bokeh signature

Bokeh signature. amazing character of bokeh. wikipedia describes it as, “In photography, bokeh ( /ˈboʊkə/ boh-kə,[1] Japanese: [boke]) is the blur,[2][3] or the aesthetic quality of the blur,[4][5][6] in out-of-focus areas of an image, or “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.”[7] Differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting—”good” and “bad” bokeh, respectively.[2] Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions.
Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas.[2] However, bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image.”

the key point is in the lens aberrations and large aperture with shallow depth of field. a key point, bokeh’d highlights can occur in the foreground when focus is at or near infinity. try it ! see below image.

the extreme shallow depth of the Carl Zeiss Jena 75mm f/1.5 Biotar, though difficult to focus, has some interesting lens issues that create a very unique bokeh signature when used at f/1.5.

the swirliness of the biotar is legendary.


8 thoughts on “bokeh signature

  1. These are also known as “circle of confusion” back in the day. Seems like another of way dumbing down photography like using the terms ” landscape and portrait” for horizontal and vertical.

  2. Interesting post. I noticed the swirly bokeh in that shot of your hexomniscope but I didn’t know that was a signature of the lens. I thought you did something magical like usual.

    I remember a video clip I saw a few months ago about good bokeh vs. bad bokeh. That guy wan’t too clear on how to tell which lenses have good bokeh before you buy the lens. Is there a rule of thumb on which brands or which lens models have good bokeh? I googled a bit on “good bokeh lenses” but there’s no difinitive list out there that I can see.

    • hey madMarv. aloha. thanks for stopping thru !
      y. its a unique to the design of the lens. most modern lenses are really well corrected for edge to edge sharpness, color. actually no character. sometimes the flaws of the lens is what a unique tool is all about.

      generally. some lenses have a history of this kind of ‘character’ or flavor

      norm is right. circles of confusion.

      if u want, i’m happy to share lenses off the top of my head that offer this kind of unique character

      leitz 50/1.0 noctilux for 35mm fullframe
      carl zeiss Jena 75/1.5 biotar best w/ 35mm fullframe
      russian Helios 85mm f/1.5 for 35mm fullframe
      nikkor AIS 85/1.4 for 35mm fullframe
      nikkor AIS 105/1.8 for 35mm fullframe
      kodak aero ektar 178/2.5 for 4×5
      noritar 80/2 for norita 6x6cm

      this is the shortlist.
      the second/third have the ‘swirly’ pattern due to limitations of technology at the time which created amazing results.

      also triotar lenses in rolleicords and in japanese TLR cameras of the period also offer this kind of amazing ‘circles of confusion’ or bokeh

  3. Very Cool post Cory. Thanks for sharing. That explains why my MF lenses’ bokeh looks different than the 35mm bokeh. In my MF lenses, sometimes the bokeh looks like the shape of the shutter that’s in the lens whereas my 35mm lenses have only circles.

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