The end of onion-ring bokeh? Panasonic beats the curse of aspheric lenses!

Wasabi Bob

Mu-43 All-Pro
Nov 23, 2010
New Jersey - United States
I came across a very interesting article that pertains (for now) to the new 42.5 lens. This is a very well written article that references the info used to a visit the author had to Panasonic's lens factory in Japan.

Definitely worth reading if you want to expand your general knowledge of lens technology.

I don't believe there is any problem with cross posting from another Digital Camera site. If there is, my apology goes along with my request for forgiveness!


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Sep 5, 2011
Call me a curmudgeon, but.....

While I don't doubt the effect described is real, I have somehow managed to shoot lenses with aspherical lens elements for at least a couple of decades without noticing this as a problem in real world images. We seem to have reached an era where the in-focus parts of images are so good that we now spend more time looking the out-of-focus parts of the image, at 100% magnification, and finding problems that just NEED to be solved. If you need to pixel peep to notice this, and ignore the real subject matter of the image to care, I think there are more important problems to be solved. Somehow photographers have managed to make extremely pleasing, and even prize-winning, photographs in spite of the pain of onion-ring bokeh. Heck, for most of the history of photography we managed to make pleasing images without even knowing "bokeh" existed.

The article states
bokeh was once a largely Japanese concern, an obscure thing that the Japanese photo dilettantes worried about, but that most amateurs here in the US were hardly aware of. As photographers have become more sophisticated and learned from each other over the Internet though, more and more people have come to appreciate the blessings of beautiful bokeh.

I would argue that the word dilettantes applies no matter what part of the world we're discussing. Those most vociferous in their arguments about the bokeh of various lenses are often those whose images are the least interesting and enjoyable. Possibly because they've forgotten that subject and composition are even more important than the out of focus background. The doubled lines of the bicycles in that one example would be nearly unnoticeable in a normal sized print that included the actual subject of the photo. The fact that they need to crop and enlarge a small out of focus area to make the point sort of makes mine.

Advancing technology is a good thing, in general, but a real ISO 50, and even ISO 25, and manufacturers actually focusing (no pun intended) on the usability of their menus and camera controls would be much more important to me than eliminating this "problem."

All that said, it was an interesting article. It's interesting how the industry has, at least a little bit, come full circle. In the old days, the best optics were made by skilled lens makers (people, not companies) who learned their craft over time, and used their "calibrated fingers" to hand finish precision optics. Eventually technology advanced to the point that machines could perform with equal precision, and higher reliability. Now we're back to relying on skilled individuals to do the finest work.


Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Feb 28, 2012
Shenyang, China
Real Name
Then you won't like the other f/1.2 lenses either.

true. I thought about getting the 45 1.8 but I'm never a fan of Olympus lens colour rendering, and it looks funny (small) on a Pen. Maybe I'm not looking for what I need, but imperfection.


Mu-43 Veteran
Feb 13, 2010
Veldhoven, The Netherlands
I think the author of the article did not get the whole point. The Panasonic invention is about making better, smoother molds for creating aspheric lenses. This will primarily improve high order aberrations performance and flare. Yes, the old molds' imperfections also show up as the onion rings in oof highlights, but to me that sounds more as an easy way to visualize the improvement. I suspect the real improvement is in more than the onion rings. The Nocticron is a quite sharp lens with low flare...

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