If all you want is some quality bokeh or so much of it that your subjects are swimming in a blurry haze, some lenses are better for your bokehlicious addiction than others are. Some of these lenses were designed back in the film days to soak up loads and loads of available light–but man were they tough to nail critical focus with.
However, many of these are still tried and true. And if you’re looking to build a collection, here’s the one to satisfy your bokeh fix.
Canon 65mm F0.75
The Canon 65mm f0.75 doesn’t have an adjustable iris, and so your depth of field will always be super thin. One YouTuber has managed to adapt the lens to Micro Four Thirds, but it really isn’t very simple to do. This lens was designed before the Canon FD mount–which is their famous SLR camera mount before EOS came about. This lens was a type of screwmount lens, and is extremely tough to get your hands on.
Canon 50mm F1.0 L
Canon’s 50mm f1 is a sort of legendary lens amongst EOS camera owners. The image quality wasn’t the greatest, but the lens autofocused and was their fastest aperture EOS lens to date. It was later replaced with the 50mm f1.2 L–which moves a tad faster than molasses.
Canon 50mm F0.95
If you’re an M39 screwmount rangefinder camera fan, then one of the lenses many yearn for is the Canon 50mm f0.95. Granted, no one really regards it as having the best image quality, but it is a super fast aperture lens. Plus, it was always seen as a significantly more affordable option to others out there.
Kowa 55mm F1.0
The Kowa 55mm f1.0 is an industrial lens–which means that it wasn’t designed for typical consumer usage. 3D Kraft reviewed one that was adapted to Micro Four Thirds and quite honestly (and luckily) discovered a gem of a lens. Barely stopped down, it is quite sharp.
Navitron 50mm F0.95
The Navitron 50mm f0.95 is a lens that can often be found on eBay adapted to Micro Four Thirds. On the system, it renders a 100mm field of view and some absolutely gorgeous bokeh, colors and a look that is tough to achieve with any other lens. One user managed to adapt it to a Leica camera. It can be stopped down to f16 and can be focused to a little closer than three feet.
Rayxar 50mm F0.75
The Rayxar 50mm F0.75 is made in Holland. But it obviously has its quirks to it. It can’t be used for everything because it has a fixed focus, no aperture (so must always be shot wide open) and has lots of spherical aberration. But you’ll get a look that you can’t get anywhere else quite easily.
Leica 50mm F0.95 Noctilux
This lens is currently one of the creme de la creme lenses for an M mount cameras. With a depth of field that is super duper thin, you’ll be committing a sin against photography if you ever stop this thing down. Leica’s suppliers only pour the glass for this lens once a year, so they are extremely rare and tough to get your hands on.
Plus, they’ve got Leica prices on them.
Zeiss 50mm F0.7
The lens was designed and made specifically for the NASA Apollo lunar program to capture the far side of the moon in 1966. However, Stanley Kubrick had three made for him in order to shoot a scene in candlelight–and the others were sold to NASA while Zeiss held onto one.
Voigtlander 25mm F0.95
Voigtlander’s f0.95 series of lenses are very recent and designed for Micro Four Thirds cameras. The company did the interesting thing of ensuring that their lenses when mounted to the camera would be exact focal lengths. For example, their 35mm equivalent is a 17.5mm lens. But by far, one of their most popular lenses is their 25mm. It is an ultra-fast aperture lens that gives off the equivalent field of view of a 50mm f2 lens on a full frame camera body. The lens’s aperture ring can also convert to be a stepless aperture lens for cinema use.
Angenieux 25mm f0.95
The Angenieux 25mm f0.95 is a C mount lens that is highly sought after by Micro Four Thirds users. In the first days of the system, a select number of users tried to find the fastest focusing lenses that they could and managed to adapt them to the system. When the word got out around them, everyone started to try to hunt for them. To this day, you’ll find the Angenieux mentioned in loads of Micro Four Thirds forums.
Carl Zeiss Super-Q-Gigantar 40mm f0.33
This lens will remind many of a Nikon fisheye lens that could literally see behind itself. This lens is the fastest aperture lens ever made for consumer photographic applications. Obviously, it is a manual focus lens and many reports state that the numbers were actually totally made up. Today it goes for over $85,000.
Get ready to sell your kidney, and maybe your wife’s.
Editor’s Note: apparently this lens wasn’t real.
GOI CV 20mm f0.5 Mirror lens
This lens was created in the Spring of 1948 and weighed 21 lbs. It was developed by the Soviets.
Signal Corps Engineering 33mm f0.6
Not very much is known about this lens but it was auctioned off recently online. But it was obviously some sort of screwmount lens–though we’re sure that you wouldn’t put this on a rangefinder.
Leitz 150mm f/0.85
Developed by Leica, this lens was designed for infrared photography, and very little else is known about it.
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