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Is a super-fast lens necessary? or Is bokeh overrated?
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KEO wrote:
I don't care what most people think.


Welcome to the (my) club!! Laugh 1


PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just remember, you can stop down (most) faster lenses but you can't get F1.2 from an f4 lens.....


PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
KEO wrote:
I don't care what most people think.


Welcome to the (my) club!! Laugh 1


Common sense is what most people think imho.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gerald wrote:
I don't think that the appreciation of bokeh is what separates good photographers from non photographically educated people. Until a few decades ago, most great photographers never viewed bokeh as an "artistic" tool. On the contrary, there was even a very important photographic movement, the Group f/64, which had as an ideal that everything should be in focus in a photograph.
...


I suppose this could be said for color photography too. Or about photography instead of painting as an art.
In the early days of color photography people could argue that the masters of photography don´t needed color for ther stunning images.
But some decades later, we see color in some images as a great benefit.

So I do not care wheter old masters used blur or not - I like to use it.
Additionaly I do not care wheter most people like blurred backgroud or not - I like it in most of my images.

Some of my models like especially my blur type photography part. With this I can empathise the nice sides / parts of the model, and blur the not so nice, or to private parts easily if wanted. Without Photoshop Smile

But I do care about the blur. It is a vital part of the image. So I use different bokeh type lenses to create my images. And I often (near always) adjust the camera to object position to get the blur composition right.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always shoot my mirror lenses wide open. Always will.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodrim wrote:
I always shoot my mirror lenses wide open. Always will.


Laugh 1


PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tb_a wrote:
What else is new? Wink

Seriously, that's not at all new for me. Out of my experience most (non photography educated) persons prefer the background with more details. I quite often received already comments like e.g. "too un-sharp picture", when I presented (for me very nice) background isolated pictures.

Luckily I don't need to make a living out of photography, therefore it's more important for me that I like my pictures which I make primarily for myself. Wink


Not exactly my observation. Portraits taken wide open with a 2/100mm, 1.8/105mm, 2/135mm or 2.8/200mm are usually very well received by my clients.

Stephan


PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
tb_a wrote:
What else is new? Wink

Seriously, that's not at all new for me. Out of my experience most (non photography educated) persons prefer the background with more details. I quite often received already comments like e.g. "too un-sharp picture", when I presented (for me very nice) background isolated pictures.

Luckily I don't need to make a living out of photography, therefore it's more important for me that I like my pictures which I make primarily for myself. Wink


Not exactly my observation. Portraits taken wide open with a 2/100mm, 1.8/105mm, 2/135mm or 2.8/200mm are usually very well received by my clients.

Stephan


Like 1 Like 1 Like 1

Open aperture allows the artist to direct the eye of the viewer ...


PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been following this thread with mild interest and am a bit surprised by its staying power. So I've decided to jump in and share a few thoughts.

Regarding lens speed, I have always found that having a sharply rendered subject with a totally blown background to be very engaging. Even back before I owned a decent camera and when I knew nothing about photography, I would look at images, like for instance, a cover photo of Sports Illustrated, showing a baseball pitcher in his windup, sharply in focus, with a completely blurred background. Images like these would tend to arrest my focus while browsing through a magazine rack, and I would be drawn toward them. Why? Not sure, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's because this sort of image closely resembles what the eye sees. With my eyes, at least, only the subject I'm focusing on is sharp. Everything else is out of focus, and the farther away anything is from me, the more out of focus it becomes. So it's because of this property of vision that I think is why I tend to be captivated by images such as this.

I realize now, images such as that one, back in those days (late 70s), were shot most likely using Nikon 300/2.8 ED or 600/4 ED lenses with wide open apertures. And it wasn't until about 1990 that I was able to pay my basic admission to be part of that crowd, when I bought my first Tamron 300/2.8 LD IF, a great lens.

I like being able to blow out the background using fast lenses. Especially fast sharp lenses. The reigning crown champion I own that is best at achieving this is my old Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 SSC Aspherical. Next best is my Tamron 300mm f/2.8 LD. But I have several others that, while maybe not as fast, are definitely worthwhile performers: Canon FL 55mm f/1.2, Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC, Tokina 100-300mm f/4, Tamron 150-500mm f/5.6, and a few others.

