Which One Is Best? Comparing the Bokeh of 35mm Full Frame Lenses

If you’ve been looking for a comparison of bokeh from 35mm lenses, then check these out.

Portrait photographers probably care the most about bokeh from 35mm lenses. The lenses give a wide view but single their subject out easily. And Over the years, they’ve gotten better. If you’ve been looking for 35mm lenses with better bokeh, then you’ve come to the right spot. For the past 11 years, we’ve been reviewing tons of lenses. And we’ve kept records on exactly what’s what. So we dove into our reviews index to look at a bunch of popular 35mm full-frame lenses. In this post, we’ll show you the bokeh of various options we’ve shot with.

To preface this, we’re not doing an apples to apples comparison here. Instead, we’re highlighting what we’ve said about the bokeh from various lenses. And we’ve shot portraits with all of them. So we invite you to make a decision for yourself.

Leica 35mm f2 Summicron APSH

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“When shooting wide open with the Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron and focusing closely, you’re  bound to get nice bokeh. I’m aware that lots of photographers will love it. But again, personally, I prefer that of the f1.4 lens.”

Buy Now: Around $3,800

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Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art DG HSM

portrait lenses

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“The bokeh quality from the lens is also really quite creamy. Again, something about it almost reminds me of Mamiya or Bronica lenses that have some beautiful bokeh to them. Because of the fact that there is no micro-contrast in this lens, you won’t see your subject popping out from the bokeh as much as you would on a Zeiss or Leica lens.”

Also check out how we used it on the Sony a7r III.

Buy Now: Around $649

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Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 FE

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“Creamy, creamy and beautiful bokeh is what we got from this lens. Here is where we found the Sony 35mm f1.4 to be better than the Sigma version.”

Buy Now: $1,598

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Sony 35mm f1.8 FE

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“You’re going to get the best bokeh from the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE lens when shooting at f1.8 and focusing pretty closely to a subject. The bokeh is beautiful and works effectively to showcase what you want someone to pay attention to in a scene. It’s very creamy and not hazy at all. Photographers shooting portraits and those doing travel work or photojournalism won’t complain about the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE lens’ bokeh.”

Buy Now: $748

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Sigma 35mm f1.2 DG DN Art

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“One of the reasons why you’d buy the Sigma 35mm f1.2 Art DG DN is the bokeh. Of course, the photographer who really enjoys bokeh will go for this lens. But for most of us, there is very little practical reason to do it unless you plan on working with special lighting and delivering a unique look. Canon’s 50mm f1.2 RF provides an almost medium format look. But the Sigma doesn’t give me that vibe. Besides the bokeh, the argument for an f1.2 lens would be to use it in low light. But with ISO abilities at 12,800 being fairly decent, I’d make an argument that this is rubbish. So why go for f1.2? Honestly, it’s the bokeh. You really want that slim, sliver of the scene in focus. Again, couple this with off-camera lighting for an even more unique look.”

Buy Now: Typically around $1,423

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Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS USM

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“Arguably one of my favorite things about the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 USM IS is the bokeh. It’s smooth and creamy–this is all assisted by the fact that it can focus so darned close. Want that little bit of Korean BBQ or your Dumpling to really shine? Get close and let the background be blown out into a Monet painting. Photographers of all types will appreciate the bokeh of the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 USM IS. In fact, I barely ever wanted to stop it down but knew that I had to for the review. If I feel that way, I’m sure others won’t want to stop down either.”

Buy Now: $499

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Nikon 35mm f1.8 Z

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“Most photographers will find the bokeh produced by the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f1.8 S to be pleasing, thanks to the lens design that features 11 elements in 9 groups coupled with 9 aperture blades–therefore allowing you to separate your subject from the background nicely. Some will argue that the bokeh produced by this lens lack character, but that’s honestly a matter of personal preference. When we printed the photo above, we were very pleased with how it looked.”

Buy Now: $846.95

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7Artisans 35mm f2

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“The bokeh from the 7Artisans 35mm f2 is very nice to my eyes. It’s not what the f1.4 lenses that I’ve tested have, but it’s still very beautiful in its own way. This is partially due to the design and how subjects tend to bloom with light if they’re backlit. If you love bokeh, then you’re not going to really complain. Instead, you’re going to be more thrilled that you’ve got an affordable lens that can give you solid quality.”

Buy Now: $289

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Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“The bokeh on the Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Milvus is creamy, beautiful and absolutely lovely. On facebook, I shared a number of images from the lens and had photographers that have been shooting for longer than I’ve been alive absolutely smitten with the bokeh.”

Buy Now: $1,999

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Tamron 35mm f1.4 Di USD

In our review, we say this about the bokeh:

“The bokeh from the Tamron SP 35mm f1.4 Di USD is good enough for practical purposes. It’s creamy, which will help photographers tell better stories. Of course, the bokeh just gets better as you focus closer to a subject. With that said, photographers afraid of getting closer to their subjects may rest at ease. They’re going to have a lot of fun with this lens.”

Buy Now: $699

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.