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Bokeh!
As this is a beginner's forum, can someone please tell me what Bokeh is? It's driving me crazy! Thanks in advance.Dossy..

Comments (15)

Essentially the degree of pleasant-looking soft smoothness in the out of focus background area of a shot. Particularly important in portraiture. Some lenses are much better in this regard than others.It has to do with resolution of circles of confusion, I'm told..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr..

Comment #1

Bokeh is an obscure terms that has been popularized in the last few years. It refers to the change in sharpness (transition from sharp to maximum unsharp) in out of focus areas in an image (in front of near DOF limit and behind far DOF limits). "Smooth" bokeh is highly prized. Choppy or block bokeh is not prized.Van..

Comment #2

John farrar wrote:.

It has to do with resolution of circles of confusion, I'm told..

Yep. It is also is impacted by the number of diaphram blades and how closely they describe a circular aperture instead of a square or hexagram or other geometry..

Van..

Comment #3

In simple terms, when people discuss 'bokeh' they are discussing how 'appealing' they think the out of focus areas look in an image..

While this is of course a totally subjective thing, generallly people tend to find very soft smooth out of focus areas more appealing than ones with harsh transitions...

Comment #4

So if I'm understanding this correctly, bokeh (no longer with a capital "B" as it becomes more familiar!), is the out-of-focus portion of the photo, whether the foreground, or background. The "smoother" the out-of-focus is, the better the bokeh.Dossy..

Comment #5

I am no expert myself, but didn't John previously refer to the smoothe "transition" from sharp-to-unsharp rather than the whole unsharp region itself....John_S..

Comment #6

To help with the pronunciation and history of the word, it's the Japanese way of saying "bouquet," analagous to it's use in (sometimes pretentious) wine evaluation. Its meaning is subjective, not objective. Too much discussion of the bokeh adds a nutty, smoky flavor with a fruity aftertaste to any photo club discussion..

[ e d @ h a l l e yc c ] http://www.halley.cc/pix/..

Comment #7

Both of these are my images, taken with the same lense and same camera, but at different focal lengths..

The first image exhibits good bokeh, IMO, because it doesn't take away from the image, and directs your attention to the subject. The out of focus region is pleasing, not blotchy, and doesn't detract from the subject..

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This second image exhibits bad bokeh, IMO, because the out of focus region is jagged, sharply defined, and detracts from the subject. It doesn't necessarily draw your attention directly to the subject, and may cause confusion when looking at the image as a whole..

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Please note, however, that I personally think both images are excellent (I mean come on, I took them!  ) despite the latter's poor bokeh. So you can have a good image with poor bokeh, or a good image with good bokeh. Obviously the latter is desired..

I've found that my teleconverter generally adds more undesirable bokeh at the long end of my zoom lense when shooting in grassy areas or grassy conditions, but YMMV. Note the particularly bad bokeh at the bottom left of the second image.Tim'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' -Mahatma Gandhihttp://www.flickr.com/photos/timskis6/..

Comment #8

I thank you all for your responses. I am very new to all of this, and I have committed to try to learn a new concept every day. Meantime, all this discussion has made me thirsty for some wine? Nutty? Fruity?Dossy..

Comment #9

Nah, go for something strong, heady, chewy, rich with a nice lingering after-taste like a grenache-shiraz... if you get the same feelig woth your pic, your bokeh should be okeh ..

Comment #10

Bokeh is bokeh. You either have it or you do not. The longer the focal length of the lens the better the bokeh. Wide angle lenses, for the most part havevery little bokeh especially at the extreme end going from 35mm to wider lenses, say 8mm. A 70mm lens has better bokeh than a 50mm. After a certain point bokeh is irrelevant because it is all the same..

My Sigma 24-70 EX DG Macro f/2.8 lens has excellent bokeh at 70mm when the subject is close to the camera and the background is far away. My 50mm f/1.8 II has lousy bokeh but bokeh ain't everything. People use 50mm lenses on DSLR's as portrait lenses because of the 1.6 crop factor but they make lousy portrait lenses. For a good portrait lens think 85, 90 or 100mm lenses for the best bokeh. Problem is, 1.6 crop factor DSLR's force us to use a 50mm lens and we live with the bokeh even if it's not really all that great. Full frame DSLR's can use 85mm instead of 50mm lenses and get better images.



Good luck.Bill.

Shoot liberally!..

Comment #11

Best Bokeh (In my PERSONAL opinion!) I've seen on lenses I've actually used mysefl:.

Nikon AF 2.0/105DC (Wide open, no DC dialled in, my all time favourit portrait lens, which will be rightfully re-instated to it's former glory when I upgrade to FX format... can't wait!!)Nikon AF-D 85/1.4 wide openNikon MF 2.0/200mm wide open..

Maybe there are lenses with nicer Bokeh, but then I haven't used them or not used them in such a way (yet) as to get the nice Bokeh out of them...

Comment #12

Just wondering....one of my photos was described as having a nice "wash"behind the subject. Would this be the same as bokeh?..

Comment #13

Wm Karoly wrote:.

Bokeh is bokeh. You either have it or you do not. The longer thefocal length of the lens the better the bokeh. Wide angle lenses, forthe most part havevery little bokeh especially at the extreme endgoing from 35mm to wider lenses, say 8mm. A 70mm lens has betterbokeh than a 50mm..

Bokeh is the *quality* of the background blur, not the amount of it. And that doesn't necessarily increase with focal length..

After a certain point bokeh is irrelevant becauseit is all the same..

My Sigma 24-70 EX DG Macro f/2.8 lens has excellent bokeh at 70mmwhen the subject is close to the camera and the background is faraway. My 50mm f/1.8 II has lousy bokeh but bokeh ain't everything.People use 50mm lenses on DSLR's as portrait lenses because of the1.6 crop factor but they make lousy portrait lenses. For a goodportrait lens think 85, 90 or 100mm lenses for the best bokeh..

I agree about the 50/1.8, but it's not because of the focal length, it's because it's a cheap, simple design with a 5-blade diaphragm - they don't come any worse. My Sigma 18-50/2.8 has much better bokeh, despite being both wider and smaller aperture. The 50/1.8 has other strengths though...

Comment #14

Yes, it's bokeh..

Wikipedia definition of bokeh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh.

From my lenses Tamron 90mm f/2.8 1:1 macro and Minolta 70-210mm f/4 have best bokeh. Because of this reason I use them for portrait and macro shots..

Tamron 90mm.

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Minolta 70-210mm f/4.

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Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #15

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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