What is your favorite lens for good bokeh?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rarmstrong, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. The other day I received a negative comment about the background of an image that I put up in a discussion about
    whether or not VR technology is helpful at high shutter speeds. I had to agree that the bokeh of the background was
    distracting and I started to wonder. Bokeh is not just a function of aperture or distance from the subject. It also
    depends on lens design, elements in the iris and their shape and more. So my question is...what is your favorite
    lens for bokeh and why? Please share some examples and the technical details of how you achieved your results.


  2. Complicated subject, always open to debate, sometimes controversial due to disputes over what exactly "bokeh" means. Short version: 105/2.5 AI and 180/2.8 pre-AI Nikkors are incredible. I've never seen bad bokeh from these wide open or nearly so (to f/4) under any conditions. Even hard edges, foliage stems, etc., never produce harsh doubling. With other lenses I need to watch the background and foreground; with these two I never worry about it.
  3. I personally like the 70-200 f2.8 vr wide open... for sports, it rocks.

  4. My personal favorite is the 70-200. The smoothness and consistency of its bokeh is very appealing.
  5. 105/2 DC...bokeh that's buttery-soft, weak-in-the-knees good!
  6. I also like my 80-200
  7. Lex speaks with great wisdom and impeccable perpendicularity, as usual (by the way, cool self portrait there, Lex. You know what they say, on the internet, no one knows you're...).

    The 105mm f2.5 AIs was my gotta lotta bokeh lens for two decades. I still think it may be the best bokeh lens of any I own, despite it having 7 straight aperture blades, unlike my fancy-dancy 85mm f1.4 and 135mm f2.0 with their 9 curved blades.

    The newer 105mm f2.0 DC is pretty much its equal, and it has the DC control, 2/3 stop more speed, twice the weight, and a price tag 4x higher. I've never seen a need to acquire one.

    Aside from that one, in no particular order...

    135mm f2.0 DC

    85mm f1.4

    And bringing up the rear, two zooms. If anyone had told me 10 years ago that two zooms would make the bokeh list, I'd have laughed in his face. Laughed, I say.

    70-200mm f2.8 VR, on a tripod with the VR off, or in the studio with flash. At low shutter speeds, handheld, with VR on, VR does make the bokeh do strange things. I've taken test images to prove it...

    24-70mm f2.8, no special handling needed...

    On an APS camera, I rather liked my 30mm f1.4 Sigma, as long as I kept one thing in mind, the bokeh is great near center, and weird at the corners.

    And on an APS camera, the 58mm f1.4 Voigtlander is kind of interesting, but I didn't get enough time to play with it as far as a detailed comparison to the full frame with 85mm or 70-200mm zoomed to 85mm.

    I'll try to dig up some pictures...
  8. For a zoom, I like the 75-150mm Series E.
  9. It was the 18-200 VR zoom that brought forth the negative bokeh comment. But, at times it seems to work fine and has to be a function of distance to the subject, as well as background, of course. This is an 18-200 shot with, I think, pleasant bokeh...
  10. This was the shot that was criticized, also with the 18-200 zoom...
  11. the 85 1.4 and 70-200 are my favorites... bokeh aside, the second shot is really cool...
  12. The 85mm f/1.4's bokeh is absolutely gorgeous.
  13. The thing about bokeh is that it depends a lot on the subject. Sharp contrasts and busy details are always difficult, even for a lens with good bokeh. I find that the most important thing isn't when the background is way out of focus. It's how the lens handles the transition from sharp focus to blur. Really subtle bokeh is harder to do than really soft focus bokeh. I like the Sigma 30 1.4 and the Sigma 50 1.4 the best. Here's a shot with the 30...
    ...and here is the same lens with lots of blur...
    Notice the shimmer on the high contrast writing on the shirt. Sharp contrasty lines right on the edge of focus are the hardest things to do right. In most cases, it doesn't matter though.

