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Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses

  
 
RexGig0
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


rscheffler wrote:
The target market for high-end cine lenses is apparently a very small group that likely have a deeper visual imaging experience than the average still photographer interested in fast lenses. They've 'been there, done that' at the various extremes of lens performance and have apparently realized that 'dashes' of optical 'flavoring' usually do more for the overall effect than options that turn the dial to 11 for emphasis of specific imaging characteristics, often to the detriment of other characteristics.

My thoughts go to the Canon EF 50/1.2L and perhaps the Nikon 58/1.4. On the forums both are shredded for being soft
...Show more

I agree, regarding the 50L. (I have only briefly test-shot the Nikkor 58, in a setting that did not demonstrate all of its characteristics.)

I enjoyed using my EF 50mm f/1.2L, wide-open, but, after I mistakenly let it roll out of a case, onto pavement, which affected its focusing, I put it away, and forgot about it, for a very long time, until I found it while looking for something else. I reckon that its novelty had worn thin, by the time of the mishap. (This was more than a decade ago.) I recently saw a comparison of images, on a blog site, shot with this Canon EF 50L, and the Leica Summilux-M 50mm ASPH. The intent of the blogger had been to demonstrate how most people could not tell the difference, but, the one set of images that was shot wide open, and showed bokeh, did show a most very clear difference, at least to my eyes.




Mar 01, 2024 at 07:01 AM
Ataboy
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


One contributing factor in movies is the use of anamorphic lenses, which compress far sides of the image to make it fit on a regular film, and then during projection the footage is stretched back to the wide format. The center will be sharp, but the stretched edges less so.

Also, there are Petzval-type lenses with huge field curvature. Also, there are cine lenses for 16mm film that still cover 35mm but are not optimized for it, so corners are very soft. Sometimes it creates an interesting artistic effect, bringing extra attention to the main subject.

Here is an image taken with a Dallmeyer “Kinematograph” type lens, 75mm f/1.9. This is not a double Gauss design, unlike their Super-Six line, and it was designed for 16mm film but the shot was taken on a full-frame camera. No dark corners, plenty of field curvature. I think it works well here to help convey the feeling of movement in dancing.







Edited on Mar 01, 2024 at 12:55 PM · View previous versions



Mar 01, 2024 at 12:27 PM
retrofocus
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


Ataboy wrote:
One contributing factor in movies is the use of anamorphic lenses, which compress far sides of the image to make it fit on a regular film, and then during projection the footage is stretched back to the wide format. The center will be sharp, but the stretched edges less so.

Also, there are Petzval-type lenses with huge field curvature. Also, there are cine lenses for 16mm film that still cover 35mm but are not optimized for it, so corners are very soft. Sometimes it creates an interesting artistic effect, bringing extra attention to the main subject.

Here is an image taken with
...Show more

Great example! Amazing to see how these vintage lenses are now revived with mirrorless cameras and how they shine again. No wonder that pricing of many vintage lenses increased in recent years significantly. Others like Meyer Goerlitz try to jump on this bandwagon by reproducing the old lens design. With better and better "simple" smartphone cameras I see a shift in recent years from using nearly perfect modern lenses to vintage ones since photos like in your example stand out much more from others. Wouldn't be surprised to see soon photo filter software offered using Ai trying to imitate exactly such look.



Mar 01, 2024 at 12:52 PM
Ataboy
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


And here is an example from a Petzval-formula lens, one of the best among them despite being a projection lens - Angenieux 80mm f/1.5. It is incredibly sharp at the spot where you focus it at, and completely melts the background and surroundings almost everywhere else due to the wide aperture and deep field curvature.






Edited on Mar 03, 2024 at 08:29 AM · View previous versions



Mar 01, 2024 at 02:38 PM
Nushi
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


Kalainen wrote:
For me, the first picture's bokeh is more pleasing (even with the field curvature). The fault with the second picture is that the skyline looks like it was photographed through a 'greasy glass'.


I agree completely with your assessment. The first photo, including the oof background looks rather good. The second just looks strange with that glassy blur. To me the latter blur stand out as way more distracting in the context of these photos.



Mar 02, 2024 at 12:42 PM
rscheffler
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


Ataboy wrote:
And here is an example from a Petzval-formula lens, one the best among them despite being a projection lens - Angenieux 80mm f/1.5. It is incredibly sharp at the spot where you focus it at, and completely melts the background and surroundings almost everywhere else due to the wide aperture and deep field curvature.


It would be interesting to see how it handles scenes more along the lines of the first image in this thread. The portrait example lacks complex background structure that would reveal more lens-specific characteristics. It is instead one where virtually any fast short tele will melt the background.



Mar 02, 2024 at 02:07 PM
rico
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


rscheffler wrote:
The portrait example lacks complex background structure that would reveal more lens-specific characteristics.

Lens is performing nicely because you completely missed the chase scene in the background with several flaming cars toppled off the bridge.



Mar 02, 2024 at 06:16 PM
Ataboy
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


rscheffler wrote:
It would be interesting to see how it handles scenes more along the lines of the first image in this thread. The portrait example lacks complex background structure that would reveal more lens-specific characteristics. It is instead one where virtually any fast short tele will melt the background.


