How to Create Swirly Bokeh?

You may have seen amazing portrait photos with killer bokeh that had something swirly about it. What is actually this effect, how does it work, how can you create it?

This swirly bokeh is not a filter effect, but a special feature of certain old-school lenses that were produced about 40 years ago. Although you can make a DIY tool and put it over any of your standard lenses (beware of a lot of vignetting), the most typical lens used for creating swirly bokeh is Russian Helios 44-2 58 mm f/2. It is based on a German Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2/58 lens and costs less than $50 on eBay or Amazon, the delivery is included in the price.

Some say that this effect is due to the mechanical error made by the project engineers, but it's not certain because quite a few other old lenses give your photos similar effect, too.

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