Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 II review

The original "Bokeh Beast" caused quite a stir – does the "New Bokeh Beast" live up to the hype?

Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 II review
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Its incredible maximum aperture enables the Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 II to achieve the kind of depth of field only otherwise possible with full-frame cameras. Shooting wide open produces beautiful bokeh and silky smooth background blur – and, despite less than stellar performance in our lab tests at f/1.1, the proof is in the pudding and eyes are still very much sharp enough to sparkle in portraits. Between the gorgeous images it delivers, the impressive build quality and the phenomenally low price tag, there's almost nothing not to love about this lens.


  • +

    Perfect portrait lens

  • +

    Beastly bokeh!

  • +

    Excellent build, metal hood


  • -

    • Peak sharpness is beyond f/2

  • -

    • Prone to fringing and bloom

  • -

    • Maybe a bit big for smaller bodies

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The original Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 Bokeh Beast developed something of a cult following among the crop sensor community. An f/1.1 lens is a rarity at the best of times, especially at its ludicrously low price of $170 / £133. 

Optically it wasn't the perfect lens, soft when shooting wide open (and let's be honest, you don't buy f/1.1 glass because you intend to use it at f/4), prone to chromatic aberrations, and with "swirly" bokeh that wasn't to everyone's taste. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.