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The Best Lenses For Bokeh Effect (Reviewed)

I would like to start this article by answering the question “What is Bokeh?

Bokeh is a simple effect, but the most famous effect that you can encounter in pictures. It is the soft effect, that is brought in the out-of-focus background, that appears when you are shooting a subject. 

Remember that bokeh is not every blurry background! Bokeh is what is used in order to make harsh backgrounds softer!

Bokeh can be achieved in many ways, but most importantly it can be brought by amazing lenses! That’s why, in this article, I will list some of the best lenses for bokeh!  

Which are those? Let’s get directly to the lenses!

The Top Five Best Lenses For Bokeh

5. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM – Best for Fashion Photography

Sigma stands among the most famous brands when it comes to third-party bokeh lenses. It brings amazing ones in the market just as the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art that I am going to talk about right now.

As you can notice, this bokeh lens comes from Sigma’s Art series and that series brings amazing lenses when it comes to creativity, and what says creativity more than the bokeh effect?

The focal length of 85mm in this bokeh lens, is amazing when we deal with portrait photography in general. It is a fixed lens so it means that it doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out.

The maximum aperture works at f/1.4, and it is known as an amazing one when it comes to the bokeh effect in general. The diaphragm of the aperture includes 9 blades and it is rounded.

Based on the focal length, the aperture, and the diaphragm this bokeh lens provides a great bokeh effect in general.

The elements that are added to this bokeh lens are 14 in number, and they are divided into 12 groups. There are two Low Dispersion elements and one aspherical element. Via the Super Multi-Layer Coating, this lens brings to you sharp pictures with no chromatic aberration.

The focus works via the Hyper Sonic AF Motor which is one of the fastest autofocus and it also allows manual override; meaning that you can use the focus manually too!

 

4. Panasonic LUMIX G Lens, 25mm, F1.7 ASPH – Best for Landscape Photography

Everybody has heard about Panasonic as a brand that deals with almost everything a person needs! The cameras and camcorders that come from Panasonic are amazing and they are used by many different professionals in the photography field.

Here goes a bokeh lens from that brand that works amazingly when you need usage of the bokeh effect.

When it comes to the focal length, this lens is fixed, just as the other one mentioned above, and it works at 25mm, making the lens a wide-angle one!

The maximum aperture on this one works higher, at f/1.7. When we see the aperture diaphragm of this Panasonic lens, it has seven diaphragm blades and it brings to you a very pleasing bokeh effect. The diaphragm is circular.

The elements, that Panasonic added to this lens are 8 divided into seven groups. You can find one Ultra-High Refractive Index element and two aspherical elements. The elements combined with the Nano Surface Coating bring to you super clear pictures in general, and the bokeh effect appears softer.

On this lens, we find the Stepping AF Motor, which is near-silent, works accurately, and it is super precise.

 

3. Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM – Best for Headshots

This lens is an amazing launch from the amazing Sony brand and it is a new launch. As you all know, Sony has perfectly made cameras that we see mostly in hands of professionals!

Well, their lenses are perfect too! In this case, I’ve chosen a bokeh lens that is the main pick when we deal with FE mount cameras from Sony.

This lens’ focal length goes at a high number, that of 135mm, and it is also a fixed one. As long as the aperture is concerned, this lens forks at f/1.8. The f/1.8 is one of the most commonly used apertures when photographers want a great bokeh effect.

The diaphragm blades of the aperture’s diaphragm are 11 in number which helps more with the bokeh effect. It is known that the higher is the number of diaphragm blades, the better the bokeh is brought.

This lens has 13 elements in 10 groups. The most “important” elements are one XA element, one Super ED, and the ED element. The coatings that are combined with the elements are two in number and they are the Nano AR Coating and Fluorine Coating.

Differing from the other bokeh lenses this lens works amazingly with the XD Linear Motor AF System. On the lens, you can also find an AF/MF Switch with which you can easily choose whatever type of focus you want to use. There are also two Focus Hold buttons. This lens has a very shallow depth of field. If you’re looking to take portraits, then this shallow depth of field will definitely come in handy.

A specialty that should be mentioned about this lens is that it has a full resistant construction and it can easily deal with dust or moisture.

 

2. Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED – Best for the Sharpness

Those that know Nikon cameras, know Nikon or Nikorr lenses too! They are the best thing that Nikon has ever released, of course besides the amazing cameras.

This nikon bokeh lens is an amazing telephoto one that does a magnificent job when it comes to the bokeh effect.

The focal length of this lens is fixed and it works at 105mm. This focal length is one of the greatest when it comes to a close-up or macro photography in general. It is a focal length that is very versatile.

The maximum aperture works at f/2.8, and as some of you may already know, it is one of the most commonly used apertures in different types of photography. The diaphragm of the aperture has nine diaphragm blades and the diaphragm is completely rounded. It brings an amazing smooth bokeh effect.

The Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED has 14 elements in 12 groups. The most prominent one stands the Extra-Low Dispersion element. Here is also included the Nano Crystal Coating and the Super Integrated Coating. What is special to be mentioned is that based on the elements and the coating, this lens brings very sharp and clear pictures.

