Talking about bokeh and trying to define what is “better bokeh” is like trying to pick the ultimate cheese. What you find incredibly palatable may spontaneously induce a dry-heave with another. But these bokehlicious lenses aren’t so much about which one has better bokeh, it’s about 5 lenses that appear to have the softest bokeh around. To continue with the tenuous cheese metaphor, bokeh is either smooth or rough, a bit like how cheese is either creamy or…erm…less creamy, and the bokeh with these lenses are super creamy.
For those who don’t know what bokeh is (let alone “bokehlicious”) – bokeh is derived from a Japanese word that mean’s “blur”, “haze” or can mean “moron”. In photography when one is talking about good bokeh it’s to do with how pleasing the out of focus elements look, it is not defined by how shallow the depth-of-field is.In photography when one is talking about good bokeh it’s to do with how pleasing the out of focus elements look, it is not defined by how shallow the depth-of-field is.
In photography when one is talking about good bokeh it’s to do with how pleasing the out of focus elements look, it is not defined by how shallow the depth-of-field is.
We’ve handled a great number of 50mm lenses, some good, some bad, some ugly. Here are 5 of the goodies:
5. Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar
The Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar is superb. The 50mm f/1.4 Planars for DSLRs have hugely disappointing bokeh when shot wide-open, but this Loxia lens renders luscious bokeh at f/2. A great lens to use with the Sony a7 series.
4.Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART
It’s unreasonably large for a fast-fifty and the Sigma 50 feels a little cheap but it’s still a phenomenal lens. If you can overlook the cheesy build quality you’ll be reward with some sumptiously-rich bokeh.
3.Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH
The Summilux is as good as is it is expensive. But if you bought a Leica M then you’re less likely to be thrifty with purchasing pricey fifties. Some might argue that the pre-ASPH Summilux has better bokeh but they’d be wrong. I’ve owned them all and I think the new ‘lux is the best: it’s incredibly sharp but the bokeh just melts away. Perhaps not as much quirky, swirly bokeh as the 1st version of the 50mm Summilux but it’s far easier finding a ASPH without mould.
2.Canon 50mm f/1.2L
This is a monster of a lens. Monster weight, monster size, monster bokeh. An ultimate bokeh pairing would be this and the 85mm f/1.2L. Both lenses are far from perfect when it comes to image quality but this is about bokeh. And the Canon 50mm f/1.2 is one L-of-a lens (alright, no more lame puns).
1.Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH
There could be only one. Undoubtedly one of the craziest lenses ever made. When f/1.0 isn’t enough, there’s the Leica Noctilux. With a mind-bendingly ridiculous maximum aperture that apparently out-resolves the human eye (whatever that actually means), this has incredibly shallow depth-of-field when shot wide open. Focusing it accurately with the rangefinder isn’t an easy task. When you do get it properly in-focus, you get some classy performance, even when focused at close distance thanks to the rear floating element. You buy this lens to shoot it wide-open and you won’t be disappointed.
With a mind-bending maximum aperture that apparently out-resolves the human eye, this has incredibly shallow depth-of-field when shot wide open.
I’ve not tested all of the 50mm lenses in the world, so there are bound to be some lenses that might produce creamier bokeh. I just haven’t tested them yet. If you do think there is a more bokehlicious lens, please leave us a comment and we’ll see if we can try comparing it with one of these lenses in a Battle of the Bokeh!