Bokehlicious? The new TTartisan 100mm f/2.8 lens boasts bubble bokeh

TTartisan 100mm f/2.8
(Image credit: TTartisan)

Bokeh is always big news, but it's got to be the right kind. And the 'bubble bokeh' of the new TTartisan flies in the face of the smooth and creamy bokeh that we all try so hard (and pay so much) to get. 

Instead, it produces a 'soap bubble' effect, where bokeh balls (no, they are a thing) have hard, bright edges instead of creamy, soft outlines. It all depends on how you like your bokeh, and there's no doubt that soap bubble bokeh produces a very distinctive look. Here's an example from TTartisan:

(Image credit: TTartisan)

We actually have a whole guide dedicated to the best lenses for bokeh, but we're starting to think that no-one will ever agree what the best bokeh looks like.

The TTartisan 100mm f/2.8 is a short telephoto lens, equipped with manual focus and a physical aperture ring, and an ideal focal length for blurring backgrounds. It's a full frame lens with an image circle that TTartisan says can almost cover medium format, too. You can also use it on APS-C cameras but, in all cases, you will need an adapter, as this lens comes only with an M42 screw mount.

Of course, that's fine if you want to use it with an old analog SLR from Pentax or Praktica – but it can also be used with almost any modern mirrorless camera. 'Dumb' adapters for M42 mount lenses are inexpensive and all you need. Mirrorless cameras cope brilliantly with retro-style lenses, much more so than DSLRs.

The TTartisan 100mm f/2.8 comes with an M42 screw mount, but there are plenty of cheap adaptors for mirrorless cameras (Image credit: TTartisan)

The best vintage lenses are big business these days as more and more photographers are pursuing a 'look' rather than the sometimes rather sterile technical perfection of modern lenses. 

It does take a little while to adapt to manual focus, but direct aperture control on the lens is a wonderful thing to have – and camera A and P modes cope perfectly to enable autoexposure with whatever aperture you set the lens to. You don't have to do everything in manual!

Oddly, the TTartisan website advises that the center line of the lens won't line up with the camera axis unless you use an adapter with center line adjustment – but it doesn't affect the operation of the lens.

TTartisan 100mm f/2.8 specifications

Focal length: 100mm
Format: Full Frame
Mount: M42
Angle of view: 24°
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Minimum aperture: f/22
Focus: Manual
Closest focus distance: 0.9m
Diaphragm Blades: 13
Filter size: 49mm
Weight: 307g

Probably the best news is the price. The TTartisan 100mm f/2.8 costs just $155 (about £122 / AU$240). The less good news is that the TTartisan site says it's out of stock as of August 15, but that orders placed after this date should be filled in around a month.

(Image credit: TTartisan)

If you love old mounts, take a look at the best film cameras. And if you love portraiture, check out the best lenses for portraits (though bubble bokeh is sadly not included with any of these). 

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at