Among photographers, no matter a newbie or a professional, bokeh has always been a fascination. However, bokeh shots are now easy to take with your smartphones, but the lenses matter a lot when it comes to digital SLR cameras. For close bokeh shots, the prime lenses are ideal but to take pro-level shots like birding, sports photography, or wildlife; you need zoom lenses.
And, Nikon makes the best lenses for bokeh, as always. But, which one to buy among the hundreds available? No worries, we are at your aid. in this article, we’ve listed some of the best performing Nikon lenses for bokeh. Both prime and zoom lenses with plenty of different features are on the list. Also, you will get every detail about bokeh and an essential buying guide on the go. So, let’s give them a check!
What Is Bokeh
Bokeh is used in photography to describe the aesthetic quality of the blur in an image. The word “bokeh” derives from Japanese, which is a play on the words (beautiful woman), and (warm). It is the visual effect achieved when the out-of-focus elements of an image appear to become separate from the focused elements. It can be created by any number of factors, including the distance between the lens and the subject, the shape of the lens and its aperture, and the angle at which light is hitting the camera sensor.
Bokeh is an interesting subject with many different interpretations. One of the earliest mentions of bokeh in photography is by photographer William Henry Fox Talbot, an early contributor to The Gentlemen’s Magazine. In an article dating from 1845, Talbot describes the “dazzling” quality of a photographic image and quotes John Herschel as saying that “the eye would sometimes lose one half its power of vision in admiring [the] rich, bright and richly varied tints .”
Difference Between A Good And Bad Bokeh
In photography, bokeh refers to the blurry background elements in a photograph. There are two main types of bokeh: good and bad.
A good bokeh photo has a smooth, pleasing background blur. On the other hand, a bad bokeh photo has an unnatural look with harsh edges around the objects in the foreground. It can be difficult to achieve good bokeh without using special equipment or techniques, but there are some simple things you can do to improve your chances.
There are a few key differences between a good and bad bokeh photo. Good bokeh is usually soft and out of focus. Bad bokeh is usually sharp and in focus. The good bokeh photo has a blurred background. The bad bokeh photo has a focused foreground.
10 Best Lenses For Bokeh Photography
Bokeh, or the out-of-focus areas of an image, is a key attribute of photography and can be used to create beautiful effects. If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level, here are ten lenses that will help create stunning bokeh shots.
1. Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX
Clicking bokeh shots is not a tough job when you have this Nikon 35mm prime lens in your kit. With the faster aperture of f/1.8G, this lens is good enough to take bokeh shots where the subject remains crystal clear with beautiful shapes in the background.
Moreover, this lens is specially designed for Nikon DX-format DSLRs. So, you do not have to worry about buying a highly expensive machine to use this lens for your bokeh shots. Also, the lenses are specially coated with Super Integrated Coating, also known as SIC, so you get a chance to click flare-free shots.
In addition, the light transmission is so efficient during use that you can take perfect wildlife shots of a moving subject easily. And the aspherical lens elements are so updated in this lens that it keeps the integrity of the image intact.
Additionally, if you are concerned about the vibrations when taking shots, the Nikon silent wave motor is used in this lens. Overall, you will be able to take quieter shots with improved speed and real perfection. If you consider taking some close flower or insect shots, this lens can capture from 1 foot.
Overall, this compact lens is a must-have for all professionals and newcomers in the photography world. However, one disappointment you might face is that it is only designed for Nikon DX-format DSLRs. Aside from that, with all the features and affordable prices, this one is one of the best lenses for bokeh effect.
- Sharp and clear images.
- Free of distortion.
- Creamy smooth bokeh.
- Not for professional use
2. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus
Nikon’s latest 35mm f 1.8 lens is a great addition to any photographer’s equipment arsenal. With its fast autofocus and sharp optics, this lens is perfect for capturing wildlife or action shots.
Also, this DX-format lens has a focal length range of 35 mm, allowing you to capture wide-angle shots or close-up portraits with amazing detail. While not as popular as more common focal lengths, the 35-millimeter lens can offer a unique perspective on photography. Therefore, the greater the focal length, the closer objects will appear in focus.
