Nikkor 35mm f/2 AF boke

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_tenggala, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Hi all, I took some pictures today with these lens and just realized how bad its boke is. It really bothered me in the way it gives that ring-like look and doesn't look nice at all, let alone the shape of the aperture blade. My lens is the regular AF lens, not the D-type. The front and rear element looks excellent as far as I know. It has a little dust inside on one of the element. Would this affect how the boke appears on my pictures? Anybody has experience with this? As far as I know, the characteristic of boke is just inherent to each lens and it's not designed and just a byproduct of how the lens is designed. I don't remember anybody mentioning about the bad boke of this 35mm lens and I thought a nikkor wouldn't come with this kind of boke. Anybody wants to share his/her two cents? Thanks.
  2. Portraits with a 35mm lens looks like what you posted. Next try, consider using a AF 85mm f1.4 (or 1.4D) and the results may be better. The 'lights' in the background will produce 'shapes,' and the Nikon engineers do not know in advance what type of lighting you plan on using after you have the lens on your camera.

    Why do you blame Nikon?
  3. Don't sweat it!
  4. Hey,

    I've been there,done that - you need to spend some $$$ if you want lenses with good bokeh.
    The only Nikon lenses that have good bokeh: nikon 85mm 1.4 (you can get a used one for a
    good price), Nikon 28-70mm 2.8, Nikon 180mm 2.8, and the 70-200..There are also the
    Zeiss lenses, but those haven't been tested yet.
  5. That isn't terrible bokeh. It isn't great eaither, but compared to something like the 50 1.4 AIS, it's pretty good. Apart from some older lenses and a couple of the very high end lenses, I would say that Nikon has a great reputation for bokeh. Dust in the lens shouldn't be a factor. For some good reading on bokeh and other optical properties check out this site:

    You could fix some of this in photoshop. Better yet, next time pay a bit more attention to your background; sometimes slight recomposition can make a big difference. In this case I think that the donut highlights seem more prevalent because your eye is drawn to them by the big mass of color to the left of your sister's head. With an otherwise gray background, that mass of color steals focus away from your subject.

    BTW, a 35 on a cropped frame camera like your d50 (checked your metadata) is a pretty good lens for general portraits. Actually, a 35 on a full frame camera isn't bad either. Portraits don't need to be shot with an 85 or 105 unless you are getting close enough to your subject to introduce some perspective distortion.
  6. Hi, I loved your sister.

    I have a AF 28 f/1.4D.

    I don't know how dot is appear to your bokeh, but your photo need to crop image tighten if your take about portrait. And you should bend the knee for lower angle of view.


    This picture someone blame me it's was bad bokeh and this is a poor lens but it's AF 28 f/1.4D!! haha god!! I buy really expensive lens! (Photo taken on S3Pro.)
  7. ky2


    "the only Nikon lenses that have good bokeh: nikon 85mm 1.4 (you can get a used one for a good price), Nikon 28-70mm 2.8, Nikon 180mm 2.8, and the 70-200" -- Woah. You're missing many by far.
  8. it looks to me like the lighting situation was at dusk, which explains the halo-ish bokeh. It looks like a combination of daylight and night photo with the lights on while it's still light out. I think that is the cause of the dull color as well. I wouldn't blame the lens for that. Shooting wide open at dusk in that setting is bound to create some dingy effects. I always like to avoid mixing daylight and strong yellow/orange lights because of that.
  9. Jim nailed it. Try it under slightly better lighting conditions.
  10. All 3 shots below were taken with the 35mm AF (non-D), with D70 handheld iso1600 @ f/2. The bokeh is OK to me. The palm tree in the background could have looked nasty if the blades had been doubled up, but it's just soft. And the circle of light has a nice round shape. I've seen worse! (and by the way, I think the 18-70 has great bokeh.)
  11. 2nd example
  12. 3rd example, taken at a party
  13. You wanna good portrait? Worry about the front. Eliminate the shadows (unless that's what you're trying to do). IMO, a little flash would have been nice on your sister.

