Photographer and filmmaker Mathieu Stern took to the streets of Paris to see what shots he could produce using three different vintage lenses, creating various different bokeh effects.
He took some model friends out in the evening, testing out the results of his chosen equipment.
A staple of many portrait photographers' kit bag, Stern purchased this cheaply at just €80 ($95). Ideal for the low light he would be facing for his night shoot, the 50mm f/1.2 can also be credited with producing large, round bokeh when photographing lights behind your subject.
Mir-1B 37mm f/2.8
The second is a Russian lens that Stern modified to create a globular effect. It creates a more unusual bokeh, with the blur becoming more intense around the edges of the photo. In later shots, you can see the circular effect Stern spoke of.
The third is a much larger Russian projector lens that cost Stern less than €50 ($60), which he described as being “massive.” He adapted it to function with a mirrorless camera using parts from Rafcamera, saying, “It needs specific parts to be adapted, but the results are amazing and it has the same effect than a $700 Petzval lens, if not better.”
This lens created a much shallower depth of field with larger bokeh.
Making stops at six locations around Paris, Stern used the city’s light displays and Christmas decorations as backdrops for creating varying levels of bokeh. He also used the portable YN36O11 LED light, creating an added dramatic effect very similar to using gels in a studio.
All images used with permission.