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Subject: "Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Ph..." Previous topic | Next topic
davidahn Registered since 10th Apr 2013Tue 30-Apr-13 11:43 AM
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"Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"


San Diego (Bonita), US
          

Let me preface this by saying I'm looking for helpful feedback on a specific problem, so if you don't care about bokeh, no need to comment, I know you're out there and think we should agree to disagree. (Let's face it, neither is going to change the other's mind.

I tried going strictly primes for awesome bokeh (Sigma 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, Samyang 14mm), and while I AM getting amazing bokeh, it's been VERY frustrating swapping lenses all the time, or not having the lens I need when I'm traveling lighter, so now I'm leaning toward the 24-120 f/4G as my main walkaround/travel lens (I travel a lot).

I will still use primes when the bokeh is crucial, but when I don't have time to swap lenses or don't have primes with me, I'd still like to fix the busy bokeh in postprocessing. Is anyone out there fixing busy bokeh in post for images shot on a 24-120 f/4G? Can you post any examples of how much it improves? I think I saw a flickr.com forum post about this. I'll look at flickr.com too, but since so many Nikonian.org members have and love their 24-120 f/4G lenses, I thought I'd ask here as well.

Thanks in advance, Nikonians!

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
JPJ Silver Member
30th Apr 2013
1
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
davidahn
01st May 2013
2
     Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
JohnE Nikon Silver Member
01st May 2013
3
          Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
davidahn
07th May 2013
5
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
jamesvoortman Silver Member
02nd May 2013
4
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
davidahn
07th May 2013
6
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
scenicshutterbug Silver Member
11th May 2013
7
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
danshep Silver Member
16th May 2013
8
Reply message RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroo...
davidahn
16th May 2013
9

JPJ Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Aug 2009Tue 30-Apr-13 04:07 PM
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#1. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 30-Apr-13 04:08 PM by JPJ

Toronto, CA
          

I can't say I really see a huge problem with the 24-120's bokeh to be honest. It's not my everyday lens, heck I don't even have my own copy, but when I have shot it I have never looked at my photos and thought the bokeh was questionable. Given that the aperture starts at f/4 and at its longest it is only 120mm it is not going to throw close backgrounds out of focus to the extent you would get shooting at 1.4-2.8 or at 200mm+. At f/4 is it the same as my 70-200 or primes? Maybe not, but it is not so different that I would process every photo I took with it.

You could try simply shooting subjects further away from the backgrounds if that is possible. It will throw the b/g more out of focus and create the appearance of more "creaminess". Nervous bokeh is often confused for elements in photographs that are just not as oof as we would like. In fact, many primes known for their bokeh are not corner to corner sharp wide open for this very reason, the lack of sharpness adds to the perception of creamy bokeh. The 85 1.4D and Sigma's 50 and 85 1.4 come to mind as lenses with legendary bokeh at 1.4-2.8 but are optimized for sharpness in the center and have weaker corner performance unless you really stop them down.

Having said that, I have fixed up the odd photograph by just using an adjustment brush in Lightroom to either make one element sharper, or other elements in the background less sharp and thus give the illusion of 'creaminess'. Just use an adjustment brush and play with lowering the sharpening and clarity sliders and paint it in to the background. As each photo will be different there is no pre-determined setting for this.

Another possibility would be to use a plugin, like FocalPoint 2 from OnOne Software.

Jason

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davidahn Registered since 10th Apr 2013Wed 01-May-13 08:39 PM
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#2. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 1


San Diego (Bonita), US
          

>I can't say I really see a huge problem with the 24-120's
>bokeh to be honest.
>...At f/4 is it the same as my 70-200 or primes? Maybe
>not, but it is not so different that I would process every
>photo I took with it.

I agree, in most photos it's beautiful. It would be a very small minority of my shots I'd want to take the time to "fix", just those with noticeably busy bokeh in photos with shallow DOF.

>Having said that, I have fixed up the odd photograph by just
>using an adjustment brush in Lightroom...
>
>Another possibility would be to use a plugin, like FocalPoint
>2 from OnOne Software.

Thanks for these tips. FocalPoint looks like JUST what the doctor ordered, the quality of the "bokeh" looks very creamy. On Flickr they suggested using the Clarity slider in LR. Have not had occasion to try any of these techniques.

Thank you for your suggestions!

