Bokeh

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Timo Hartikainen, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. Or laugh at it as a marketing gag for something we all know too well and do not need to have it rubbed into our noses lately. As if it is something like a religious totem. DPR urges all to buy a 135 mm lens because of its mouth-watering' bokeh. Just today. No kidding. Reminds me of the ads for vitamins that keep you young and virile. It is, now that I will grant, a boon for some advertisers and those seeking to make us get one more lens. If you can't define it, maybe it is a phantom. It is a fetish because we need fetishes for the masses. Not, I declare, for the knowledgable and hip. Like us but of course. It has that new foreign sound, as something once did if we called it in French. Or Spanish. It is so intriguing. The mysterious orient. Delicious bokeh al dente. I still think it is just silly to give it such column bandwith. But that is just me speaking.
     
  2. The Helios-44 sometimes produces interesting bokeh, but most of the time not as interesting as you might want. The lens is cheap enough you can get one easily. It was the first interchangeable lens I ever owned.
     
  3. marketing gag for something we all know too well and do not need to have it rubbed into our noses lately

    Exactly! Hence my admonishments. One of the many marketing ruses to stimulate desire and to get you to part with your money that has only a fairly tenuous connection with a good photograph.
     
    GerrySiegel likes this.
  4. Gerry, I try not to let advertisers influence me one way or the other. They won’t be influencing me to buy a new lens based on a sexy adjective they might come up with to describe the bokeh. Nor will they influence me by turning me off to something because of the stupid way they might promote it. I really don’t read much about cameras or lenses, so I’m not in touch with much advertising to be influenced by it one way or the other. When I feel a need for a new camera or lens, I do some research, ask some people who know more than me, and get the purchase over with as quickly as possible. In any case, damned if I’m going to let advertisers dictate or influence how I think about, look at, or use various aspects or characteristics of a photograph, whether that influence is by my reacting positively to their sloganeering or negatively to it.
     
    Dieter Schaefer likes this.
  5. I confess that "they" got me with the Sam Yang 135mm f2.0; however, I traded a spare macro lens for it, and paid less than USD 200. It has nice blur. It is also very sharp, and focuses to a near-macro range without a tube.

    FB_010218-5.jpg
     
    Mark Keefer and Moving On like this.
  6. Now that we are sort of devolving, I have to point out again that somebody here on Photo.net years ago called it BROKEH, unintentionally, I think.
    :rolleyes:
     
  7. It takes a certain kind of image to make any kind of bokeh look good in my opinion and I don't see them too often. It seems to be popular with the crowd that didn't grow up shooting film and kind of a nostalgia thing. Nothing wrong with that, just doesn't do much for me.
     
  8. I don't think it has anything to do with film v. digital. "Bokeh" is one of the few supposedly artistic qualities you can buy. Get Zeiss Glass--I mean ZEISS GLASS--and you will Have Bokeh. No talent, observation or practice required. You can feel superior with nothing but an outlay of cash. "Look at the way that lens "draws". See the creamy "bokeh". You can't see it? Well, we artists..."

    Okay, I exaggerate, and yes blur can be distracting in some circumstances, and nice blur may add a certain indefinable quality to a good image.
     
  9. LOL. Les, I think at this point we may just have to forever accept the fact that for some people EVERYTHING has to do with film v. digital. :oops:
    Remember, though, the age-old comment made to so many photographers . . . "What a beautiful photo, you must have a really good camera." I think the sense that you can buy what it takes to make a good picture has been around for a long time and applies to lots more than bokeh!!!
     
    AJG and dcstep like this.
  10. Wo, I lack a ready model but my Balinese girl will stand in and just did. Lumix GX 8 with a 1972 Minolta MC Rokkor PG 1.2 at F 2.0. Metabones tube to the m4/3 mount... Under a porch shade on black plexi with background the mock orange hedge. Distance to figurine was about two feet and the hedge was like 20 feet. late afternoon near 5 PM sun. So it has a lot to do with distances. " Hey Gerry, come shoot my girl. Ok. Can you do bokeh? You bet. I do great bokeh. Did you like it creamy or just yogurt style or swirly. I got settings for all. And if Lotta has zits i even have a set of soft filters. Been at this since I was knee high to Dick Avedon :) Bali head byd before hedge.jpg
     
  11. This lens will do great with equivalent of 116 mm and nice up to F 2 and not bad at F 1.2. Only trouble is that you will Not likely find this 50 year old optic in mint or EXC for under five hundred USD and the tube is extra. Happily my neighbor willed it to me with his SRT 102. Could have come out of the box so clean...how come no fungus, one of life's myseries eh what? I see no urge to sell it off right now but we will see how my taxes fare in 2019..... ( Must be I am learning to appreciate the er out- of- focus effect whatchamacillit Great also for less than perfect skin ..btw:) Minolta 1.3 58mm GX 8.jpg Shot with Lumix ZS 100. on P mode.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  12. You've been working on your sarcasm since those knee-high days also, right? :)

    Anyway, I suppose people's panties wouldn't get all twisted up if the comments were simply in the form of "I like the way you blurred the background." But just supplant "like" with an actual description like "creamy" or "diamond-like" or "distracting" or, heaven forbid, "effervescent" and the language police will be all over you for being an elitist photographer snob. Best stick to the word "nice" and all will be well in Photoville. :):):)
     
  13. Jerry, I think My Cousin Vinny described it well: do you like it creamy or al dente? But then he was talking about grits. My degree is is Literature and creative writing so I enjoy words like magical, and my personal favorite, like budda for the 135 dc. Yum, grits with budda.
     
