Bokeh wonderings


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 12:03
Taking up a comment from JohnMcD and his newly acquired Nikon...

Isn't it amazing the variation in bokeh with lenses?
For example, how about this for a Canon 24-105? I love the shot, but the bokeh is definitely not for me

Sigmas also seem to have a characteristic bokeh - more "busy" than the Canon even.

I wonder why Pentax seem to have the "buttery-smooth-melting" bokeh sorted out so well?? (Like the 50/1.4, the 100/2.8, 24-90 etc etc) Except I'm not quite so smitten on the 16-45 bokeh when compared to the 24-90.

Any thoughts?

(For gallery, tips and links)


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 12:41
I'm not sure I understand the mechanics of bokeh, or why some lenses have a better bokeh than others. I find the Bigma has a pretty good smooth bokeh, certainly better than the photo you link to, which is a great photo ruined by that awful bokeh.

You have got me thinking though - I shall have a look through my photos and study the bokeh a bit more, see if I can tell just by looking which brand of lens I used.


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 13:01
Beautifully sharp shot.Agree about the bokeh though.Needs Gaussian blur.


Pentax K3 gripped,and some lenses

my pbase gallery


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 16:05
I get the most pleasant bokeh from my FA77 (9 aperture blades), closely followed by my D-FA100 (8 blades). My FA43 (8 blades) and DA18-55 (6 blades) are harder to distinguish at smaller apertures and my DA12-24 (8 blades) rarely displays any bokeh to speak of (not suprising though for such a wide lens with a comparatively slow maximum aperture).

Obviously it's easier to describe a circular aperture with a greater number of blades but the shape of those blades must also play a part, along with their position relative to other lens elements. This is borne out by my other 9-bladed design, the Tamron 70-300, which despite its (on paper) advantage still manages to deliver a rather messy and distracting bokeh - not unlike the Canon example in the link above.

I still think the most pleasant bokeh I've seen in a K-mount lens was the Voigtlander APO Lanthar 180/4, sadly no longer available new but one I keep a regular eye on eBay for...
Joining the Q


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 16:22
Funnily enough I was thinking of older Voigtlander lenses when I started reading through this thread. Some of them have an incredible number of blades, far in excess of what we expect these days. They were good lenses.

The bokeh on the Canon shot was horrible.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 17:08
My current blade champion (although serving time as a paperweight until a suitable camera comes up) is this mid/late 19th Century Ross "Zeiss Patent" Anastigmat f8 196mm:

A grand total of 16 blades and near perfect circles throughout the (f8-64) aperture range! Now if only I could find a K mount adaptor...
Joining the Q


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 17:13
That's exactly the sort of old lens I was thinking of.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 17:22
As of today I am a proud owner of my first ltd.

The 31mm has an absolutely incredible bokeh. Just incredible.

I am so happy, I have realised a dream, and I can't wait to start using it a whole lot!

'Between the lights there is always a shadow' & PPG


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 17:37
Proud owner of 31 incredible millimiters...

What was it you were offering for calibration of monitors??
LOL (only joking)
Enjoy the 31mm Ltd - such lovely engineering and quality. I borrowed a 31 and 77 for half a day and both were a joy to use... but I still couldn't justify the expense!!
(For gallery, tips and links)


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 18:55
Maybe it is an idea to show some examples of bokeh (good or bad) in this thread.
If you don't mind Matt, I kick off. Please let others join in also.

Voigtlander Nokton 58mm/F1.4 @ f1.4
Only at full opening it shows some CA. But it renders bokeh very smooth.

SMC A 70-210/F4.0 @ F8. Even at F8 this beauty can produce a very creamy unsharpness.
(sorry for the little twig on the left, should have been cloned out)

SMC A 50mm/F1.7 @ F1.7. A bit harsh for my taste, but still worth it (bokeh wise)

Best regards,


Curious about my photography?? Just Follow the Light.


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 21:21
I'll stick with good bokeh from my favourite bokeh lens, the FA77. Both of these were at f2.4 (a sweet spot with this lens I find) and I love the velvety-soft almost watercolour quality of the backgrounds.

Joining the Q


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 22:18
I'll add a few here (as links to ePhotozine):

SMC F 50 f/1.4

SMC FA 24-90

SMC F 100 f/2.8 macro

You've just gotta lurve that Pentax bokeh
(For gallery, tips and links)
Last Edited by MattMatic on 03/09/2008 - 22:19


Link Posted 03/09/2008 - 23:00
I don't usually take photos of flowers. This one is an old one shot with a M 50mm f1.4. Absolutely love this picture mainly because of its amazing bokeh!
The 31mm is promising... Matt, i'd be happy to meet up and have you play with it, it'll show you new dimensions of IQ...

Oh, and the flower in the middle IS in focus, and really did look like that!
'Between the lights there is always a shadow' & PPG


Link Posted 04/09/2008 - 09:41
Shot this morning, not a great background, but I think the 31Ltd did well with the concrete

Last Edited by stevejcoe on 04/09/2008 - 09:42


Link Posted 04/09/2008 - 10:07
Here are a few more I hunted out, the kit lens suprised me

RAIN BOKEH with Pentax 50mm at f/1.4, I love the effect that the rain on the window has made the bokeh into pebbles

Pentax KIT Lens BOKEH Pentax 18-55 @ 55mm @ f8.0!

Pentax 1.5 50mm at f/2.8


Pentax: K20D; FA50mm 1.4; FA135mm 2.8; FA 17-28mm; FA 80-320mm; AF360FGZ
Sigma: 30mm F1.4EXDC; 10-20mmEXDC ..... LENSBABY 'Composer' ,
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