...In the Comments to the republication of his "What Is Bokeh?" article, émigré to Asia John Kennerdell reports that "in recent years Japanese photo writers have evidently decided they need a cool new loanword instead of 'bokeh,' so one now often sees the fractured English expression 'outo fokasu.'"
So English speakers are using a loanword from Japanese and the Japanese are using a loaner from English! Too funny.
By the way, the most sober term (in English) for what either means is "out-of-focus blur," which of course has the disadvantage of being long, fussy, and annoying to type. I think "bokeh" and "outo fokasu" are more charming and whimsical.
Creating a monster
I should mention that I'm not personally a fan of the ongoing craze for ultra-shallow focus. I like lenses too much to use them wide open—where almost all lenses perform at their worst or close to their worst—very often. And I'm thoroughly, permanently sick of seeing endless photographs in which "lots of bokeh" is equated with "good bokeh," such that parts of the main subject which conventionally should be in focus are not. Examples include flower pictures with the petals closest to the lens unsharp, and pictures of dogs looking at you with their noses out of focus. It can be nice in a portrait when a face is in focus and the ears and the rim of the hair are not, but when the tip of the nose and the hair over the forehead closest to the camera are also not in focus, well, erg.
Yeah, they're proud of owning that fast lens and that larger-sensor camera, and good for them. But a very basic part of being a photographer is nailing the correct plane of focus and getting the depth-of-field right, and the "bokeh craze" has done harm to those basic competencies.
Another thing that makes me roll my eyes is the idea that "if you spent all that extra money for a superfast lens, it only makes sense to shoot it wide open all the time." Or some variant of that. I've read such comments many times. I think it's nonsense. I suppose if you paid for a fast lens, then it does make sense to shoot it wide open sometimes. Having that wide aperture available for those times when you need it should be sufficient reward for your investment. But the picture comes first, doesn't it? Do what's right for the picture. That's not always the widest possible aperture and the minimum possible depth-of-field, blindly, in every case.
But hey, it's not for me to say. Everybody owns their own photography and they can do anything they want with it as long as it's not hurting anybody.
But please don't blame me for all those pictures out there in which the D-o-F is obviously too shallow. Not my fault! :-)
(Thanks to JK)
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Featured Comments from:
Manuel (partial comment): "About those Japanese neologisms: I'm proud the Portuguese enriched Japanese vocabulary with so many words. The most relevant of all is, of course, 'arigato' (thanks), which derives from Portuguese 'obrigado.' And 'tempura' (spicing) comes from our 'tempero.' Germany contributed too: 'Arabaito', Japanese for 'work', stems from German 'arbeit'. But the most remarkable neologism actually comes from English, and is not 'outo fokasu': it's 'purepeido kado', from 'pre-paid card'!"
j. thvedt: "I've seen more than one cookbook where all of the photos had paper-thin depth of field. What can they be thinking? These are illustrations. We want to see the food. All of it."
tex andrews: "Thanks for the sanity on Bokeh. But now, I think I'll drum up a little insanity over at the infamous DPR forums by posting the link to this, so as to start a raging flame war. Fun!"