Bokeh. What is it?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Early, May 4, 2008.

  1. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    I noticed a lot of photographer on here refer to it as the unfocused area of a photo, or a photo with a shallow depth of field. My understanding or bokeh is how a lens renders that out of focus area, giving the photo a slight 3 dimensional affect, which is pretty rare, even among the most expensive lenses.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    word for word explination that a friend gave to me:
    "'Bokeh,' is the feel of the out-of-focus area of the picture, it's more a feeling than something you can identify, or even quantify"
     
  3. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Depth of field is depth of field. Longer focal length lenses or larger aperture lenses (smaller f/number) are all capable of giving narrow depths of field and a 3D look. "Bokeh" is specifically how the out of focus field is rendered. Some lenses render clearly defined edges on out of focus light points which can get distracting and look bad. Other lenses have exceptionally smooth and neutral creamy bokeh rendering, which is much more desirable especially for portraits. Click the link in my signature for a lot more.
     
  4. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Overread and Mav hit the nail on the head so...

    I'll post some examples

    Shots with Bokeh
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Shots with out
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    My understanding - it's a funky new worde that'll pass out of use. When I was a photographer in the UK we never bothered with words like that. We just took pictures and focussed on getting the important bits sharp. The rest we just didn't give a hoot about. Essentially, IMHO "bokh" is anti-depth of field and not worth bothering with. As long as the subject is nicely in focus, who gives a rat's backside what the bokh looks like!
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do! With some lenses it looks just disturbing, not calm. Ever seen the bokeh of a mirror tele lens? It is like a donut and the best example of a "bad" bokeh as it destroys the whole image IMHO.
     
  8. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    It must be taste I guess because I've heard people rave over how good the doughnut-shaped highlights from mirror lenses look. I used to use a mirror lens and used it for commercial work when I was in Britain. No complaints there!
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't confuse bokeh with IQ. The mirror tele lenses are good about IQ, but their bokeh is very distracting.
     
  10. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Maybe it also depends on the scene. If you have a more or less featureless background with maybe a few highlights (as in studio conditions), then it might look interesting to have the donuts there. If, however, you have a very intense background, lots of highlights (as often in landscape/wildlife photography, the sun glistering on the ripples on a lake, a maze of leafs and branches), then you get many many of those ring shaped objects, and they are very disturbing IMHO.
     

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