Used 35-70/2.8 and 85/1.4, which one has better bokeh?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by cc_chang|2, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. I have a D90. I use the Sigma 50/1.4 a lot for candid people photography (my sons). The Sigma is a beautiful lens for bokeh but it is just a little too short for head/shoulder shots. I have the 85/1.8 but found its bokeh a bit harsh at times. With the new 85/1.4 AFS lens out, I have seen many old 85/1.4 on the used market. The alternative is the old 35-70/2.8 which can be easily found for $3-400. In terms of bokeh, which one do you think is better? Is it substantially better than the 85/1.8 that I already have or the new 85/3.5 VR, both of which are much lighter? How about flare control? Thank you for the help.
  2. The 35-70/2.8D AF Nikkor bokeh isn't bad for a zoom - nothing special but not offensive or distracting. Doubling or nisen-bokeh is visible only in bright or middle toned hard edges such as fence posts. It's not too bad with darker objects with hard edges such as tree limbs.
    Here's an example at f/6.3 with some out of focus objects behind the subject:
    • The fence is about 20 feet away. The vertical object along the left margin is a rain gauge.
    • The most distant objects are a typical chain link fence about 100 yards away and other buildings several hundred yards away.
    Veiling flare or "glare" hasn't been a problem but in some extreme conditions, such as street lamps, headlights or emergency lights at night, ghosting flare is occasionally visible with the 35-70/2.8D AF Nikkor. But in actual practice it's very uncommon - I can think of only a single handful of photos out of thousands during the past five years where ghosting flare was actually visible.
    Overall the 35-70/2.8D AF has been very satisfactory for my purposes when I want a portrait lens in the focal range equivalent to around 52mm-105mm (full frame or 35mm on a DX dSLR). But bokeh ranks fairly low on my list of priorities compared with other characteristics. And unlike resolution and other factors with objective measurements, it's too subjective to be useful for discussion unless you ask several people who've used the same model lens.
  3. What is it with Bokeh? Why does the question of "better bokeh" keep coming up? Is it because of KR and his obsession with "better bokeh"? Or is it because it's the new photography buzz word to describe "better photography"?
    Whatever it is, I wish it would go away.
    Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of how a lens renders the out of focus areas on an image.
    Bokeh cannot be measured by anything other than your own eye.
    Keep in mind that when stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8 there is much more that goes into the quality of Bokeh...from the number of aperture blades to their shape to how the lens is treated for spherical aberration and chromatic aberration. Additionally, bokeh also renders differently on a crop frame (DX) camera like your D90 than it does on a full frame (FX) camera like the D700.
    Enough about what makes aesthetically pleasing bokeh...on to your question.

    The 85mm f/1.4 is considered by many as the king of bokeh.
    I prefer the 105mm f/2 DC and 135mm f/2 DC, but that's my preference.
    I've never shot the 35-70 f/2.8. but my guess is that it will not perform as well as any of the above lenses due to the smaller maximum aperture.
  4. Looks like I've deleted from my hard drive most of my photos taken with the 35-70/2.8D AF Nikkor wide open after archiving them to DVD. Here's one of the few I could find shot with this lens wide open. There's some motion blur due to the slow shutter speed (very low light, around 1/30th at ISO 1600), but it's a little more representative of the bokeh characteristics for the subjects and distances I usually photograph.
    Bokeh isn't bad for a zoom but if the out of focus characteristics are essential to you, stick with some of the faster primes noted for this quality. If overall versatility is more important to you it's a pretty good choice.
  5. Why does the question of "better bokeh" keep coming up?​
    Blame Mike Johnston. He coined the spelling and helped popularize the term and concept over a decade ago in a magazine article (yes, paper, before the interweb). Little did he know the B-word would become this generation's photo equivalent to crack.
    KR is just one of many web pundits/hacks using the B-word to generate hits to their websites. To paraphrase Kelly LeBrock's 1980s Pantene TV ads, don't hate him because he's beautiful.
  6. Richard: I'd rather that we discuss bokeh than sharpness, for example. Most modern lenses, used properly, are at least "sharp enough", and if not the image can be sharpened in software. Bad bokeh can be far more noticable at a distance, and it's an area in which not all lenses are equal; it's also not something you can find out by reading the numbers printed on the lens, so naturally people ask questions about it. If we get to the stage where all lenses have beautiful bokeh and provide good contrast beyond the sensor resolution, I'm sure we'll have something else to grumble about. Probably that every lens has to weigh 5kg and cost $10000 to meet expectations.