    (Click on them to see them bigger.)
  14. Rob, can you show us an example? And Robert, thanks, do you have any with the 85 f1.4?
  15. Stephen, very nice examples and explanation. I also like the Sigma 30mm f1.4. But I really haven't given much thought to what you point out in your first example. I believe you are correct and it is true that the subtle details of lens performance make a huge difference in the "feel" of the image. This is an image from the Sigma f1.4...
  16. Here are two 85 1.4 samples<br>

    <img src="http:\\www.robgulotta.com\samples\temp\1.jpg">
    <img src="http:\\www.robgulotta.com\samples\temp\2.jpg">
  17. Robert, thank you, they are both beautiful images and great examples. I always wonder about the circles, whether they are distracting or add to the image. In these shots I think they add some "sparkle" for lack of a better term. The crisp detail of the glasses in the first shot is just great!
  18. no problem richard... the circles are from bright spots in the image and would show up in almost any open aperture shot... the key to good bokeh is what it does to the circles... the 85 makes really nice circles, in my opinion, as many other lenses leave them with strong outlines or other weirdness
  19. I'm looking forward to the 50mm AFS - I sold my 50mm 1.8 AF D in anticipation of what I hope will be a great DX portrait
    lens. My current favorites are the 70-200mm (e.g.: http://www.purebredmutt.net/mutts14.html
    ) and the 60mm AFS.

    I have a 85mm f1.4 AIS, but it's bokeh is not as smooth as the AF's, although in some situations it really shines (e.g.: http://www.purebredmutt.net/mutts2a.html ).
  20. The 105mm f/2.5 is one of my all time favorite lenses. I also like the 85mm f/1.8, the new 180mm f/2.8, and 300mm f/4 at some distance (but not close up). Here's the newest 180mm f/2.8.
  21. Here's a 180mm AIS sample: http://www.purebredmutt.net/scrabble5.html
  22. almost makes me want to drop my Leica Summiluxes and grab a Nikkor. NOT. actually I've got the 105/2.5 nikkor and the 50/1.4 zeiss I am fond of.

    great examples guys. Tks.
  23. I remember a couple of years ago, there was a discussion of bokeh going on. Some guy over in England wrote something like "You Americans agonize over things we've never heard of."
  24. 70-200mm VR This example at 190mm f/8 with a blanket of white camomile flowers one meter behind the subject.

    Second favourite bokeh producer is my AF-S 300mm f/4
  25. OK lets try that again.........
  26. Nikkor 50mm 1.2 AIS. The focal length is a bit awkward because you have to wide open, but the background becomes nice and creamy.
  27. Some really great shots here. Eric, I really like the German Shepard shot with the 70-200 and the smooth green background. Seems like there is a lot of support for the 70-200 VR. Nice iris, Matthew!
  28. It does seem that the prime lenses are generally better at producing smooth bokeh and sharp circles, but with the zooms, a lot of it depends on distance from the subject. Any thoughts out there about both?
  29. 85mm F1.4 AF

    I haven't seen anything come close to this lens.
  30. 400 f/5.6L - f/6.3 @ 1/1000 sec with great distance between the bg and the subject this lens can produce very nice bokeh
  31. This photo was taken with the 70-300VRII lens and I like the bokeh. But it does seem that many photographers obsess over it.

  32. Sorry about the image tag. Hers's the url.

  33. My Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 (4/3rds mount) it's super effective wide open and at 200mm. She's closely followed by the
    35mm f/3.5 macro and the 40-150 f/3.5-4.5. With the latter and the EX-25 extension tube it gets even better.

  34. I know this is the Nikon forum but the OP didn't ask which Nikon lens so I'm sticking my hand in the air for my f-mount Tamron SP90 2.8 DII. Milky smooth bg.
  35. Ooops sorry folks I didn't see this was a questions for Nikon shooters. How do you delete a post?

  36. Although you can't get shallow dof of 1.4, 45mm 2.8p renders background beautifully
  37. 4 come to mind: 50 f2 (current Leica Summicron); 90 f2.8 (Tamron); and 85 f1.8 & 135 f2 (Canon EF).

    Sorry, I just realized this a Nikon Forum thread - I'm not looking to start a war.

