Best Bokeh Lenses of 2019 – Complete Buyer’s Guide

Don’t you just love the professional look of a creamy, dreamy, blurred background with a perfectly focused background?

If you want to procure the perfect bokeh effect in your photographs but are not sure how to go about it, and then read on as this article will guide you to get the best bokeh lens. You will also learn about the pros and cons of these lenses and how these lenses can help you create unforgettable images.     

Comparison of the Best Bokeh Lenses

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens

  • Best overall
  • Best wedding lens as it can shoot comfortably in low light situations
  • 85mm focal length together with excellent bokeh makes this lens perfect for portraits
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Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens

  • Runner-up
  • Hyper-Sonic Motor produces high-speed and quiet autofocus
  • Large aperture of f/1.4 allows it to work efficiently even in low light conditions
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YONGNUO YN50mm F1.8N Standard Prime Lens Large Aperture Auto Manual Focus AF MF

  • Best for the money
  • Features both auto and manual focus mode
  • F/1.8 large aperture helps create beautiful bokeh
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Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

  • Best bokeh lens Nikon
  • Nano-coating and better lens design helps to reduce flare and ghosting
  • Seamlessly switch from manual to automatic focusing with hardly any lag time
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Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens

  • Best bokeh lens Canon
  • Sophisticated optical design and sturdy construction
  • Sub Wavelength Coating that helps reduce ghosting and lens flare
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What is Bokeh?

The Japanese word Bokeh means haze or blur. It refers to the beautiful aesthetic of the out-of-focus background. The bokeh effect means that the subject is in perfect crisp focus in the foreground, while the background is a combination of muted hues and circular orbs of light.  

 In photography, the word bokeh refers to the quality of the out-of-focus blur that makes the subject seem like it is isolated from the background. It not only creates a visually appealing photograph with a creamy, soft, and beautiful background but also helps to create a sense of dimension and depth in an otherwise lackluster image.

How Does a Bokeh Lens Work?

Bokeh refers to the aesthetic or pleasing quality of out-of-focus blur that is often present in photographs, particularly in portraits and images of flowers or other natural objects. A fast lens can help achieve bokeh in a photograph – the faster the lens, the better the result.   

In order to create bokeh in your images, you should use a lens with an aperture of at least f/2.8. However, faster apertures of f/1.4, f/1.8, or f/2 are ideal for this purpose. Fast prime lenses are the preferred choice of many photographers who want their photographs to have the bokeh effect.

The size and shape of the bokeh visible in photographs greatly depend on the lens used. The shape of the diaphragm blades of the lens also affects the bokeh. A lens designed with circular shaped blades will create softer, rounder orbs of out-of-focus highlights, while the lens with a hexagonal aperture will reflect this shape in the highlights.

What to Look For When Buying a Bokeh Lens

Adding a bokeh to an image is more than just creating a pretty picture. It is about influencing the story in the image and creating a true work of art. Bokeh can either detract or contribute from the mood you are trying to evoke; therefore, it is vital to get a bokeh lens that will get you those special shots:

Focal Length

When you are in the market for a bokeh lens, it is better to get a lens with a longer focal length as it will allow you to separate the background from the subject. This means that you can zoom in and keep the subject in focus, thus creating a mesmerizing bokeh effect.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens

Aperture

Aperture is crucial in determining how many scenes you can focus on your image. A low aperture range means that only a small part of the scenery will be in focus while the rest of the image will be blurred to create a soft effect. Therefore, a lens with an aperture range of f/2.8 will be ideal for a bokeh effect. Moreover, these lenses will also be able to maintain quicker exposures in low light conditions. 

Manual Focus Override

The manual override feature allows you to manually modify the focus instead of relying on the autofocus function. This helps in providing you with more control when you are taking pictures. Moreover, you can choose which part of the image you want to focus on, thus helping you create a perfect bokeh effect.

Quick Take - Best Bokeh Lenses

Before we dive into our review, here are the best Bokeh lenses:

  1. Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens
  2. ​Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens
  3. ​YONGNUO YN50mm F1.8N Standard Prime Lens Large Aperture

Review of the Best Bokeh Lenses

In order to get bokeh in your photos, you will need an extraordinarily fast camera equipped with a wide aperture of at least f/1.8 or more. Therefore, if you want those dreamy, out-of-focus, orbs that help create amazing photos, you will need to invest in a good quality lens. Following are some great options that will not only let you take remarkable photos; they will conveniently fit in your budget also:

Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras - Fixed

PROS

  • Captures sharp images with ease
  • Ideal for sports action photography
  • USM or Ultra Sonic Motor for fast and almost-silent autofocus
  • Circular aperture and shallow depth-of-field creates beautiful bokeh
  • Improved focus mechanism which is 1.6x faster than the original lens