  7. bms


    Remind me to put "Bokeh" on my website, somewhere. Maybe I'll get some hits..:)
    Did not use the 35-70 for its Bokeh, but I have owned it for a while now and it is a good workhorse. The 24-70 beats it for many reasons, but IQ is pretty good - I really do not use it anymore and nostalgia and laziness has kept me from putting it on fleebay. Below image is the only image I could find.... shot at f11 according to the EXIF, mind you so not the best example.... If you are in the market for one, let me know :)
  8. bms


    FWIW, here is a crop that shows both *B*okeh and *S*harpness :) Dirty words, Benjamin, shame on you!
  9. Andrew -- I'm equally annoyed with both discussions, sharpness and bokeh, for the reasons you site. Most lenses have "good enough" bokeh, and if it isn't good it can be smoothed out in post production.
    If one would like to discuss bokeh, rather than compare apples to oranges to cherries, (like a fast prime against a fast zoom against a macro lens), ask about apples to apples, i.e. Nikon 85mm f/1.4 vs Nikon 85mm f/1.8 vs Sigma 85mm f/1.4.
    Additionally, as I said before, Bokeh is an aesthetic quality and there is no way to measure it. I may believe that the quality of bokeh produced by a 105mm f/2 DC is better than the bokeh produced by the 85mm f/1.4, (I do by the way). You, on the other hand, may believe the opposite. There's no concrete answer once you get to lenses that produce good to excellent bokeh, just like there's no concrete answer to the "which lens is sharper" question when you're looking at high quality glass.
  10. Richard: I agree that it would be helpful to discuss bokeh in specific terms rather than "good" and "bad". Evenness of bokeh at different apertures, shape of the aperture on stopping down, LoCA (my 135 f/2 DC is one reason I switched to Nikon - I care that much about bokeh - but the beautiful intensity distribution of the bokeh is spoilt for me by the colour fringing) - these aren't aesthetic terms, they're measurable. Indeed,'s recent reviews try to show the behaviour, although they don't really allow for how they change with focal length and zoom. It may not be the most important feature of the lens, but it's another factor in a comparison; it's also important enough that there aren't as many 500mm catadiopteric lenses around as might otherwise have been the case. What the distribution of light within a circle of confusion is considered most desirable may be open to aesthetic debate (lens designers seem to aim for flat with a roll-off at the edge; I kind of feel gaussian would be better) but that doesn't stop the actual behaviour being measured.

    I can't vouch for the 85 f/1.4 - although the photozone review shows the same kind of LoCA I see on my 135 - but I'd hope the DC lenses have "better" bokeh. At least, you have the chance to control it with a DC lens. The LoCA bothers me enough to consider a 200 f/2 as a replacement, but I know I'll miss some control over the bokeh intensity weighting.

    I've got to agree that a lot goes into the mix when comparing the bokeh of very different lenses. Still, "warning: don't shoot candles in the background or you'll get a rolled condom effect" is something useful to know about a lens. Part of my decision in lens purchasing is subject isolation, and if the bokeh has potentially undesirable properties no matter the focal length, I'd like to know; if I shot everything at f/64 I'd not mind so much. (I normally wouldn't care about bokeh on a wide lens, for example, but seeing a sample shot with the Leica M 35mm f/1.4, which I peered at as research into whether Nikon can justify the price for their new AF-S 35 f/1.4, I have to say the - to me - poor bokeh seemed distracting.) Whether one lens is "as good as" another is a harder question.
  11. While bokeh is hard to measure numerically, it is nonetheless a critical feature of the lens that adds volume to the quality of your picture. As some has pointed out, photozone and dpreview have both included bokeh "measurement" in their recent reviews. I in fact am disappointed, if not annoyed, when lens reviews mention nothing but sharpness. Many times when you ask someone if this is a good lens, the first thing that comes out of 99% of the people is sharpness.
    My question was not intended to compare apple to orange. As stated, I have a D90. Thus either 85mm or 70mm lens works well for the classic head-shoulder shots for the DX format cameras. There is no question that the 85/1.4 is designed as a candid/portrait lens with careful consideration of how its bokeh is rendered, but it is a large and expensive lens. However I gather from most the responses here that the bokeh from the 35-70, when zoomed to the 70mm, is not thing special, although not too bad as a Nikon zoom lens.
