3 Leica Lenses with Bokeh You’ll Love and Possibly Afford!

Bokeh has to be one of the biggest reasons why folks might buy a lens. Leica has always been known to have special bokeh. Portrait photographers, pay attention. We think that these lenses are ones that you’ll truly love. Better yet, we’re not aiming for the most expensive ones either. Here are some of the Leica lenses with bokeh you’ll love that won’t necessarily break the bank.

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The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips on Using Leica Lenses with Bokeh That’s Wonderful!

These lenses can be tough to use. So here are some tips on how to huse Leica lenses with bokeh that will make people drool:

  • Make no mistake, these lenses will be tough to use. They’re manual focus, so you should have a well adjusted diopter and viewfinder. Further, it might make more sense to use Live View or the Leica Visioflex.
  • To get the best bokeh, focus closely and keep the lens wide open.
  • Leica lenses with bokeh like the ones we’re recommending are bound to astound you and your subjects. Try using them with film like Kodak Portra 400 or Ektachrome. Otherwise, CineStill 800T is a very popular emulsion for its unique look.
  • Some folks really only go for Leica Apochromatic lenses because they have a special render that gives more pop to the photo. But these lenses also do just fine.
  • For more lenses, you should check out our comprehensive guide to Leica M mount lenses.

Leica 90mm f4 Elmar Macro

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Compatible with macro adapter
  • Easy to lock in focus
  • Focuses close enough for headshots, making it a great portrait option
  • Great color
  • Sharp centers
  • Beautiful, controllable flare

Cons

  • Reproduction ratio is only 1:6.7; a macro adapter is needed for 1:2
  • Collapsible design and push pull focus means a little more to learn
  • Softer edges
  • No weather sealing
  • Expensive

But How’s the Bokeh?

In our review, we state:

“The 90mm focal length and closer focusing capabilities make up for the fact that this lens is just an f4. The backgrounds are still pleasingly soft, with a gradual fade. Sure, the backgrounds are even softer with the Leica Summicron 90 f2. But, they still have a great quality to them.”

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Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux-M

Pros

  • Compact and versatile
  • Well-built
  • Beautiful tones
  • Sharp
  • Plenty of bokeh
  • Great in low light

Cons

  • It doesn’t have as much pop as the Summicron-APO
  • Not fully weather-sealed

But How’s the Bokeh?

In our review, we state:

““Smokey bokeh” is a term that I’ve heard used to describe bokeh created by this lens. I’d say that’s entirely accurate when creating black and white images. This lens provides velvety smooth bokeh that separates the subject and melts into the background. The Bokeh isn’t perfectly round, and it can create impactful portraits.”

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Leica 75mm f2 Summicron-M

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Very sharp from edge to edge when wide open
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Very compact
  • Quick to focus
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Highlight fringing is non-existent

Cons

  • It can look too modern or clinical in comparison to its predecessors.
  • It’s heftier than many of the Leica M-mount lenses. For anyone looking to add this lens to a body from a different manufacturer, it’s much smaller than other lenses available.
  • It takes time to become accustomed to the 75mm frame lines.

But How’s the Bokeh?

In our review, we state:

“At f2, the Leica 75mm f2 APO Summicron-M ASPH lens is not the widest lens at this focal length in Leica’s lineup. However, we found that it produced similar quality bokeh to what we have come to know from Leica M-mount lenses. When shooting portraits wide open, the background becomes as smooth as a watercolor painting. We found desirable results with enough separation of the subject from its background, even when stopping down.”

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Chris Gampat

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