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Cure Your Bokeh Addiction… or When Too Much Background Blur Removes the Story and Creates Distraction


The Bokeh

We recently posted this story, about a Canon shooter, who tried Fujifilm for the first time, and there was so much she loved about it (starting from the fun using Fuji and the inspiration that comes with it), but one thing she missed: the bokeh she had with her Canon f/1.2 lenses.

So I thought to dedicate an own article to the “bokeh-discussion”, starting from two youtube videos below, that I have summed up for you.

And to give it all are more light and fun touch, I’ll share also the recent Camera Conspiracies video :).

I just remind you, that for the ultimate bokeh Fujifilm is going to release the Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0.

  •  – Fujinon XF 50mm f/1.0 Accurate Size Comparison with XF 56mm f/1.2 and XF 50mm f/2

Camera Conspiracies

Camera Conspiracies saw the recent Tony Northrup video, shot with the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2, and he says it has such a shallow DOF, that it’s actually distracting from the content. But of course he says it in a much funnier way, that it’s impossible to sum up here, so enjoy the video.


KentuckyMan30 is a Fujifilm X shooter, and he wonders: how much shallow depth of field do you need?

He shows samples taken with various lenses, including Fujifilm’s currently fastest lens, the Fujinon XF56mm f/1.2.

He says that stopped down at f/1.2 or f/1.4, images often lose the 3D effect and come out pretty flat, and he prefers to stop down a little bit, to allow the context (or background) to come out a bit more, giving him a more three-dimensional quality.

Surely, he says this is a subjective question, and the super-blur background is sometimes a cool effect.

But most of the time he needs context to emphasize the space between the subject and the background and hence make the subject pop out more from the environment.

So, he is a “less is more” believer.

Booray Perry

Booray Perry (full-time wedding photographer) is in the process of switching from full frame DSLR to mirrorless. His struggle is between Sony full frame and Fujifilm APS-C.

So now he wonders: APS-C vs Full Frame depth of field. How bad is it? Is it worth to stick with full frame for shallower DOF? If he goes Fuji he’d carry around less weight and size.

  • the same f stop number on APS-C and FF affects only the depth of field, but not the exposure. Hence, f/2.8 on APS-C is f/2.8 in terms of exposure, but f/4 in terms of DOF (compared to full frame)
  • in the process of switching to f/2.8 zoom lenses on APS-C, he must be aware that he will get the f/4 DOF of full frame (but still f/2.8 in terms of light on the sensor)
  • he tried to see if he’d miss the f/2.8 DOF of full frame, by checking the aperture value of his event and wedding shoots
  • he checked all the images he took for his Pro work at below f/4 on full frame
  • he noticed that, with very rare exceptions (detail shots), everything he shot under f/4 on full frame was because he wanted to get more light in the camera, and not because he wants a shallow DOF
  • in all his images below f/4 on full frame, he shoots really wide (around 16mm) because he wants a deeper DOF, to make sure everybody is in focus during his event shots (dancing floor, room with people, etc)
  • shooting wide your DOF gets deeper anyway
  • he concludes he should not be worried about losing DOF by switching to APS-C
  • he almost never really uses that shallow DOF, specifically because he wants that shallow DOF. It is just a side effect, that more times than not, he does not even want. More often he is afraid that the shallow DOF is going to hurt his shot.

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