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Thread: Whats bokeh?

  1. #1
    Junior Member the bull's Avatar
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    Whats bokeh?

    I keep seeing it.
    Dont know what it stands for.

  2. #2
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Basically, it's how the out-of-focus areas in an image look. A lens with good bokeh is smooth here, where other lenses might have strange details instead of a smooth blur. Google it when you've got way too much time on your hands...

  3. #3
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Anotherview is right, but bokeh is actually really stupid
    Its one of those things where people argue over what good bokeh is.
    Its an argument that never ends. Ever

  4. #4
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by the bull
    I keep seeing it.
    Dont know what it stands for.
    I'll expand on Another View's answer, which is correct.

    Bokeh is a fancy name for background blur! A 50 cent word, if you prefer that analogy.

    Use a shallow depth of field, such as f1.4, f2.0, f2.8, and everything from a few feet behind your subject to infinity will be out of focus. That's your bokeh. Experiment with different focal lengths, different apetures, and different backgrounds, and you'll soon get an idea of what you like, and how much DOF you want in a particular photo.
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  5. #5
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    It's actually how those out of focus areas look - again, if you google it you'll find way too much time spent on it by way too many people already...

    Have you studied photographs taken with older cameras? They have a different look to them in a lot of cases than cameras today do. That's not just a bokeh difference (coated lenses make a difference too) but a lot of older lenses look nice here. Leica is known for having a lot of lenses with good bokeh - and less expensive zooms will often not have it.

  6. #6
    Analog Photographer, Digital World Axle's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed
    I'll expand on Another View's answer, which is correct.

    Bokeh is a fancy name for background blur! A 50 cent word, if you prefer that analogy.

    Use a shallow depth of field, such as f1.4, f2.0, f2.8, and everything from a few feet behind your subject to infinity will be out of focus. That's your bokeh. Experiment with different focal lengths, different apetures, and different backgrounds, and you'll soon get an idea of what you like, and how much DOF you want in a particular photo.
    So basically Bokeh is another term for Depth of Field, correct?
    Alex Luyckx | Photography
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  7. #7
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
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    A town in Florida?

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  8. #8
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Axle
    So basically Bokeh is another term for Depth of Field, correct?
    No. It's is the appearance of the out of focus area. When I get home, I will take a couple of pictures and post as examples. It's ahrd to explain in words (at least on a Friday :-) )

  9. #9
    shake it like a polaroid picture berrywise's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    It's where I go for family sized italian dishes. Oh wait that's Buca's.

  10. #10
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Oh yeah, it's my wife's birthday on the 4th - I gotta pick up one of those bokeh things.

    I think I've got some examples too, I'll take a look.

  11. #11
    Analog Photographer, Digital World Axle's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by tijean
    No. It's is the appearance of the out of focus area. When I get home, I will take a couple of pictures and post as examples. It's ahrd to explain in words (at least on a Friday :-) )
    Ah! I understand now! Thanks!
    Alex Luyckx | Photography
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  12. #12
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    This is what I think good bokeh is. Look at the out-of-focus background, it's very smooth. Especially look at those highlights along the left edge of the frame, with bad bokeh you might see the outside of those white dots show up as a bright ring rather than just a smooth dot.

    The Romantics last year when they were here in town, taken with the Nikon 85 f1.4 - one of the best out there for bokeh. 1/30 @ f2, ISO800.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Whats bokeh?-romantics.jpg  

  13. #13
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    This bokeh isn't so good - taken with a Nikon 50 f1.4 (1/250 @ f2.8, ISO400). See how the branches in the out-of-focus area a couple feet back have well defined edges even though they're soft?

    What's good and not good is as debatable as any topic in photography, BTW. This is my opinion of what looks good and doesn't. But don't get worked up over good & bad. There are so many more important factors in what is a good photograph, and the idea that a photograph isn't good just because of this is just wrong. In some shots it will make a big difference, but it's not everything.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Whats bokeh?-byron.jpg  

  14. #14
    Junior Member the bull's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone!

    I am looking for a good sport lens and this term keeps coming up.

    I want a sharp fast lens with good bokeh!


  15. #15
    Just a Member Chunk's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    In cliquey wine circles the wine snobs will talk about bouquet.
    IMHO bokeh is the photographic equivalent.
    If the oof background of a shot looks really really nice I always figure it's due more to what the background is made up of and how it is lit than being due to the brand of lens. Backgrouds with point source or specular highlights make for nice 'puffy' oof bokeh. Linear/blocky backgrounds don't look as 'good'.
    One type of lens where there is a big difference is the catadioptric lenses where the lens design results in doughnut shaped out of focus areas for point sources of light. They usually seem pretty strange to me.
    Last edited by Chunk; 07-10-2005 at 09:57 AM.
    ----------------------------


  16. #16
    Junior Member the bull's Avatar
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    pronounced...

    boo kaa ??????????

    This wine has lots a boo kaa!

    The back ground has boo kaa!

    Boo kaam Dan-o!

  17. #17
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chunk
    catadioptric lenses where the lens design results in doughnut shaped out of focus areas for point sources of light.
    a.k.a. Mirror Lenses

  18. #18
    Just a Member Chunk's Avatar
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    Re: Whats bokeh?

    Quote Originally Posted by another view
    a.k.a. Mirror Lenses
    yeah...well...we photosnobs say cat lenses.
    ----------------------------


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