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View Poll Results: 1. What do you think of bokeh here?
Harsh edges at times, distracting elements 5172.86%
Soft and dreamy but low contrast 912.86%
Grainy with under-exposed noise   00%
Unsharp, soft and it needs to be stopped down to f8 at least 11.43%
Do you mean out of focus rendering? 34.29%
No ideas 68.57%
Voters: 70. You may not vote on this poll

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08-29-2008, 01:31 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by clawhammer Quote
I love the way the flower itself looks, but the background seems to distract from the flower, especially that branch in the top right. Crop it so that branch is gone, and it has the feel of being more of a painting than a photograph.

PS: was that branch in front of the flower?
You are definitely right. This was more of a test to see what everyone would aggree on in terms of bokeh perception.

That advice is very true and the branch would be worthy of being cropped out. The branch was in deed in the foreground. In truth, it is not too bad since most of 50mms would stuff up the forefround bokeh in similar situation.

QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Put me down on the film side. I never really thought of it that way 20+ years of mostly slide film and only a few with a DSLR. But I'll qualify the comment by saying that the branch clawhammer mentioned is what caught my eye as well. Otherwise I quite like the background. I voted the first choice.
Yes. As I would have predicted, you would evaluate the bokeh like how you had described. In truth, homogenous smooth bokeh is most desirable.

It is really interesting to see that majority of people are actually aggreeing on the same option!

After all, we are mostly on the same page regarding what a good bokeh is.

08-29-2008, 01:35 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
I also noticed the branch/stem straight away but it didn't bother me. I like that the shot is busy and that there are things in the picture that can only be identified by deduction.
It's a bit like solving a puzzle by logic. The one truly identifiable thing in the picture is the flower and using that as the key one can work out what the other elements might be but at the same time you cannot know precisely what they are.
Yes. However, this thread is showing that this type of bokeh is not desirable by majority of people in the forum.

I often see threads showing bokeh not so right just like this one. It is good to get a sense out of the honest majority of people.
08-29-2008, 01:50 AM   #18
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Sure, I too would agree that the background is distracting, but I appreciate that the bokeh is the subject of this discussion. To me, also tops my list of beautiful bokehs. Soft, buttery but not low in contrast.
08-29-2008, 02:20 AM   #19
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I prefer bokeh that looks like whatever was in the background was whipped up in a mixing bowl then poured onto the page; smooth, yet colourful and blended to perfection. I find that type of bokeh to be the least distracting to the central focus point of the image. Good bokeh does not draw attention to itself nor does it become invisible; it is there to support the primary item in focus.

To be specific to this image I find the bokeh has harsh elements. I am not sure if it is distracting because your poll invited us to concentrate on it from the beginning so now I find myself staring at it, analyzing it. It isn't horrible but just not my cup o' tea when it comes to blurry backgrounds.

08-29-2008, 03:54 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Sure, I too would agree that the background is distracting, but I appreciate that the bokeh is the subject of this discussion. To me, also tops my list of beautiful bokehs. Soft, buttery but not low in contrast.
I often see posts circling around careful selection of backgrounds for composition skill. Sometimes knowing how certain backgrounds would turn out may assist a subject depending on the intended effect.

Again, the bokeh here have a lot of elements with harsh edged bokeh. This was done on purpose to see how these elements would turn out. However, distracting elements would turn out distracting but may have been dampened down as much as it could have been.

I am surprised that you found it higher constrast though. Maybe I am a little squint eyed...


QuoteOriginally posted by J.Scott Quote
I prefer bokeh that looks like whatever was in the background was whipped up in a mixing bowl then poured onto the page; smooth, yet colourful and blended to perfection. I find that type of bokeh to be the least distracting to the central focus point of the image. Good bokeh does not draw attention to itself nor does it become invisible; it is there to support the primary item in focus.

To be specific to this image I find the bokeh has harsh elements. I am not sure if it is distracting because your poll invited us to concentrate on it from the beginning so now I find myself staring at it, analyzing it. It isn't horrible but just not my cup o' tea when it comes to blurry backgrounds.
Thanks for the honest feedback and your view is consistent with the poll above. This forum is really matured to the degree that has a lot of sophisticated followers.