Additionally, This lens is often referred to as a ‘rear focusing’ lens because it has a rear focus system that allows for manual focus override. This feature can be helpful when shooting videos or taking stills in close quarters where an autofocus system may not be able to lock onto the subject.
Furthermore, the Silent Wave Motor AF system from Tamron accepts screw-on filters. This construction allows various filter types, including rotating grads and neutral density ( ND ) filters. Also, the lens has an 8-elements-in-6-groove structure that produces high-resolution images.
Alongside, this lens is functional with the DX crop mode. The DX crop mode in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and earlier allows users to capture the full image resolution of their source document while still preserving the document’s aspect ratio. As a result, you can save a lot of space by cropping your images without losing any information.
Anyway, this camera lens is not zoomable, which can be a problem for photographers who like to take wide shots or want to use the camera’s telephoto setting for close-ups. Some camera models, such as the Canon Rebel T6i, have a fixed lens that doesn’t change in size when you zoom in or out. So if you need to take a picture at a distance and then move closer for a better view, you might have to use your digital zoom feature. On the whole, this is one of the best Nikon lenses for blurry backgrounds.
- Easy to mount.
- Captures bokeh with a creamy background.
- Enables DX crop mode.
- Only compatible with Nikon DSLR cameras.
3. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f 1.8G Lens is a popular lens for photographers who want to take beautiful photos with a shallow depth of field. This lens has several features that make it perfect for photographers, such as a fast aperture and vibration reduction technology. It’s also lightweight and compact, which makes it easy to carry around and use.
Surprisingly, Nikon’s new FX-format camera lineup is packed with great options for shooters who want the best in fast and upgraded optics. One of the newest additions to the lineup is Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. Moreover, with a picture angle of 135 degrees, this lens offers a great balance of wide-angle and shallow depth of field capabilities that are perfect for shooting photos and videos with a single body. In addition, its compact size makes it an ideal companion for shooting street or landscape photography, where portability is key.
Also, the Focal Length 50mm lens is a great starting point for photography enthusiasts and amateur photographers looking to take pictures with a wide-angle perspective. This lens has a minimum focus distance of 1.48 feet (0.45 meters), making it easy to get close to your subject without losing focus.
Additionally, the Focal Length 50mm lens is compatible with most DSLR cameras, making it an ideal option for beginner photographers. The Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) is also exclusive to this system and is said to provide fast, silent autofocus.
But, this lens is not zoomable, which would be a big drawback for any photographer looking to use it for close-up photography or shooting video. While some photographers may not mind not being able to zoom the lens, others may find this limitation a deal breaker when considering Nikon’s other available lenses.
- Compact size fits in any kit.
- Affordable price range.
- Has a proper aperture value.
- Lens is not zoomable.
4. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus
Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f 1.8G fixed lens is a high-quality lens with great autofocus performance. This lens is perfect for shooting photos and videos with subjects in close proximity, as it has a fast autofocus rate that makes it easy to get your shots accurately in focus. In addition, the 85mm focal length is versatile and can be used for various photography situations.
This lens has an Internal focus, meaning that the focus is within the lens itself. It also has a focal length of 85 millimeters, making it a good option for portraits and other close-up shots.
Alongside this, the Silent Wave Motor technology is used in this lens to reduce camera noise. The lens is also equipped with a nine-blade diaphragm which supposedly results in sharper images and less distortion than other lenses of its type.
Nikon’s AF-S 85mm fixed lens is designed for Nikon DSLR cameras that support the AF-S autofocus system. The lens has a filter-attachment size of 67 millimeters and features a focus mode switch to help you easily change between autofocus and manual focusing.
Moreover, this lens has a Nikon super integrated coating that helps to keep the lens clean and free of fingerprints. The Vibration Reduction system helps reduce image blur caused by camera shake, while the SteadyShot image stabilization system keeps your photos accurate even when you’re shooting handheld.
Additionally, the lens offers great value and performance for those looking for a fixed focal length lens. Aimed squarely at enthusiast photographers, the 85mm f 1.8G is a fast lens that produces great images with minimal distortion and flare. The lightweight and durable construction ensures years of use and makes this swirly bokeh lens a great choice for travel photography or everyday shooting.