Due to the field curvature it also melts away areas that are almost at the same distance as the focal point, while bringing into focus some others that are closer or further away. Tilt lenses can do this too, but they still have a focal plane (even if tilted), not a "focal sphere" or something like Petzval lenses do.

Check out the sharpness/blur on the left and right shoulder of the sitting lady here, for example. Regular lenses can't do this, no matter how fast they are. They might have razor-thin depth of field, but that field is designed to be as flat as possible.









Mar 02, 2024 at 10:29 PM
coralnut
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


coralnut wrote:
Sometimes you just don't notice the subtleties of bokeh in moving pictures as much as you notice it in stills.

I remember watching The Shining and never noticing the Zeiss B-speed lens' triangular bokeh until I looked at still images.


Here's an example of what I was referring to:



Unlike the wide open bokeh that is intended to blur backgrounds, Kubrick liked to stop down to obtain enough DOF to keep backgrounds recognizable. I never even noticed the triangular aperture's bokeh balls while watching the moving picture, but looking at still images it becomes obvious that he's using Zeiss B-speed lenses. When stopped down the triangular apertures produce triangular bokeh balls in the backgrounds. It's not really noticeable until you know to look for it.



Mar 03, 2024 at 12:16 AM
mcbroomf
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses



https://petapixel.com/2024/03/05/dune-part-two-was-shot-using-vintage-soviet-photo-lenses/




Mar 05, 2024 at 04:18 PM
 


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RoamingScott
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


When I'm right, I'm right


Mar 05, 2024 at 04:23 PM
j4nu
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


mcbroomf wrote:
https://petapixel.com/2024/03/05/dune-part-two-was-shot-using-vintage-soviet-photo-lenses/



"The biggest movie of 2024, Dune: Part Two, was shot using the latest and greatest cameras and lenses — plus some vintage Soviet-era lenses."



Mar 05, 2024 at 04:31 PM
mcbroomf
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


I particularly like the closing paragraph

“What I love about 65 mm is that it removes restrictions for me, opening up so many more lens options. You can work with lenses originally designed for smaller formats, where you see parts of the glass that were never intended to be seen. For me, seeing and feeling those hidden parts is an eye-opener, literally and figuratively. It helps me dirty up the image and give it texture in ways you couldn’t do with a smaller format,” Fraser explains.



Mar 05, 2024 at 04:43 PM
ISO1600
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


I love "character" lenses, and bokeh is definitely an important characteristic. When shooting with them, i try to take bokeh into account for the composition, because it can be distracting. I like Bastian's take in that it should contribute to the image, not take away from it.

I love love love swirly bokeh lenses, but they can't be used for all situations.

Personally if the photo I'm taking will not benefit from lens/sensor characterstics (DoF, field curvature, etc), I might as well shoot with my phone. I can get infinite DoF with a 35mm @ F16 on my FP, or i can get it with my Google Pixel and probably have a file that needs less work haha!



Mar 05, 2024 at 08:35 PM
highdesertmesa
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


RoamingScott wrote:
When I'm right, I'm right


Kudos.

Not surprised they only used spherical lenses for Dune 2. Since IMAX is such a tall format, that makes sense.



Mar 05, 2024 at 10:19 PM
wind30
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


Ataboy wrote:
Due to the field curvature it also melts away areas that are almost at the same distance as the focal point, while bringing into focus some others that are closer or further away. Tilt lenses can do this too, but they still have a focal plane (even if tilted), not a "focal sphere" or something like Petzval lenses do.

Check out the sharpness/blur on the left and right shoulder of the sitting lady here, for example. Regular lenses can't do this, no matter how fast they are. They might have razor-thin depth of field, but that field is designed to be
...Show more

It just look like a portrait mode on a handphone made 4 years ago...



Mar 06, 2024 at 07:12 AM
Mzrk
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


wind30 wrote:
It just look like a portrait mode on a handphone made 4 years ago...


Yea honestly it looks like Portrait Mode on iOS. Not a fan of that kind of bokeh TBH.



Mar 06, 2024 at 08:51 AM
Ataboy
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


wind30 wrote:
It just look like a portrait mode on a handphone made 4 years ago...


Sure, and a 150 year old Daguerreotype photograph looks like a filter applied on Instagram 4 years ago... We live in times when, as Baudrillard noted, a simulation has become a new reality.



Mar 06, 2024 at 10:48 AM
berimbolo
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


Are there any modern lenses with this type of character/rendering? I've seen people talk about the rendering of the Sigma F1.2, is that a good example? People on photography forums talk about the character of the Zeiss Batis line. Are those lenses a good example?


Mar 06, 2024 at 10:58 AM
j4nu
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Bokeh Character Preferences for Wide Aperture Lenses


berimbolo wrote:
Are there any modern lenses with this type of character/rendering? I've seen people talk about the rendering of the Sigma F1.2, is that a good example? People on photography forums talk about the character of the Zeiss Batis line. Are those lenses a good example?


CV Nokton Classic line, for example 35/1.4 .
Sigma 35/1.2 DN is a modern lens with modern rendering, definitely no character like in the examples above.



Mar 06, 2024 at 11:12 AM
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