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What is the difference between Canon “L” lenses and non-L lenses?

Any ideas? Just curious. Some seem to think it stands for Luxury.

marked as duplicate by mattdm, Imre, Jay Lance Photography, John Cavan, jrista Jul 31 '11 at 3:25

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"Some" include Canon, apparently.

Page 15 of "Lens work III", book 2, "Canon's Challenges". Quote:

'L Lenses Where Dreams Are Crystal Clear.

The bright red line engraved on the lens barrel. And an L for "luxury."'

Lens Work is a useful title by the way, it gives a complete (if slightly dated) rundown of Canon's lens lineup and illustrates some of the thinking behind it. Canon has it available for download if you google around a bit.

  • I have a hard copy of that book. It is outdated, of course, but still nice to flick through now and again. Good coffee table material :-) – Mike Jul 19 '12 at 12:28

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