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26 votes
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What swirly bokeh technique is this and how can I achieve it?

This photo is taken with a petzval lens which corrects all aberrations decently except for, well, petzval aka field curvature. Because the edges are in focus at a further distance, the blur is ...
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21 votes
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What algorithm can I use to simulate bokeh?

I think the main problem is one of dynamic range, your algorithm is probably right but you're working on the wrong type of data. A point light source that would otherwise clip and go pure white gets ...
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15 votes
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How does an apodization filter improve bokeh?

Bokeh is formed by many points of light spreading out, passing through the aperture and being projected onto the image plane as series of overlapping discs (assuming a round aperture). This can lead ...
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15 votes
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How to do smoky bokeh

The non uniformity of the bokeh leads me to believe that the background has been Photoshopped. Exactly how it was done is anyone's guess - but the sharp lines through the bokeh may indicate a liquify ...
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14 votes

What is the cause of this non-uniform bokeh effect?

This is field curvature. Simple lenses naturally project a curved field, not a flat one to match film or digital sensors. Modern lenses attempt to correct for this, but many older designs do not. In ...
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14 votes
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Is this "tack sharp with blurred background" look done with Photoshop?

No photoshop necessary for that background. That's simply what happens when shooting a telephoto lens, f/2.8 or larger, and having the subject closer to the camera and much further from the background....
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13 votes

What is the reason of "banded" bokeh on Sony a7?

It's called "Nisen Bokeh" and is mainly due to the lens design (though the background plays a part, it's possible to "provoke" this effect with any lens with the right background). Overcorrected ...
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13 votes
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Is there any Photoshop effect that can create vertically distorted bokeh as one sometimes sees in film and video?

I was always wondering if theres anyway to get bokeh that looks something like this (vertically distorted bokeh). This vertically-oval bokeh is the result of an anamorphic lens, which "squeezes" an ...
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12 votes

What's the difference between Bokeh and Gaussian Blur?

Bokeh means the visual looks of out-of-focus areas of a photograph taken using real world optics. For perfect optics an out of focus point of light (e.g. an out of focus start) would be a perfect disc....
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12 votes

What algorithm can I use to simulate bokeh?

First of all, in optics, only light adds up and darkness does not. Make sure that your algorithm does not bleed dark pixels outwards their original location. Resulting pixels should rather resemble ...
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11 votes
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Would a 85mm lens have allowed me to blur the background better in this photo of a DJ in action?

Okay, so, really, two aspects here. First, would an 85mm lens let you blur the background more? Probably, because the framing for a longer focal length decreases the apparent depth of field, and ...
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10 votes
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What is considered high quality bokeh?

Good or bad bokeh is in the eye of the beholder. Michael Clark thinks the highlights have to be round, usually meaning a fully open aperture, but I don't agree. I don't mind 7-gon or 9-gon highlights, ...
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10 votes

What is considered high quality bokeh?

In general "high quality" bokeh is viewed by most photographers as out of focus areas that are smooth rather than harsh. Most lenses that produce smooth bokeh also produce out-of-focus highlights that ...
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  • 168k
10 votes

What is considered high quality bokeh?

High quality is when it fits the vision and intent of the photographer and it enhances the aesthetics of the image. Bad quality is when it subtracts from the overall quality/aesthetics of the photo ...
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10 votes
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Maximizing bokeh in the foreground?

From the other question: Here's the list of things that influence depth of field the most (in this particular order): Subject distance, the closer the subject is, the shallower the DOF (think of ...
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10 votes

Besides mirror lenses, what can cause ring-shaped bokeh?

The doughnut bokeh of catadioptric ("mirror") lenses is not caused by the rear mirror or long focal length, but by the obstruction (front mirror actually) on the front element. You can achieve it ...
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10 votes

What is the bokeh difference between 1/2.3" f/0.95 cell phone and 1" f/1.8 compact camera?

You appear to be seeking to maximize the amount of background blur. Factors that increase background blur are: Distance to subject (closer) Distance to background (farther) Focal length (longer) ...
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9 votes

Why is the bokeh shaped like the aperture?

Light propagates in a line, unless you make your photo near a black hole or a giant sun. Consequently, as soon as the light converges into the focal point and arrive at your sensor, you have similar ...
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  • 6,107
9 votes

What swirly bokeh technique is this and how can I achieve it?

This is a swirl-y bokeh, an often desirable flaw commonly found in some vintage lenses and lenses. There are some lenses known for this this characteristic, most notably the soviet made Zenit Helios ...
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9 votes
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Besides mirror lenses, what can cause ring-shaped bokeh?

This bokeh effect is known as (soap) bubble bokeh. Along with a "glowing" look, this type of bokeh is seen in lenses that have over-corrected spherical aberration. It is associated with Cooke Triplet ...
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8 votes
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Scratchy bokeh - do I have a problem with my lens?

In trying to take a suitable image to use as a full example, I removed the UV filter I have on the end to act as protector - problem apparently solved. Lesson learnt: cheap glass is cheap for a ...
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8 votes

Why does electronic first curtain shutter affect rendering of blurred backgrounds?

The reason for the phenomenon is that at wide apertures in good light necessitating a fast shutter speed, most of the exposure is coming from a very narrow traveling slit between the first and second ...
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  • 6,032
7 votes
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Why is the bokeh shaped like the aperture?

Simple version, because the aperture blocks out any rays of light that would have corresponded to that point that don't pass through it. Each point of light is actually the same shape as the aperture ...
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7 votes

What swirly bokeh technique is this and how can I achieve it?

If you have a fast lens, create a circular cover over it, and it should swirl the background. It's best seen with foliage.
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7 votes

Why do out of focus elements in a photograph increase in apparent brightness?

I assume you mean the "bokeh balls" phenomenon, where out-of-focus highlights become large, bright circles: The answer to this is simple: the non-bright areas are also diffused into large circles, ...
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  • 140k
7 votes

How can I take pictures with extreme bokeh with an in-focus subject nearby?

For the first photo example: Longer focal length and/or wider aperture are needed. 50mm and f/2.8, especially if used on an APS-C camera, won't give that kind of bokeh that close to the focus distance....
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  • 168k
7 votes

What is the cause of inclusions in my bokeh?

Probably the dots are dried water specs. Definitely the unsightly rings are from the glass polishing process. Zeiss Batis 2.8/135 See this Imaging-Resource article: "The end of onion-ring bokeh? ...
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7 votes
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This photo has light dot bokeh in front of the subject, seemingly coming from the sun. How was this done, or how can the effect be achieved?

A bit of black-belt Google-fu & Google Translate found the definitive answer, from the photographer themself. It's an in-camera double exposure (proving my original theory wrong;) It was so ...
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  • 19.7k
6 votes

How is a lens's bokeh determined by its construction?

For the most part, there is no way to predetermine the quality of a lens's bokeh simply by looking at its construction, and even if you look at sample images you may be flummoxed, because the quality ...
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