A Photo a Week Challenge: Bokeh

Bokeh — a wonderful word whose origin is (I believe) Japanese but might be Korean — means the softening of backgrounds in portraits and macro photography. Some lenses are designed to do it, others are intended to “go deep and sharp.” You have to pick lenses based on what you intend to do.

My two best lenses for bokeh are my portrait and macro lenses. A few others do a credible job, but those two are better. Also, in my admittedly limited experience, zoom lenses don’t give you the kind of bokeh you can get from a prime. Then again, I’m a big fan of prime lenses and would use them all the time if I didn’t hate carrying a lot of equipment. Also, I’m phobic about changing lenses outside in weather. Who knows what the wind may do to the innards of my camera? Will I find a table so I can make the swap comfortably?

When I’m shooting outside, I use a 12-200 mm (translates more or less to a DSLR 24-400 mm) Olympus lens as my all day lens. It gets close, yet also goes wide. It’s very convenient. It’s not as sharp as most of my primes. It’s also a bit noisy, and it’s an f4, which is okay outside in daylight, but too slow otherwise.

My very long 100-300 mm birding lens has excellent bokeh, especially when fully extended. I don’t know enough about optics to explain exactly how lenses work, but I’m good at following instructions.

Categories: #Photography, Anecdote, Cameras, Optics, Photo A Week Challenge, portrait

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4 replies

  1. Love it! I have a 50mm on my 6D canon and a Tamron 18-200 on the 800D , also ideal for my birds outside


    • I keep my birding camera pretty much on active duty. It’s on the table by the window where the birds hang out and I leave the long lens on it. Once you find that right lens, you wonder how you did without it 😀

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      • Exactly 😅I know the Tamron isn’t the greatest but it works well with the Canon. I also carry it with me everywhere. Tripod in the windows and on the deck


        • I need a better tripod. I have two, one of which is simply too lightweight. It’s sturdy enough, I suppose, but a modest little wind would knock the whole thing over. I have another, heavier (and much older) one, but it doesn’t have a function ball head. I’ve been planning to order one, but other things have been more pressing. And with all the activity back there, I’d be wary of leaving anything where squirrels or raccoon could knock them over. There’s a lot of activity there, both night and day.

          I have a couple of Sigma lenses that fit my cameras (they all use the same thread) and they are really excellent quality. Very sharp, very fast, but all primes. I hope they put out some more. The one I got (I accidentally got two because I didn’t realize they were identical {doubletime oops}). I though one was a 30 and the other a 60, but I misread it. The 60 was just them saying that it’s “breadth and closeness” was equivalent to a 60mm DSLR lens. I kept it because I had not legitimate reason to return it and I have a lot of cameras, so Garry can use one and I can use the other. 30mm (sort of 60mm) is an odd length, so mostly I use it when it’s too dark for everything but my 50mm (read 25mm in 3/4 format).

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