    Maybe Photo.net shouldn't catagorize without additional info on "most active" threads?
  38. I would vote for the 135 f/2 DC followed closely by the 70-200 f/2/8 VR. --Rich
  39. I know I put this up in the Nikon forum, but as far as I'm concerned...go for it...tell us about your favorite for bokeh and why. I'd really love to hear some of the technical details from the pro photo geeks out there!
  40. Sorry - wrong photo, but the 300 is pretty good also ;-) --Rich
  41. OK - its late - lets try this again............
  42. Leica 19 mm 2.8. On my digital Leica it acts as a 38 mm 2.8.
    Why? Give it a try.
  43. I feel the 28mm also has beautiful bokeh
  44. 70-200 is my current favourite (apart from my Carl Zeiss 180mm f4) but that is only because I don't have a 200 f2 :)
  45. A 105 Nikon Micro (before VR) on a D700 for portraits. Also wonderful for plant & rattlesnake close-ups.
  46. It seems that there is a wide variation of lens favorites. But, one thing for sure...ask photographers to share their work and the response is good...thanks! There are some great shots here. But I'm waiting to hear some specific technical advice about how you produce the most desirable result with the lens you like the best. Is it distance from your subject, is it specifically aperture, is it number or shape of leaves in the diaphragm or a combination of all? How, specifically, do you achieve your best results for the bokeh that you find the most appealing?
  47. I like this shot, but I'll leave it to others to make up their own mind. I tried to use the lighting here (all natural) to retain the three dimensionality of the statue and used the widest setting available from the lens. Maybe I was just lucky. I used a Konica-Minolta slide scanner which seems to bring out the best in the slide. There was nothing special about the lens as far as I could tell. f1.8 yielded the bokeh.
  48. Another example using a 50mm lens.
  49. Bokeh is not just a matter of softness.... sometimes "distracting" or "harsh" bokeh is preferable to the "soft"
    bokeh that is often sought after. Harsh bokeh can add a quality to a background that looks like an abstrast
    painting. (I personally love this is flower photographs, where blades of grass behind a flower can create a
    complex pattern of green triangles) Another kind of bokeh that's interesting is the "swirling" bokeh you may
    have seen with older Zeiss
    optics, which is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous for portraits, creating a "halo" effect around the subject.
  50. Most of the bokeh here does not seem all that impressive. With the 18-200, 70-200 VR, and 50mm being the worst. The Zeiss 85/1.4 that I had was good, the Nikon 400/2.8 is also good, but the best I have is the Nikon 200/2 AI. I will try to follow up with an image post.
  51. This is not my image but I think that is is a good example of excellent bokeh. I was taken with a 200mm f1.8 Canon


    What do you think?
  52. Try this link instead...

  53. The shot of the puppy with the 200/1.8 Canon lens is very nice. Of my Nikkors my favorites for bokeh are my pre-AI 105/2.5s and my pre-AI 135/2.8s. Of the 135s the f/2.8 QC is in the best condition and has never given me bad bokeh. The Canon 135/2.5 FD lens is also very nice and the older 100/3.5 Canon FL also has very smooth bokeh.
  54. Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di macro my fav for portrait and nature. Creamy butter bokeh. Lovely. Same Nikkor 200mm f/4 IF ED. Beautiful bokeh. I could like to say I like the Nikkor 105mm f/2 DC because I see many photos with this lens. Maybe will be the next portrait lens. I have also 85mm f/1.8 AF-D but I dont like it, I will sell and keep the Tamron 90mm f/2.8, more versatile lens, nice boken, easy to use, enough fast for
    Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-D is a nice one too. Short but nice on Dx bodys (~ 75mm crop factor).
  55. Most of these photos are not good example of Bokeh as most do not have Bokeh in them. Bokeh is the 'Shape' that
    a small bright spot in an image will take that matches the shape of the lenses 'iris' when it is closed down. Bokeh
    (good or bad) will not be seen usually unless there is a bright spot in the background. A very small spot that is
    smaller than the 'Aperture' will create exaggerated Bokeh.

    The top photo of the dog (good shot by the way) does not have Bokeh in it. So we can't use that photo to describe
    whether the lens produces good or bad Bokeh. The pigeon is another bad example as again there is no Bokeh in the

    Two examples that do show Bokeh are the 'Two Champaign Glasses' and the 'Purple Iris'. The Bokeh in the 'Two
    Champaign Glasses' is very good in that the Bokeh spots are very round and distinct. In the Iris, you can see that
    the spots are clearly not round but rather shaped by the shape of the Iris.

    Bokeh is a natural phenomenon that will always happen, whether it is round or odd shaped will depend not on the
    quality of the lens or glass, but on the quality and number of blades in the iris. Some lens designs may create more
    or less Bokeh and may exaggerate the Bokeh, but the Iris is responsible for whether it is good or bad.