I like buttery bokeh but that is hard to create unless the background is soooo distant away from the subject (but then this kind of approach often draws highlight bokeh in the distance)

You would aggree that you preferred this kind of bokeh ?

But then, this is easily reproducible by having no elements in the background, mono-colour and long distance with low dynamic range.

08-29-2008, 04:40 AM   #21
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Roentarre, I maybe should have expanded my comments. Plus you get a free bump so more people see it

The shot above you just posted is quite wonderful but it (this is strictly my opinion, remember this is all subjective!!) is also a little dull in one respect. The flower jumps off the screen and the colour is fantastic. It's a superb shot in every way but once you are done looking at the flower, what's left? Not much. If the background green had more colours or different colours mixed, then you'd hang around longer. Now these comments are more about subject matter than technical bokeh.

What I favour is half way between the first and second. The 'double line' that white sticks and background items will often cause for almost any lens is what is distracting to my eye. Actually there really wasn't an option above that I wanted to choose other than the first one. I would have preferred "like it with some distracting elements". So the more I write this comment, the more I realize that I like the bokeh but not parts of the items in the bokeh . The 2 are seperate and intertwined at the same time.

If you were to ask me what painter I liked the best, it would be Monet or Renoir. Have a look at "Madame Monet with Child" or "Water Lily's"(Monet). Or Renoir's "The Skiff" or "Picking Flowers". These paintings are all bokeh and much like the first image you presented. The painters have eliminated those elements that distract the eye and even though you naturally search the entire image, you always come back to the subject comfortably. Actually the bokeh they have created is much more of what you presented in the first image with out any distractions.

If you look at the little flower in the upper left of your image, that's what I really like.

Maybe the question for me is "How do you like this bokeh with this shooting angle and composition?"
08-29-2008, 06:22 AM   #22
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i picked "Harsh edges at times, distracting elements" because of the double line on the branch, like i'm guessing a lot of people did. if it wasn't there, i'm sure there reamrks would be much more favourable. but i think it's pretty impossible to soften up branches like that smoothly with any lens, so in this case the improvement would not come from equipment but in choosing the right compositional elements.

i wish you did not divulge the lens, it kind of gives us some mental perceptions before fully studying the photo because the good reputation of the lens
08-29-2008, 06:24 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Let's run a survey about how you perceive this bokeh by forum members


Bokeh is from A 50mm f1.2 on k20d



The background is chosen as they are not far away from the subject flower in terms of distance. The elements in the bokeh are not usually that pleasant: branches, bricks and dark foliage.

f1.2 can blurr out these elements effectively and it is quite interesting to see how others interpret the bokeh department.

No highlight or metallic surface bokeh are tested here.

Hi James.

Not an easy question to answer but here goes.

-The image is soothing and artistic and pleasing to look at. No real focal point...but who cares as not every image has to make a bold statement...right?

-The bokeh aspect is aceptable but there are many distracting and unharmonious elements within the rendering. It is the elements themselves that render the distractions and not the limitations of the len's capability to render exceptional bokeh.

-The lack of sharpness of the flower itself is perhaps the biggest problem technically, but then again, what would you expect wide open?

Stephen


Last edited by SCGushue; 08-29-2008 at 06:37 AM.
08-29-2008, 06:57 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
.......
I like buttery bokeh but that is hard to create unless the background is soooo distant away from the subject (but then this kind of approach often draws highlight bokeh in the distance)

You would agree that you preferred this kind of bokeh ?

But then, this is easily reproducible by having no elements in the background, mono-colour and long distance with low dynamic range.

Looking at this image, which my hunch tells me is from the Voigtlander 125mm, even the 50mm f/1.2 would be hard pressed to match in terms of cleaner and smoother buttery bokeh.

This is simply because of the effect of a longer focal length coupled with fast enough max aperture and possibly a closer focusing distance to the subject. The narrower FOV gives much better subject isolation to cut out the background clutter.