I've found that, the most important aspect of creating pleasing bokeh is two distances: distance between subject and camera/lens and distance between subject and background. The subject has to be relatively close to the lens and the background relatively far away. If either of these parameters are not met, the image suffers. Further, I've found that, if following these parameters, a really fast lens is not necessary. One can get nice bokeh with a 200mm f/4 (wide open) or even a 135mm f/2.8 (wide open). And certainly one can get acceptable bokeh from a 50mm f/1.4 and even a 50mm f/1.8.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, remember in the days of view cameras, with their extremely limited DOF, we had the f64 club trying to get as much in focus as possible. It was a novelty then, something different from what people knew as photography. Now that everyone is shooting with iPhones with miniscule sensors, we have to artificially create bokeh because again it is something different from what people are used to seeing.

I honestly don't believe that most people know the creative possibilities of using bokeh, in an artistic sense, to create an overall feeling in the photo. Klaus Schmitt knows what I am talking about. And lenses do not necessarily have to be super fast--it depends of focus distance and distance between the subject and the background. I have gotten lovely results with an old 135mm f6.8 barrel lens.

I'm posting a few examples of what I am going for in "bokehtography." Like them or dislike them, I think it is clear that they are more than just a blurred background.
#1


#2


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#4


#5


#6


#7


#8


PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 small Like 1 small very interesting...


PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kymarto, your images have a rather painterly look -- at least when they don't contain backgrounds with specular highlights. What lens are you using, and I suppose you're shooting with it wide open?

I have a Canon FD lens that provides similar sharply defined bokeh -- a run-of-the-mill 50mm f/1.4 SSC. They're fairly mild in the following photo because they weren't very bright to start with:


I prefer softer bokeh, though, such as those I get with my Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 SSC Aspherical, where even strongly angular objects in the background are tremendously softened:


And where more organic backgrounds are totally blown:


Often people think the subject isn't sharp. This is because of the extremely shallow DOF when shooting wide open at f/1.2. When actually resolution is very high at the exact point of focus.


Finally, here's a good example of a failure to get decent looking bokeh. Referring to my above post, it's because the model was too far away from the camera. The result was the background never really got blown the way it should with a lens that's being shot wide open at f/1.2, which is what was going on here. I was going for a full-length shot, which might have worked if I would have asked her to step away from the background several steps. It might have been a little better, but to get really decent bokeh, I would have had to ask her to take several dozen steps away from the background, and then maybe it would have been sufficiently blown.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be fair, the video that started this thread didn't come to the conclusion that bokeh is a bad thing. It was just a survey that showed that extreme bokeh - like those from super-fast lenses working wide open - may not produce the best visual results for most people. Nevertheless, for some people (the minority in the survey), the more the background is blurred, the better.

As they say, "there's no accounting for taste," but I particularly think bokeh has become a fashion, almost a fetish, lately. Bokeh is just one of the many tools available to the photographer, but it seems it has been used so much that bokeh has become tiring and boring.

Many people believe that bokeh always enriches a portrait. Is it true? I don't think so. Great photographers have never relied on bokeh for great portraits.

Good portraiture is the art of revealing the subject's soul through a photograph. Portrait is about subject expression and composition. For this type of photography, bokeh is nothing more than a "special effect", or at best, a way for the photographer to reduce the effect of a distracting background.

Take a look at the photo below taken by Sebastião Salgado, which is in my opinion a good example of a masterfully executed portrait.

.


When you look at a picture like this, the following questions immediately come to mind: Who are these women? What are they doing? What are they thinking? How do they live?

Notice also the interesting composition in the form of a "X", which immediately directs the view to the main subject of the composition.

Nothing is out of focus. There is no bokeh. The "background" is just an immense sheet of paper that somehow connects the two human figures.

Sebastião Salgado is an extremely talented contemporary photographer whose photographs only show bokeh incidentally. From a technical point of view, Salgado's trademark, besides photographing in black and white, is his mastery of backlight photography


PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just caught the title of this thread and it made me wonder: Is it "overrated"? I think there is nothing overrated in photography. If you like your results, that's the only rating that matters and the only one you need to be concerned about (unless, oeuf corse, you're paid to worry about someone else's esthetic preferences).


PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

konicamera wrote:
I just caught the title of this thread and it made me wonder: Is it "overrated"? I think there is nothing overrated in photography. If you like your results, that's the only rating that matters and the only one you need to be concerned about (unless, oeuf corse, you're paid to worry about someone else's esthetic preferences).


I would say many things are overrated in photography: HDR, Cats, sharpness, thin DOF, extreme DOF, noise...
All go through fads of being overrated by some large groups of viewers, who get blinkered to anything else.
All of them can work well, but have to be used appropriately, when they become the entire reason for the picture the image loses out.

I've been on the edge of this trap myself taking extremely shallow DOF shots of my cats, but it was just a few experimental shots.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teemō wrote:
Take out an SLR from the 1960's and you quickly learn why fast lenses were never made 'for the bokeh'. Wink Laughing .