CONS

  • Some people find it heavy and awkward to hold

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love this lens and claim that after using this lens, they have fallen in love once again with photography. Even taking photos of simple objects such as a tree bark has made them sit up and say, wow. As soon as they held this lens in their hands, they knew that they had acquired a quality product. This lens has given them real power and has helped them keep both the clients and the models happy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We find this lens to be one of the best for portraits as it helps to keep the subject in the foreground in sharp focus. The manufacturer has paid special attention to its specifications to ensure excellent performance and durability. It is weather-sealed to protect against moisture and dust, thus enabling optimum performance in inclement weather conditions. Moreover, the floating optical system provides sharpness and clarity throughout the focusing range.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is designed while keeping professional portrait photographers in mind. It allows them to shoot fantastic photographs of weddings and get-togethers. It allows them to beautifully capture the more intimate moments of couples that they share in front of the cameras. It is also ideal for photography enthusiasts and amateur photographers as it allows them to give full reign to their creativity.  

Bottom Line

Stunning built, Super Spectra coating, optimized lens element, and many more features make this lens one of the best performers. Its excellent image quality and fantastic bokeh have made it a favorite of professional photographers. It combines an f/1.2 aperture with an 8-blade circular aperture diaphragm, which makes the background distractions disappear, resulting in some very appealing photographs.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon

PROS

  • Compatible with Optimization Pro software
  • All-metal barrel gives this lens a very solid feel
  • 9-blade diaphragm creates an attractive bokeh effect
  • Designed for both APS-C sensor and full-frame digital cameras
  • Economical product as compared to similar lenses from other manufacturers

CONS

  • Lack of rubber gasket on the mount to keep dust and debris away

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the buyers recount that they have been using different lenses for a very long time. But once they used this product, they were completely blown away by its performance. This lens allowed them to deliver the sharpest and most visually attractive portraits. This lens has become their absolute favorite because of its gorgeous bokeh and amazing sharpness. They recommend it to everyone interested in photography and claim that they will not regret their purchase.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens is by far the best lens from Sigma. We would like to applaud them for their diligence and challenging the big brands to produce a quality lens with amazing optics available at a great value. It has superb color rendition, practically no distortion, accurate and fast autofocus, and little chromatic aberration that seriously rivals exotic and expensive lenses.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is able to deliver the sharpest images and superb color rendition, making it suitable for anyone who wants to take amazingly good and memorable pictures. It is solidly built, thus making it a safe investment. Whether you are a new mom or an experienced photographer, this lens is just right for you.

Bottom Line

This lens is a great product with many outstanding features. Its metal construction ensures durability while its performance is optically astonishing. It is not only perfect for low-light photography, but this lens also provides a shallow depth of field, thus effectively isolating subjects from the background to create beautiful bokeh. It is available at a price that is lower than other similar lenses.  

YONGNUO YN50mm F1.8N Standard Prime Lens Large Aperture Auto Manual Focus AF MF for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Supports APS-C and full-frame cameras
  • Excellent prime lens at an unbelievable price
  • Notable addition to the Nikon 12-50mm lens kit
  • Lightweight, thus it is convenient for outdoor shooting
  • Perfect for wedding photography, street photography, or everyday use

CONS

  • Absence of manual focus override while in autofocus
  • Absence of weather seal can be damaging for the lens

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are amazed by the quality of the pictures that this lens can produce at such an amazingly low price. They claim that this is a fantastic purchase for people looking for a good quality camera while saving money. They were very impressed with its quality and claim that you cannot go wrong when you buy this product.    

Why it Stands Out to Us

This lens has a build quality, which is comparable to the quality of Nikon, which we find totally amazing. It has a built-in focus motor that automatically focuses on all Nikon SLR cameras. Its fast autofocus speed gives it tenacity and precision. It is able to produce sharp pictures with stunning bokeh and hardly any distortion.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is perfect for beginners and photography students who are on a budget. Its large aperture makes it ideal for low-light and street photography; therefore, it can be a valuable addition for a photography enthusiast. As it is compatible with a number of Nikon digital SLR cameras, it is highly suitable for professionals as well as for everyday use.

Bottom Line

This is a fantastic lens that will become a valuable asset in your photography. Its versatility and durability will let you take memorable shots for many years. It provides a captivating bokeh without proving a burden on your pocket. Moreover, after comparing the pictures from this lens with other expensive lenses, you will not find a significant difference.

