Can You Get Bokeh with Mirrorless Cameras?

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Our good friend and fellow Hybrid Hero on, Marlene Hielema ( gives an excellent answer to one of the most common reader questions asked here on MC – Can you get bokeh with small sensor mirrorless cameras?

Here’s Marlene’s take…

To get good bokeh you need to know the three things that control depth of field.

  1. Aperture – The larger the f-stop the less depth of field – usually.
  2. Focal length – The longer the focal length the less depth of field. It’s really hard to get bokeh with wide angle lenses.
  3. Proximity to your subject – The closer you are to your foreground subject, the less depth of field you’ll get in the background.

all you have to do is put all three of these things together (or even 2 out of 3) and you’ll get some great bokeh shots.

Lighting considerations for best results

Keep in mind that to get these blobs of soft light in the background, you’ll need some light in the background too.

Night shots work great. You can have a closeup portrait with streetlights in the background. Christmas lights work too.

It can be natural light outdoors, or indoor light. Keep in mind that it’s sometimes hard to get bokeh in the super bright outdoors. So you might need an ND filter to help with that.

In this video tutorial, I shoot video and stills with my Panasonic Lumix GH3 camera, and I show you changes to the three depth of field properties to demonstrate how bokeh is made. (Read article on

My 2 Cents

Can you get bokeh with mirrorless cameras?  You’re darned tootin’ you can!

Here’s our picks for the best (and most bokehlicious) mirrorless camera systems.


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