Bokeh question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by pony, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    OK, so you all responded with an overwhelming "that lens's bokeh sucks" to my fall portrait post.
    So, this is using the 25mm lens.
    These are quick and straight out of the camera shots.

    Totally different pics, but do you think this one looks better?
    To me the background looks much smoother, but what the heck do I know? :lol:

    I am just trying to understand what the desired result is.
    Thanks
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. creisinger

    creisinger TPF Noob!

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  3. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    OK, so I took the lens from the above pics outside into the woods today. The lighting was similar to the pics I took with the other lens (my horrible bokeh lens).

    These are the results.
    They look crazy to me too. Is this the result of light or distance? The tighter shots in natural filtered light seem OK according to you and look smooth to me.
    But outside today I got some stuff that looked more erratic and now my head is spinning and I don't even know what looks good any more.
    These are straight out of the camera... not even resized or cropped or anything.
    What gives?
    I know I am still having exposure issues, I am practicing though. I received Understanding Exposure finally.
    I will also be getting a different camera soon...
    But I just want to know, I guess, if this weirdness is still something that you all think in lens related...or if there is something fundamentally completely ass backwards wrong that I am doing to make my backgrounds so crazy looking.

    Thanks for any advice or help :)

    1. the best of the bunch IMHO
    [​IMG]

    2. kinda nutty
    [​IMG]

    3. passable???
    [​IMG]

    4. potentially seizure inducing, view with caution :lol:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Your backgrounds look perfectly normal to me. "Bokeh" is a term used to describe the appearance of the out-of-focus area(s) of an image. Bokeh is controlled by the lens. Factors include: The number of aperture blades and the shape they make as you stop the lens down. Some are near a perfect circle, others more of an octagon. Generally speaking higher-end lenses have more pleasing bokeh because they have more aperture blades and a better shape. The aperture you choose and the lens-to-subject distance also play an important part.

    Bottom line is, that with the exception of choosing a different aperture or distance from the subject, or buying a new lens, there's sod all you can do about bokeh.
     
  5. shortpballer

    shortpballer TPF Noob!

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    Choose a lens with a longer focal length. Like the an 85 or even a 70-200 will give you amazing bokeh.
     
  6. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    You don't find the background distracting in these pics?
    Using my current lenses, would I just be better off leaving the background more in focus?

    And for when I look at lenses...what is a good # of aperture blades to have. My lenses have 7.

    Thanks for answering all my questions. Right now you guys are my best source of photography info help so I appreciate you answering what must seem like really silly basic questions :)



    I am stuck with what I have for now which is just the 2 lenses.
    My current camera is a 4/3 which seems to be kind of a pain to find lenses for around here. I am making the switch to Nikon or Canon soon just for ease of getting advice and equipment for it.
     
  7. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I find #1 distracting simply because there is a fat horse with stumpy short legs behind the subject... Oh, it's a cow :D

    #2 no comment

    #3 and #4 distracting because the background is too blown out.

    Those are the reasons they are distracting to me. That could be true for you as well thinking they are distracting and mistakingly blaming the bokeh and not what the backgrounds actually are. Those are my thoughts.
     
  8. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    #1 LOL.

    #2 that bad, eh?

    #3-4
    totally understood. THAT I can understand. I know I have some major exposure issues.
    I just got all freaked out about some C&C on another photo (one of the major issues people had was the horrible bokeh) so I tried to hit a location with similar light and light colored leaves so I could try the different lens.
    We were on our way home to a halloween party so I just pulled into the trail near home real quick because the light and trees looked similar and it was about the same time of day.

    I think I am going to take a break and read some books. I really liked snapping pics with my P&S. The past few weeks playing with a dslr have me overwhelmed.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to look and give me some advice. I appreciate it
     
  9. fstop

    fstop TPF Noob!

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    Pony, I'm in the same boat as you in terms of just learning but here's my .02...take it or leave it.

    1. The bokeh looks ok but the shot doesn't work for me because I'm immediately drawn to the cow/steer that's out of focus. Then there's the weed or weeds in focus but very centered and not a very strong image. Bokeh's fine, more composition issue. Perhaps the cow/steer in focus with foreground being the bokeh point would work better.

    2. Child is a underexposed/dark and there is a tree growing from her head. Maybe lower to the side looking up with some diffused flash and pay attention to whats behind her head/body. Try to get a neutral area immediately behind her so that it doesn't look like the tree is an extension of her body. Bokeh looks a little noisy but probably your camera. Rather than worry about something you can't change at the moment, focus on compositon and live with the bokeh you get. Change the aperature a few times in the same shot (hard with kids and timing) and get a feel for how it changes the DOF.