Best Bokeh Lens Nikon:
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Fast and accurate autofocus
  • Balances well with any DX camera
  • Rubber gasket protects it against dust
  • Excellent optical lens which renders beautiful bokeh
  • Focus ring can be easily focused with just the thumb and index fingers

CONS

  • Not suitable for moving objects

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are so pleased with this product that they advise potential buyers to stop reading the reviews and order this amazing product immediately. They find this lens to be the sharpest and cleanest they have ever used, and they claim that this lens is pure magic. Moreover, they love this lens so much that after using it once, they have not taken it off their cameras.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We find this product to be an excellent performer, which helps create unforgettable pictures. It is a compact and lightweight portrait lens that is compatible with any Nikon DSLR. It is able to take beautiful shots with plenty of colors, contrast, and sharpness. It delivers impressive autofocus performance and accurate results irrespective of the Nikon DSLR it is attached to.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is exactly what portrait photographers want in their portrait lenses. It boasts unmatched performance in terms of bokeh and color. It also shows great contrast and resolution at all apertures, particularly wide open, thus making it one of the best bokeh lenses. Its fantastic performance under any lighting conditions makes it a popular choice among professionals and hobbyists alike.

Bottom Line

This versatile lens is able to hold its own in various shooting situations. From weddings to concerts to portraits, this lens is able to perform brilliantly in every situation and delivers stunning pictures with a natural background blur that makes even the simplest subject stand out. Its superior performance and solid build make it the best lens for every occasion.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens - Fixed - 2750B002

PROS

  • UD glass lens helps reduce aberrations
  • Ring-type USM for quiet and quick autofocus
  • Fast f/1.4 aperture for controlling depth of field
  • Internal floating focus to maintain superior image quality
  • Features color neutrality and improved contrast in different lighting conditions

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers find this product totally amazing and advice all the people who are in the market for a prime lens to get this product. It is able to take amazing pictures, especially in crowded environments, thus allowing users to get really close to their subjects. They are completely happy with their purchase as this versatile lens has allowed them to excel not only in portrait photography but product and lifestyle photography as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Waterproof and dustproof construction, improved image quality, minimized ghosting and flare, reduced chromatic aberrations are just some of the features that we love about this product. it is designed with a special coating that reduces flare caused by extreme off-angle light rays while the Super Spectra multi-coating gives this lens resistance to internal reflections.

Who Will Use This Most

Photographers who are going to be shooting in low-light conditions will find this to be an excellent choice. Its dust and weatherproof features make it a perfect lens for landscape and wildlife photography. Its circular aperture helps to deliver exceptional bokeh making it an excellent option for everyone interested in photography.

Bottom Line

This lens from Canon is a great wide-angle lens with Subwavelength structure coating and UD glass lens. It is by far the best-built and best-performing autofocus 24mm lens that helps photographers produce stunning compositions. With this lens, you can try any type of photography and achieve magnificent results.  

Pros and Cons of Bokeh Lenses

A photographer has a number of lenses in his arsenal. However, having a bokeh lens is vital to get the most amazing pictures as it gives users the following benefits:

Pros

A bokeh lens comes with several advantages:

Memorable Pictures

Bokeh can help enhance the theme and aesthetic of your images, whether video or stills. A bokeh effect can really make a picture look pretty and can take a boring subject and change it into Instagram gold.

Enhanced Creativity

Striving for the best bokeh effect can help enhance your creativity. You can create soft and nice backgrounds, thus making your shots stand out from millions of images shared online. When photographed purposely, these out-of-focus images can become amazing art pieces.

Extraordinary Portraits

Bokeh is particularly effective in close-ups and portraits. You can take impressive photos of weddings and family gatherings as they showcase bokeh very well. In addition, macro images of flowers and insects also make great subjects that show off bokeh splendidly.

Cons

A bokeh lens comes with a few disadvantages:

Requires a Lot of Practice

The shot where bokeh does not distract from the image but draws your eyes to the subject can be quiet difficult to achieve. You may need to practice extensively before you can get it right.

Conclusion

If you want to create an attractive blur in your photos, then you should invest in a good quality bokeh lens. We have listed the best lens choices here so that you can find one that is compatible with your camera. Before investing in a model, make sure that you read the above article so that once you start taking pictures with bokeh, you will not be disappointed with your choice.

People Also Ask

Searching for the best bokeh lens can get quiet technical; that is why people like to search online extensively before choosing a product that fits their requirements. They read the online reviews of lenses manufactured by various companies and like to compare the features of the different models. In addition to the above information, they also ask the following questions: 

Why is it Called Bokeh?

Bokeh is derived from the Japanese word ‘boke’ which means haze or blur. It is the quality of the blur present in parts of a photo that are not in focus. The soft bokeh effect contrasts exquisitely with the sharpness of the subject present in the foreground, thus making the photo captivating and memorable.

How Do You Maximize Bokeh?

To maximize bokeh in your photographs, you can increase the distance between the background and your subject. This can be achieved by decreasing the distance between the subject and the camera. The further the background, the shallower the depth-of-depth, the more pronounced the bokeh effect will be. You can also add a backlight or a hair light to make the bokeh more pleasing to the eye.  

How to Pronounce Bokeh

Some people pronounce it as ‘boo-key,’ some ‘bouquet,’ and some say it as ‘bok-uh.’ However, the correct pronunciation is BOH-Kə or BOH-kay.