    Bokeh is like having kids οΎ– you take what you get and you live with it. Did you know "bokeh" is Japanese for "children." Why is that, you say? Because they're always hanging around. (a little joke)

    Of course, you can do surgery with Photoshop, if you are inclined. Seen shots on impressively change the background. But for a snapshot, is it really that important? Worry about the front. (Did I say that already?) Cheers.
  14. Steve, come on, it isn't that bad. What was your f stop, anyway? Maybe you had some room left for a bigger aperture to blur the background even more. Granted, a 35 mm has, obviously, more DOF than, say, an 85, but still. And the smaller "APS" size senor also has more DOF than regular 35 mm frame, it this is digital. Also, exposing a bit more for your subject would have brought the background up and maybe given you a better look. If you use PS, make a "Duplicate layer". Use "Gaussian blur" at will on the whole photo. Refine with the "Opacity" in the layer if you want. Record in "History" as a "Blur Snapshot". "Undo" the blur under "Edit". Select the "Blur Snapshot" in the "History" tab. Take the "History brush" at 100% opacity or what suits you. Bring back only your background to blur with it. "Flatten" your layers. And voila! Very decent bokeh! :)
  15. IMHO, most bokeh comparisons and discussions are rubbish. Why? Because the rendition of a bright spot will depend on its size and distance from the camera, the focus setting of the camera, the aperture, the brightness of the spot compared to the rest of the scene, the aperture, and probably dozens of other variables. The only comparison that would be valid would be to shoot the identical subject with lenses of identical focal length- and that's not very practical or useful from a photographic standpoint. The minute you start making generalizations about out-of-focus performance of different lenses, all bets are off. The bokeh emperor has no clothes! Worry more about lighting the subject properly, then worry about the brightness and light distribution in the background, before wasting brain cells worrying about how different brands of lenses will render it!
  16. Steve,

    I don’t see bad bokeh in this photograph. It’s not great but it’s rather neutral to me. The problem is it’s not out of focus or blurred enough. You could have used aperture preferred instead of program mode. Seriously loose the program mode and take more responsibility for the esthetics of your photographs.

    Now there is a problem with using a 35mm normal lens on DX and especially a medium fast one. You get more DOF which can be good for some photographs and you get less background blurring. The aperture the camera selected for you was f/2.5. F/2.0 would have helped some but what you really needed was f/1.4. You might try a 35/1.4 AI or AIS or the Sigma 30/1.4 in Nikon AF.

    Don’t let anyone fool you: Nikon’s system of lenses is quite incomplete for the DX formats. There is a lack of fast prime lenses and the professional f/2.8 zooms no matter how great they are for certain applications, well they do not replace fast primes, period!

    Here are a couple of comparisons I shoot yesterday for another thread. What the first shows is for background blurring the 50/1.8 AI, AIS or AF-D does not give what is lost on DX and what we had with an 85/2.0, 1.8 or 1.4 on film. The second image shows proportionally what we had with a 105/2.5 AIS, AI or IC on film and what we’ve lost with a 35~70/2.8D AF or 28~70/2.8D ED-IF AF-S at 70mm f/2.8 on DX.

    View and weep...
  17. Here is the 105/2.5 (film) to 70/2.8 (DX) comparison…

    The focus distance for all was 2 meters being a typical portrait distance. The background target was a Mini-MAG flashlight used as a candle (bare bulb). The target distance was 5 meters. All images shot on a Nikon D2H. The 105/2.5 image below was reduced in size by a factor of 0.65x to simulate relative size you would see in a print.

    That was then, this is now...
  18. Hi Steve,

    I looked at your picture posted on this forum and I saw that its backward plan was not uniformly enlightened, namely the coloured spots of light were contrasting with the window panes, the building's walls, the street (people included), the kiosk on the left and the yellow cab on the right. Thus, like Conrad was saying, it is difficult to obtain a perfectly normally blured backward, because the intensity of these coulours was not the same.

    You were situated nearly your sister and you did perfectly focus on her visage. Still, the depth of field (DOF)always depends on three factors : 1. the focal length used, 2. the aperture, 3. the distance between your subject and the camera. Usually, the wide-angles focals do have an exaggerated DOF, it is their nature, so using them at full aperture (ex. f/1,8, 2 or 2,8) will not completely "erase" the backward. Surely, at f/2,8 aperture value, there is the same quantity of light getting through a 35 mm shorter lens or a 85 mm medium telephoto lens, instead the DOF CAN NOT BE THE SAME.

  19. “IMHO, most bokeh comparisons and discussions are rubbish.” --Conrad Hoffman

    Well Thank You!

