Getting good bokeh from 18-200mm lens?

7 years 10 months ago #276207 by FunnyGuy
I've been trying to get some shots that have good bokeh to them with my 18-200mm lens and just not getting the results I wanted. With the 105mm I can manage to get some OK bokeh. I know the 18-200mm might not be the best lens out there, is that to say that 'middle of the road' lenses have a more difficult time with bokeh?


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7 years 10 months ago #276248 by garyrhook
The 18-200 is a wonderful walk-around lens, excellent for vacations and sightseeing if you don't want to carry a bunch of equipment.

A portrait lens it is not.

Bokeh depends heavily on aperture, distance from camera to subject, and distance from subject to background. To a lesser extent it depends upon the sensor, but the math behind it indicates that, for good composition, that's a minor component.

Fundamentally, it's a geometry problem aided by a wide aperture. The 18-200 only opens up to f/3.5, and at longer lengths closes to f/5.6. That's not real wide. Your 105mm, OTOH, opens to f/2.8 (or f/2?). That's a big difference, and has a huge impact on results.

That said, with your 18-200 choose a focal length and open the aperture as far as possible. For longer focal lengths you'll need to back up from your subject, and you'll want your subject even farther from the background. For shorter focal lengths you'll get closer, but distance behind the subject still works to your benefit.

There's only so much you can do with that lens; that's why they make a 20-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8. Or pickup a 50mm f/1.8 (which are very modestly priced) for something shorter and faster than what you already own. The 105mm is a good choice for portraits, but may be a bit long for you?


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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #276253 by garyrhook
I'll post some examples of using an 18-200, which I had on a trip to Italy last summer.




Not being sure if the EXIF data is attached, this was 112mm @ f/5.6, 1/400 s at ISO 100. I was only a few feet from the pike, but the castle was quite far away. Plenty of blur, but not incredibly so.


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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #276256 by garyrhook



95 mm @ f/5.3, 1/250 s at ISO 3200. The table of candles was only perhaps 6 or 8 ft long, but you can see that the far flames begin to do what you want in good bokeh. (The focal point is the candle more or less in the middle, with its wick right in front of another taller candle.


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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #276259 by garyrhook


42mm @ f/4.5, 1/1600 s at ISO 400. In this shot of a friend the background is nicely separated, but you can still tell where we are. I was only a few feet in front of my friend on a narrow foot bridge; you can see me and the other tourists reflected in her glasses. I should have switched lenses to get a better portrait.


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7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #276264 by garyrhook



For comparison, here's a shot using my Tamron 28-74 f/2.8 lens. 75mm @ f/2.8, 1/200 s at ISO 800. I was only a few feet away from the statue, and the wall was not far behind, less distance than between me and the subject. And yet with the wider aperture one can get a shallow DoF and a reasonably blurry background. It only gets better the more control you have over the environment.

I hope this little tour has been helpful.


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7 years 10 months ago #276280 by Screamin Scott
The number of aperture blades a lens has & their shape also plays a big part in pleasing Bokeh...

Scott Ditzel Photography

www.flickr.com/photos/screaminscott/

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