  12. better bokeh? I don't know anyone who tries to shoot photos of bokeh. really, I think it is a very abstract concept to try and shoot photos with good bokeh. I shot weddings for 2 years as an assistant, and the word 'bokeh' was never uttered by the pro I worked with. does that mean he wasn't a good photographer? heh heh heh. whatever floats your boat.
  13. Yeah...I think it is a waste of money if you already have two 85mm and the sigma 50mm F1.4. However, there are many people that love "bokeh" and seek it out, it isn't rare at all. I only have two AF nikon lenses that I haul around and the 85mm 1.4 is one of them...
  14. I own and use both these lenses. I also agree with Lex, the 35-70mm f/2.8 is OK in the Bokeh Dept for a zoom.
    The 85mm f/1.4 is in a class of it's own for bokeh.
    I'm a 'bokeh seeker', I don't care if all the tech heads can't measure it or quantify it's meaning. I understand what it means to me and I like to chase it in some of my photography.
    I've used enough primes and zooms now to know which produces what in the bokeh stakes and I if I want bokeh with my images then I reach first for the 85mm f/1.4 D or secondly the 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR I
    My 20 cents worth.......
  15. better bokeh? I don't know anyone who tries to shoot photos of bokeh​
    I do. In fact, I use to modify backgrounds to make them smoother (but still recogniceable) when I want a "bit more serious" portrait. It`s way easier than searching for the perfect bokeh lens.
    Nikkors use to have an ugly bokeh to my liking, the sharpest the worst. I want super-sharp faces (yes, I know, skin imperfections, freckles and all that things that are usually avoided) and beautiful soft backgrounds. I find it a difficult task without PP. If the background is nice, the subject use to be soft, then I need to selectively sharpen the subject.
    the word 'bokeh' was never uttered by the pro I worked with​
    For sure. In my experience living with pro-photogs (mostly wedding), I can say that what are usually called "advanced amateurs" have a much wider knowlegde in photography (and many times better gear). I could think that pros want results, not to fool around (no pun intended, of course!).
  16. Dave: "I don't know anyone who tries to shoot photos of bokeh" - you mean everyone you know uses a compact camera? Anyone using a wide aperture for subject isolation will deliberately make use of how the out-of-focus region looks. Whether they're aware that it's different for different lenses, and whether this factors into a lens purchasing decision, is another matter.

    Jose: I quite agree. Those of us who aren't professional photographers get to spend all our time at our desks (between working) reading up on the theory and lusting over the ideal piece of kit to produce our photos in the little time we have available to shoot. Professional photographers get to spend their time behind a camera honing their skills, which I'm sure is a better use of their time than looking at lens reviews; they can probably justify decent glass on a commercial basis, and trust the lens designers (who *do* care about bokeh) to have done a decent job in their high-end lenses. In researching lens bokeh, I'm just making good use of my non-shooting time; I'd be a better photographer if I could be out taking photos, but that's not an option right now.

    To state the obvious to the OP: if you're worried about the bokeh, does the difference in max aperture not make the decision for you? The abilty to lose the background at f/1.4 would be the clincher for me, unless there was an obvious disparity between the bokeh quality at f/2.8. Of course, I'm assuming you want to *lose* the background rather than just soften it, in which case your query about bokeh at a smaller aperture is quite valid and you can ignore me...
  17. @Richard Since bokeh varies from lens to lens, why wouldn't it be a valid discussion?
  18. I have the 35-70 2.8 and 85 1.4D. The 35-70 bokeh isn't too good, the 85 1.4 is in a different league
  19. Well, getting to work early one day I took this non-Nikon shot with a Casio exz1050 P&S ... seems to have some bokeh. So, maybe you just have to get up real early to get a shot of a bokeh?
  20. "...photozone and dpreview have both included bokeh "measurement" in their recent reviews."​
    Are there pages on those sites where they specify testing methodology for measuring bokeh? I only occasionally read lens reviews on those sites but so far I haven't seen any criteria specified for objectively measuring bokeh. All the reviews I've seen on both sites rely on subjective opinions of the reviewers. To their credit, both sites appear to use reviewers who understand that bokeh does not merely mean "the shape of out of focus featureless highlight blobs."
