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  1. #1
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Secret to Bokeh?

    I am planning on bringing my camera over to my families for Christmas, and I did some searches for Bokeh on here and found some pretty amazing pictures. Cool effect.

    What is the secret? I can see myself taking pictures of the family indoors, as well as the backyard.

    Would I be better using my 50mm F/1.8 lens, or 18-55 EFS lens for this effect? Camera is a Digital Rebel Xsi

    Also, I guess I should add I would like to see this effect indoors low light, shooting my friends band as well in the future

    Tips?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Newest Nikon Samurai zrfraser's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    The 50mm, open it up and voila you have bokeh, well its not the easy but close enough.
    Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.
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  3. #3
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by zrfraser
    The 50mm, open it up and voila you have bokeh, well its not the easy but close enough.
    Meaning shoot it at 1.8? Get the focus right and the rest should blur pretty easily?

    Damn, that would be nice if it was that easy

    What about shutter speed? Does that matter as much?

  4. #4
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Ok I just practiced on inanimate objects around my apartment That is pretty easy. It doesn't blur totally like some pictures I have seen, but not bad.

    Only problem I can envision is, what if the subject is moving...

    hmmmmm

  5. #5
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshD
    Meaning shoot it at 1.8? Get the focus right and the rest should blur pretty easily?

    Damn, that would be nice if it was that easy

    What about shutter speed? Does that matter as much?
    Whatever shutter speed that is required to get the proper exposure of your subject of interest when you are shooting @ f1.8 and certain ISO.

    Bokeh is just blurred, out of focus background or negative space in your photograph, right? It's nothing mysterious. It is what will happen when you do not have enough depth of field to cover everything from foreground to background. That means you want to have a shallow depth of field, which usually happens when you shoot at the largest aperture and when the background is far away from your subject of interest.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshD

    Only problem I can envision is, what if the subject is moving...

    hmmmmm
    Go to Nature and Wildlife board and take a look at some of the photos.

  7. #7
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Also, you'll get more 'boke' or blurred bg if you have more separation between your subject and bg.
    Keep Shooting!

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  8. #8
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    zr is essentially right. The more you open up your lens (the lower the aperture number) the more you will isolate your subject, blurring the background, creating bokeh. Add to that the more distance between your subject and the background, the more pronounced your bokeh will be. Bokeh can vary A LOT depending on the lens. Here's a few samples I found on Flickr to give you an idea:

    Canon 50mm f/1.8
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotopakismo/2055359862/

    Canon 18-55mm
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/geeo123/2909492801/

    Some of the older portrait lenses can get some crazy bokeh like the swirly bokeh of the old Petzval lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/42499129@N00/3070239224/
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  9. #9
    PRB
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Thanks Aaron for mentioning that the LENS you're using makes a lot of difference.
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  10. #10
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by PRB
    Thanks Aaron for mentioning that the LENS you're using makes a lot of difference.
    No problem

    I just remembered an article that demonstrates this quite well amongst modern Nikon lenses:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/bokeh-comparison.htm
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  11. #11
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    awesome, thanks guys

    so the more narrow the aperture, and wider the focus area the less blurred the background will be.

    looks like i can have some fun with this, good stuff

  12. #12
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    You want to see blurred background, you don't need to go far but our very own Nature and Wildlife board. Here're some:

    Brave Jay


    Reddish Egret


    This one has the subject matter in motion:
    Out the window again....

    Top 10 Finalist in Canon's National Parks Contest!

    A couple more Loggerhead Shrikes - Just for Paul :-)

    And I'm sure you can find other examples on other boards here.

    Oh, here's something about depth of field, bokeh, focal length, etc.:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...h-of-field.htm
    Last edited by AgingEyes; 12-23-2008 at 09:41 PM.

  13. #13
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    I've realized shutter speed does matter, at least in low light. Too fast makes the picture too dark.

    (btw I ordered the book "Understanding Exposure" a couple days ago from Amazon, as I saw it was recommended here quite a few times. Looking forward to learning from it!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Secret to Bokeh?-img_0365.jpg  

  14. #14
    Member Ballen Photo's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    If I may chime in here?
    As noted, Bokeh is the oof (out of focus area) in an image.
    A quick demonstration of how to come up with bokeh.
    I forget which lens this was, but judging by my noted F stop I'd say it was one of my fifties. Shot at F/2, and focussed at about the thirteenth inch mark, You can quickly see the in focus versus the oof areas. This is Your dof (Depth of Field) at that range using F/2