    The amount and size of Bokeh will change based on the aperture you use.

    Lens manufactures will use irises with six, seven or eight blades (sometimes more or less). Usually, a well
    manufactured 8 blade iris will look great. When choosing a lens where 'good' Bokeh is wanted, choose more blades
    in the iris. These specs are available at manufactures web sites.

    Playing with custom shaped Bokeh can give a better understanding of what Bokeh is and how it works. Check out
    this link at http://www.diyphotography.net/diy_create_your_own_bokeh.
  56. I really really like my 50/1.8 (even though it's a canon! shhh)
  57. Here is an old photo.net article that discusses the origin of the term: http://www.photo.net/columns/mjohnston/column49/index.html.
    You can download Mike Johnston's lens bokeh ratings here: http://www.lulu.com/content/129691.
  58. Yes the 200/1.8 shot has excellent bokeh similar to what I am used to from the Nikon 200/2.

    Francois, bokeh does not only refer to how out of focus highlights are rendered. It refers to how ALL out of focus areas are rendered. Out of focus highlights simply present the most extreme effect by which performance can be more easily observed.
  59. Yes the true definition of the term Bokeh refers to the "Blurry" parts of the photo. But my point is that it is next to impossible to judge the quality of the blur when the blurry parts are made up only of mid tones with little or no contrast.

    By far the easiest way to judge the quality, is by having a small pin point light source as stated in the examples I gave.

    A blurry out of focus gray card will look like a gray area on a cheap bad Bokeh lens and it will look the same on an excellent good Bokeh lens. It is only by viewing higher contrast areas that will you notice the differences.

    And, although the definition is strictly speaking all the blurry parts, most photographers commonly refer to the 'noticeable' parts. I may be wrong here but that is my experience in dealing with other photographers amateur and professional alike.
  60. Francois, thank you very much! This is the kind of information that I was hoping to get from this post and more. We speak of this subject as if we know what it is that we are discussing. I thought that I knew a bit about it, but admit that I am woefully ignorant. I know that I like the Two Champagne Glasses image, for more than just the bokeh. But, it has been my understanding that bokeh referred to how a lens renders the out of focus areas of the image. I know that I like the out of focus areas to add to the beauty of the image and not detract from the object in focus. My intent here is to learn more about how to produce it...artistically and what hardware(lenses) seem to be the best equipment to help get the job done. I'd also like to know just how this works, technically...the optics and physics involved in what we see that we like. I truly believe that the more that a photographer understands about how the image ends up looking the way it does when completed, the better at reproducing these circumstances a photographer will become. Of course, there is the "eye". That hard to define sense that there is a beautiful image in something we observe...how best to capture it is the challenge, and the fun!
  61. So here is an interesting question then, if all the blurry areas are the Bokeh, what are the badly distorted parts caused by the iris called?? Should the Photography community come up with a word to describe that?
  62. What do you mean by badly distorted parts?
  63. There are many different types of undesirable out of focus rendition. The number of aperture blades can affect bokeh but the roundness of the blades is also important. My Bronica SLR lenses have 5 blades but the blades are rounded in a way that makes the images look like the lens has more blades. Twinninng is a particluarly bad kind of out of focus rendition. It doesn't seem to be directly related to the number of blades either. The donut shape of the out of focus highlights you get with a mirror lens is something most people don't like. The first time you see it the effect is interesting but you don't want it in every shot. Some backgrounds can be distracting if they are as sharply in focus as the main subject. In other cases there isn't enough depth of field to even cover the main subject. This can cause part of the subject to merge into the background. There are so many different lens designs and focal lengths and background types that it's hard to name every kind of bad bokeh.
  64. 70-200- the bokeh was worth the weight and wait on B&H backorder.
  65. Francois - The "circle of confusion" describes the image formed by the shape of the lens diaphragm (explication avancée ici).
  66. what are the badly distorted parts caused by the iris called??