The focus of this telephoto lens works via the Silent Wave Motor AF System. Just as the name of it already tells, you will notice that the focus is silent and it is very precise.

The VR letters are noticed in different bokeh lenses from Nikon, and on this one, it is present too! It stands for Vibration Reduction and it is the most amazing Image Stabilization that you can ever find on a lens. This telephoto lens has superior image quality, and i definitely recommend it to everyone.

 

1. Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM – Best for Portrait Photography

Cannot really complete an article or a list of bokeh lenses if I don’t mention a Canon lens! As you know, Canon brings to the market perfect and different cameras, and they are used by many professional photographers.

Here goes the amazing Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM. It is one of the most famous and fixed telephoto lenses that come from Canon. As seen in its name, it can also be used in macro photography.

When it comes to the focal length, this one, just as listed, owns the best portrait focal length of 85mm. The maximum aperture on the other hand works at f/2 and it is also a big help for portraiture photography.

Just as in the Nikon lens mentioned above, the aperture diaphragm of this Canon lens has 9 diaphragm blades, and it is again a rounded one.

This lens features 12 elements divided into 11 groups! The main element that Canon added is one UD element and it helps when there’s color fringing. The coating that is added is the Super Spectra Coating and it fully reduces flare and ghosting.

When it comes to the focus, here we deal with the amazing motor that comes from Canon itself and it is the STM Stepping AF Motor. The focus is very fast, smooth, and quiet at the same time.

In this lens, we also find an image stabilization feature and it is the Hybrid IS. It means that this lens combines optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization. Everything to help you bring clearer pictures or videos, with no blur.

 

Main Things that Affect Bokeh on a Lens

Focal Length

The focal length is one of the most important things that should be known on a lens. That’s what shows what the lens is for. When it comes to the bokeh effect, the focal length plays one of the main roles, and when it is longer, it shows more bokeh effect and fully vice versa, when it is shorter, the less.

Still, it doesn’t mean that you should use a longer focal length to bring the best bokeh effect.

Aperture

Here goes the next thing that deals with the bokeh effect on a lens. The aperture! You know that the aperture of a lens shows us the depth of field and how much light is entering through the lens to the camera sensor. It is measured in f/stops and it allows adjustments.

Always have in mind that the wider the f/stops make the aperture, the more bokeh appears in your picture.

Aperture Diaphragm/Blades

You may have noticed in every lens are mentioned the aperture diaphragm or the diaphragm blades that the lens owns. The aperture blades may be different in number in different bokeh lenses, but the most commonly used ones are 9-blades and 7-blades. 

The diaphragm blades help create shapes of the opening of the lens, with which, they create the bokeh effect.

The more diaphragm blades an aperture has, the better it is.

Aperture Diaphragm of 9-Blades

How to Create a Perfect Bokeh

As mentioned in the beginning, creamy bokeh is not only a blurry background! It has some other things within, that should definitely be now! In this section, I will tell you some of the easiest ways that help you create an amazing bokeh effect.

The Lens

The best way to create the best bokeh, is to find the best lens for bokeh, right? It is one of the most important things! There are many different bokeh lenses that can help you bring an amazing bokeh effect.

Set the Camera in AV Mode

Everybody has seen the AV mode, it is found in the mode dial that is placed mostly on the top of the camera. The letters AV stand for Aperture Value, otherwise known as the Aperture Priority Mode. This mode basically gives you the opportunity to control the aperture settings overall.

Find a Subject

The most known types of photography are those that have a subject on them! That’s why, when using the creamy bokeh effect I always choose a subject, so that the background can become perfect with the bokeh effect.

The Background is Important

Above I mentioned the perfect background with the bokeh effect. The background is the part which is out-of-focus and that’s why it gains importance. Personally, when I shoot pictures with the bokeh effect I try to find a background that has different lights on it so that the bokeh can become clearer.

Focusing

After finding the subject of your picture, comes the focusing part. Focusing while having in mind the bokeh effect is not necessary but it is a great way to show the effect only. For example, you may have already seen a lot of portrait photography in which a person is focused while its background is very pleasing, it feels like you can rest the eyes on it!

Bokeh During Nighttime (Street Photography)

Final Words

So, as we came towards the end of this article, you can notice that I listed different bokeh lenses, with different focal lengths and apertures so that it is easier for you to distinguish between them.

Make sure to take a deeper look at the focal lengths, apertures, and the number of blades on a lens. It makes everything easier.

I really hope that this article will help you choose the best one for your needs.

Further Reading

You can notice that I’ve mentioned different types of photography above. Those include fashion photography, landscape photography, headshots, and famous portrait photography!

If you need lenses for those particular types of photography, I recommend you take a look at some amazing lenses for fashion photography.

If you are a Canon user, and love to take some landscape photography, here are some of the most prominent lenses for landscape.

What deserves to be mentioned is that headshot photography stands as an important type of photography, that’s why you should definitely own the finest lenses for headshots.

There’s nothing left to say, besides enjoying your best lens for bokeh!