If you don’t know what Bokeh is, I suggest reading an article here. Basically, bokeh is the rendering of out-of-focus areas by a camera lens. The tests on this page illustrate how bokeh is rendered by different Nikon lenses.
The following Nikon lenses were used in this test:
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
- Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 DX
- Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR
- Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR
Since the focal lengths are different, I cropped images and resized them for your viewing pleasure. It is hard to compare bokeh on these lenses because it is impossible to measure them all with the same focal length. Also, the lenses vary in maximum/minimum aperture and good bokeh can only be achieved when the aperture is set to the maximum (lowest f number), meaning shallow depth of field. Focal length also plays a big role as can be seen with the 105mm VR.
All pictures were taken at ISO 200 (D300 native) with default camera settings without any post-processing, VR was turned off.
Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 – good to excellent bokeh, depending on aperture. Shows heptagon diaphragm as bokeh, which most people don’t mind and some even like.
- Nikkor 12-24mm f/4 DX – no bokeh on this lens considering max aperture of f/4 and lens being ultra wide. This lens is used primarily for landscape photography where bokeh is not needed.
- Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 DX VR – very bad bokeh at all focal lengths. As focal length increases between 50mm to 100mm bokeh gets slightly better, but that’s about it.
- Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro – excellent bokeh with some flare and ghosting. Try to use the lens hood all the time with this one.
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR – superb bokeh with some flare and ghosting. Always use this lens with the hood.