In photography, bokeh refers to the quality of the blur in out-of-focus parts of the image, for instance, the background. An image looks really great when a sharp subject in the foreground contrasts with the soft, creamy bokeh in the background.
Using your skills, an appropriate camera and bokeh lenses, you will easily achieve this effect. However, mind that the lens should be very fast and with a wide aperture (at least f/1.8 or more).
As have been mentioned before, you need to use a prime lens with a wide maximum aperture. These optics are ideal to create portraits, weddings, still lifes or street photography. The bokeh camera lens will help you achieve great results highlighting the subject and blurring the background.
Professional shooters appreciate such creamy and soft blur in the frame. I have compiled the list of the best bokeh lenses that will help you create this effect and described their pros and cons in the post below.
Mount: F| Diaphragm blades: 11| Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 70cm | Max magnification: 0.25× | Filter thread: 60 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 135 mm | Weight: 950 g
⊕ Great aperture
⊕ Fast autofocus
⊕ Classic portrait focal length
⊕ Declickable aperture ring
⊖ No optical stabilization
The Sony FE 135mm F1.8 G is a full-frame lens with a narrow depth of field. This bokeh camera lens features a modern optical design that maintains high corner-to-corner resolution throughout the focus range, even at f/1.8 maximum aperture. It has XA, Super ED and ED glass elements along with four XD linear focus motors to drive two focus groups for fast, quiet and precise autofocus.
XA elements have extremely high surface precision that allows for careful control over spherical aberration. Combined with an 11-blade circular aperture mechanism, it produces impressively smooth and elegant G Master bokeh. In such a way, the creative potential of the narrow depth of field is maximized.
Mount: F | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 40cm | Max magnification: 0.18x | Filter thread: 30 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 50 mm | Weight: 1.80 lbs
⊕ Extremely sharp
⊕ Minimal distortion
⊕ Compatible with several camera systems
⊖ Omits optical stabilization
To set a new standard for the Art line, developers modernized and improved the basic Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM. This 50mm prime lens with a wide f/1.4 aperture is a professional model. It works great for portraits, landscapes, studio or street shots.
This bokeh camera lens features a Hyper Sonic Motor that provides quiet, smooth and accurate auto-focusing. Thanks to special low-dispersion glass and Super Multi-Layer coating, it can be considered as one of the most useful DSLR bokeh lenses.
Even at wide apertures, 13 elements in 8 groups allow for unsurpassed performance. Close-up photography is easily managed with a minimum focusing distance of 40cm.
Mount: F | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 0.5m | Max magnification: 0.22x | Filter thread: 37 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 45mm | Weight: g
⊕ Impressive bokeh
⊕ Professional portraits
⊕ ZERO coating
⊖ Not found
The Olympus M.Zuiko has all the necessary characteristics to be called one of the best lenses for bokeh effect. It has a wide f/1.8 aperture and a relatively shallow depth of field. 45mm is enough to capture sharp subjects and soft, blurred objects in the background.
It is a compact and light telephoto lens featuring an ideal focal length for taking pro-level portraits. Thanks to its bright f/1.8 aperture, you will get superb low-light and shallow depth-of-field performance.
This model features a Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) linear drive motor offering fast, almost silent focusing and aperture performance, so it is definitely the best bokeh lens for any videographer. What is more, this lens is ideal for any lighting conditions. Whether you are in a dimly lit cafe or the night street, you will get enough light to capture a high-quality shot.
Mount: F | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 85 cm | Max magnification: 0.12× | Filter thread: 39 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 85 mm | Weight: 2.49 lbs
⊕ Decent photo quality
⊕ Impressive auto-focus
⊕ Great sharpness
⊖ Not weather resistant, but weather sealed
The Sigma 85mm F1.4 creates an amazing bokeh effect that will leave no one indifferent. You can focus on the pupil of the model and blur the eyelashes. What is more, the focus area is extremely high resolution.