    "I in fact am disappointed, if not annoyed, when lens reviews mention nothing but sharpness."​
    Personally I'm more annoyed by "reviews" that refer to bokehful lenses as "cream machines." But I'll admit to being a curmudgeon on such matters. "Sharpness," as used by many photographers on discussion forums, is as subjective a quality as bokeh. At least when photozone and dpreview testers refer to "sharpness" they're referring to the summary of objective results of standard testing methodology. They also use standard testing methodology to evaluate distortion, chromatic aberration and other factors that can be objectively tested.
  21. This post was not meant to be a discussion about "bokeh" itself but it seems to be heading that way. I think for those who are new to this area, it is important to clarify that "bokeh" and "out-of-focus" due to shallow DOF are not the same thing, although there is no bokeh to speak of if the background is in sharp focus.
    I used to be mostly interested in landscape/travel and my favorite lens was the 18-35/3.5-4.5, whether it was on APS-C or film SLRs. I used the wide end a lot and composed following the so called "near-far" rule. Occasionally I would try to take pictures of people by simply opening up the aperture with the intent to get the 3D effect so typical of pictures taken by SLRs. However I did not understand why using the Nikon 85/1.8 or 50/1.8 at f1.8 sometimes the backgrounds looked anything but smooth ... Things have changed quite a bit now since I mostly photograph my young children who run about. I need to think about the quality of the out of focus area (=bokeh) and often time I have no control of where to take the pictures. Then, thanks to many on this site, I bought the Sigma 50/1.4 b/c of its ability to deliver sharp images in the center and soft and smooth background elsewhere in the frame. I later confirmed that this lens blew the Nikon out of the water in terms of bokeh and since then I became very aware of how a lens performs to deliver bokeh. Not every reviews noted this quality of the Sigma lens and points were taken off simply because it is "soft at the corner" wide open, which in fact is quite desirable if you need subject isolation.
    Does Nikon make any lens that is not sharp? If you do not crop at 100%, the small difference in sharpness from one Nikon lens to the other is really small. However when you look at how most Nikon lenses deliver the bokeh, you may come to the conclusion that Nikon has designed these lenses to be sharp and contrasy at the expense of bokeh.
  22. Are there pages on those sites where they specify testing methodology for measuring bokeh?​
    I put the word measurement in " " because what they measure is not quantifiable. However as you noted, the people who analyze this know what they are talking about so they are careful with the selection of background, lens to object to background distance, and aperture. I do value these analyses a lot, even though they are not quantitative. Likewise, how a lens deliver colors and contrast is also hard to quantify, but this is also very important in the final quality of the image.
  23. Lex: It's true that there's no simple way to boil bokeh behaviour down to a single number. As you say, the review sites tend to go with "good" or "bad" - but they do, at least, provide images that let the viewer make up their own mind, with a subject that makes it clear.

    CC: I'll admit in my borrowing of a Sigma 50 f/1.4, I took the bokeh for granted. I may consider it if I upgrade my 50 f/1.8; as you say, I've carelessly been obsessed with the corners - not that any Nikkor 50mm is all that hot wide open either. Nikon have certainly made plenty of lenses that are less sharp than others, but it depends how you use them. (The old 24-120 and 70-200 VR spring to mind.) They may have decided bokeh is unimportant because not enough people bought DC lenses - but it doubt it; the 50 f/1.8 is a bad example because the design is so old.
  24. you may come to the conclusion that Nikon has designed these lenses to be sharp and contrasy at the expense of bokeh.​
    Then why on earth did Nikon design, develop, patent, and produce two excellent lenses that let you control the Bokeh. They are the 105mm f/2 DC and 135mm f/2 DC. Both are excellent wide open and have the ability to adjust Bokeh according to the aperture you are using. If used improperly, the DC turns your lens into a soft focus lens, but that's for another discussion.
    If you're concerned about the "quality" of the Bokeh, don't waste your money on zooms. I've come to the conclusion, (personal opinion with very little testing), that lenses with fewer moving elements produce a more pleasing Bokeh. Therefore, zooms tend to be out of the bokeh discussion. The lenses that seem to have the "best" bokeh tend to be the focal lengths that are generally used for portraiture.
    The following Nikkors are in that category:
    85mm f/1.4
    105mm f/2 DC
    135mm f/2 DC
    I will also agree with a previous post that the Bokeh produced by the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I is exceptional for a zoom.
