Bokeh is a popular term used to describe the out-of-focus characteristics of a lens or, if you prefer, the aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus rendering of a lens. Recently many brands have been putting lots of effort into producing portrait lenses with superior bokeh performance. Some lenses, like those from Zeiss, often have a distinctive bokeh that experts can recognise easily, whereas others have an extreme swirly bokeh rendering like the Helios 44-2 or very distinctive “bokeh balls” like the Trioplan lenses. Whatever your taste, bokeh is often one of the characteristics that photographers care about the most with fast lenses.
But the question is: how do you actually prononunce the word “bokeh”? Lok Cheung asked many photographers at the Photography Show in the UK and as you can hear, there is quite a lot of confusion about the correct pronunciation. So to get a definitive answer, Lok ask Japanese Manager Ryu Nagase from Canon and we now have an official answer in the video below!
Interestingly, the word “bokeh” can also be found in the verb 暈ける (bokeru) which means “to be out of focus, hazy or fuzzy”.