- Lowest aperture rate as a fixed lens.
- Captures the exact color.
- Good for wildlife shots.
- Autofocusing is sometimes lacking.
5. Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G
Nikon’s AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm Fixed Zoom Lens is perfect for capturing beautiful close-ups and portraits. With a focal length of 85mm, this lens offers a wide-angle perspective that can capture more of your subject. Additionally, the fixed zoom allows consistent framing even when shooting from afar. So whether you’re shooting landscapes or snapshots of friends and family, this lens is an excellent choice for your photography needs.
Also, this 85mm lens is the perfect choice for close-up photography, nature photography, portrait photography, and general shooting. Its small size and light weight make it ideal for handheld shooting, while its wide focal range makes it perfect for capturing various scenes. With its fast autofocus and excellent image quality, this lens is perfect for anyone looking to capture stunning photos with minimal hassle.
Accordingly, this is a great lens for photographers who need to be close to their subjects but don’t want to miss details. It has a fixed focal length of 50mm, so you’ll be able to get close without having to worry about changing lenses. This lens also has a close focusing capability of 0.9 feet, which means you’ll be able to capture all the detail in your subject without having to move too far away from them. And this zoom lens is versatile and comes with Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image S.
Nikon has several lenses designed for photographers who want to capture stunning images and videos with minimal distortion. The Nikon Fixed Zoom Lens is no exception. This lens features an extra-low dispersion (ED) element that helps to reduce the amount of distortion that can occur in photos and videos. In addition, this lens is also designed for use with Nikon’s digital SLR cameras, making it the perfect choice for anyone looking for a high-quality lens solution.
This Nikon zoom lens features an exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM). This technology allows fast and quiet autofocusing, making it perfect for shooting videos or stills.
- Excellent vibration reduction.
- No click sound during shots.
- Closest shot-taking ability.
- The zoom range is fixed.
6. NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S Standard Fast Prime Lens
Nikon’s 50mm standard fast prime lens is perfect for capturing candid shots and portraits. This lens has a wide aperture that allows you to create vivid backgrounds and shallow depth of field, giving your images a professional look. The 50mm also has a durable construction that will last long while providing excellent performance.
Also, this Fast Prime lens is designed for use with the latest Z-series mirrorless cameras. It features a fast maximum aperture of f/1.8, making it a great choice for shooting in low-light conditions. The lens also has a rounded 9-blade diaphragm that creates smooth bokeh effects, making it ideal for portraits and other close-up photography.
In addition, The lens features a fast f 1.8 aperture and provides outstanding image quality, making it perfect for shooting low-light scenes or capturing action objects in sharp detail. With its small size and lightweight design, the Z 50mm is also a great option for photographers on the go.
Nikon’s new ultra-quiet stepping motor for silent focusing in this lens allows photographers to focus quickly and accurately with little noise. This new motor provides a faster, quieter, and more precise focusing experience than previous models, making it an ideal choice for photographers shooting videos or stills with fast-moving subjects.
This standard fast prime lens is perfect for capturing beautiful bokeh and excellent low-light photography. With its wide aperture, this lens can create a blurred background effect, making your images look more professional. Additionally, the fast autofocus mechanism makes it easy to capture sharp photos and videos.
Overall, a compact, lightweight, and slim unibody lens offers advanced optical performance. This Prime Lens is perfect for capturing crisp images in low-light conditions. Finally, the lens features a durable build that makes it perfect for everyday use.
- The lowest apertures make bokeh better.
- The imitation of light is sharp.
- Proper shapes in the bokeh background.
- The price is a bit higher.
7. Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G Compact Wide-angle Prime Lens
If you’re looking for a lens to take your photography skills to the next level, then the Nikon 28mm Compact Wide-angle Prime Lens is perfect. This lens is great for capturing scenic landscapes, architecture, and close-ups of people or animals. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, this Prime Lens is a great choice to help you take your photos to the next level.
Moreover, this prime lens has a faster aperture of f/1.8 means you can easily capture any moving subject with ease. Also, the 7 diaphragm blades are used in this device, so you get a perfect light projection through the lenses. And the shutter speed is potentially remarkable in its performance.
