How to Create Perfect Bokeh With Your DSLR and Prime Lens is a question of many users. Let us see how to create great round bokeh and custom shaped bokeh. Previously we wrote about the technical details of Bokeh and this time, how to create Bokeh. This article How to Create Perfect Bokeh is specifically written for the DSLR users with a 50mm f / 1.8 Lens like Nifty-Fifty. You can read more about Prime Lens to understand why we have chosen a prime lens.
How to Create Perfect Bokeh : Prerequisites
If you are a newbie in DSLR World, please read the articles on Basics of Optics and Basics of Digital Photography to understand the depth of this article. Knowledge and experience contributes to 70% for creating perfect Bokeh. Rest depends on your DSLR, preferably a full frame DSLR and optionally a good Tripod and Tripod head. You might use a cable release for better result. With this setup we are going to explain from the basics to advanced tricks on how to create perfect bokeh.
Perfect bokeh means, there will be complete circles specially at the corners. With imperfect setup, the bokeh at the corners can get distorted to elliptical. There are various optical reasons behind this problem. It might be as small issue as wrongly set high ISO or can be a manufacturing defect to create an angulation in the plane of lens and the sensor. Also, if wrong lens are mounted over a DSLR, it can create such bad effect. For example, mounting a 35 mm wide aperture lens on a DSLR with APS-C or lesser sized sensor. The crop factor actually is not a rectangular thing, it creates a distorted rectangle like pin-cushion defect.
The diaphragm contributes to the full circle shape – the number of blades and more rounded opening creates a circle versus an octagonal type of bokeh.
How to Create Perfect Bokeh With Your DSLR and Prime Lens
A good knowledge on the modes of a DSLR, like that we published before on this article is important. Full Manual mode obvious gives the best result, but aperture priority mode is a shortcut to the new users. Larger aperture works best. Obviously if you use a f/1.4 lens, it will create more great effect. shutter speed faster than 1/50 second usually works fine. Any slower speed makes the background lights getting blurred too much, instead of getting small circles. If it is too dark, increasing the ISO level instead of f-number is suggested and here is the importance of the cost of the camera. Entry level DSLRs will perform badly with increasing ISO, adding too much noise.
The basic thing is, metering and focus should be done on a closer object, which is optically produces 25% luminance than the background at infinity. Without an external light meter it is not possible to detect in that way. So, a trial an error gives an thing that is called experience. Angle of the incident light has an big value. Adding flower like Lens hood actually cuts off the disagreeable flares. Obviously a tripod and a cable release make it more nice as the aperture will remain widely open.
If you add a custom shaped stop like thing infront of the lens, you will get custom shaped bokehs like heart shaped, star shaped, arrow shaped etc. Usually people uses a paper and cut the shape to get the effect. The radius of the shape must be the same that of the used aperture. As the diaphragm is a bit distant from the front of the lens, obviously, a minute small diameter of the shape will be required. Too small will kill everything, too big will again set you back to round shaped bokeh.