  

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Wed 01-May-13 10:45 PM
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#3. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 2


New HArtford, US
          

I occasionally use Bokeh plugin by Alienware which I like. It has some creAtive Bokeh As well as Bokeh for specific lenses.

JohnE Nikon
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"Cameras and lenses are simply tools to place our unique vision on film. Concentrate on equipment and you'll take technically good photographs. Concentrate on seeing the light's magic colors and your images will stir the soul." Jack Dykinga

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davidahn Registered since 10th Apr 2013Tue 07-May-13 05:49 AM
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#5. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 3


San Diego (Bonita), US
          

>I occasionally use Bokeh plugin by Alienware which I like. It
>has some creAtive Bokeh As well as Bokeh for specific lenses.

Hey, JohnE, thanks for the tip on Alien Skin's Bokeh... looks like just what I was looking for. Not often, mind you, just for those shots where my walk around zoom is all I've got but I really want to have great bokeh to make a good photo great.

  

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jamesvoortman Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Sep 2004Thu 02-May-13 05:11 AM
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#4. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 0


Durban, ZA
          

Maybe the 24-70 f2.8 would serve you better?


Compared to cheaper zooms I have had in the past, bokeh on the 24-120 is definitely smoother and the lens is sharp at f4 but for narrow depth of field you need to shoot it at the long end to see the difference from the normal kit zooms.

As others have pointed out , careful selection of background before shooting and placing background at some distance from subject are helpful techniques.

In addition to this, shoot at the lowest possible ISO and use a selection brush to selectively sharpen only the subject. This will help to prevent "crystallisation" of noise in the out of focus areas.

By inverting the same selection used for sharpening the subject, you can also apply blur/diffusion effects to the background but run the risk of making it look obvious in the transition between the two areas

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davidahn Registered since 10th Apr 2013Tue 07-May-13 06:44 AM
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#6. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 4


San Diego (Bonita), US
          

>Maybe the 24-70 f2.8 would serve you better?

I considered that seriously. I came from a Canon 5DII with 24-105 f/4L IS (I switched from the 24-70 f/2.8L for portability, IS and reach), but was fed up with the busy bokeh. So I planned to get a D800E with the 24-70 f/2.8, giving up portability, IS, and reach for better bokeh, but seeing comparisons of circles of confusion from the 24-120 f/4G and the 24-70 f/2.8G, I found the 24-120 to have similar bokeh as the Canon 24-105L, but the 24-70's bokeh was better but less than creamy. So I tried covering my walkaround focal lengths with Sigma 35mm and 85mm f/1.4 primes, and while the bokeh and sharpness is amazing, I miss the ease and portability of a zoom lens. That's why I'm looking for a bokeh fix for the otherwise "perfect" walkaround lens, the Nikkor 24-120 f/4G.

>Compared to cheaper zooms I have had in the past, bokeh on the
>24-120 is definitely smoother and the lens is sharp at f4 but
>for narrow depth of field you need to shoot it at the long end
>to see the difference from the normal kit zooms.

I'm glad you like it; I think I'll be happy with the DOF with the 24-120 f/4G; I KNOW I'll be happy with the weight, portability, flexibility, and IS. I was happy with my Canon 24-105 f/4L at the long end for degree of background blur, it was just the bokeh quality that bugged me, hence my question on bokeh cleanup.

  

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scenicshutterbug Silver Member Nikonian since 27th May 2008Sat 11-May-13 11:53 AM
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#7. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 0


Richland, US
          

You might also be able to add a gaussian blur to the background to smooth it out a bit. I have done this in photoshop by selecting the parts of the image I want to blur. I sometimes then select the inverse and layer this on top of the blurred layer to make sure the edges of the subject stay sharp.

Karen

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danshep Silver Member Charter MemberThu 16-May-13 07:35 PM
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#8. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 7


Olympia, US
          



In addition to Karen's suggestion, I use surface blur which offers some nice results.



"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"

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davidahn Registered since 10th Apr 2013Thu 16-May-13 09:47 PM
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#9. "RE: Fixing Bokeh 24-120 f/4G in Postprocessing/Lightroom/Photoshop"
In response to Reply # 0


San Diego (Bonita), US
          

Thanks for your suggestions, Karen and Dan.

I'm now also considering the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC lens, which also has onion skinned bokeh, but oddly, in most shots has very pleasant bokeh. But of course, these tips will also apply to the Tamron for occasional bokeh smoothing.

Thanks again!

David

  

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