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06-08-2022, 03:21 AM - 2 Likes   #61
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I don't know what the actual term bokeh means, but the way it is typically used, it refers to the way in which a lens renders out of focus areas. Obviously, if you shot a 15mm lens at f8 you aren't going to have much out of focus and that quality isn't terribly important. Also, if the background is far enough away and not busy, most lenses may give similar results.

Some lenses seem to give a "swirly" result, while others have a lot of odd outlining of light areas in the background. As with anything, I don't think there is a right or wrong. Some people love the swirly aspect of older lens's rendering of out of focus area, but others don't like that look at all.

For me, if I am shooting a portrait or something else where I am shooting with shallow depth of field, I would prefer that the background be smooth and not distracting. Having lots of donuts or swirls isn't ideal from my standpoint.

06-08-2022, 04:06 AM - 4 Likes   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoLady Quote
Whenever the subject of BOKEH comes up, it appears to me of my understanding of BOKEH that many confuse a blurred, out of focus, shallow d.o.f. background as BOKEH and call it such.

From what all the many artcles I've read and the many videos I've watched on the subject, BOKEH is how spots of light - be it, for example, from street lights in the distance, fairy lights on a Christmas tree in the distant background or dappled light breaking through foliage ie "sparkle points" - are registered through the lens onto the sensor or film in round balls, either sharp or hazy or swirled.

In other words, as I understand it, shallow depth of field blurred background and BOKEH are quite different from each other but both being achieved the same way by setting the smallest f/stop and using the longer focal point for the background.
I think "The quality of the out of focus area " reigns supreme in a quick search.
PS the timescale at the bottom of the last screenshot says it all!
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06-08-2022, 05:06 AM - 1 Like   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoLady Quote
Whenever the subject of BOKEH comes up, it appears to me of my understanding of BOKEH that many confuse a blurred, out of focus, shallow d.o.f. background as BOKEH and call it such.
What is "blurred, out of focus, shallow d.o.f." at the back and front of the sharp subject in Japanese is "boke", the origin of bokeh.
Boke = 暈け or ぼけ or ボケ means "blurred" or "fuzzy" or "vague", so not sharp

QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoLady Quote
From what all the many artcles I've read and the many videos I've watched on the subject, BOKEH is how spots of light - be it, for example, from street lights in the distance, fairy lights on a Christmas tree in the distant background or dappled light breaking through foliage ie "sparkle points" - are registered through the lens onto the sensor or film in round balls, either sharp or hazy or swirled.
This is the artistic side, something other photographers don't like or find childish (I don't agree with this harsh viewpoint).
But just a very soft background is as much bokeh as are all those artistic approaches.

We speak as well of a hard or harsh bokeh, depending often on the quantity and shape of the diaphragma-blades.
06-08-2022, 07:29 AM - 1 Like   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Bokeh is the quality of the out of focus rendering. You essentially always have it, but pleasing bokeh is what most people want. A lot of people conflate bokeh with highly out of focus backgrounds that isolate the subject.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh

Bokeh can be pleasing or harsh. Some lenses give crazy swirly bokeh. Some give creamy smooth bokeh.
Easiest way to get attractive bokeh that I know of: Bag your high-dollar modern glass and invest some small money in vintage triplet lenses. There are some fine 50mm and plentiful 135mm examples out there. Most are preset or fully manual aperture designs. Most also have 10- to 14-blade diaphragms, which render out-of-focus point light sources as smooth-edged circles. The swirly effect is a bonus in several of these vintage lenses - and it can be modulated by stopping down from wide open to f8 or thereabouts.

---------- Post added 06-08-22 at 10:33 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoLady Quote
Whenever the subject of BOKEH comes up, it appears to me of my understanding of BOKEH that many confuse a blurred, out of focus, shallow d.o.f. background as BOKEH and call it such.

From what all the many artcles I've read and the many videos I've watched on the subject, BOKEH is how spots of light - be it, for example, from street lights in the distance, fairy lights on a Christmas tree in the distant background or dappled light breaking through foliage ie "sparkle points" - are registered through the lens onto the sensor or film in round balls, either sharp or hazy or swirled.

In other words, as I understand it, shallow depth of field blurred background and BOKEH are quite different from each other but both being achieved the same way by setting the smallest f/stop and using the longer focal point for the background.
Correction: Set the largest f-stop. Wide open = more out of focus background and hence more opportunity for bokeh. The quality of that bokeh is a function of the lens design you're shooting with. Please see my reply to "Photogem", below.

06-08-2022, 08:56 PM - 1 Like   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Owltown Quote
The quality of that bokeh is a function of the lens design you're shooting with. Please see my reply to "Photogem", below.
Couldn't find any reply?
06-09-2022, 10:43 PM - 1 Like   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by Owltown Quote
Easiest way to get attractive bokeh that I know of: Bag your high-dollar modern glass and invest some small money in vintage triplet lenses. There are some fine 50mm and plentiful 135mm examples out there. Most are preset or fully manual aperture designs. Most also have 10- to 14-blade diaphragms, which render out-of-focus point light sources as smooth-edged circles. The swirly effect is a bonus in several of these vintage lenses - and it can be modulated by stopping down from wide open to f8 or thereabouts.

---------- Post added 06-08-22 at 10:33 AM ----------


Correction: Set the largest f-stop. Wide open = more out of focus background and hence more opportunity for bokeh. The quality of that bokeh is a function of the lens design you're shooting with. Please see my reply to "Photogem", below.
I have several Takumar vintage lenses and quite agree with you on that they can produce wonderful Bokeh - small balls of light. I love using them both on my film and digital cameras.

But regarding your correction, thank you but perhaps mine is misread and this is often also cause for confusion.
My meaning (and I think is correct) of the smallest f/stop is in refering to the number, i.e. f/1.4, f/2.8 etc = wide open apertures and so the largest f/stop refers again to the number and = smaller apertures.
06-10-2022, 02:46 AM - 1 Like   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
What is "blurred, out of focus, shallow d.o.f." at the back and front of the sharp subject in Japanese is "boke", the origin of bokeh.
Boke = 暈け or ぼけ or ボケ means "blurred" or "fuzzy" or "vague", so not sharp


This is the artistic side, something other photographers don't like or find childish (I don't agree with this harsh viewpoint).
But just a very soft background is as much bokeh as are all those artistic approaches.

We speak as well of a hard or harsh bokeh, depending often on the quantity and shape of the diaphragma-blades.
After all has been said and done on this feed, comments and all, I am happy to accept and go along with the Japanese origin of Bokeh is the back and front of a photo/image being blurred, fuzzy or vague and the balls of light caused by the lens as an artistic interpretation of Bokeh.

06-14-2022, 08:34 PM - 1 Like   #68
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I think the wikipedia concise definition sums it up best: "In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image."

I'm not sure the "balls of light" analogy fully covers the effect. While some out of focus areas may represent as "balls of light" that is but one aspect of the out of focus areas.
06-15-2022, 12:12 AM - 2 Likes   #69
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From a technical perspective all of an image is made up of balls of light, even the pixel sharp in focus areas.
So one could agree.
But yes, for most people that explanation is misleading.

Last edited by beholder3; 06-15-2022 at 11:28 PM.
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