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Thread: What exactly is "bokeh"?

  1. #1

    Question What exactly is "bokeh"?

    Hi,
    I come across this word "Bokeh" in the forums, especially when the thread is about pictures and lens.

    Can someone explain what is exactly meant by Bokeh? What does it mean when someone says the picture has good bokeh?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbesyeo
    Hi,
    I come across this word "Bokeh" in the forums, especially when the thread is about pictures and lens.

    Can someone explain what is exactly meant by Bokeh? What does it mean when someone says the picture has good bokeh?

    Thanks!
    this question has been asked and answered numerous times. pls do a search?

    if u are less inclined to do so, read this.
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/bokeh.shtml
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

  3. #3

  4. #4

    Red face

    hi guys,
    thanks for the links.
    I did do a search, but all that showed up were people's post using the word, and not exactly explaining it.

    Thanks again.

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    Member fastshot's Avatar
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    Bokeh is a Japanese word which means "stupid" or "idiotic" or "confused, unclear". So, in photographic sense, it is the "out of focus" areas in the picture. Can be in front of subject or behind the subject, assuming the subject is question is correctly focussed.

    I think the serious Japanese photographers were the first to value "good" bokeh. Japanese lens reviews give alot of emphasis on the bokeh characteristics. Essentially, good bokeh gives a nice feeling to the viewers and bad bokeh is distracting to viewers. This is pretty obvious if you place 2 similar pictures side by side taken by different lenses using the same large F-stop. Good bokeh is defined by it's smoothness, shape, gentle transition. You can read more about this from the links provided by the other posters.

    Technically, the bokeh characteristics is affected by the lens design and the shape of the aperture blades. The more circular the aperture the nicer the bokeh. Among the Japanese, Minolta appears to more consistent in producing good bokeh in their lens design and were among the earliest to promote circular aperture blades.

    Each of the major manufacturers typically will have some lens in their lineup that has good bokeh, and others that are so-so or just plain terrible. Sometimes a lens is designed to give better sharpness at the expense of bokeh or vis versa. Sometimes background bokeh is great, but foreground bokeh is so-so.

    It is said that some of the Leica lenses, particularly the M series, gives very nice bokeh and still has great sharpness, flat field, contrast and color, and therefore very much desired by the Japanese photographers. These "ideal lens" costs an arm and a leg. Cheaper M type lens alternatives with nice bokeh are offered by Voigtlander Cosina.

    If your shooting style is frequently using large aperture or wide open you will value lens with great bokeh. If you prefer everything in the picture to pin sharp, such as wide angle landscape, then the bokeh is not important.

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    Best explaination I've seen so far...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastshot
    Bokeh is a Japanese word which means "stupid" or "idiotic" or "confused, unclear". So, in photographic sense, it is the "out of focus" areas in the picture. Can be in front of subject or behind the subject, assuming the subject is question is correctly focussed.

    You got that right. It is actually quite derogatory when used in another context.

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    Can someone post a picture of a good bokeh here as a sample, pls?

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    Here's a test of the Canon 50mm 1.8 vs 1.4 done by Wee Kenghor.
    Gives you examples of bokeh.
    Bokeh Test

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by LolliPoP
    Can someone post a picture of a good bokeh here as a sample, pls?
    some of my bokeh shots







    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

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    Thks guy. Nice bokeh.

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    megaweb,

    I love the 3rd picture!!

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    a sample from a F4 lens shot wide open at 200mm:

  14. #14

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    Thanks everyone for the clear explainations and pictures. It's great!

    So does anyone have an example of a picture with bad bokeh?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpenza
    a sample from a F4 lens shot wide open at 200mm:

    wow.. fantastic pic.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbesyeo
    Thanks everyone for the clear explainations and pictures. It's great!

    So does anyone have an example of a picture with bad bokeh?

    Here is a bad one (Osawa 400mm/5.6 MF lens at f8 or f11, sorry for the size of the photo):




    Here is another one taken by a Tamron 28-300mm lens at 158mm f6.7):


    Cheers!

  17. #17

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    Hi i am not using DSLR or SLR camera, only have S5500. I have been trying to take such bokeh pictures, which i think the effects are really nice. But couldn't catch the effect most of the time. I have set my aperture to the min F2.9 but still cannot.
    Can anyone advice what other factors to take note to take bokeh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belano
    Hi i am not using DSLR or SLR camera, only have S5500. I have been trying to take such bokeh pictures, which i think the effects are really nice. But couldn't catch the effect most of the time. I have set my aperture to the min F2.9 but still cannot.
    Can anyone advice what other factors to take note to take bokeh?
    Still cannot means? Background not blur? Bokeh not good enough??

  19. #19

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    Background not blur enough i guess. So can you advice on it? Thank you.

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    Some bokeh pics





    eat. drink. shoot

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