Zuiko teles and the 'quality' of out of focus backgrounds

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Petr Bambousek
Petr Bambousek Regular Member • Posts: 398
Re: Zuiko teles and the 'quality' of out of focus backgrounds

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Messier Object wrote:

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Messier Object wrote:

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Architeuthis wrote:

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Wu Jiaqiu wrote:

i'd expect better from a lens costing £6500 to be honest

You are bit confused. None of the OP's images were shot with the new lens.

This is correct, but when I look at the sample images from the new 150-400mm lens here in DPReview, I can see that the bouqe is very bad as well (I mentioned this already in a comment there)...


I just looked. What an impressive gallery There is not one shot there I would have taken. The poor "Bokeh" was strictly due to horrible composition on most shots. You don't shoot bird images (or any others) with a strongly contrasted and brightly lit background and expect a good image. Linear elements - reeds and tall shrubs, etc. make the image worse. The background in the goose images was extremely poor; compound that with not enough subject isolation (not close enough to the subject) and you should expect junk. The value of having an EVF is being able to compose an image and purview the scene before snapping (as these shots were). There is no substitute for photographic skill and experience in shooting subjects. Poor workmanship will always yield poor results; the camera and lens cannot think for the photographer. I would look at galleries by Petr Bambousek, Andy Rouse, and others to evaluate bokeh. They know how to compose an image and would not even have shot the sample images in the DPR gallery. Birding, though, is tougher than landscape because one cannot necessarily move for composition. But regardless, a poor image is a poor image.

Check out these images as a "comparison" to those on the DPR gallery: https://www.andyrouse.co.uk/index.php?b=1

He and Petr know exactly how to get great images.

what do you think about the background rendering in this image



I think that this was shot in a tropical setting and the leaves adjacent to the bird were very large and somewhat undulate; catching shadows from the forest and bright sky reflections. Not an ideal background, but I would imagine Petr shot this because this particular bird was both beautiful and likely hard to find to be photographed. The color combination of the yellow on green are very complimentary.

but the background rendering in quite unpleasant, and in my opinion detracts from the overall quality of the image. Perhaps it’s a look Petr wanted, perhaps as you suggest it’s an uncommon bird not often captured . . . I asked him about the background rendering but got no response.

Peter, I doubt it is the look he wanted, but rather the bird he wanted. The difficult background came with the subject.

It demonstrates that even in a dark forest - no direct sun (the harsh light excuse) - even the new premium Zuiko zoom can produce this unpleasant rendering.

As any lens would in this situation. I am not a great birder (though learning) but much of what I learned in hiking based landscape over 45 years also applies to composition in birding. You most often want to avoid parts of the background being brighter than the subject, and you also want to avoid linear elements in an image that are not a designed part of the composition. But, of course, sometimes that is not possible.

and btw, living in Australia I know what “harsh” light is. But still I have long lenses which just do not produce this affect anywhere near what I see in the new Pro teles, even when I shoot in direct sun

I shoot many focus stacked images of mosses often in or near forests. I have learned to be very careful not to shoot with bright reflections - specifically, to compose from the right direction with respect to direct and reflected light - or not to shoot that plant at all. It is not surprising that utilizing the same principles applies (when possible) in birding.

It is very hard to hold all shooting variables constant in comparing images. I am not saying that some lenses may have better Bokeh than these new and outstanding lenses, but merely that the examples on this thread do not necessarily represent that argument. Particularly the 150-400 is very complex with constant aperture, and designing and manufacturing of that lens has to have at least some compromises. I am sure with scrutiny and experience one would find that all similar zoom lenses must have compromises; they may just be different compromises.


Hi, I noticed this conversation, so let me write few words. If you are talking about Laughing falcon picture, this is particularly very different shot out of others. Actually, there is no background on the picture (except few lighter spots). Everything you see on the picture is foreground. It was taken thru countless branches and leaves. I really like this way of shooting especially with hard accessible motives and not tajen by mistake, I wanted to make the picture like this. Other way was clear view but very boring shadow sky in background. In the way I took the picture every movement change the final image. It belongs to my very favofite images from the trip as it is little out of classic way of taking pictutes. Sure, fully respect if people prefer more classical way (nothing - bird - background). Laughing falcon is taken with foreground - bird - nothing. I thing there are 30+ pictures in my article where you can find how the lens deal with background blur. I never change background in my pictures so you can get pretty good impression how the lens can render out of focus area. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘

 Petr Bambousek's gear list:Petr Bambousek's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus E-M1 III Olympus Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter EC-14 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro Olympus 8mm F1.8 Fisheye Pro +10 more
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