Playing around with depth of field and I think I finally get it?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 16,771
Variations in bokeh

jlina wrote:

Hi Mark! I really don't like background blur but this thread has been fascinating. I've gone the other way and learning how to try to avoid it.

Right, sometimes otherwise good shots are harmed by insufficient depth of field, and I've noticed that in my own photography when I get lazy and don't use a tripod!

But this is the first time I've read that the blurs can be different?


Ciné lenses tend to be very expensive and are known for high-quality, smooth bokeh. It's been said that the best bokeh is unnoticeable: when was the last time you noticed the bokeh when you viewed a film? But it turns out that blurry backgrounds are nearly always used in cinematography when there is an actor in the frame.

With older lens designs, smooth background blur usually only happened with soft lenses, and sharp lenses would cause harsh bokeh. This wasn't a problem with cinematography, as moving pictures causes a sharpening effect even if each still is kind of soft. "Soft focus" lenses, made famous with old time Hollywood glamour photos, had smooth bokeh while also being very soft at the point of focus, which wasn't a problem, since presumably they didn't want to capture fine skin details on the models. While modern lens design can give us sharp lenses with smooth bokeh, lots of inexpensive or older designs do give us sharpness but with harsh, jangly bokeh.

Inexpensive, large focal length catadioptric (or mirror) lenses have distinctive doughnut bokeh.

Other than that the literal closing mechanism of your lens will affect it. If you'd like to explain it a little more that would be great. Thanks for posting!

Take a look at the links that are at the bottom of this page:

They show a variety of lenses under controlled conditions. Also, the authors' observations on these somewhat go against typical advice.

I would think that optical design is more important than just the aperture blades.

 Mark Scott Abeln's gear list:Mark Scott Abeln's gear list
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