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04-30-2007, 09:47 AM   #1
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Which lenses for best bokeh?

Hi Folks,

I'm a bokeh lover. Minolta had a couple of bokeh champion lenses that really stood out from the crowd. The 35/1.4, 85/1.4, 100/2, 200/2.8. All very expensive lenses, but all with amazing out-of-focus area rendering.

My SMC Takumar has absolutely amazing bokeh in most situations, as does the SMC 85/1.9. What other lenses would you classify as bokeh-champions? Any samples?

Cheers!

*Oops: Samples:

Minolta 35/1.4:


SMC 85/1.9:



Last edited by d.bradley; 04-30-2007 at 09:57 AM.
04-30-2007, 09:56 AM   #2
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I always thought that bokeh was all personal taste, besides In my opinion the background makes more of a difference than the lens

With that in mind I've seen shots done with almost every type of lens imaginable where the bokeh has impressed me.
04-30-2007, 10:27 AM   #3
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I have to agree with Stu, I think bokeh is highly personal. There have been some bokeh that I really liked that other ppl hated and vice versa. That being said my two favorite "bokeh" lenses are the Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 and the Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro.
Here is one of my favorite "bokeh" shots, in this one the boheh actually takes an active role. Shot is the detail of a model cathedral (St. Patrick's in NYC to be exact) with the minature christmas lights in the background giving a completely different feel to the shot. Pentax 50mm f1.4 at f2.8 and 1/125.

Look at my recent post on magnolias for some more examples of both the FA 50 and the Tamron 90 bokeh. Link here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/6415-sugar-magnolia-blossoms-blooming.html

NaCl(a very personal subject, bokeh)H2O
04-30-2007, 01:19 PM   #4
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I have to agree with LL that the subject matters a great deal, especially IMO with Pentax lenses.

They all tend towards bright rings around specular highlights (some more, some less) and they all have that annoying CA that puts green or purple halos in the bokeh. But in the right environments, they can do very well indeed.

(The Minolta 135 Smooth Transition Focus and the Nikon Defocus Control lenses provide something that I haven't seen in other lenses, so without ever owning them I really like the samples I've seen from them.)

I'm sure the 31/1.8 will come up in this conversation, so I'll post an example where it behaves well:


I happen to quite like the Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135/2.5:


And the SMC Pentax-A 50/1.2 does a fine job in most cases (this one at f/2):


I like most of the longer than 28mm Pentax lenses for most subjects, though.

--Sean

04-30-2007, 01:49 PM   #5
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I love the bokeh of the FA-100mm Macro and the 105mm Kiron/Lester Dine/Vivitar S1 lenses:

FA100mm Macro




Kiron made 105mm


04-30-2007, 01:59 PM   #6
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Bokeh is more than a completely blurred background. Recently at DPR:
WMC #50 - Theme: "Bokeh, Anyone?"
04-30-2007, 05:07 PM   #7
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Well, sure. Anything can make an out of focus image -- but not everything renders it well. As for me, I'll go with the FA 31mm f/1.8. Even with totally blown out highlights...damn that's a good lens.


And if we're feeling a little old school, there's also the Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4...
04-30-2007, 11:33 PM   #8
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Now this thread seems to turn into a bokeh showbitz.

I will add a few of mine

p.s. bokeh is the japanese word "to blurr" - an art of Japanese language to dodge or delay any real decision either in business or everyday life. Some photographers hate this word, preferring out of focus rendering or background blur. Sometimes it is safer to use these words rather than bokeh, avoiding in-fighting in fora.


DFA 100



A 200 macro





A 300 f2.8



05-01-2007, 05:55 AM   #9
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If there's one thing I've noticed it's that the high-end Pentax glass (100mm macros, teles, etc) seems to have a destinctive out-of-focus rendering style It's very pastel, broad-stroke painting esque. Minolta seems to be a bit more 'pillowy' if that makes any sense. It's hard to describe.

For what it's worth, my minolta 200/2.8 also had green rings around the OOF highlights, but was considered to be one of the better OOF renderers available. I was told the 77ltd does this as well? I think it may have less to do with the colour, and more to do with the fact that the specular highlights aren't rendered with as hard a border.

Minolta 100/2:


Here's an old shot with my 50/1.4 SMC Tak on an ESII:


**Incidentally, film rendering of OOF areas is sooooo different from digital, or so it seems. Kinda interesting, I'd like to know the science behind that...
05-01-2007, 12:33 PM   #10
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My favorite bokeh lenses

I love Pentax bokeh. Some lenses more than others. From the ones I had/have:
Pentax 77mm LTD:





Pentax DA 40mm:





DA 70mm:





05-01-2007, 01:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Now this thread seems to turn into a bokeh showbitz.

I will add a few of mine


Wow, some very nice shots roenterre, good work!!

I have an older non macro version of a Sigma 70-300 I found in a pawn shop for $90, I think the 'bokeh' is pretty good in this shot of a Rainbow Lorrikeet about to take off. Shot at full 300mm and F 5.6

From my experience, this effect seems to be as much the depth of field vs the distance of the subject to the background as much as the lens ability to create it.

Phil
Attached Images
 

Last edited by matix; 05-01-2007 at 02:08 PM.
05-02-2007, 01:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by matix Quote

From my experience, this effect seems to be as much the depth of field vs the distance of the subject to the background as much as the lens ability to create it.

Phil
Hi Phil. The creamy type of bokeh is always preferred. In your photo, that type of bokeh is always popular.

Essentially, anything that blurrs to the extent that is non-recognisable is bokeh.

Out of focus rendering
Underexposure
Narrow depth of view

All can be bokeh.

Then there are people that love ot classify bokeh: linear, pentagon, circule etc. Or people describe bokeh as harsh, creamy or whirly etc.

I thin Walter's bird shots using A* 600mm f5.6 has the best bokeh and pity he is not around to post any here


05-02-2007, 01:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
I thin Walter's bird shots using A* 600mm f5.6 has the best bokeh and pity he is not around to post any here

Would be nice to have a good long lens, I struggle with the 70-300 to get clarity. But for the price, I am happy.

P
05-02-2007, 02:43 AM   #14
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Fa 50/1.4

Always does a nice job with bokeh

05-02-2007, 07:31 AM   #15
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I've found that pleasant bokeh is more a function of the background, though the mirror lenses can have an interesting/distracting bokeh. That being said, I like the way the Bigma handles bokeh.





Here's some Pentax bokeh, from the SMC-A 135 f/2.8:

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