  14. If one has to explain sarcasm, what price sarcasm. It has become a defense but wears thin on late night TV, where folks get paid for writing it... There is no emoji for it for the rest of us troops. And it is a poor substitute for humor. It takes some humility. But when I joke I also joke at myself. That is when I laugh the most actually. Looking in the mirror for a start. As a footnote, how often do we read a comment and on the alert for a slight or have all our six senses tuned to some insult or crack ?. I could be off base but words pop out and come from the random part of the brain. Do they fit or are they just close? Example. The other day I wrote that I was "ambiguous" about critique when I clearly was thinking ( if I was using the conscious brain) the word ambivalent. Quite a difference. If the word bokeh is now in the lexicon I must accept it as a word. It is here. It seems to have a life. As a concept, when I look close, it is overblown and misleading.1. Overblown because there are so many other qualities to an image that deserve more attention. 2.Misleading because we get sold that it ( the effect ) is solely related to the character of a lens. Lenses are all so great nowadays that selling new ones becomes tough. I understand. I accept with a twinkle now and then.

    (PS. Having the background lighter than foreground is useful and the background lit in a non uniform way, Little observations.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  15. DOF preview with a DSLR gives only a rough approximation of background blur. You have to review the results for an accurate picture, which quickly becomes a task to avoid. When you stop down, the viewfinder becomes so dark you can't tell much. Modern mirrorless cameras with EVF attempt to keep the viewing brightness constant, making it easy to assess the results before the shot.With a Sony you have the option to show effects like darkening with the diaphragms setting, in real time, but I don't find that particularly useful.

    In short, if you have tools which are ideally suited to the job, you tend to make more use of them.
     
  16. Bokeh is a creative choice. It's an element of seasoning added to the recipe by the photographer. It seems to be in fashion these days.
     
  17. Seasoning being best served subtly........;)
     
    dcstep, tholte and Wilmarco Imaging like this.
  18. I like the seasoning imagery, Wil Marco. It is a fashion and there you have it. Will it hang around, like blown out jeans. Or like fancy tattoos and wide ear plug rings. Or like Lousiana hot sauce be on the table if we need it or ketchup on our steak. Taste is taste. For me, with Before Bokeh and After Bokeh days i am slow to adapt. Unless I know why and where to. I used to suck on a toothpick after meals. And I still can't recall why. Environmental portraiture to me represents the most vigorous portraiture. In galleries, the artist typically embellishes the subject with the emblems of his trade or his nobility or class or wealth or vocation. Not always, but blur is not that common or was not all that common. Even drop backgrounds had fields and grecian temples and the like. Just reflecting. A green screen is for putting a nice something there. A clear nice something on the telly..
     
    Wilmarco Imaging likes this.
  19. The only thing I find annoying about bokeh is the over-use of the word bokeh, and especially when it is confused for shallow depth of field. As annoying as the word bokeh has become, it's not entirely about nothing. Aesthetic differences between lenses, (whether you find those important or not) do exist and not all lenses are created equal. Whether those (relatively minor) difference matter to your photography or not, is a personal choice. If you don't care about it, the fact that others care, doesn't mean they're wrong, misguided or being silly. They just have different priorities.
    Using (or abusing) very wide apertures is similarly a personal choice, and personally I think it is more than just 'fashion'. It's a creative choice a photographer makes to get a specific result (and sure the choice of lens matters here). The viewer may or may not notice it, or find it important in any way, but I don't think that's the only measure. A photographer also has to be happy with the result, and if the specific qualities of a lens get exactlty that, then it will help that photographer create - not a bad thing. Whether it's art of not is irrelevant to that.
    In a very similar way, there are plenty of sites now doing lens reviews where the only real factors they value are resolution, a lack of distortion and (extreme) corner sharpness. Not arguing they do not matter, but to say that these are the qualities that make a lens good or bad is equally skewed as drooling over out-of-focus highlights. And sure marketing departments will jump on any of that, but well..... they're just doing what it takes to push some boxes.

    So, yes, it is seasoning, in the same way that many other choices are. The overly saturated look of Velvia slides, developing black and white to exegerate grain, or a wide variety of options available in post-processing (HDR, excessive vignetting, .....) are equal examples. All tools in the shed, and like all seasoning, use with some caution, but when used correctly, they do make the difference.

    I'll happily admit that I am particular about my lenses and how they render, simply because I feel some of them give me additional creative options that other lenses may not deliver. Personal choices, and even if a fair number in this thread feel they need to ridicule such considerations, it's "live and let live" as far as I am concerned.
     
    Nick D. and Dieter Schaefer like this.
  20. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    in fashion actually translates as marketing. "fast" lenses have always sold at premium prices. i personally wouldnt go out of my way to pay such high prices.

    i use whats available and to the limit of my equipment. i find with medium format and large format lenses, its rare to find fast lenses. but the dof is certainy enough to do very selective focusing. i find that also to be format dependant.

    my etrs 645 min f stops are around 2.8 to 3.5. my rb67 is 3.5 to 4.5. my lf lenses are 5.6 and up. but i can isolate a very thin slice in each format wide open.

    brokeh :) smoothness seems to relate more to how the light enters the lens. at least this is how i see it.

    to get those octagons, shoot into the light source or a reflection of the source. an evenly lit background will give you a silky smooth blur.

    etrs, 150mm 3.5 tmy400

    PS2013090800a.jpg
     

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