However, one big issue with this lens is that it is designed to be mounted on Nikon FX-format D-SLRs. So, you get fewer options to use in other brand cameras. But, this problem is not so much as it is a beginner-level lens, and Nikon makes budget-friendly DSLRs.
Beforehand the mirrors in this lens are all nano crystal coated so that you will see less flare, and the light will be at its brightest. Additionally, the aspheric lens elements ensure superior built quality with longer endurance.
This prime lens has Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC); this SIC offers improved image quality over regular coatings and helps prevent ghosting and flaring. But this lens is not zoomable, so you must take shots from an instructed distance; otherwise, you will not get good shots.
- Settles properly in the kit.
- Beginners find it easy to install.
- Comes within an affordable price range.
- Built quality is not very satisfactory.
8. NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 Compact Lens for Nikon Z
Nikon’s newest professional zoom lens is the Nikkor Z 24-200mm Compact Telephoto Zoom. This lens has a fast f/2.8 aperture and provides a range of coverage from 24-480mm in focal length. It is also designed with Nikon’s mirrorless cameras and features a compact, lightweight design that makes it perfect for travel or everyday shooting.
Also, the lens features Nikon technologies, including Aspherical Lens Elements, ED Glass Elements, and ARNEO Coatings. These technologies help to minimize chromatic aberration and distortions while providing high optical performance. As a result, this lens is perfect for capturing stunning images with clarity and vibrancy.
Besides, the built-in image stabilization helps keep pictures smooth and free from blur, even when you don’t have a tripod or other steadying device. So whether you’re shooting in low light or trying to avoid the dreaded shaky hand syndrome, your lens can help.
Therefore, the customizable, clickless control ring comprises a series of soft buttons that you can easily access with your thumb or fingers. In addition, this ring can be attached to the camera body or lens, allowing you to change settings without taking your eyes off the photo you’re shooting. This design is perfect for people who want to quickly access common settings without having to take their hands off the camera.
And optical image stabilization is a technology that uses cameras to compensate for the camera’s motion. You can use this for still images and videos with digital and film cameras. It can help to reduce the effects of camera shake, which can cause blurry or unusable photos or videos.
Optical zoom is a feature that allows cameras to enlarge an image captured by the lens to create a closer view of what is being photographed. Zoom lenses are attached to cameras with a digital camera sensor and allow for a variable range of magnification. You can adjust this magnification by pressing or pulling the zoom ring on the lens barrel.
- Extraordinary aperture scale.
- Captures every detail of the subject.
- Clicks the smoothest wildlife bokeh.
- Not made for close bokeh shots.
9. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens
For professionals looking for an extraordinary lens to capture fast-moving subjects with bokeh, this zoom lens by Nikon is an amazing choice. This one is a telephoto lens with 500mm zooming ability and is specially designed for outdoor photography. Also, the autofocus capability of this lens will give you the fluency to take shots without thinking about focusing on your own.
Also, this Zoom Lens is designed for Nikon DX digital SLRs. And it has a powerful, variable aperture range of f/5.6 to f/8, making it an ideal choice for shooting in lower light conditions or when you want to create images with a shallow depth of field. In addition, the lens’s telecentric construction produces superior image quality and distortion-free images.
Moreover, this zoom lens is perfect for birding, wildlife, motorsports, and events. With a focal length of 300mm, the lens is great for capturing sharp images of close-up subjects. In addition, the compact size makes it great for carrying around on your trips, and its fast autofocus makes it easy to take clear photos of fast-moving subjects.
Accordingly, this Nikon Zoom Lens has a minimum focus distance of 7.2 feet, making it perfect for wildlife or sports photography. Additionally, the lens features a powerful autofocus system and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens element for superior image quality.
This Nikon Zoom Lens has 4.5 stops of vibration reduction with sports mode. This increases the stability of the shot and minimizes the chance of blur in low-light situations.
- Amazing zooming performance.
- Ability to capture fast-moving objects.
- Gives sharp and crisp images.
- Only for professional use.
10. NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless Cameras
Nikon’s 24-70mm zoom lens is perfect for photographers who need a versatile and long-lasting lens to capture beautiful photos and videos with their Nikon Z mirrorless cameras. With its standard zoom range, this lens can cover a wide variety of shooting scenarios, making it an ideal choice for everyday photography.
Moreover, the maximum aperture of this lens ranges at the constant value of f/2.8. And, the value remains consistent up to the highest zooming range so that you will get the best notes without distortion. Also, the exposure of lights through the lens is properly reflected through the eyepiece means you can click what you see.
Furthermore, the lens incorporates an all-new Multi-Focusing System consisting of 2 AF drive units. This system allows fast and accurate focusing even when shooting in low light conditions. Additionally, the lens features Nano Crystal Coating that helps to reduce ghosting and flare.
Furthermore, Nikon’s STM autofocusing system provides smooth, fast, and quiet operation. The autofocus system uses a stepping motor to move the mirror in and out, allowing the camera to focus on the subject quickly and accurately.
This zoom lens is extensively sealed to keep dust and moisture out, especially around all moving parts. This gives the shooter peace of mind when taking photos in dusty or wet environments and avoids any potential problems during photography sessions.
- Gives the proper wildlife shots.
- Has superior weather protection.
- Durable built quality.
- Only works with Z mirrorless cameras.
Proper Camera Settings For Bokeh Photography
The best bokeh shots demand the proper camera settings. However, the bokeh camera settings are not so tough, and mostly the lens matters more than the camera’s settings. You must ensure that you have a high-quality prime lens or a zoom lens with professional features. Prime lenses will help you take close shots, and zoom lenses will be helpful for wildlife, sports, and other bokeh shots. And the minimal camera settings you have to apply are:
- Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode. And set the lowest aperture possible on your camera. This will help the camera focus on the subject and capture the best resolution.
- Keep at least 5-6 feet from the subject if you use a zoom lens and set the aperture between f/1.2 and f/1.8.
- Try to maintain maximum distance between the subject and the background and close to the lens.
- Finally, give the camera a test and click your bokeh. Suppose you get proper smoothness in the blurred background and sharpness in the subject. You are all set to go.
Things to Consider When Best Lens For Bokeh Photography
When it comes to bokeh photography, the lens is one of the most important components of your camera. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right lens for your needs, including focal length, aperture, and bokeh quality. Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a lens for bokeh photography:
1. Focal length
The lens’s focal length will determine how wide or narrow the aperture is open at any given time, affecting how much light enters the camera and the overall image quality. For example, a wide-angle lens will let more light pass through and decrease the depth of field, while a telephoto lens will have a smaller aperture and require more light to make an image. As Canon says, “The longer the focal length, the more visible the bokeh effect and vice versa.”
The aperture is the opening of an optical device that lets light in. There are several different apertures, including f/1.4, f/2.8, and f/4. Generally speaking, the larger the number (like f/1. ƒ 2.8), the larger the aperture, and the more light is allowed to make an image. Conversely, the smaller the number (like f ƒ 4), the smaller the aperture, and less light will be allowed to make an image.
3. Diaphragm Blades
Lenses come in many shapes and sizes. But the shape of the diaphragm blades affects the final product-namely and how blurry or clear a photo will be. For example, a more circular shape gives you a whiter image, while a more oval shape yields a darker image.
4. Type Of Lens
Photography has three main types of lenses: zoom lenses, prime lenses, and a mix of the two. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know which one is best for your needs. For example, zooming in and out can be helpful when you need to get close to a subject or move far away from it, but prime lenses generally produce sharper images with less distortion. They’re also good for taking Bokeh shots because they provide a narrow-angle of view that creates a more flattering composition.
So, the best Nikon lenses for bokeh photography aren’t hard to find if you know where to look. Also, it is essential to know the features you need for bokeh, which we discussed in the buying guide. Yet if you find it hard to choose one for yours, we suggest the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus as the ideal choice. This camera is affordable in price and has proper aperture value for clicking bokeh. Also, the autofocus feature makes it possible for everyone to get an immediate focus on the subject.