There are 14 lens elements in 12 groups; such structure brings the ultra-high resolution of the lens. That is why it is the best bokeh lens for full-frame DSLRs with a resolution of 50MP and more. Thanks to the impressive resolving power and minimized chromatic aberration, it is a great option for portraits.
Mount: FX | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 1.0 m | Max magnification: 0.13x | Filter thread: 82 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 105 mm | Weight: 2.17 lbs
⊕ Creates perfect portraits
⊕ Gorgeous background defocus
⊕ Great image quality
⊖ Focuses rather slowly
The Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E is an ideal combination of the optical precision, distortion correction and craftsmanship. Regardless of lighting conditions, its fast maximum aperture will help you create professional portraits and capture indoor sports. It is a great lens for blurred background that will help you portray a model with three-dimensional fidelity.
If you pair it with a Nikon’s full-frame (FX) high-resolution DSLR, you will get ultra-high definition across the entire frame. Thanks to three Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) elements, chromatic aberration, ghosting and flare are minimized. Maximum contrast is achieved through Nano Crystal Coat (N) that outperforms traditional anti-reflection coatings.
Mount: ZF | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 80cm. | Max magnification: 0.13x. | Filter thread: 69 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 85mm | Weight: 4.75 pounds
⊕ Almost no chromatic aberrations
⊕ Nearly no distortion
⊖ Only manual focus
Being the best short telephoto lens in the world, the ZEISS Otus 1.4/85 also delivers great performance when it comes to bokeh effects. This model is designed in the best tradition of ZEISS.
It is a perfect solution for portraits guaranteeing the best quality of the final result. Its large initial aperture will help you perfectly highlight the subject and blur the background. Almost all kinds of aberration are eliminated thanks to optical correction features.
In general, this bokeh camera lens will become your great helper in creating amazing bokeh effects.
Mount: EF | Diaphragm blades: 7 | Autofocus: good | Min focus distance: 0.35m | Max magnification: 0.21x | Filter thread: 36 mm | Dimensions (WxL): 50 mm | Weight: 5.60 ounces
⊕ Silent, smooth video focus
⊕ Not expensive
⊖ Modest barrel distortion
In comparison with the standard zoom lens, the wide f/1.8 aperture lets in more than 8x the amount of light. As a result, you get sharper pics with less motion blur.
Moreover, thanks to this feature you don’t have to use flash in the situation when there isn’t enough light. This 50mm bokeh lens allows you to take photographs from a comfortable distance. It features an almost silent STM (Stepping Motor) technology that allows fast focusing while shooting photographs.
You can immediately react and capture the fleeting moments. Finally, it is a great model to shoot videos since STM provides steady and quiet continuous focusing.
Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GOur choice
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Sigma 50mm F1.4High quality
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Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8Compact
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The aperture width is very important for the quality of the image. This parameter denotes how much light enters the lens and forms images. Therefore, consider this feature while choosing the lens for blurred background. F/2, f/1.8, and f/1.4 are perfect aperture widths for an impressive bokeh.
The next parameter that also influences the bokeh quality is the focal length. The only thing you should know here is that the greater the focal length, the better the blur. If you are looking for a bokeh effect lens, consider only those with greater focal length.
Make sure to pay attention to the speed of a lens. It also contributes to the final result. The greater the speed, the better bokeh you get.
To make the background blurry, you should have the maximal focus on your main object. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a bokeh camera lens with greater focus.
Of course, you can. Although the long focal length on a telephoto lens will not create more blur, it will make the background appear closer. Unlike short lenses, telephoto models create a more exaggerated blur.
If your camera has a 1.5x crop factor, you may use lenses with the following equivalent focal lengths: 11mm, 24mm, 50mm and 100mm.
It depends on your preferences. For instance, the best lenses for bokeh effect have nine aperture blades; ordinary ones ‒ seven. Consequently, if you are looking for a cheap lens, you will get six blades.
This parameter does not influence the quality of a bokeh effect. As a rule, lenses with wide apertures give you fast shutter speed. However, mind that it is not recommended to use fast shutter speeds if you shoot at night or in poor lighting conditions.