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The Best Bokeh Lenses: 10 Lenses for Beautiful Backgrounds

If you want to capture photos with gorgeous, creamy bokeh, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we share the best bokeh lenses on the market in 2021 – the lenses that are capable of jaw-dropping background (and foreground!) blur. We include a mix of Canon, Nikon, and Sony models, so that no matter your brand preference, there’s a lens here for you.

Are you ready to create pro-level, bokeh-tastic photos? Let’s get started.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Canon RF Pick
A brilliant all-around lens for Canon full-frame mirrorless cameras
Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM
One of the best Canon portrait lenses
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Canon EF Pick
Excellent for wide-angle photography and smooth bokeh effects
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Budget Pick
A great budget option for photography beginners
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED Nikon AF-S Pick
A great lens for wildlife, sports, and events photography
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S
A versatile lens for numerous types of photography
Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Nikon Z Pick
Supreme bokeh quality and low-light performance
Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM
Fantastic for wide-angle shots and close-ups
Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM
Another excellent portrait lens for wedding and event photography
Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM
A high-quality telephoto lens with a superior build quality

1. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Canon RF Pick
Great for general photography

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a high-quality lens capable of beautiful bokeh effects at close distances.

Programmable control ring
Brilliant f/1.2 maximum aperture
Durable build quality
No image stabilization

Let’s start with the newer Canon RF lens series, where one of the best bokeh lenses available is the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM. It’s a durable, premium lens, one that benefits from Canon’s top-quality RF-mount technology plus its L-series upgrades.

The 50mm focal distance is great for portraits, casual shooting, and even still-life and photography of objects like flowers and plants. And the large maximum aperture of f/1.2 and rounded aperture blades will ensure exceptional bokeh effects.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens, Black (2959C002)

Thanks to the top-notch lens construction, you can also expect your main subject to be pin-sharp; the lens elements reduce distortions and provide photos with excellent colors and sharpness.

As with other Canon RF-mount lenses, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM also has a programmable control ring, which you can set to control the aperture when creating a bokeh effect.

2. Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Great for low-light portraits

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM excels at low-light photography, and can create beautiful bokeh in nighttime scenes.

Advanced lens elements to reduce distortion
Great low-light performance
Dust- and water-resistant body
Relatively expensive

Next, we move on to the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM. It’s one of the best Canon RF lenses for portrait photography, and could also be an excellent choice for event photography like weddings and parties. Why? For one, the 85mm focal length is ideal, plus you get a maximum f/1.2 aperture and superior L-series build.

Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM Lens, Black

Thanks to the large maximum aperture, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM performs well in low light. You can use it to create amazing bokeh effects at night using external lights such as street lamps.

This premium lens also has special blue spectrum refractive optics as well as aspheric and UD lens elements. As a result, you can expect virtually no chromatic aberration and incredibly sharp photos.

We also like that this lens has a decent minimum focusing distance of 2.79 ft which means you can still get relatively close to your subject for greater detail, background separation, and bokeh.

3. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Canon EF Pick
Great for wide-angle bokeh shots

The Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 II USM is a well-rounded wide-angle lens capable of amazing bokeh effects.

High-quality design and lens elements
Great maximum aperture of f/1.4
Uses the Ring-USM autofocus system
Not the most compact lens

If you have a traditional Canon DSLR, check out our top EF pick, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM. It’s an excellent Canon lens and offers some of the best wide-angle bokeh photography on the market.

This L-series prime lens features fantastic build quality and the signature L-series design. It is weather-sealed and is both dust- and water-resistant. As a result, however, it is on the heftier side.

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

At 24mm, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM is perfect for wide-angle photography. You can create photos that show more of the background in comparison to the focal subject, though you also have the option to enhance the bokeh (an effect that is enhanced by the rounded aperture blades and f/1.2 maximum aperture).

This lens is also superb for landscape photography and is a great choice for Canon DSLR owners.

4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Budget Pick
Great for beginners

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is an ideal lens for those who want to start experimenting with advanced photography techniques like bokeh.

Lightweight and small design
Various lens elements to reduce distortion
Stylish body design
Bokeh effect will not look as good as the top lenses on this list

If you want to experiment with bokeh effects but are still new to photography, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens is a fantastic option; yes, it’s capable, but it’s also quite cheap, making it a great pick for a Canon beginner.

