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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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field ):
“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.

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

10 comments

  1. hindi

    What is the tips for the Diana F+?
    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. awesomesther

    awesomesther

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

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. j_rad

    j_rad

    There are some beautiful images here!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. ericeast

    ericeast

    cool!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  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!
    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. neels

    neels

    very cool tipster!!! i love this effect.
    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. hughh

    hughh

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

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  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?

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. pangmark

    pangmark

    beautiful examples and crystal clear explanation.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. revolte

    revolte

    I will try it, thanks!

    about 3 years ago · report as spam

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