.5-5.6 IS.

Note: The MTF charts appear separately (pages 239-245) from the lens descriptions.

BTW, there was at least one edition of the FD Lens Work (I had one from the mid-1980s when I shot with the FD system).

Michael Coviello

"Egads, I don't think I can take another hip cool Mac vs chubby nerd PC commercials."

...Although I believe that John Hodgman, who plays PC, writes or co-writes some if not all of them. If you'll notice, just as theater, PC usually has a much juicier acting part. [g]


It's in print, I think Canon sent me a copy when I joined CPS a few months back.

David G.,
Own it. [g]


Echo Joe Decker...I got mine when I joined CPS...didn't expect it and that was a nice surprise.

The next book should be the ZM Lens Book with several appendices containing all back issues of Camera Lens News. The recent series on MTFs was one of the great explanations.

Your theory would then mean that Zeiss was back on top, and presumably that Ikon's sensor failure had been addressed:)


Publications be they hard cover or not have to serve a purpose to the purchaser/reader.

If they don't they are useless.

Am slowly disposing of my large collection of books and the like. At my age more books on anything I don't need, want or desire.
Besides I can always peruse them at the local book retailer; there are numerous large comfortable chairs and nobody bothers you.

somewhere in my house is the FD lens book. painful thinking of people who actually invested in the whole system and got ditched

As mentioned by Albano above, Sony has a book but I don't know if it's for sale to the general public. The Sony Style store gave it to me for free when I bought an Alpha300. It's fairly informative, especially for DSLR novices.

The Sony alpha lens line (hard cover) book was published in 2006 I believe, and is quite beautifully printed and bound. The electronic version can be found here:


it seems Canon is the last manufacturer to keep these wonderful books in production - on my shelf I've got a couple of different FD lens works, the OM System book, the Eyses of Nikon which covers the AI/AIS range, and a old Minolta publication which came out when SRT 101 was new.....

It's great to be able to sit down and remember how hard it was in the old days...when you had to carry 8 lenses to a job to cover every angle...now you can cover the range with 1 superzoom...

How things have changed in 10 years....

Lens Work III is definitely in stock. You can see it on our site at Mike's link. Great book, and Nikon should do something similar IMO.

Henry Posner

B&H Photo-Video

We have a couple of copies floating round at work, it's a much cooler book than the boring brochures that other camera companies put out and I'm not even a big fan of Canons but I still enjoy flicking though it from time to time.

You get this book when you join CPS.

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