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Testing my lenses: bokeh tests

 
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bokeh test target


I placed an old magazine and a shiny miniature thingy on a chair, and took pictures of it... focusing some distance before that target, so it would be out of focus. The idea here is to see how nice out-of-focus backgrounds look with different lenses, i.e., how good their bokeh is.

On these tests, on the left side I look for smoothness, lack of lens-generated contrasty patterns, and lack of recognizable patterns; and on the right side I look for plain highlights, without shiny fringes or shiny centers, without color casts, and less bright being better than pretty bright.

The camera used was a Canon EOS 550D. I set the white balance manually on each shot, so color differences don't play a role. And I resized the full still image to 1920x1280, and cropped a bit in the middle, which is what you can see down here.

These are results with perspective and aperture neutralized: I moved the camera so that the size of the target was the same on all tests (the 35mm was much closer than the 135mm), and also changed how much in front of the target the focusing point was for each focal length and aperture, with the aim that the size of the specular highlights would be the same on all shots, which means the background target should be equally blurred (i.e. this is a comparison of bokeh quality, after neutralizing quantity and perspective). If you want to see how focal length and aperture affect bokeh, head over here.

The lenses I have tested are the following (the ones marked "sb" are tested on a NEX-5N with a MetaBones SpeedBooster):


Modern glass:
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (non-VC)
Canon 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS(kit lens)
Canon 24mm f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6

Vintage glass*:
MIR-20M: 20mm f/3.5 (age unknown) (M42)
Nikkor 20mm UD f/3.5 non-AI (1967) (Nikon F)
Leitz Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8 (1977) (Leica R)
Carl Zeiss Distagon 25mm f/2.8 (1970) (Contax/Yashica?)
Nikkor-H 28mm f/3.5 non-AI (1975) (Nikon F)
PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 non-AI (1968) (Nikon F)
Leitz Elmarit-R 35mm f/2.8 (1978) (Leica R)
Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f/1.8 Pancolar "zebra" (1968) (M42)
Rollei Planar HFT 50mm f/1.8 (1970) (Contax/Yashica)
Leitz Summicron-R 50mm f/2.0 (1966) (Leica R)
Leitz Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4 (1976) (Leica R)
Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 AI (1978) (Nikon F)
Micro Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 non-AI (1979) (Nikon F)
Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (1969-1984) (M42)
Carl Zeiss Sonnar 85mm f/2.8 (1970) (Contax/Yashica?)
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 non-AI (1964) (Nikon F)
Leitz Elmarit-R 90mm f/2.8 (1966) (Leica R)
Micro Nikkor 100mm f/4 AI (1975) (Nikon F)
Carl Zeiss Jena 135mm f/4.0 Sonnar "zebra" (1964) (M42)
Nikkor-Q 135mm f/3.5 non-AI (1968) (Nikon F)
Leitz Elmarit-R 135mm f/2.8 (1976) (Leica R)
Carl Zeiss Jena 180mm f/2.8 Sonnar "zebra" (1970) (Pentacon Six)
Leitz Elmarit-R 180mm f/2.8 (1967) (Leica R)
Pentacon 200mm f/4 (age unknown) (M42)
Carl Zeiss Jena 300mm f/4.0 Sonnar (1974) (Pentacon Six)

Others:
Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 on Olympus EPL1 (totally different camera, but I was curious)

*: many of these lenses were supplied by fellow Spaniard DSLR shooter, and deep lensaholic, Ignacio Sánchez.





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Results with aperture and perspective neutralized
 
lensf/1.8f/2.8f/4.0f/5.6
T16  
T17  
C18      
M20    
N20    
T24  
L24  
L24sb  
C24p  
C24z    
Z25  
P20    
N28    
T35  
C35    
N35pc  
L35  
L35sb  
T50  
C50      
C50
Z50
R50
L50n
L50x
L50xsb
N55
N55m    
H58
T70    
N85
Z85  
T90    
L90  
L90sb  
N100m    
T135      
N135    
Z135    
L135  
T180      
Z180  
L180  
P200    
T300      
Z300    




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