Experiment : Which Lens works best?

3 mins read

This is the probably the least scientific experiment in the history of experiments but I thought I would give it a go. Now, before you say it I realise none of the images are good, this is how rough the experiment happens to be.

[box]4 lenses, a single scene, 1 shot per lens and batch processed in Lightroom by the same preset. Each lens was set at its widest aperture to give the best bokeh. [/box]

I want to know which you think is the nicest image in terms of bokeh, DoF and tone. You can click on a image to view larger. Please make your selection by commenting below.

I will reveal the lenses (and cameras) used later tonight (please don’t give it away if you can work it out). As I said before this is just for fun, I realise there are other issues that play a part when it comes to lens selection (speed etc) but this isn’t scientific I just be interested in hearing what your first impressions are of the results.

Lens 1

Click to view large.

Lens 2

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Lens 3

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Lens 4

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Details & Results:

[box]Obviously there are a large number of flaws in comparing four different prime lenses especially given the images were shot on two different camera bodies, one being full frame and the other being cropped. Nonetheless I thought it was an interesting experiment to capture just 1 frame of the same scene and apply the same process. The results are not a negative on any of the lenses included, this is simply a bit of a random test.

Canon 50mm Lenses on 5D (Full frame sensor)
Lens 1 : Canon 50mm f/1.2
Lens 2 : Canon 50mm f/1.4

Fuji X-Pro1 (cropped sensor)
Lens 3 : Fujinon 60mm f/2.4
Lens 4 : Fujinon 35mm f/1.4

The winner according to the comments and twitter replies is lens 3 the Fujinon 60mm. This was a rough experiment and under difference circumstances the results may have been completely different.[/box]

It should be noted that there are many aspects and issues that are taken into consideration when selecting a lens and this experiment was in no way definitive. It was though very interesting and reinforces some of my earlier considerations on gear. I still love my 50mm lens and really it is, as one twitter user put it ‘horses for courses’. Anyway, thanks to all who took part. I will leave the comments open.


David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.


  1. 4th one looks the nicest for me all round for an object. But I think I might feel differently if it was a persons face, the perspective might feel a little too wide.

  2. For me: the 3rd. Nice bokeh, and like the perspective. I think i may have an idea wich lens to what shot, but am curious to see if i guessed it. If so i’ll be heading to a casino tonight 🙂

  3. The 3rd. Bokeh is much rounder and and creamier while the others look blotchy even in smooth areas. The color tone is also much richer.

  4. #3. Karen nailed it — it’s the shoes, plural, vs. everything beyond. In the others, the “loss” of the rear shoe is a bit distracting, as is the apparent spherical aberration in #1.

  5. Lens 3 is bokeh overload ! Keep going back to lens 4 even though it’s not my favourite for bokeh (Lens 2 for bokeh ) don’t like 1 at all , 4 overall for me !!

  6. Sugar. This is difficult because each image is subtly different in important ways. In terms of dof not sure you can say which is ‘best’ but I think you selected the nicest dof in #3. As for bokeh, again perhaps #3 – it has the roundest bokeh balls and is creamy in the background. And #3 again when it comes to tones. Yeah, #3 for me.

  7. 3rd is my favorite. Then I scrolled down and read the comments– looks like you’ve got a clear winner!

  8. Lens #3 has the the most appealing bokeh for me, but it appears to have
    more than the others, has something changed in the background? (I do love the very shallow DOF in lens 1)

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