Why the Nikon 105mm F1.4 is Nikon’s New King of Bokeh

Nikon 105mm F1.4

This week Nikon announced the new Nikon 105mm F1.4 lens. This combination of focal length and aperture is a world first. This lens is the brightest 105mm lens. In this post we will discover what that means, and compare the properties with that several other Nikon prime lenses.

The Nikon 105mm F/1.4 ED lens

Lets start with some specs. The new Nikkor 105mm F/1.4 lens exists of 14 elements in 9 groups. The minimum focus distance is 1 meter, and the filter thread is 82mm. The lens weighs over 2 pounds, which is quite heavy for its size.

According to Nikon this lens was “developed based on the design concept that is three-dimensional high fidelity as well as large and beautiful bokeh characteristics. These characteristics enable rendering with a natural sense of depth in portraits and images of still objects”. Basically what they are saying is that the lens will have exceptional bokeh and background blur capabilities. Lets see if these claims are more than just marketing talk.

THE NIKON 105MM F/1.4 vs Other Nikon Primes

To do that we are going to calculate the background blur versus the Nikon 58mm f/1.4, the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 and finally the Nikon 135mm f/2.0. For several different shots, a portrait, a full body portrait and a photograph of a car. The metric used is the percentage of the image width for a single bokeh bubble. First the portrait.


True Happiness by Jay Cassario on 500px.com

This portrait is shot with the Nikon 58mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4

For a portrait where the distance between model and background is 5m, we get the following results. The new 105mm lens is a clear winner here:

Portrait comparison

Full body portrait

Lucy3 by Grzegorz Biermanski on 500px.com

This full body portrait is shot with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4

The full body portrait with blurred backgrounds is one of my favorite types of photography. This is an effect that is only achievable with a select number of lenses. Based on a background that is 10m behind the subject, the results are:

Full body portrait

A Car

This car is shot with the Nikon 135mm f/2 lens at f/2.0

Finally lets see how much blur we can get behind a shot of a full car. Again we assume the background distance of 10m.


Check out these results in more detail at howmuchblur.com.


If you want to buy one single lens within the Nikon line-up to get the best background blurring capabilities, this new 105mm is it. The improvements of the 105mm over the 58mm and 85mm will be even more visible due to the difference in compression as well. Because the background is pulled closer with a longer focal length, actually only a smaller piece of the background will be in the shot.

For a long time there was only one lens with similar capacities, and that is the Canon 85mm f1.2. But now, finally Nikon presents its users with similar blurring abilities. You can buy the Nikkor 105mm F/1.4 on Amazon for $2199.95. If you would like to read more similar posts, please subscibe or like us on Facebook!

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