    Here's another demonstration. This was shot using a Rikenon 55mm F/1.4 lens with an M42 (Pentax screw mount) and adapted to a Canon 10D.
    Everything that is oof behind the Tamarac is considered bokeh.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshD
    Would I be better using my 50mm F/1.8 lens, or 18-55 EFS lens for this effect? Camera is a Digital Rebel Xsi
    The 50mm F/1,8 lens makes it easier to achieve bokeh, but isn't an absolute necessity.
    Here is a shot of a kitten with, as you can see, the background thoroughly blown out, again creating bokeh. The camera used here was a Canon G5 with the lens zoomed in on the kitten from a very close proximity. I think this one was around F/5.6. :wink5:
    Note everything behind the kitten is just starting to go oof with a smooth look.
    -Bruce

  15. #15
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Thank you Bruce, good explanation

  16. #16
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    longer focal the focal length, the shallower the DoF for a given aperature. Oh, and don't forget the subject distance from your sensor...

    This one was with canon kit lens, minimum focus distance. Wasn't the sharpest shot of the day but gives you a good idea of the effect.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Secret to Bokeh?-insect-1.jpg  
    Last edited by dizzy; 12-23-2008 at 10:35 PM.
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  17. #17
    Moderator Didache's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Here's a bokeh example ....

    http://www.mikedalesphotography.co.uk/photo1183223.html

    Another key is to have a reasonable separation in distance between the subject and the background. If they are too close, the bokeh won't be as good as when there is a good separation.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Mike Dales ARPS
    My website: www.mikedalesphotography.co.uk

  18. #18
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    I've never thought much about bokeh except that I have gone for shallow dof which is the same I guess.
    Do people take a series of bracketed photos do make the final decision of how much oof is the right bokeh?
    Keep Shooting!

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  19. #19
    mooo...wooh hoooh! schrackman's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    My Canonet GIII QL17 can, at times, get some of that crazy bokeh with its little 40mm 1.7.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/schrackman/916949901/

    Ray

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    My Canonet GIII QL-17 photos on flickr.

  20. #20
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    The quality (or "smoothness") of the bokeh is, in large part, due to the design of the lens. The more circular the aperture, the smoother the bokeh will be.

    While the much loved 50mm f/1.8 by Canon produces fairly good bokeh, it is not great. The 5 bladed aperture produces OOF highlights which are pentagonal shaped and the bokeh doesn't smooth out as nicely as those produced by 6, 7, or even 8 bladed apertured lenses.

    As for DOF, there are many ways to control that as others have mentioned. To recap, to decrease the DOF you can:

    - Use a wider aperture
    - Have the subject closer to the camera
    - Increase the focal length of the lens
    - Employ a combination of the above
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  21. #21
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    I believe that the Japanese term 'bokeh' refers more to the quality of the OOF, not just OOF. It means seeing the OOF background as an important artistic part of the photograph. - TF
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  22. #22
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by dizzy
    ...Wasn't the sharpest shot of the day but gives you a good idea of the effect.
    I think it is worth mentioning that as with all things, there is a trade off. Shooting your lenses wide open or stopped way down may give you some great bokeh or lots of DOF but, it can cause a significant loss in image sharpness. Lenses will generally be sharpest in the f/5.6 - f/11 range.

    Here's a link showing how much sharpness can change with a 50mm lens throughout the range:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/50-...on/f-stops.htm

    Here's a link to results from some resolution testing someone did to show that this can vary incredibly from lens to lens:
    http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/MF_testing.html
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  23. #23
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    thanks guys, great information

    "increase focal length"- may be a dumb question, but what exactly do you mean by this? I am new to DSLRs from Point and Shoots. I get the wider aperture part.

    I am looking forward to trying this out. Good examples Xia, obviously this method wouldnt be ideal for shooting far away subjects, but for close ups of the kids, or insects or whatever it might be cool!

    Thanks again

  24. #24
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshD
    ..."increase focal length"- may be a dumb question, but what exactly do you mean by this? I am new to DSLRs from Point and Shoots. I get the wider aperture part...
    He's referring to lens or zoom size. Your 50mm lens, shooting a subject 10 feet away at f/2.8 will yield a DOF field (area in focus) of 1.29 feet. Now let's say for instance you bumped that up to a 200mm lens (an increase in focal length). Shooting a subject 10 feet away at f/2.8 with a 200mm lens will give you a DOF of 0.08 feet. If you would like to see what effect apertures, focal lengths, and distances can have, check out this link:

    http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
    Aaron Lehoux * flickr
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  25. #25
    Member JoshD's Avatar
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    Re: Secret to Bokeh?

    Awesome, thank you

    Actually I kind of figured out what focal length was after I posted that, I was just drawing a blank

    So much to learn with this camera, can't wait to delve in...

    Thanks for the link too, very helpful

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