Bokeh varies wildly
by aperture, and reverses depending on if your out-of-focus
area is behind or in front of your subject. There is no one
winner or loser. The f/1.4 AF-D was the worst at f/1.4 but
best at f/5.6.
I prefer the f/1.8
AF wide open, the f/1.4 AI or AF-D at f/2.8, and the AF-D
All these lenses are
bad to neutral. None has the
desired Gaussian distribution, but few lenses do. Most tend
between neutral and reverse-Gaussian, which is bad.
After making these
head-to-head comparisons I realized from where the myth of
bokeh and Zeiss lenses may come. The Zeiss lens had well-shaped
blur circles, however they were smaller and therefore brighter
and more annoying than the others. If one compares images made
at different times and places with Zeiss and Nikkor lenses
then one would note the better shape (bokeh) of the Zeiss blur
circles. One would not notice that the absolute overall size
was smaller unless one compared two identical shots made with
different lenses as I did here. Yes, the Zeiss has a better
shape, but no, it's not better because it's smaller and brighter,
as if you shot at a smaller aperture on the other lenses.
almost two months shooting and writing this comparison of 50mm
lenses. No one pays me for this. If you find this as helpful
as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have
had to take, feel free to help me write more with a donation.
Next: Chromatic Aberrations
of individual test pages
of 50mm comparison