In photography Bokeh (from Japanese boke), is the aesthetic quality of the back- or foreground blur. Photographers love all kinds of tests where lens performance is measured by resolution, contrast or edge light falloff, but the bokeh can’t really be measured. You either like it or not, or maybe you don’t even think about it at all.
Some bokeh is generally considered “good” or “bad”. Usually good bokeh refers to smooth background and is pleasant to the eye. Sometimes people refer bokeh as the roundness of the out-of-focus highlight points. Their form is determined by the form and number of the lens aperture blades. They can be a hexagonal, septagonal etc. and the more blades you have, the rounder they get. But bokeh quality is a result of several attributes: camera lens construction, coatings, focal length, aperture, number of aperture blades and so on.
Bad bokeh is distracting and busy and draws the focus from of the image subject. Especially mirror lenses have a reputation of ugly, donut-formed bokeh. But still, that can also be the element that makes the shot!
I recently purhased an old lens for my Canon 60D. It’s the Meyer Görlitz 135mm f/2.8 (later re-branded to Pentacon “preset”), sometimes referred as the Bokeh Monster. It has 15 aperture blades that make the highlight points very round, and just the blades are a beauty to watch! It can be used with the modern DSLRs with a simple adapter. The lens has its flaws (it’s quite soft wide open and chromatic aberrations can be a problem at times) but the bokeh is so smooth…
I can’t wait to try this one out on the fishing trips! Filming big rising trout in evening light… mmmm…
Here are some hand-held snapshots I took with the Bokeh Monster, followed by a photo of the lens itself. Then for comparision also some pictures found from the internet representing something as subjective as “bad bokeh”.
Now that´s some dreamy bokeh! can´t wait to try that baby.
The bokeh on the first spiderweb shot is incredible.
Beautiful pics, Joona! Now, where can I buy a net like that?