Nikon 1.8g's vs Sigma 1.4 Art Series

Started Aug 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
digital ed
digital ed Veteran Member • Posts: 3,526
Re: Am I the only one who feels this way?

HSway wrote:

digital ed wrote:

First, this is my opinion and is not meant to denigrate anyone who feels differently.

I have never looked at one of my images and felt "if only the OOF part was better formed the image would be better." Neither has anyone (mostly non photography types) looked at any of my prints and said "that would look much nicer if the blurry stuff was better shaped." Nor have I looked at another person's image and thought that would be better if the bokeh was better. I realize that some would say the poor OOF stuff subconsciously influences the viewer even though they do not know what is bokeh.

I just do not care about bokeh and have never thought about purchasing a lens based upon that criteria. I guess I am looking for different stuff in my images. Or, I am just not that good evaluating the quality of a image or print and need to be better educated.

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"There is a little of not done yet in all of us."
John Madden, football coach

I tried to arrange a few thoughts that I think touch on some key points about this:

There is the argument that in the past it wasn’t an important element in the photo’s concept. Many things evolve or just change in time and this is one of them, I think there will be more attention given to OOF rendering - drawing gradually.

As example take a long lens image, a bird you can see often here for example. Branches, leaves or fruit that are not in focus have all different blur intensity creating and emphasizing gradual transitions, extra dimension and specific space for the subject where the focus peaks. Sometimes the subject is part of these transitions when only a part of the bird is in focus.

This OOF parts are separated from the subject by which are emphasizing it. Light, colour and the shape in the OOF areas often create and add an attractive part to the subject; they can create visually pleasing, even stunning effect that is also compositionally significant for the subject.

Sometimes there is just a sea of blur, a soft, creamy background out of which the subject is literally popping out as if emerging from the water. The palette of intense, gentle, pastel or otherwise meaningful colours can have clear relation to the subject. Eg., you can see all the colours and lights of the forest melted in the picture and get that all in the image of the bird that lives in it. It comes together and when you point it out to the viewer they might look at the photograph in a different way next time.

There are many, really many unique combinations, infinite number of them, of the subject, composition and the OOF elements. Here the preferences and tendencies of various approaches creating the image can also vary. There is no universal measure - more cream, less cream, more shape, less structure, this distance, that part of the frame or tiger. It's only the result that counts.

And the same for the form of the rendering by the lens itself as each does it differently. What’s busy to one can be excellent or a good fit for the other. Various lenses create different structure in these OOF areas. Very often soft, edgeless cream is preferred, you get it more easily with the long lenses. The subject isolation is the greatest. More complex scenes are created in combination with more structure in the OOF, again, it can relate in infinite ways to the subject. It’s impossible to say it is worse, it is better by a rule. It just depends, it may be, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many subjects, FLs, context possibilities and then personal choices that it is sensible to adopt a broader scope for perception when deciding what is distracting, busy and nervous for all others. These and similar terms are to communicate ideas and it is likely that most of the time the majority will agree in opinion. But majority vs minority doesn’t say very much here, just pointing out the differences in views and an agreement 'is not necessary' here of course.

I think the more it is about the cases where the forms or the quality of the OOF rendering are less apparent the broader scope for judging views should be simply adopted as opposed to strictly definite views applied or forced subjectively as the only right ones or objective. It makes the exchanges of ideas about this notoriously difficult and confusing subject a great deal easier.

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Thanks Hynek, I appreciate yours and others posting on this subject.

My main lenses for my D800 and D810 are the 14-24 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8. None of these have "terrible" bokeh so I have never been distracted by it. I bought the 50 f/1.8 just to see if I would like using a fixed focal length lens like I started with 60 years ago. OK for the lighter weight but still, at my age, I like to zoom-compose instead of compose with my feet.

I am always open to learning more but, to be honest, I have never felt the bokeh of the 50 f/1.8 has limited the quality of what I have shot and printed using it. This acknowledges that the subject matter (seldom shoot portraits) and f stop that I typically use may not contribute to it being especially noticeable.

Thanks again to all that contributed. This forum can always be a great source of education.

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"There is a little of not done yet in all of us."
John Madden, football coach

 digital ed's gear list:digital ed's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-3 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +15 more
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