Bokeh Filter Turns Blurry Lights Into Distinct Shapes

Illustration for article titled Bokeh Filter Turns Blurry Lights Into Distinct Shapes

Bokeh, which is the out-of-focus light distortion in the background of a photo, is more and more seen as an aesthetic element of photography. This lens brings it more attention by shaping those blurs into stars, hearts, and more.


The Bokeh Filter is a physical lens that attaches to any mainstream DSLR and blocks out small pieces of light to create the desired patterns. Changing the cool blurry streetlights behind your ladyfriend into hearts? Cheesetastic. But used subtly (that would mean using no shapes that are also found in a box of Lucky Charms), this could bring a really cool element to some photos. And hell, if you're going for outright cheese, might as well do it naturally and not in the edit room, right? [Bokeh Filter via Geekologie]



The bokeh normally assumes the shape of the aperture opening through which the light enters the camera. That means it's normally a circle or a close approximation thereof as the iris forms hexagons or octagons as it gets closed down further and further. The blur makes it appear roughly circular. In this case though, you would take your wide-aperture lens and leave it all the way open at 1.7 or whatever...and the "aperture" is then decided by this cutout which you stick in front of the lens. That usually means you get the equivalent of f/22 or something, and not a circle but the shape you placed in front of the lens.

The reason you need a wide aperture lens is so that you can still allow a reasonable amount of light in and so that there is enough out of focus area to actually make the effect of the cutout shape visible and obvious. Point and shoots have very short focal lengths and so very little out of focus area, thus, they can't use this trick. It doesn't *have* to be a heart either, it could be a star or triangle or...whatever really.