An indepth look at depth of field and bokeh

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Overread, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,092
    Likes Received:
    3,759
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    A translated whitepaper article written by Dr. H. H. Nasse who works for Zeiss; and something that I thought would interested a good few here

    Link to a PDF of the article
     
  2. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Understanding how depth of field works is very important but, bokeh, to be honest, I had never heard anyone talk of it until I joined forums. I'm sure we looked at it subconsciously, I mean it's there and we can't really ignore it, but we never discussed it. Must be a recent obsession :)

    And as I said in another post, I don't believe a photo exists that was made great or bad because of bokeh. Don't worry about it...
     
  3. dom yo

    dom yo TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    haha ive always had a weird obsession with DOF
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,694
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    NYC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    makes the person speaking about it sound very intelligent though. :D
     
  5. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    16,062
    Likes Received:
    2,813
    Location:
    Chesterfield UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Not when some people mistake DOF as bokeh :lol:
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,795
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes, the "bokeh does not exist", or the "I never heard of bokeh until I joined forums" points of view are both fairly common among people of a certain age. Bokeh is a concept that the visually-sophisticated lens designers and photographers who work for the optical companies like Leitz and Nikon were concerned with. The way a lens "draws" and "renders", as well as the way a lens tends to render the out of focus areas either in front of or behind the point of sharpest focus is the "bokeh" of the lens. The word bokeh was introduced to the English-speaking word back in the early 1990's by Mike Johnston, who was then an editor of Darkroom Techniques magazine, and who is now the webmaster at the popular blog The Online Photographer. Mike Johnston's articles on the subject of bokeh are still available on-line, and Dr. Harold Merklinger (sp?) wrote a couple of popular articles on the scientific aspects of bokeh, and those articles are still considered the original English-language references on the subject.

    As for people who never heard of bokeh--or who think it does not exist; that's a pretty common situation. Bokeh and its implications or existence has not been a big deal in Western culture. Scientific studies have shown that Asian cultures, with their differnt visual traditions, tend to focus much,much more on the background of photos and painting and drawings, and relate the background TO the foreground objects in a scene, which is almost directly opposite people from the Western cultures, where the typical visual response is to look immediately at the FOREGROUND objects shown in a painting, and to discount or not observe the background nearly as much. This is farly new learning that has occurred at some US research universities in the field of visual perception,which is in the psychology domain. The Asian landscape painting, with the multiple "layers" of distant mountains, each one more-obscured by haze is a good example of an Asian type of traditional painting that has been around for centuries--it pays homage to the idea of "background AS SUBJECT". This type of painting simply does not exist in Western visual language or in our artistic traditions; in fact, while European artists were learning about perspective and the vanishing point and the best painters of Europe were painting humans and subjects with thin black lines, outlines, around their figures, Asian cultures had already learned to depict the "distance". It's odd that most people go to a Chinese restaurant and see this type of Asian landscape painting displayed quite often,and yet not one person in a hundred understands the first thing about it,or what it means; our western culture and the language of photography DOES however have a word for the effects of haze in the air making things that are farther away look dimmer, and the word is "aerial perspective". And yet, we have no western painting tradition that focuses on how things that are close to us look vibrant,and things that are distant are obscured by atmospheric haze. Just as we had no word for bokeh in English.

    Anyway...bokeh is the way a lens renders the out of focus--both the background, and the foreground. The terms comes from the Japanese boke; Johnston and his cohorts added the 'h' at the end as a guide to pronunciation for westerners. Mostly, in western photography, commercial photos for well over 100 years have featured seamless backgrounds and muslins and canvas backgrounds, which render a background that is full of basically, nothing much, and all at one distance behind the focus point. Western visual culture and visual language has simply ignored, or not seen the "background" for centuries. And new research in visual perception has shown that people from Asian cultures actually look at photographs using different visual principles, and a differnt mental organization and interpretation of the scenes portrayed in photographs. Eye movement studies have shown that Asian viewers look much,much more at the background of a photograph than Western viewers, who spend much more time looking at foreground objects,and who spend much fewer eye-cycles on peripheral or background portions. So....it's not surprising that many people in the western cultures have not heard of a Japanese word that was brought to the English language in 1991 or so...
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Does it? Good. I need to sound intelligent. :lmao: Too bad this response doesn't do the same for you :lmao:
     
  8. McMommy

    McMommy TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Seaside, Ca
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    That's a lot of fantastic information! Thank you!!!
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

depth of field and bokeh h nasse