Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions
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citrontokyo Contributing Member • Posts: 812
Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh
1

Hi again. I'm just curious about opinions of the bokeh in this picture. Trying to get a general feel about what other people like. Do you like it, or not? If you like it, why? And if not, why not? It was shot at f 4.5, so the straight edges  of the aperture blades are visible.  Thanks for your input.

Mark

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TomWret
TomWret Senior Member • Posts: 1,977
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

I'm no expert but I think a tighter crop would improve the over look. The white spots in the blurred background are distracting to me.

Tom W(ret)

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Cane Senior Member • Posts: 6,900
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

I would classify it as not being soft or smooth. This gives a busyness to the background that distracts the eye from the in-focus subject. To me, it's kind of like putting someone else's prescription glasses on, a little head ache inducing.

ilikespam
ilikespam Regular Member • Posts: 460
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Would someone be willing to post'good bokeh' for comparison?

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Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 10,954
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

The bokeh as such isn't that bad: yes, the straight blades are visible but not aggressively so.  The bigger problem is that the white OOF flowers are so bright that they distract from the main subject and also their high-contrast edges show fringing.

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JNR
JNR Senior Member • Posts: 2,546
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

ilikespam wrote:

Would someone be willing to post'good bokeh' for comparison?

The situation contributes quite a bit to the problem, but the lens in the shot posted does contribute to that hard-edged look that can distract. Even really great lenses will have difficulty in particularly harsh lighting. This is a somewhat similar type of shot, but the lighting is more subdued. It helps that this was taken with the Samyang/Rokinon 85mm which tends to do well at handling these situations. Taken with a extension tube, so no aperture EXIF, but I would guess it is around f/2.8 - as that is a favorite setting for the lens.

Boring flower photo, but with decent bokeh demonstrated

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math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,422
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh
1

ilikespam wrote:

Would someone be willing to post'good bokeh' for comparison?

First of all, bokeh is quite subjective. What one person loves, another may not care for. (In other words, there's not necessarily a right or wrong here.) But one thing I find difficult about your photo is that the bokeh is predominantly the same color as the main subject, which to a large degree negates the 3D effect of the bokeh.

Here is an example with a distinct contrast between subject and background:

K-x, DA 35/2.4, 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160

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Chris_T Contributing Member • Posts: 637
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

This is one of my shots that I feel has really nice bokeh

http://www.pbase.com/chris_t2/image/80887998/original.jpg

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Alwina H Regular Member • Posts: 242
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

That's a good summary IMO.

The blurred flowers at the top (top-left) of the picture would be a better background candidate IMO. They form a nice transition.

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

The bokeh as such isn't that bad: yes, the straight blades are visible but not aggressively so. The bigger problem is that the white OOF flowers are so bright that they distract from the main subject and also their high-contrast edges show fringing.

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A.

kikivrany Veteran Member • Posts: 3,341
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Hello citrontokyo

First let my say it's all a matter of one's personal taste.

In my case, I really don't like it. On the other hand, I would not say it is a pure bokeh in your picture, is more the collection of the multiple aperture reflections of your lens.

I'm not sure if I remember me correct, but in case you used your FA 100 mm macro, it can happened when you get the sunlight nearly frontal into the lens. I try to avoid this with my FA 100mm macro. When you don't get the multiple reflections of the aperture blades the bokeh looks good at this aperture.

best regards kikivrany

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carpe noctem

MoreorLess Senior Member • Posts: 3,851
More a matter of taste I'd say...

When your potentially looking to use the out of focus area's of the picture as a more active part of the composition I think there rendering becomes much more a matter of taste.

I shot this last year for example with my old Canon 35mm f/2 rather than my 100mm macro because I wanted the busier bokeh and the pentagonal bokeh balls to match the "spikiness" of the frost on the grass.

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 10,954
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

ilikespam wrote:

Would someone be willing to post 'good bokeh' for comparison?

As others have said, "good" is as much a matter of opinion as hard fact.  In this one I wanted the OOF flowers to be an integral part of the picture ...

K-5, DA*200/2.8 at f/5.6

... whereas here I wanted to lose them (note that bokeh applies to OOF areas in front of the subject as well as behind.

K-5, DA*200/2.8 at f/5.6

This one's trickier, with the OOF blooms closer to the main subject and softening further back.

DFA100/2.8 macro at f/4

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Col K10d
Col K10d Veteran Member • Posts: 3,216
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

I don't enjoy the Bokeh in this example Mark. In part due to the angular nature and the umbra / penumbra of the highlights, also I believe the bokeh should help the subject stand out.

This is one of my favourite examples where both foreground and background are equally blended.

and here no highlight distracts

Can't wait for the UK to turn Pentax Green again this year.

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Bob Corson Senior Member • Posts: 2,316
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Col K10d wrote:

I don't enjoy the Bokeh in this example Mark. In part due to the angular nature and the umbra / penumbra of the highlights, also I believe the bokeh should help the subject stand out.

This is one of my favourite examples where both foreground and background are equally blended.

and here no highlight distracts

Can't wait for the UK to turn Pentax Green again this year.

That is the kind of Bokeh that I strive to get!

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Bob Corson

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Col K10d
Col K10d Veteran Member • Posts: 3,216
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Bob Corson wrote:

Col K10d wrote:

I don't enjoy the Bokeh in this example Mark. In part due to the angular nature and the umbra / penumbra of the highlights, also I believe the bokeh should help the subject stand out.

This is one of my favourite examples where both foreground and background are equally blended.

and here no highlight distracts

That is the kind of Bokeh that I strive to get!

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Bob Corson

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citrontokyo OP Contributing Member • Posts: 812
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Hah! Well put.

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citrontokyo OP Contributing Member • Posts: 812
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Great replies and advice everyone, thanks very much. I will try again another day.
Mark

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math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,422
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Wow -- that is a great photo!

Col K10d wrote:

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Infrabasse Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Here's one of mine I really like. The bokeh is quite creamy

55-300 wide open @ 300mm

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Simon Devlin
Simon Devlin Senior Member • Posts: 1,265
Re: Question: Bad Bokeh / Good Bokeh

Good or bad depends upon your opinion.

I don't find the bokeh is bad although I think it is distracting and not to my personal taste.

What lens did you use?

I recently got a bargain basement Helios 58mm F/2 and while the bokeh can be very pronounced depending on aperture setting I (and many others) think it is very distinctive and characteristic.

If you aren't happy with this lens for flower photography try another one.

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Simon
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