Bokeh: That Cool Blurry Thing


How to make that cool pictures where the subject of interest appears sharp and everything else is blurry?

One of the most attractive effects of photography is the so called bokeh, which is really easy to make once you know the theory beside it. Do not confuse with the “defocus” stuff, when you deliberately (or not) place the subject out of focus. For example when you take a close portrait with the Holga and you forgot to unset the landscape option of the lens.


Let me introduce the “depth of field” concept (from Wikipedia: ):
“The depth of field (DOF) is the portion of a scene that appears sharp in the image”

Basically, the DOF is determined by the lens f-number. Lowering the aperture (increasing the f-number) increases the DOF, this results in a sharp image from the closest subject to the infinite. Just set a small aperture (f16 or f22), focus on your subject and almost everything will appear sharp in the picture, nice thing for landscapes.

Hight DOF.

Then, increasing the lens aperture diameter (lowering the f-number) decreases the DOF. So, once you manually focus your lens over the subject of interest, the portion of the scene that appears sharp will be really small, sometimes only few centimeters in front of the focus point and behind it (see the picture of the chess table).


Now you could understand that not all cameras will do the work, you would need to play with the aperture and focus. Single lens reflex (Zenit), Twin lens reflex (Seagull, Rolley) or rangefinder (Fed, Zorky) cameras are the best players coupled with a luminous lens (f2 or lower).

written by megustastu on 2011-01-20 in #gear #tipster #art #bokeh #aperture #depth-of-field #top-tipster-techniques #tipster #blurry #f-stop


  1. hindi
    hindi ·

    What is the tips for the Diana F+?

  2. awesomesther
    awesomesther ·

    lovely. :) i shall try and play around with it :)

  3. j_rad
    j_rad ·

    There are some beautiful images here!

  4. ericeast
    ericeast ·


  5. neels
    neels ·

    the diana mini setting for "cloudy" gives the camera a bigger aperture that would allow for some depth of field effect (only to be used in lower light conditions otherwise in sharper light you might over-expose the pic). Put the focus on 0.6M or 1/2M and experiment!

  6. neels
    neels ·

    very cool tipster!!! i love this effect.

  7. hughh
    hughh ·

    I love playing around with old slrs to create this effect. Great pictures!

  8. laurasulilly
    laurasulilly ·

    Very nice pictures! I love to to this with my old analogue minoltas! which cameras did you use for your bokeh-pcs?

  9. pangmark
    pangmark ·

    beautiful examples and crystal clear explanation.

  10. revolte
    revolte ·

    I will try it, thanks!

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