    Highlight bokeh, highlight spot shape, light distribution shape on highlights spots... ?
  67. Berg`s link doesn`t explain that any corrected or uncorrected lens could give what is called good (smooth spot) or
    bad (ring, doughnut) bokeh depending of the focus plane distance and position(foreground or background) of the
    highlight spot. I`m in the believing that modern hipercorrected lenses ---usually--- are bad background bokeh

    I really hate double shaped out of focus objects, and always try to avoid strong highlight spots when looking for
    (beatiful) bokeh.
  68. Sadly, I cannot have my image bank here but I have found something that could be a bit illustrative. This is a test shot I did time ago (BTW to check how big the focus error was with my 50/1.8AFD), where you can see how the background of the focus plane runs fast to made that ugly doughtnuts and how the foreground blur shape is a bit more soft, with not so definite rings... another uncorrected lens design could perform in the opposite way. Not shown here, background highlight spots and blur are doubled type, but this is not an impediment to have with this lens many of my very sucessful, shallow DoF portraits wide open.
  69. And now, the foreground. Both are 100% crops.
  70. Both images are crops from the same shot, don`t know why show different colors (?):>(
  71. I'm reminded of a somewhat recent thread that sort of turned into a little bokeh laboratory.

    Like many others here, in general use I think the 70-200/2.8 VR is great in terms of how it treats OoF areas and shiny bits. I've also become quite enamored of the Sigma 30/1.4's pleasantly dreamy qualities when it's wide open (see below).
  72. Matt, nice shot...I'm starting to think that the 70-200 f2.8 is worth a look. I too like the Sigma 30mm f1.4. This is from this past spring at f1.4....
  73. an example for "dynamic" bokeh
  74. >Most of these photos are not good example of Bokeh as most do not have Bokeh in them. Bokeh is the 'Shape' that a small bright spot in an image will take that matches the shape of the lenses 'iris' when it is closed down. Bokeh (good or bad) will not be seen usually unless there is a bright spot in the background. A very small spot that is smaller than the 'Aperture' will create exaggerated Bokeh. <

    I don't agree with this. Bokeh is blur, pure and simple, the blurrier the background the better. Bokeh means Blurry, out of focus, or hazy. That's a direct translation from Japanese..

    Anyway my favorite choices for best bokeh producing lenes..... the 85mm 1.4 and 1.8 nikons, the 50mm f1.8 (prefer it over the 1.4), the 105mm micro (vr or non vr both are great), the 70-200 and 80-200 nikons, and here's a weird one.. the 70-300 AF-G and AF ED. Super cheapo lenses that in the right circumstances produce unbelievable bokeh rivaling the king of bokeh lenses... which of course is...

    the Nikon 200mm F2.0. This lens has unbeatable bokeh. Try one out sometime. It's a monster. You could buy a decent old sports car for how much it costs. But the bokeh produced is unbelievable.
  75. My personal fave is the 105mm f/2.5. Despite all my efforts, I've yet to create 'bad' bokeh using this lens.

    I think the key here is not whether good bokeh is possible from a lens. There are certainly plenty of examples in this post showing that all sorts of lenses, primes, zooms, ones with many/few lens elements can produce excellent bokeh. My personal experience has been that the camera-subject-background distance the biggest contributing factor. Note especially images of birds, where the background is almost at infinity.

    However, put the same lenses in difficult situations (the two Lex mention are probably the worst), and here is where I think you begin to separate the best from the not as good.
  76. "Most of these photos are not good example of Bokeh as most do not have Bokeh in them. Bokeh is the 'Shape' that a small bright spot in an image will take that matches the shape of the lenses 'iris' when it is closed down. Bokeh (good or bad) will not be seen usually unless there is a bright spot in the background. A very small spot that is smaller than the 'Aperture' will create exaggerated Bokeh."

    Bokeh in Japanes means 'blur'. The phototgraphic term of bokeh is derived from this. The above statement is incorrect.
  77. I thought bokeh referred to the out-of-focus areas in general rather than the rendering of highlights.
  78. Peter, I love your "leaning over" image! And I think you are correct. So far, through this discussion and some reading that I have done related to the question I have the following observations...

    The term bokeh seems to have originated from the Japanese word "boke" which loosely translated means "fuzzy". In photography, it has come to be the term used to describe the out of focus portions of an image. It does not require highlights, shapes, circles, etc., just that it be out of focus.

    Different lenses produce different bokeh.

    The effect is a function of aperture, as well as distance from the subject and can be varied with prior knowledge of how a certain lens performs.

