I think Bokeh is a useful term, and like many other things, now seems to be a standard part of photographic vocabulary. But it applies to something quite subjective and not a fixed rule. Background
blur can be either pleasant or distracting. For quite a few generations, both filmmakers and still photographer (esp back in Pictorialist days) would go to considerable expense or effort to acquire lenses with a particular out-of-focus quality. Some these might be classified as soft-focus, some variable, and some otherwise sharp. More aperture blades helps the roundness of out-of-focus highlights, but there are numerous other factors. And some people still will pay a premium for qualities
they consider tasteful in this respect. I'm not a movie addict by any means, but there are times when
I will watch one more for the quality of lighting, color, and character of the lenses than for the storyline.
So much of that expertise is being lost in all these digitized action flicks! But given the big budgets in
days of yore, some of these guys really knew their lenses and how to keep attention on the intended
subject without background distraction. But trying to actually quanitfy the term will just open a can
Read this thread. The OP thinks "bokeh" differs according to format. Another contributor uses the term and defends it, but has demonstrated that he is badly misinformed regarding what influences it. I don't like the term and won't use it because it is so often misused that it means nothing - just like the word "awesome".
Originally Posted by redrockcoulee
The first definition, from Webster's: Jargon (n) -confused unintelligible language.
That's an awesome explanation of the inherent dilemma involved in the precise use of vague terminology! Fuzzy logic?
By "awesome", do you mean that you were filled with a feeling of dread and wonder, inspired by my sublime thoughts?;):laugh:
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Any words, or use thereof, that doesn't make what's being communicated easier to understand is a barrier.
To use terminology of any kind, it helps to know whether the audience understands what the hell we're talking about. If they don't understand, then what use is a fancy word with a highly specialized meaning?
It is probably reasonable to expect that on a photography forum most people would be able to comprehend the word 'bokeh', whether it irritates some members of the forum or not. You can't please everybody. The important part is to make sure that the discussion itself is conducive to actually answering the freaking question.
That's pretty much my point. It isn't accurately understood - or accurately used - by too many. Otherwise, the use of it wouldn't annoy me.:)
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
Yeah ... but the term is here to stay whether we like it or not, use it or not. But there are plenty of
terms abused in photographic idiology (misspelling deliberate).
Yeah, for my own purposes I don't use the term at all, just so I can avoid irritating those who have heard it so much that they just want to return their lunch from their stomachs back to the open air... ;)That's not entirely true, but my personal opinion doesn't matter much.
Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh
However, I do opine that the term bokeh is unfortunate from a standpoint of enjoying photography, because I often think wide open shallow depth of field pictures to be extremely cliche and adds no value to the final print. But at the same time that is very lucky for me, because I can purchase some very good lenses for almost nothing because of it, so why complain?!
If you care about OOF character there are certain lenses known for having "good" or "smooth" attributes. In my experience these are:
Nikon 85/1.4, 105/1.8, 105/2.5
Leica Summicron 50/2 Dual Range, Summilux 50/1.4 Asph
Any Sonnar copy, I -love- the way my Jupiter 8 50/2 renders out of focus, really soft.
Hasselblad Sonnar 150/4, Sonnar 250/5.6
Pentax 67 105/2.4, 165/2.8
Schneider Xenar 127/4.7 and Symmar 210/5.6
This is subjective, but these are the lenses that I have used that exhibit really smooth OOF areas. That said, I have -never- chosen a lens because of the out of focus rendering, preferring to make my selection based on size, and speed (I like fast lenses, and not running out of usable f/stops).
This is the Symmar, excuse the fact that I dropped the polaroid in the grass after I shot it.
Jupiter 8 50/2
I have read the thread several times. If he had asked if the rendition out of focus area 35mm vs MF would he have been anymore knowledgeable about the subject? It seems to me almost everyone who responded knows what bokeh means, perhaps not all of us understand what all affects it. Is learning not one of the reasons people post things on a forum? Or read them? And to correct misunderstandings is one of the reasons others respond.
Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh
I have read threads where the OP did not understand that exposures did not change when you went to a different format but I think we will not stop using the word exposure due to this either.