There is a cheaper f/1.8 version available, but the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM offers slightly better aperture control and low-light performance. Plus, it’s compact and lightweight and is great for traveling, too.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard and Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras,...

Inside, the 50mm f/1.4 packs two high-refraction lens elements that help suppress distortions. And when set to the maximum aperture, the lens is capable of creating great bokeh effects.

The quality may not compare to L-series lenses, but it’s still a strong starting point if you want to try your hand at creating bokeh effects. As for its autofocus speeds, this standard Canon lens is fast, accurate, and virtually silent.

5. Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED

Best Nikon AF-S
Great for sports and wildlife

The Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED is capable of pro-level telephoto photography with stunning backgrounds.

Nano-crystal coatings on several elements
Rounded aperture blades
Great maximum aperture of f/1.4
Quite heavy and bulky

Our first pick for Nikon users is the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED, an AF-S lens suitable for Nikon full-frame DSLRs. It’s an older model, but it remains a great choice thanks to its focal distance, build quality, and more.

The 105mm focal length will allow you to get the most from your bokeh effects, and thanks to the telephoto reach, you can use the 105mm f/1.4 for portraits, wildlife, and sports.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

The quality of this lens is also excellent. The elements boast a nano-crystal coating for improved optics and the aperture diaphragm has rounded blades. The lens also includes three ED elements, which improve sharpness and minimize distortion.

The 105mm f/1.4 is definitely one of the better FX lenses available and certainly one of the best bokeh lenses for Nikon full-frame cameras in 2021.

6. Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S

Great for street photography

The Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S is a multi-faceted lens that is great for a wide range of photography styles.

Great maximum aperture of f/1.2
Weatherproof exterior casing
Fast and quiet autofocus motor
Not the lightest of lenses

Our favorite bokeh-focused Z-mount option is the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S, a great all-rounder with a versatile focal distance, incredible low-light performance, and a top-notch S-series build.

The 50mm focal length is perfect for a range of photography genres; the lens will excel at wedding photography, street photography, and portraits. The maximum f/1.2 aperture will also help nail professional shots in dim lighting (plus it’s great for that desirable bokeh effect!).

NIKON NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S Standard Ultra Fast Prime Lens for Nikon Z Mirrorless...

We also like the sleek and stylish black finish of this Z series lens. On the other hand, the 50mm f/1.2 is not particularly small or lightweight, but it makes up for it with consistent performance and superior image quality.

7. Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct

Best Nikon Z Pick
Superb for low-light bokeh effects

The Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is a unique lens that excels at creating professional bokeh effects in virtually every composition.

Superior build quality
Amazing maximum aperture of f/0.95
Durable exterior build
Expensive

Meet the Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, a specialist lens, and the best Nikon bokeh lens currently available for Z-mount cameras – assuming you can stomach the price.

Noct lenses are designed to be shot wide open and excel at creating amazing bokeh effects. And the premium quality and wide maximum aperture ensure that this lens will have incredible performance in low-light situations.

NIKON NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct Ultra-Shallow Depth of Field Prime Lens for Nikon Z...

With a 58mm focal length, this Noct lens can be used for a range of photography types and features excellent build quality. It also offers a gigantic maximum aperture (f/0.95!). It is a manual focus lens, so autofocusing isn’t an option – though manual focus will give you greater control when working at shallower depths of field.

In terms of build quality, this lens packs a special fluorine coating that repels dirt and grime. That way, you can comfortably use it outdoors and in harsh conditions. The only downside is the larger price tag, but this is surely a lens for professionals who must excel at portrait photography no matter the situation.

8. Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM

Best Sony E-Mount pick
Great for wide-angle photography

Thanks to a premium build and top-notch features, the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM is a brilliant buy for E-mount users.

Nano AR coatings to reduce flare and ghosting
Fast and accurate autofocus
Rounded aperture blades for circular bokeh
Relatively expensive

Sony also has an excellent range of bokeh lenses, including the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM. This wide-angle lens boasts great construction, a brilliant maximum aperture, and a wide-angle focal length suitable for many types of photography.