    There is a huge subjective(artistic) element in how different viewers interpret the results of the bokeh produced by various lenses.

    This is a fascinating subject and worthy of continued discussion.

    Let us continue:)...............
  79. Great image, Peter. Stephen Worth-I think you had great insights. Actually, in your image of the fellow with the couple in the background, I think that background to be jarring, I would prefer is smoother. But you are right about the transitions and just how hard or soft we want the "before and after" where we focused stuff to be. A lot of good insights can be gleaned from motion pictures, where focus depth or lack of it is used so carefully. Good discussion.
  80. My faves are the 35 f1.4 AiS, 35 f2 AFD, 45 f2.8 AiP, 85 1.4 AFD and the 105 f2.8 Micro Nikkor
  81. Depends on the background.... And the look you're going for in that particular shot.
  82. Actually, in your image of the fellow with the couple in the background, I think that background to be jarring, I would prefer is smoother.

    Yeah... That is probably a textbook example of one of the most difficult situations for bokeh to be rendered well. You've got light sources in the frame, neon and contrasty background details that are close to the same colors as the subject. The thing that saves it is the fact that the bokeh actually obscures the couple making out in the background just enough that you don't see them at first glance. That gives you a chance to register the personality of the subject (jazz guitarist Skip Heller) before you see the punch line in the out of focus background.
  83. The Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AF is really nice close to wide open.
  84. Nikon 105/2.5 AIS at or near wide open
  85. I've seen some of you mention the 105/2.5 AI as being an excellent bokeh lens. I have the AIS version of that lens and was glad to see Keith's example using the AIS version. So is the popular opinion on this forum that the AI version is better at bokeh or is the AIS version just as good?
  86. Brian - AFAIK, the optics of the AI and AIS versions are identical.

  87. My favorites, not in any order...

    70-200VR, AF85F1.4, 105F2DC, 135L, 105 2.5, AF180 2.8, 30 1.4, 60AF-S, and 105VR.
  88. Keith, that is a great portrait shot with a very pleasing background. I've read a lot of great reviews of the 105s which I am now even more interested in acquiring.


  89. Thanks, Dick. I like the 105/2.5 so much, I actually have it with an LTM mount as well :) Actually, I don't think they're the same optical formula, but I do like both.

    I used to have an 85/1.4 AFD, which has long ben considered the kng of bokeh. You wouldn't get any arguments from me wrt bokeh, but the 85mm focal length just seemd too short for how I see things when I use a tele.

    I also have the 70-200mm AFS VR, and it does have great bokeh as well, but its size precludes everyday use, so I typically only use that at events.

    In any case, you can't go wrong with any (or all) of these lenses.

  90. I don't think anybody has mentioned the 200mm f4 micro. It produces the creamiest bokeh of all my lenses. Here
    are a couple of examples:
  91. examples of the 200mm f4
  92. Here is another example
  93. Debbi, I agree with you and the quality is equal to the example that I gave earlier in this thread with this photo of a puppy that was taken with a Canon 200mm prime...


    Not my image, but Chris is fine with it being used as an example.

    Thanks for sharing,

  94. Sorry, this is the working link...

  95. 105/2.5. I love it. Its small, smooth as silk, unobtrusive. It's got me back into film and portraits. The faster ones are nice, but in available light the dof is too narrow on the faster, newer ones imho. And its cheap as.
  96. Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai/Ai-S

    Nikkor 85mm f1.4 AF-D

    Zoom-Nikkor 70-180 Micro
  97. I love my 200mm F/2 VR. This was shot at iso 640 1/250 sec at f/4.
  98. Joseph, Very nice portrait with beautiful highlights, the background and bokeh are complementary to the subject.
  99. You can't go wrong with the 200/2. Of course, you had better not, for that price.
    <img src="http://www.andyaardema.com/photos/401329228_eVkrA-L.jpg"><br/>
    D700, 200 f/2 wide open
  100. Andy, that is one fantastic shot!! And, I concur with your comment about the bokeh. This backs up the opinion that has been put forward about the Canon 200mm prime which also produces excellent bokeh. Thank you for sharing this one!