    3. Better composition-rule of 1/3rds but the childs boots are washed out, seems a little out of focus and under exposed. 4.5/5.6 perhaps would have worked better here, getting boots/trunk in focus with de-emphasized background. Perhaps this was your setting and the boots are just dark. Tough one to really nail with an on body flash because its going to bounce off those boots like a mirror. Additionally, would have worked better for me if there was more green off to the upper left and not that big tree trunk. While it's diffused/bokeh, it competes with the childs boots/legs.

    4. First thing I notice is the tree protruding from the childs head. Perhaps lower/angle and closer without the big tree trunk immediately behind her.

    5. Rabbit shot looks fine, but not very interesting. Just your basic DOF shot.

    6. The leaf in the foreground left and background right, POP (to me anyway) more than the main leaf in focus. I'd say closer on this one might work better and manual focus to zero in on your focal point.

    7 pumpkins/gourds shot is ok, but nothing really appears in crisp focus and the 3 stems fight for attention. Perhaps could use some diffused light. Bokeh in the right background looks ok.

    By the way, I'm going through the same issues on most of my shots, so it's basically like im critiquing myself. I've only got a 35mm 1.8 right now and it's been difficut to find the sweetspot and yet keep the entire child in focus and not have one eye out of focus. Someone gave the tip of a longer focal length zoomed in. I think this would help with bokeh AND ensure the main subject is in focus without the DOF being too narrow that it distracts.

    I need to get a flicker account so that I can post and get the same dose of medicine. I've also found for some of my shots, I just hold the camera down to the side and try a few shots withtout the child knowing or me looking through the view finder...paranoid about 1/3rds, background issues etc. and some of these turn out to be the better shots, more interesting angles. Of course most have their head cut off etc! ;)

    Also, you mention that these shots are straight from your camera. Don't forget that most of the really nice images you see here are Post Processed bigtime. Other than cropping, doesn't solve basic composition issues, but does really help with dodging/burning (exposure), saturation and other fine tunes to make them more striking.

    Keep on keepin on! A new camera isn't going to do anything for the composition issues. Work on that and when you do get a new piece the bokeh will follow naturally.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, except for the forest scenes with the little Bat Girl, these scenes are vastly different from yesterday's autumn portrait, which had hundreds of small-sized out of focus highlights. In the shot of Bat Girls' boots while standing on a log, the subject is close to the camera, the background is far, and the lens aperture is fairly wide, rendering large OOF circles. Bokeh is not just about diaphragm blade count and circular or sharp-edged aperture; your lens has a relatively round but still 7-bladed aperture; it's possible to have 7 blades with sharp,straight edges. Not every scene demonstrates a lens's bokeh in the same way,and on 4/3 you need wide apertures to throw things well OOF. What surprised me is how nice this lens looks on the few OOF foreground elements yI could find on Flickr.

    None of today's samples are anywhere near as annoying as yesterday's shot was. I did a bit of poking around on Flickr and some other sites,and saw the MTF curves and other test results for the Summilux 25mm f/1.4,and I saw some amazing stuff shot with it. I thought the lens looked incredibly good.

    "Kicking A** and Taking Names kinda' good." On the smaller 4/3 format, I thought the better results I saw on Flickr were from 1.4 to f/4 for the most part. This is a lens that has a lot of design work put into it. I looked around and found two MTF graphs for the lens, as well as some numerical LW/PH results...the 25/1.4 might be the best "normal" lens on the market under $3,500. The numbers the lens can generate on the test bench are clearly in the Excellent range,all across the board. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but none of these scenes you're showing us really show what this lens is capable of in different shooting environments. The samples I saw done with this lens elesewhere make me think this is whatcha' call a lifetime lens. The 25mm 1.4 Summilux looked so good to me that I would not hesitate to pair this thing up with a teleconverter of 1.4x or 2.0x; based on the resolution figures found here Lens Topics Leica D Summilux 25mm f1.4 - Fourthirdsphoto Forum I think the 25mm would make a good candidate for TC use to get a longer focal length for grwter defocused areas on the 4/3 format.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  11. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    Derrel, you are awesome for taking the time to help me out. I really really really do appreciate it.

    Was there one group or person's photos that you thought were super fantastic...just so I can see what that is.

    I'm feeling very frustrated today. I am kicking myself for never taking a photography class in HS or college and learning and continuing to use the basics. It's hard to learn things when you are as old and thick skulled as I am :lol:

    As far as this lens kicking ass and taking names, that is good to know but it is going to be sorely disappointed to be in he hands of someone like me right now!


    ETA: you edited while I was typing. off to look.
    Thanks again :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  12. decado

    decado TPF Noob!

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    Were any of these shots taken at maximum aperture? If you shoot at maximum aperture you should have more perfectly circular spectral highlights. #3 looks to me like it was shot at maximum aperture at least.
     

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