Published in Amateur Photographer : Beautiful bokeh
Like every photographer newly bitten by the photography bug, I read voraciously about my new hobby - although I think in recent years Youtube has become the main source of info for photographers. One of the magazines I would devour every week, was Amateur Photographer. It is incredible to think this magazine has been going since 1884. Incredible longevity.
And with that, it was quite an honor when the team at AP asked if I wanted to contribute an article on bokeh. It's one of my pet hates in photography when people interchange Read more inside...
Review: comparison Canon 135mm f/2L vs. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
One lens that has a huge loyal fanbase, is the Canon 135mm f/2L USM lens (B&H / Amazon). It has a wide aperture for a medium telephoto lens, and the lens is small and compact. Unassuming. Easy to love.
Then the inevitable question comes up from photographers stepping into getting their first telephoto lens - which is the better choice? How does the Canon 135mm f/2L compare to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II zoom?
The advantages to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (B&H / Amazon) is Read more inside...
This photo of a street performer in New York was shot with a 50mm lens. That should be fairly obvious from a quick scrutiny - the perspective (which is not wide, and neither tight); and the shallow depth of field. That sort of gives away that a 50mm lens was most likely used for this loosely composed candid portrait.
Now, I have to admit that I have this strange love-disinterest relationship with the 50mm focal length. Not quite love-hate, but more a frustration at times with the 50mm as the main lens to use. It feels like it is either not wide Read more inside...
In previous articles we could see how a fast 85mm can be used for shallow depth-of-field to shoot nearly anywhere by melting away the background. There's another aspect to this - the bokeh of the lens. The bokeh is a reference to how the quality of the background blur is rendered by a lens. It can be smooth, or have "jittery" patterns to the edges of objects, and the highlights.
Do note though that bokeh and shallow depth-of-field are not quite the same thing. While the DoF / choice of aperture does affect the appearance of the bokeh of Read more inside...
A valid question on how much the change in aperture affects depth-of-field, is whether an 70-200mm f/4 zoom would give you the same kind of look that an f/2.8 zoom would.
For me, a fast f/2.8 aperture is essential on a zoom lens, especially the telephoto zooms. For the same scenario, it gives me a higher shutter speed than the f/4 zoom. Or I can use a lower ISO. More importantly, since I often bounce flash in large areas, the f/2.8 aperture gives me more chance of successfully bouncing my flash than an f/4 aperture would.
creating a background with narrow depth-of-field & great bokeh
Shooting images for the review of the Nikon 85mm f1.4G AF-S lens, it struck me how truly superb this lens is. It improves on the legendary Nikon 85mm f1.4 AF-D lens in some key areas. (For me the updated lens was an immediate upgrade.)
But ultimately, you could get similarly beautiful images with any short portrait lens that gives you a very narrow depth-of-field AND has great bokeh. (Just to reinforce that again .. narrow DoF and bokeh are not the same thing. But I digress.) So, whether you're shooting with a Read more inside...
The way that a specific lens renders the out-of-focus areas in the background (ie, the bokeh of the lens), is always an interesting aspect of any lens' behavior. If the out of focus areas show hard edges, or highlights with a kind of double edge, then the bokeh can appear intrusive. Then it is called harsh bokeh. If the out of focus areas are smooth without the edges being defined, then the bokeh is described as being pleasant. And then on occasion, you get bokeh that is ... well, let's just call it 'interesting'.
I noticed that the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Read more inside...
The first thing you might notice in this image is our super-cute model, Johannie.
Next you will probably notice either:
- the strange background pattern, due to the bokeh of this lens
- or the shallow depth-of-field of the Nikon 50mm f/1.4D used wide open
- or the lighting on her, (a reflector),
These are all inter-related in some way for this photo ... Read more inside...