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Nikon 18-200mm
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Nikon 18 - 200mm

Nikon 18-200mm. (enlarge)

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How to get one

BOKEH (What is Bokeh?)

See my Bokeh Comparisons page for examples.

Bokeh at 200 mm and 100 mm is poor.

Getting great bokeh in a lens like this isn't likely to happen. This lens is designed for sharpness, fast focus speed, reasonable distortion, no ghosts, VR and a huge zoom range. it uses aspheric elements which mess up bokeh, and VR also does weird things to in areas not intended to be in focus.

If bokeh is critical you know who you are. You probably want a DC or other f/2.8 or faster lens designed with an eye towards bokeh. Bokeh isn't related to aperture or your diaphragm; it's just that those particular lenses tend to have better bokeh.

Of course you can blur backgrounds in Photoshop. It's a pain to select the background and it's tough to get the transitions between blurred background and foreground to look natural. If all I did were headshots I'd prefer an 80-200 2.8 AF-D instead for not much more expense.

This is a tight crop (only about a linear third of the image) from a shot made at 200 mm at f/5.6. Note the busy background full of donut-looking things. Good bokeh would leave the background soft, fuzzy and not distracting like this. Typical bokeh would just be full of disks, not donuts. Great bokeh would have a completely soft and smooth background.

Bad Bokeh

Example of Bad Bokeh. The blurs of the out-of-focus twigs still have sharp edges. Good bokeh would have soft-edged blurs.

Bokeh won't change with VR on or OFF.

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