    Once you have a lens that produces aesthetically pleasing bokeh, you'll find that upgrading to a FX format camera will impact the quality of the bokeh nearly as much as the lens itself. I shoot the 105mm f/2 DC a whole lot. I was absolutly amazed in the difference between my D300s and a D700 when it came to background blur. Seriously, if you're that concerned about Bokeh, buy a D700 along with any lens you purchase.
  25. Then why on earth did Nikon design, develop, patent, and produce two excellent lenses that let you control the Bokeh.​
    I meant to say that for the great majority of lenses that are designed for general photography, Nikon appears to put more emphasis on getting them to be sharp and contrasy. You are right that Nikon does make these special lenses to allow people to further control the out of focus area for candids. I also remember that someone on this site quoted Nikon's engineers' remarks for how they carefully balanced all the elements to produce the 105/2.5 lens in the film days. This lens, without any fancy DC control, is still one of the best portrait lenses ever made.
    I have recently got a Panasonic GH1, one of those m4/3 cameras. Except for the very expensive 45/2.8 macro lenses, there is no fast native m4.3 lenses in the 50-70mm focal length, the sweet spot for head-shoulder shots on those cameras with a 2x crop factor. Thus a lot of people, me included, start looking for MF 50mm lenses from different manufacturers to use on these cameras. While most 50 mm lenses are designed for general photography, some, like Nikon, are on the sharp/contrasy side while others, Canon FD, Olympus OM, are a bit softer. Different manufactures take different approaches to balance sharpness vs nicer bokeh, but this certainly does not mean that they will do the same with every lens that they produce.
    As the degree of "blur" can be influenced by focal length (longer lens can further blur the background by compression), the 70-200/2.8 is in a different category on its own. With a DX camera and mainly shooting indoors, anything longer than 85mm is not easy to manage in my small house.
  26. You don't necessarily need long, fast lenses for bokeh. The separation of subject and background distance is also a key factor...
    Tokina 12-24mm @ 24mm F4 or 5.6
  27. "However when you look at how most Nikon lenses deliver the bokeh, you may come to the conclusion that Nikon has designed these lenses to be sharp and contrasy at the expense of bokeh."​
    CC, you're more correct than you might realize.
    Keep in mind the following anecdote is decades old and many things have changed over the years. Nikkors in general seem to have much more pleasant bokeh than they did years ago.
    Back in the early 1980s when I was studying journalism in college my instructor persuaded me to switch from an emphasis on photojournalism to reporting. I was a better writer than photographer then, although over the years I've become equally mediocre at both disciplines.
    I still had a photographer's eye so I played a little mental guessing game while sorting through photos for the upcoming issues of the college paper. I noticed differences in the out of focus areas (this was pre-bokeh... we didn't have a term for the concept back then), and realized I could more often than not identify the photos taken by the fellow who owned a Nikon, compared with the less well off students who used Canons or other brands. At the time many students used a Canon AE-1 or A-1, both of which were more affordable than the comparable Nikon F2, F3 or FM. (I couldn't afford either - my rig was a Ricoh SLR and three standard K-mount primes.)
    The Nikkors seemed more prone to what is now called nisen bokeh - relatively harsh doubling or multiple out of focus lines and hard edges. The Nikkors also seemed, subjectively speaking, to produce somewhat sharper, contrastier photos - although this may well have been due to the darkroom skills of the photographers, who each developed and printed their own work. It may also have been that the Nikon owners were simply better photographers, although the best student photographer I knew of from college used Canon back then (and she's the only student photographer I can think of from those years who became a successful and very good pro PJ).
    It wasn't until I read Mike Johnston's article on bokeh back in the 1990s that I realized there was not only a concept behind this informal observation, but also a term to describe it. And at the time the most insufferably bokeh-obsessed photographers were Olympus OM system owners (I was one of 'em). Zuikos did seem to sacrifice a certain amount of ultimate resolution (supported by scientific tests) in exchange for more pleasant out of focus rendering. Canon FD lenses were very close. And, of course, there were exceptions, notably the 105/2.5 and 180/2.8 AI and AIS Nikkors.
    I'd bet that Nikon engineers didn't really pay much attention to bokeh until everyone on the internet began yakking about it constantly. (Heck, very few of us paid much attention to it until the past decade.) However, the article for the 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor on the Nikon Japan "Thousand And One Nights" series indicates that at least some folks inside Nikon did recognize this intangible factor years ago.