Sony E-mount FE 24mm F1.4 GM Full Frame Wide-angle Prime Lens (SEL24F14GM), Black

Compared to standard Sony lenses, the 24mm f/1.4 offers improved sharpness and an unusually smooth bokeh effect (and the latter is enhanced by the f/1.4 maximum aperture).

The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM excels at wide-angle shots; you can either have fun shooting up close or experiment with a more distant perspective that highlights the background.

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We also like the autofocus system, which offers precise focusing even in low-contrast situations and comes complete with a hybrid design!

9. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

Great for wedding photography

The FE 85mm f/1.4 GM is one of the top Sony choices for wedding and event photography.

Superior weather-resistant design
Advanced light simulation for bokeh effects
Various special elements to eliminate distortion
Heavy

Here we have the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, another premium Sony G Master series lens that is arguably one of the best bokeh lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras available today.

If you need a professional lens for weddings, parties, or studio work, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM is an outstanding option. The lens construction includes one XA element, three ED elements, and Nano AR coatings for consistently sharp images with no distortion, ghosting, or flare.

As for bokeh effects, this lens has a host of advanced technologies specifically designed to improve blur. Plus, the maximum aperture of f/1.4 and rounded aperture blades enhance the effect significantly.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM also has a dust- and moisture-resistant coating that makes it perfect for outdoor use. The rubberized rings and seals also mean it can easily operate at lower temperatures.

10. Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM

Great for wildlife photography

The Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM excels at telephoto work and has a premium build quality for professional photos.

Two customizable focus-hold buttons
Dust and moisture resistant
Excellent maximum aperture of f/1.8
Not the cheapest of lenses

Our last pick is the fantastic Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM, a great choice for sporting events, general events, and even wildlife photography. The 135mm focal distance is both long and popular, and when combined with the superior technology of this G Master lens, you can create beautiful bokeh effects with ease.

The G Master design fills the lens with a host of special features, such as XA, ED, and Super ED elements – which provide fantastic photo resolution and sharpness. The 11-blade circular aperture also means that your bokeh effects will have a smooth, rounded look.

FE 135mm F1.8 G Master Telephoto Prime Lens for Sony E-Mount

We also like that the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM has two customizable focus-hold buttons. These are convenient to use and allow you to lock focus at will; the lens also benefits from a magnesium alloy chassis that reduces its overall weight.

Which of the Best Bokeh Lenses Is Right for You?

Any of these excellent lenses should allow you to create professional bokeh effects. They should also allow you to easily separate your subject from the background to produce professional portrait shots.

But which lens is suitable for you? This depends on what you want to do with it (and your lens mounts). Canon camera owners can enjoy high-quality bokeh lenses like the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM, and Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM.

Alternatively, Nikon owners have some specialist options like the Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, and the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED.

Lastly, the Sony GM series offers excellent quality from models like the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, and Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM.


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2 thoughts on “The Best Bokeh Lenses: 10 Lenses for Beautiful Backgrounds”

  1. Best bokeh lenses are

    Nikon 200mm F2 vrii
    Nikon 58mm Noct F0.95
    Leica Noctilux 50mm F0.95
    Canon 85mm 1.2 RF
    Canon 50mm 1.2 RF
    Nikon 105mm F1.4
    Sony 135mm 1.8 G Master
    Nikon 135 F2 DF

  2. For this article you were describing the best attributes of a lens to having great bokeh. Then left out the best attributes. Odd I think . Lens element design and the types of glass , how many elements. Like spherical aberration usually gives nice bokeh . Nikon still designs this aberration into their lens design. This will make a lens get a lower score on lens reviews than other lenses. Higher refractive elements can give a lens design better bokeh . One reason is the designer may use less elements or pieces of glass . Better coatings on each piece of glass . This gives more light to the sensor combined with higher refractive elements. More micro contrast or colors , light and less highlight blow out gives a softer roll off of the highlights in the bokeh . Bokeh is about quality. Then use it in the exact ways you describe. Most of the time a lens with great bokeh isn’t the sharpest because of the aberrations blooming etc.. but modern high element lens designs without good microcontrast are getting better at creating a nice soft background and transitions. They just don’t have as much character being so perfect. We now are into a new era and new “look”

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