Yes! Aperture was chosen based on shutter speed required for given light with (low) film iso; if the subject needed more dof, you backed up. Today's digitals have high iso capability, letting us stop down the lens to control dof, rather than moving back (obtaining a smaller subject).


PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gerald wrote:
Good portraiture is the art of revealing the subject's soul through a photograph. Portrait is about subject expression and composition. For this type of photography, bokeh is nothing more than a "special effect", or at best, a way for the photographer to reduce the effect of a distracting background.


I would say focus itself is only a "special effect" in that it serves to contribute to the final product. The focal plane, like bokeh, is merely a tool of expression.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KEO wrote:
I would say focus itself is only a "special effect" in that it serves to contribute to the final product. The focal plane, like bokeh, is merely a tool of expression.


What I mean by "special effect" is that an extremely shallow depth of field is not the natural way the human eye sees the world. In fact, the human eye is an optical system with focal length approximately equal to 22mm and relative aperture of F5.6-8 in a well-lit environment.

The depth of field of a 22mm lens and aperture, say F5.6 is tremendous, much larger, for example, than the depth of field of an 85mm lens open at F1.2. In this sense, the bokeh produced by an 85mm F1.2 lens may even be visually interesting, but it is a "special effect", as I said before. Most important, bokeh alone does not make a portrait more "artistic" in my opinion.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gerald wrote:
...
What I mean by "special effect" is that an extremely shallow depth of field is not the natural way the human eye sees the world. In fact, the human eye is an optical system with focal length approximately equal to 22mm and relative aperture of F5.6-8 in a well-lit environment.

The depth of field of a 22mm lens and aperture, say F5.6 is tremendous, much larger, for example, than the depth of field of an 85mm lens open at F1.2. In this sense, the bokeh produced by an 85mm F1.2 lens may even be visually interesting, but it is a "special effect", as I said before. Most important, bokeh alone does not make a portrait more "artistic" in my opinion.


Angle of view may be same as 22mm lens on ff camera (reference pplease?), however only center angle of 135mm lens is sharp. F5.6? Need some references here please. Smile


PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
Gerald wrote:
...
What I mean by "special effect" is that an extremely shallow depth of field is not the natural way the human eye sees the world. In fact, the human eye is an optical system with focal length approximately equal to 22mm and relative aperture of F5.6-8 in a well-lit environment.

The depth of field of a 22mm lens and aperture, say F5.6 is tremendous, much larger, for example, than the depth of field of an 85mm lens open at F1.2. In this sense, the bokeh produced by an 85mm F1.2 lens may even be visually interesting, but it is a "special effect", as I said before. Most important, bokeh alone does not make a portrait more "artistic" in my opinion.


Angle of view may be same as 22mm lens on ff camera (reference pplease?), however only center angle of 135mm lens is sharp. F5.6? Need some references here please. Smile


Please, take a look at this Popular Photography article:
https://www.popphoto.com/news/2012/06/how-to-calculate-f-stop-human-eye


PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Badr12 wrote:
In artistic terms, I think,there shouldn’t be black and white, these are tools after all and it helps a lot to have choices, I would like to think that we celebrate these differences rather than restricting ourselves to one or another way


50/1.1 Nokton, wide-open on the Leica M Monochrom. Luray Caverns, Virginia.

L1005693-Edit by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

I feel obliged to upload a picture taken with the 50/1.1 Nokton on the M Monochrom... (humor, I know what you meant)

For the original question: Yes it is, no it's not.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gerald wrote:
visualopsins wrote:
Gerald wrote:
...
What I mean by "special effect" is that an extremely shallow depth of field is not the natural way the human eye sees the world. In fact, the human eye is an optical system with focal length approximately equal to 22mm and relative aperture of F5.6-8 in a well-lit environment.

The depth of field of a 22mm lens and aperture, say F5.6 is tremendous, much larger, for example, than the depth of field of an 85mm lens open at F1.2. In this sense, the bokeh produced by an 85mm F1.2 lens may even be visually interesting, but it is a "special effect", as I said before. Most important, bokeh alone does not make a portrait more "artistic" in my opinion.


Angle of view may be same as 22mm lens on ff camera (reference pplease?), however only center angle of 135mm lens is sharp. F5.6? Need some references here please. Smile


Please, take a look at this Popular Photography article:
https://www.popphoto.com/news/2012/06/how-to-calculate-f-stop-human-eye


Thanks. http://publicana.ru/files/opticheskaya-sistema-glaza.pdf