Definition of bokeh, simply gibberish?

Started Mar 6, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP guitarjeff Senior Member • Posts: 1,165
Re: actually, the first part of your quoted definition is wrong

Matthew Miller wrote:

guitarjeff wrote:

Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider.”

The above isn't strictly correct, and that's what's tripping you up.

Nope, the above IS correct

Bokeh is visual quality of the out of focus blur in any situation. You just can't see it very easily when there isn't much. (Narrow aperture, or not shooting a subject.)

i agree with this first part. It is the blur due to shallow dof.

No; it is the appearance of the blur, not the existence of it.

Appearance OF A THING in and of itself IS An ACTUAL THING, it IS NOT subjective.  Whether you like it is the subjective part.   You say "Appearance of the blur"  "THE BLUR" is the part that matters, you just said it yourself but you are putting a false meaning to the work appearance as if only appearance is a definable thing, and this is wrong.  You have to define what is appearing, and what is appearing, as you just said, IS BLUR, the BLUR is appearing, and that's the only part of it that CAN BE defined.  So if bokeh is a REAL thing, then it IS BLUR, that's what APPEARS, the blur.  The blur is the only possible, ACTUAL thing that makes an appearance, so we can define that THING as blur, that's exactly what it is.  Bokeh is blur, the bokeh, MAKES AN APPEARANCE in the photo, you decide whether you like that bokeh, not whether it actually exists or not.

Simply put, bokeh is the pleasing or aesthetic quality of out-of-focus blur in a photograph.

Or it is the not-pleasing aesthetic quality.

So the bokeh is there whether someone likes it or not?  YEP, and what is actually there that can be defined?  BLUR (BOKEH)

This above is the gibberish part. A "THING" cannot be an aesthetic opinion, if it were, then you could say a thing exists for one person if he likes it,and doesn't exist for someone else if they don't. To say it is subjective is really saying nothing about it at all that could be considered a definition.

Bokeh isn't subjective. It just is.

If it is , meaning it has a REAL existence, then you have to be able to define the parameters.  A chair is a real thing, and we can all measure it, see it. touch it and agree about it's qualities, it's size is a quality, it's color, it's texture.  There can be no disagreements, it's a REAL, actual thing, and because it is real it can be precisely defined.  Now, please define bokeh for me.  The only real thing you can show is real IS THE BLUR, that's what bokeh is, the blur.

"Good bokeh" or "bad bokeh" are subjective to a degree, although there are certain aspects which are generally agreed to be one or the other.

Yep, good or bad to someone exists only in their mind, that's subjective, that has nothing to do with whether the bokeh actually exists or not.

If Bokeh "is" the quality, then is it a sliding scale, meaning one person can say there is bokeh in a photo while another says there is none at all? Saying bokeh is the quality is not a definition at all. That's why I define it as simply the blur due to shallow depth of field.

That's fine, although don't put too much emphasis on "shallow". And, again, it is a word specifically referring to the appearance of the blur, not the existence.

The appearance of the blur makes it a real thing.  The decision whether you like it's appearance or not is SUBJECTIVE.

People who say that a photograph taken wide open with a fast lens "has bokeh" are, strictly speaking, misusing the term (because it implies that photographs where the bokeh is less apparent do not have any, which is not usually the case except when the entire photo is completely in focus).

Then we can discuss whether we actually like the bokeh (the blur due to dof), or not. We can decide whether we like the various "Qualities" of the bokeh (blur due to dof) or not, but there will be no argument on whether the bokeh actually exists or not, it will have a concrete definition. In other words, the definition will be definite.

That is already the case.

Not according to many.  Saying it IS the quality is meaningless and subjective, that does not define a real thing.  Either bokeh is real or it isn't.

So the standard attempt at a definition appears to be gibberish. Isn't bokeh simply the Japanese word for blur?

It is derived from the Japanese word for blur, but has its own meaning. Kind of like how "hardware" in German means computer hardware, and a hardware store selling hammers, hinges, and lumber is therefore pretty funny.

Anyway, I have set the photography world straight and saved the day for logically minded folks.

Or..... you have made a up a problem, and then declared that the thing which was already solved is the solution. Which puts us right where we started, except for maybe you will read this and come out a step ahead.

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Matthew Miller « »

Nope, I have clearly and logically shown you that either something is real or it isn't.  Saying it is THE QUALITY of blur is gibberish.   A quality is an aspect, like something being brown, or red, that's a quality.   The quality itself is not a THING.

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