    Anyway, my anecdote is moot now if you own or plan to buy only more recent Nikkors. I can no longer reliably tell the difference in bokeh between any of the various manufacturers. All of 'em make some lenses with pleasing bokeh and all of 'em make some with mediocre bokeh. The toughest challenge is usually out of focus foliage in daylight. Some lenses that seem to have acceptable bokeh in other conditions may fail miserably when the background and/or foreground have a lot of foliage, grass or trees.
  28. Incidentally, this thread has prompted me to shoot a few illustration photos with the 35-70/2.8D AF Nikkor to emphasize the bokeh characteristics. I'm too lazy to dig through my boxes of indifferently categorized CDs/DVDs to find the test photos I did in 2006. Easier to just shoot a few more. I'll try to post 'em later.
  29. The 35-70mm is the closest zoom alternative to prime lenses that I've seen or used, though I admit I haven't tried say the 28-70mm f2.8. It does get some of that "look" particularly with wider apertures and smaller DOF.
    That said, it is not a prime, and owning the 80mm f1.8 one can see the difference in sharpness and distortion if you're looking (pixel peeping) and the the 80mm definitely has a "je ne sais quois" quality about it that isn't completely there in the 35-70mm. It's certainly more there than say kit lenses or even some higher cost off brand lenses, but not totally.
    Frankly the 80mm f1.8 is the sharpest lens I've ever used and just gives fantastic portraits. Other than or bragging rights I've never been tempted to the 80mm f1.4, in part because the price just wasn't there, but perhaps the prices have dropped so much now that its not a big deal.
    Finally, even though the 80mm is by far what I would consider my best portrait lens, the 35-70mm is my walk around lens for shear flexibility. It is the best trade off between zoom and quality that I've used.
  30. Just for reference I copied the "evaluations" of bokeh from dpreview on several Nikon lenses to give us an idea of how such quality is evaluated:
    35/1.8 AFS:
    "...With its relatively fast maximum aperture, the 35mm F1.8G can produce substantially blurred backgrounds, and while these can be slightly hard-edged in character (especially at F1.8), bokeh is generally rather appealing. Stopping down progressively smooths out the harsher edges, with perhaps the best compromise in the region of F2.8."
    70-200/2.8 VRI:
    "One genuinely desirable, but difficult to measure aspect of a lens's performance is the ability to deliver smoothly blurred out-of-focus regions when trying to isolate a subject from the background, generally when using a long focal length and large aperture. Here the 70-200mm VR is an excellent performer, producing smooth, attractive bokeh which rarely detracts from the subject."
    70-200/2.8 VRII:
    "...After shooting hundreds of frames with the lens, it appears to have something of a split personality in this regard. At close distance in particular, it can give marked double-image 'nissen' bokeh, which isn't pretty. But more distant backgrounds are rendered very smoothly indeed, and in reality this is likely to be more representative of the most typical uses of this lens."
    It is particularly interesting to note the difference between the two 70-200 zooms. Keep in mind that the VRII was designed to give corner to corner sharpness in a FF camera, a weakness in the older lens. As a result, the bokeh quality is also altered. I cannot forgive myself for selling the 105/2.5 because I thought the newer AF version should be just as good with the added bonus of being able to AF ... Designing a lens is not easy.
  31. . . . Or is it because it's the new photography buzz word to describe "better photography"?​

    Richard, I assume this is just rhetorical? In case you didn't know, no matter what one may think about the topic, it's been discussed passionately for many years, and way before came into existence.
  32. Yes, it was rhetorical...and Bokeh, although passionately discussed for many years, is seriously one of the last things I look at when evaluating a lens. Personally it goes like this:
    Is the lens a focal length/zoom range that I will use and how much will I use it?
    Is the lens fast enough for my intended use?
    Is the lens of sufficient build quality?
    Is the lens too heavy/not heavy enough to make my camera an overall balanced unit?
    Does the lens produce sharp/good color/good contrast photos on my camera throughout the range of aperture I intent do use it (basically it's max aperture to f/11)? is the background rendered in photos with shallow DOF.
    Seriously, is you really shoot Bokeh, I think you'r missing the point, which is your subject. And while pleasing Bokeh can help emphasize the subject and make the overall image more pleasing, I don't think it is a top priority for most lens purchases.

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