    What my comparison below (maybe it's really above or is it both) shows (if nothing else) is one needs faster lenses to get similar blurring with the shorter lenses typically used on DX cameras. No, this does not replace shooting real subject matter and many of the factors you site are vary valid.

    The solution is a bunch of new fast DX primes or a full format Nikon DSLR or hopefully both and hopefully soon. When folks complain that they cannot get the background blurring they had on film with their classic Nikkors they are speaking the truth.

    Now there is one more solution and that is to shoot film when you want really mellow, unfocused backgrounds and to select those lenses designed for this purpose. The eulogies for film are quite premature. This is why I so often recommend, “adding digital, not going digital.”

    Here is a bonus: a comparison of a 85/2.0 AIS as it proportionally appears on a print from film and how the same lens would appear as a 135mm replacement on a print from DX...
  20. David, your comparisons are valid and, more important, photographically useful. What drives me crazy are the usual discussions about so-and-sos 50mm prime having wildly different out-of-focus characteristics than "the brand Z" summisomething 50mm, because of number of aperture blades or over/under corrected spherical aberration. Rarely do people discuss the basics of lens choice in terms of focal length and aperture, not to mention subject distance. I think we agree that you can't always get where you want to go with a slow zoom. Personally, I'm a believer in good fast primes, but have to admit that zooms have come a ways and that's what most people are probably going to use.
  21. Conrad,<br>
    I&#146;m just junking you leash a bit, I wasn&#146;t really upset.
    I hope that came through. BTW many of the factors you [sight] are
    [very] valid. I&#146;m the prince of typos and a particularly
    poor proofreading.<br>
    Dave Hartman.
  22. Oh, Lord I can&#146;t even grovel with grace. What I meant to
    write was...<br>
    I&#146;m just jerking your leash a bit. I wasn&#146;t really
    upset, I hope that came through. BTW many of the factors you [sight]
    are [very] valid. I&#146;m the prince of typos and a particularly
    poor proofreader.
  23. Wow. That bokeh-comparison beats the test shots of brick walls so often posted here or in magazines. Go out and shoot, people! It's a wonderful Easter weekend. Don't waste too much time pondering which lens has better bokeh. Almost all Nikon lenses are good.
  24. One other thing... I think the reason out-of-focus highlights can be unattractive is their colour. I shoot a lot of monochrome, so perhaps I'm biased in that direction, but when I want creamy out-of-focus backgrounds, I tend to find things with monotonous colour to them, or I shoot in black and white. It doesn't exactly correct the bokeh... but it does make bad bokeh look less bad.
  25. First of all, I think the background in the original shot looks just fine. It's no different than I have seen with Leica 35mm lenses and they are supposed to be the end-all of bokeh. RELAX!!

    The composition of the shot gives the subject only about 15% of the frame and the blurry background the other 85%. Get closer and two things will happen. The background blur will be more diffuse and the subject will be the focal point of the shot.

    Best wishes
  26. Steve,

    I think this cropping improves the photo though it&#146;s now a bull&#146;s eye composition. I&#146;d like more of the background for a senses of the place. I lightened this image some with curves. It looks good on my monitor anyway. I cheated, I did selective sharpening of the eyes, mouth and clothing.

    What I think I&#146;d have done here is take a vertical shot to include more of the lady and her cloths. A slightly lower angle would raise her in the frame, not too much or you get the prominent nostril syndrome. If the distance didn&#146;t change there&#146;d be a bit more width to the image as I cropped side to side. Holding the camera so the back is vertical would avoid convergence in the background architecture (not that I see any now). Then I'd crop the top and bottom as necessary.

    I did a very light blurring of the background. I used three layers, full image at the bottom, blurred background with the lady erased in the middle and some sharpened facial features and clothing on top. This gives more prominence to the subject. The bull&#146;s eye composition bothers me but cropping tighter would loose the sense of place. This is about what I can do. It&#146;s much better to get it right in the camera.

    I would still like a little more blurring of the background. Probably a 35mm f/1.4 would give me what I&#146;d want. I still don&#146;t see bad bokeh here. I think I&#146;m seeing a little diffraction spoking in the center of the string of lights that wouldn&#146;t be there if the lens were wide open. I&#146;m not sure it&#146;s such a bad feature.

    The lens looks fine to me, I&#146;d just like another f/stop.


    Dave Hartman.



    I&#146;m so pleased that you like my bokeh test.

    Thank You!

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