Soft Focus in Photography
Soft focus describes technical flaw, and a large number of older lenses included built in soft focus as a side
outcome of their design. Lenses built today' are optimized to diminish optical aberrations, although there are lenses like the EF 135mm f/2.8 lens by Canon with Soft
focus and the SMC FA 28mm f2.8 Soft Lens by Pentax, which feature adjustable spherical aberration ranges at wide aperture settings. The soft effect can be entirely rendered inoperative as well, allowing the lens to be sharp.
Nikon makes an entire series of Defocus Control (DC) lenses which are occasionally mistaken with the appearance of soft focus, although these lenses aren't soft focus, as they don't initiate spherical aberration across the entire field.
|A photo of a bottle with a heavy soft focus effect.
||A photo of the same bottle, but with no soft focus effect at all.
The soft focus lens introduces spherical aberration on purpose just to give the effect of making the image blurred and at the same time retaining sharp edges; this is different than an image that's out-of-focus, and the result cannot be accomplished simply by causing a sharp lens to be defocused. Therefore a photographic soft focus image is a little blurred or diffused but recognizable. most often produced by a special optical lens. Also soft focus is the term for the style of image created by this type of lens.
This soft focus appearance is most often used as a consequence for glamour photography, as the style diminishes blemishes, and generally produces a dreamy style photograph.
The results of a soft focus optical lens can sometimes approximated by using a diffusion filter or sometimes other methods, like putting a nylon stocking in front of the camera lens element, or putting petroleum jelly all over a lens filter or smearing it on the front lens element itself. This effect can also be somewhat duplicated during post-processing. Specifically, where image highlights are blurred.
Apr 15, 2011
Actor Leslie Howard shot in soft focus