  101. Rich, I don't think that photo is showing natural lens bokeh, it looks like post processing in PS. And it looks completely artificial to me.
  102. The highlights around the man's head look processed, The background behind and below the woman's head look like the real thing.
  103. The 200/2 lens vignettes pretty noticeably when wide open on full frame. I also added a little more in that shot, which looks (I think) good on the print but a little funny and harsh sized down and converted for web. Everything else is au natural.
  104. Sorry, I was referring to this image: http://www.photo.net/photo/7900591

    Andy's image is beautiful.
  105. Sp, I've discussed that image with Chris who shot it wide open with a Canon f1.8 200mm lens. It's not processed, just narrow DOF. He prefers prime long lenses for their smooth bokeh. Take a look at his bird shots and you'll see what I mean.

    Thanks for the correction,

  106. That shot looks perfectly fine to me.
  107. So, this example is with a 600mm f4 Canon lens. I think you can easily appreciate the smooth bokeh...

  108. The 600mm shot is quite nice.
  109. 70-200 VR 2.8 :)
  110. Does it have any sense speaking of bokeh in the case of images where the background is completely out of focus? I am referring to the dog and swallow images, for example. I think any lens with the same geometric properties (FL, aperture) would produce a similar image given the distance between le subject and the background. Where the lens peculiar properties come into play is with images such as "leaning over" by Peter N. What do you think? bye Marco
  111. Marco, we don't know what lens Peter N used to shoot "leaning over". As far as the question goes, I think that we have established here and in other threads that the term bokeh is used to describe the out of focus potions of an image. Also, how these appear is a function of lens design, aperture, distance from the subject and probably other factors that have yet to be discussed here. I would agree that similar lenses, like a 200mm Canon and a 200mm Nikkor should produce similar results at the same aperture, under the same shooting conditions, if the leaves in the iris are the same shape. But, I don't believe that the zooms, such as my 18-200mm VR Nikkor, produce the same bokeh as the primes even when shooting at the same aperture, say at 200mm, under the same conditions(distance from the subject, etc.). This must be due to the physics(optics), of the individual lenses. Possibly the number of lens elements has an effect. That is beyond my current level of understanding of how these optics produce the final effect.
  112. Just as a matter of clarification, I mean that the image from a 200mm prime telephoto would have a different bokeh than the same image at 200mm with the zoom, at the same aperture, which would have to be f5.6 for the zoom. Of course it seems that the faster primes excel at this, but that couldn't be compared to a relatively slow zoom. So, maybe it would be interesting to compare the bokeh of a 30mm Sigma prime at f4.5 with the 18-200mm zoom at 30mm at f4.5 under the same conditions. I may try that.
  113. So, I became even more curious about this and shot a comparison this evening. The first image is with a Nikkor 18- 200mm zoom at f4, 30mm and 15 inches from the subject, on a tripod....
  114. The second image is with a Sigma 30mm f1.4 prime, also at f4, 15 inches from the subject, on a tripod...
  115. On my monitor, there seems to be a smoother bokeh in the patterned chair from the Sigma lens. But, here, when
    converted to jpeg the difference seems to be minimal which seems to support Marco's suggestion above.
  116. It's a lot easier to see the qualities of the bokeh when you have a high contrast background, like sunlight coming through
    the leaves of a tree.
  117. Stephen, I'm sure you are correct, sorry, no sun in my location tonight:)....I was a bit surprised by this little test, though.
  118. Richard, thank you for taking the time to test. The sense of my question/statement, if I can try to explain
    better, is that the bokeh quality question becomes less relevant as the background is more and more far away. I
    bet if you repeat your test with the same setup but with the chair closer to the subject, you would get more
    relevant differences, on the contrary if you place it further away it will just tend to disappear.
    bye, Marco
  119. Marco, you piqued my curiosity. I want to do the same thing over again outdoors in natural lighting. I am surprised that the bokeh effect produced by these two lenses is so similar under standard conditions. I would have expected a much more obvious difference.
  120. Thanks to those who recommended the 105mm f2.5. I was under the impression that the bokeh was marginal at best, but after reading here I gave mine a try at f2.8 on my D300 and I'm happy to say - "I see what you mean".
  121. Whoops...
  122. Like Francois Cleroux said...I came with a photo for Tamron 90/2.8. http://photos2.hi5.com/0068/064/745/zw2waB064745-02.jpg I am sorry, I dont know how to upload it.

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