Nikon AF -S 85mm f/1.8G
For beautiful bokeh at a budget price, Nikon takes top honours
Prime lens > £380, $500 > www.nikon.com Despite only having a seven-bladed diaphragm, this lens manages to produce beautiful, creamy bokeh and surprisingly well-rounded highlights down to f/2.8. At this aperture, sharpness is excellent right across the frame, and it’s impressively high at f/1.8, too. Mount it on an FX-format Nikon and you’ve got a versatile lens that’s great for still life, portraiture and general use. This isn’t the best-specced optic, but great performance and surprising lightness make it a joy to use. At this price it’s almost a steal.
Upgrade if you own... Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.4 and are looking for a longer lens with smoother bokeh. However, don’t feel you need to upgrade from the Nikon 50mm f/1.8, as it’s already a pretty smooth operator.
runner up... Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
An 85mm FX lens on a DX body doesn’t give a versatile focal length, hence Sigma’s 50mm is a better match for DX Nikons. You get spectacular bokeh from its nine-bladed diaphragm.