bokeh, from japanese boke, unsharp. The appearance of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image. Also, the rendition of out-of-focus image areas by a particular lens, i.e. a lens with a pleasing out-of-focus rendition is said to have ‘good bokeh.’

(Calling this type of bokeh ‘good’ and the opposite - a harsh background rendition - ‘bad’ is somewhat misleading, because ‘bad’ bokeh can in some situations look better. This is because the only slightly out-of-focus areas can appear sharper. But the usage has become fairly common now.)

Bokeh test images by focal length

After fooling around with test patterns for some time, I decided to just use trees (with the sky shining through the leaves) as test images. Seems to work well enough, and they grow larger than test patterns, too. This simplifies things a lot.

Also, I only made test shots showing the background, since unsharp background occurs much more often than unsharp foreground.

Currently, there are mostly manual focus Nikkor lenses, because that's what I use. I'm looking forward to adding sample shots from other manufacturers, especially those with a reputation of good bokeh, for example Leica or Pentax.

Use the test image selection page to look at the images. Also includes a list of tested lenses.

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