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Who says M43 does not produce good bokeh ?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Peejay, May 27, 2014.

  1. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Just try doing the same tests with a full body portrait. Smaller sensor has more DOF which affects the way it renders an OOF area (bokeh).
  2. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    thats why we have the f0.95-f1.8 primes for
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I presume you're referring to m4/3 lenses as opposed to m4/3 sensors?
  4. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    The sensor marks the "platform" for good bokeh and the lenses actually render it. I would say that the ability to produce background blur at all and producing what one would call "good bokeh" are definitely not the same thing.

    The perception of bokeh quality is largely a subjective thing, you certainly can achieve a nice effect with mu43, the 45/1.8, 35-100/2.8 and 75/1.8 (I don't own this one) will do it. However unfortunately to me the OP's examples don't look too appealing. Many reviewers pointed out the "harsh" bokeh the 12-40 produces. I own the 12-40 but I personally like the 12-35's output better.

    I'm an all mu43 user for digital, but I don't think it can match the full frame regions with bokeh, never mind medium format. It is what it is. The f/0.95 lenses can get you pretty close though.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    its kind of important to understand that bokeh and shallow depth of field are two separate characteristics.


    A shallow depth of field can be produced by relatively slow lenses if you work the relationship of camera, subject and background

    this was taken at f6 with the 12-50 set to macro

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    P8060226 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    bokeh on the other hand is about the quality/look of the out of focus area, and is related more to lens design, including things such as the shape of the aperture blades. Some lenses produce a smoother look


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    PC060096 by kevinparis, on Flickr

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    PC020009 by kevinparis, on Flickr

    others a harsher, busier look

    50/1.4 Pentax Taumar

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    john in garden by kevinparis, on Flickr

    50/1.2 Nikkor

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    Oliver Runs by kevinparis, on Flickr

    Looking at your 12-40 samples I would say that you have worked out how to achieve a shallow depth of field, but that the quality of the bokeh, which is lens related is a little on the harsh side compared to other lenses with a similar focal length

    here is an old Olympus Pen F 38/1.8

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    across the years #2 by kevinparis, on Flickr


    • Like Like x 4
  6. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    People sometimes confuse "Bokeh" as being the lens ability to produce extreme shallow depth of field. The fact of the matter is, all lenses have the same depth of field, so it is only the ability of the lens design and optical aberrations that produce this harmonic distortion we call Bokeh or blur that is either pleasing or non-pleasing.

    In photography, there is ONLY ONE, that's right, ONE plane that is in focus. Anything that is in front or behind this plane of focus is called blur and is known as the circle of confusion. Depth of field provides the perceptual illusion of sharpness, but it is not true sharpness. Bokeh is basically how the lens renders the blur; not how extreme depth of field you could get. Some lenses can render pleasing bokeh and sometimes, it doesn't have to be expensive. Vincent Versace uses the Nikkor 70-210D lens, which is technically a consumer zoom lens and not as sharp as our 35-100 or the 70-200 Nikkors and yet, he loves it for the "BOKEH" it produces. How it renders the skin smooth, the hair and the features of his subject matter. And that's his portraiture lens!

    Sometimes though, you don't need expensive razor sharp professional lens to get the best results. It also comes down to how the lens renders the blur, the bokeh on the subject matter and the background. So bokeh itself is NOT ONLY limited to the background, but rather on how it renders blur too on the subject matter because in reality, there is ONLY ONE PLANE in your photograph that is truly in focus!
    • Like Like x 1
  7. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2014
    I agree. It comes down to the lens, not the sensor. In the OP's examples, the bokeh is not actually "good" (although that is a bokeh-challenging subject). Other lenses would do better in this respect.

    Interesting comment about the 12-40 vs. the 12-35.
  8. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I always think of DoF as slicing a loaf of bread***. The thickness of the slice denotes the depth of the focus. At the lower end (aperture wide open) you get extremely thin slices where the area of focus is correspondent to the thickness of the slice from front to back. At the higher end you get a real 'doorstop' slice which is very thick and encompasses a large focused area from front to back. It's entirely up to the photographer where they place their slice in relation to their subject.

    ***This is simply metaphorical and shouldn't be confused with real photographic advice.
  9. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    When we talk about bokeh. Ive heard somewhere that the sharper the lens is the more harsh/swirvel will the bokeh look. it also tends to be a product of how good the microcontrast is.

    I think about PL25 and leica lenses in general. but when i think about it it doesnt make sense when in comes to panasonic 20 which really is sharp but has a completely different bokeh than leica.

    someone that could confirm this?
    An example of harsh pl25bokeh;
  10. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    The # of aperture blades has a significant effect on the 'quality' of the bokeh.

  11. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I don't believe you got sucked into this Kevin :biggrin: How many pages before Admins close this page? :wink:
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    don't think I was sucked in... just provided a quick response for anybody else sucked in to highlight that shallow DOF and Bokeh are 2 separate things

    thanks for your concern... but I am a big boy and can look after myself :) 

  13. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Hahaahahaah I know u are a very nice , smart and big boy:2thumbs:
  14. Peejay

    Peejay Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2014
    Paris, France
    Very good articles on the subject from photographer Paul Harcourt Davies :



    I rather like the conclusion :
    "It's too easy to listen to what others tell you with apparent confidence about subjective qualities such as sharpness and bokeh. Remember that what matters in your photography is what you like -- whether it's good, bad, creamy, latté, macchiato or whatever. It's your taste, so enjoy it!"
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