I'm sure the 50mm f/1.2 is capable of lovely bokeh, it is only that the wider FOV takes in more background clutter, which means one has to be mindful of the elements at the background. Personally your first picture just reflects cluttered background with some distracting elements imo. Having f/1.2 isn't always a guarantee of good bokeh.

Last edited by creampuff; 08-29-2008 at 07:24 AM.
08-29-2008, 07:12 AM   #25
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I though Bokeh was an attribute of a lens, not an image...? hehehe

Lovely shot in the OP, but I like it much better as a 5x7 or maybe even 4x5 crop, with most of the cropped out part coming from the top, of that bright branch going across at a slight angle up; not sure about losing any of the bottom of it.
08-29-2008, 07:26 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
You would aggree that you preferred this kind of bokeh ?

I agree with Peter that the bokeh here is too monochromatic, but is generally the type of creamy bokeh that I like. Aside from that, it bothers me that the stem is so blurred, the flower is soft and there's significant PF. IMO this photo would have been much better stopped down twice and maybe bump the saturation a notch.
08-29-2008, 07:59 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by SCGushue Quote
Hi James.


-The lack of sharpness of the flower itself is perhaps the biggest problem technically, but then again, what would you expect wide open?

Stephen


To me, the flower's lack of sharpness is an element of the composition - if it were traditionally 'sharp', then the bokeh would lose it's effectiveness and become a bit more distracting. The translucent creaminess of the subject itself suggests strongly that it 'belongs' in the image, and seems (to me) to set the stage for the rest of the image - the bokeh is complex, dreamy, and seems to fit because of the unexpected foreground.

If the flower were sharper, it wouldn't fit as well. It would seem about as legitimate as a photoshopped head of Charlton Heston in the middle of the image.


(talking about the original post's image, not the purple flower/green background image here)

Note that the question isn't "is this how you think all bokeh should be", it's more of a question about how it works with that particular image (I think, correct me of I'm wrong, James)



.

Last edited by jsherman999; 08-29-2008 at 08:07 AM.
08-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote

If you were to ask me what painter I liked the best, it would be Monet or Renoir. Have a look at "Madame Monet with Child" or "Water Lily's"(Monet). Or Renoir's "The Skiff" or "Picking Flowers". These paintings are all bokeh and much like the first image you presented. The painters have eliminated those elements that distract the eye and even though you naturally search the entire image, you always come back to the subject comfortably. Actually the bokeh they have created is much more of what you presented in the first image with out any distractions.

Maybe the question for me is "How do you like this bokeh with this shooting angle and composition?"
As Blende and Jonas all have mentioned in the past, no lenses could do a good job with branches in the bokeh department.

I have the curiosity to see whether people spot the dsitracting elements easily. The subject was chosen deliberately with the out of focus elements in proximity to the subject flower. A fun test to see what most people would have interpreted.

The options provided were intended to see what people would go for with choices like the first one and the fourth one.
08-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #29
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just offhand, that second shot reminds me a lot of the new look of the openSUSE 11 release. It'd make a great computer background.

[/geek]
08-29-2008, 08:27 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i picked "Harsh edges at times, distracting elements" because of the double line on the branch, like i'm guessing a lot of people did. if it wasn't there, i'm sure there reamrks would be much more favourable. but i think it's pretty impossible to soften up branches like that smoothly with any lens, so in this case the improvement would not come from equipment but in choosing the right compositional elements.

i wish you did not divulge the lens, it kind of gives us some mental perceptions before fully studying the photo because the good reputation of the lens
Oh, no. I have my views on A 50mm f1.2 and this thread is not intended to test the ability of bokeh from this particular lens. I chose a tough scene to reveal the bokeh from this lens using widest aperture. To test what most people perceive the bokeh as and spotting the problem as most would have.

The double tramtrack bokeh is quite common with sigma lenses in general but still quite a common occurence with A 50mm 1.2

Still A 50mm f1.2 still has its strength being fast and focusing is not a problem if the subject is pretty much far away.
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