I care about the rendering of the out of focus areas because it's part of the image. And someone intentionally making photos should not ignore the rendering of a large part of the image.
Originally Posted by philosomatographer
If you're an f64 type, bokeh means little. If you're doing portraits or otherwise shooting wide open it's important. I've got 5 different "normal" lenses (Nikon, Nikon, Sigma macro, Nikon macro, and Voigtlander). I'm thinking of selling one to get a cheap soviet lens for yet another bokeh option. Each produces different results. I think of bokeh in nature photos (which typically have complex backgrounds) as the sort of painting brush style or instrument (trowel, big brush, little brush, sponge, airbrush) for painting the background. Each aperture is different, and I shoot a bunch of apertures to get what I'm after, as results vary depending on how much the final image is magnified and with the light's contrast. Sometimes the hard lines are just right, other times I want a mushy airbrushed background.
With a different name, Russ Young attributes discussion of the topic to the 19th century photographer Peter Henry Emerson, then Coburn and George Bernard Shaw in 1911. (p165 of Young's thesis) Part of the goodness of pictorialism is how things slowly go out of focus, rather than the thin defined plane we have in our 50mm's wide open. The downside of a wide band of focus is that it's hard to find focus initially because it's not a crisp in/out of focus. Printing is even harder unless you have a grain focuser.
Last edited by jp498; 12-06-2011 at 08:56 AM. Click to view previous post history.