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Incidentally, this lens is not really the dream lens it would appear for those who get off on bokeh. Some of the OOF effects are downright ugly:
Onion rings anyone? Almost reminiscent of the much-derided mirror lens.
This is not directed specifically at you, J.D.
I'm just using part of you post to give mine a start.
The lens has a tendency to display a very characteristic bokeh.
Not smooth and buttery, like the lenses which are usually praised for having great bokeh.
But just like the unique aperture, I think it defines the lens. A "trade mark", if you will.
When I bought mine I was expecting this bokeh to show on most pics.
In a way, I like it. It's different. Unique. It's the lens "finger print" and clearly identifies it.
I was in for a surprise though: it usually only shows in quite specific circumstances.
I can take 100 pics and not have this nervous, busy "brokeh" on a single one.
I was actually surprised by this and, quite honestly, somewhat disappointed.
So when I do get it, I am glad. Even at screen size, I can clearly tell the pic was taken with this lens.
I would not want this "feature" on all my lenses, though. I would not want it on any other lens, in fact.
Because when I'm looking for it, I reach for this lens.
The other times, I prefer the smooth bokeh which gathers more consensus as being more pleasing and attractive.
But I would just like to state that when people who have never used this lens claim that the bokeh is like this or like that, they should have the notion that the bokeh is in fact, generally speaking and in practical terms, like most other lenses of similar focal length, at least most of the time.
It's only under specific circumstances that the signature bokeh stand out.
People also should note that the lens is "just" a 50mm. Even at 1.0 aperture, the "buttering" of the bokeh will always be somewhat limited, given the relatively short focal length, regardless of the intrinsic lens design, specially if the background is close to the subject.
People assume the huge aperture will make the background disappear just for itself, while, under many circumstances, the focal leght can, in fact, play a more predominant role than the actual aperture used.
As an example, I have taken portraits with very, very smooth bokeh at f/4 and f/5.6, where the backgrounds just melts away, even if it's relatively close to the subject. They were taken at 400 and 500mm and at these focal lengths one can make the background disappear much better/easier than with the 50 1.0 or the 85 1.2 wide open.
To achieve this with the 85 and specially with the 50 you have to get really close to the subject and, preferably, have the background somewhat far away from it.
Sometimes people forget that focal length does play a huge role in smoothing out the background and, sometimes, even more than the specific aperture.
I'm not saying this is the ultimate lens. Far from it.
In fact, it can be quite frustrating to use.
For instance, getting the focus spot on can be challenging and, when taking candids (portraits, for instance), you can loose what would have been great pics because of them being OOF.
I just feel it gets a bad rep and, again IMHO, doesn't deserve it. At least the good copies don't.
Again, I don't want to appear to be bashing this lens.
It's your opinion, you displayed it very well and you are perfectly entitled to it.
Edited on Dec 15, 2011 at 11:41 AM · View previous versions