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12-06-2013, 05:44 PM   #1
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M lens starburst help

I'm trying to take pictures of my Christmas tree with starburst effect. Alas, I don't have the famed 15mm ltd. I also don't want to do it in post (although I know I could).

I would really like to do it in camera. I know I need a small aperture (large number), but I don't know if shutter speed really matters much. I was able to get small ones, but nothing really spectacular.

Are there some m lens's that are better then others? I have an m-50 1.7, vivitar 28mm, and tak 28 3.5 and 35 3.5. Also have the 18-55 kit lens.

Is there something I should look for with the aperture blades to know which one would be good to start with?

12-06-2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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The amount of blades typically relates to the points the star will have, odd numbers of blades will normally double the points the star has. So a 5 bladed aperture would give you 10 points, where as a 6 blade will only give 6. Rounded aperture blades won't give you the sharp points like straight blades will.

Wide angle lenses are also usually better for more pronounced starbursts.

I've found my Zenitar 16mm to give pleasing starbursts (when I actually want them).
12-06-2013, 06:13 PM   #3
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Is it possible to have the shutter speed too long? I was shooting in a dark room, at night from a tripod. So shutter speeds were in the 20 sec range. I did try some shorter, with higher iso's but that didn't seem to make much difference.
12-06-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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I don't believe shutter speed alone has much of an effect, when I do long exposures at night I typically shoot at f8 and 30s and let the ISO fall wherever it needs to be to get the main subject exposed properly, if there is a bright source of light it will be a starburst.

Can you show an example of what you are getting now?

12-06-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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first one was m50 1.7 i believe, and second was m 28 2.8.

best starburst i can see is in the green light right hand side near the bottom.

i know they're underexposed :-) thats not what i was going for. this was more of a learning thing for me.

i dunno, they are there, just not very big or impressive:-) maybe that's all i can get.......

now to convince the wife that i really NEED a 15mm ltd.......
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12-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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Buying the 15 ltd. is always a good idea:-)
Your wife might prefer if you buy one of these though
Hoya 52mm Star 6 Screw-in Filter: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
12-06-2013, 07:37 PM   #7
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You need to overexpose the lights more, try to expose for the tree.

Since those were done with M lenses and it won't show in the EXIF, do you happen to remember the aperture you were using?
12-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #8
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Those overdone Christmas star photos are done with star-filters. They come in four, six, or eight points, and can be rotated for best effect. Like fruit-cake, Christmas is the only time you can use them.

12-06-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
You need to overexpose the lights more, try to expose for the tree.

Since those were done with M lenses and it won't show in the EXIF, do you happen to remember the aperture you were using?
I believe they were either f22 or f11.

I'll try raising the ISO to overexposed them more.
12-06-2013, 08:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by clicksworth Quote
Those overdone Christmas star photos are done with star-filters. They come in four, six, or eight points, and can be rotated for best effect. Like fruit-cake, Christmas is the only time you can use them.
That's really funny

I'm trying to see what I can accomplish without pp or a star filter
12-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #11
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Looks like you got the right idea about small aperture, long shutter. I think you might need to use the in camera star filter to bring out the bulbs that wont cooperate
12-06-2013, 08:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
Looks like you got the right idea about small aperture, long shutter. I think you might need to use the in camera star filter to bring out the bulbs that wont cooperate
But then I have to shoot JPEG
12-06-2013, 11:57 PM   #13
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did you try a piece of screen over the lens like we did in olden times ?
12-07-2013, 05:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeepThrob Quote
did you try a piece of screen over the lens like we did in olden times ?
Even easier, stretch a piece of black woman's stocking over the front of a lens.
12-07-2013, 05:25 PM   #15
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Hey there.
Try aperture f9, and overexpose. Shoot raw so you can "darken" it in post, if you have to. Starburst filters are also an easy sure-fire way to get what you want (but they can look a little cliche if overused). The stocking is a great idea! I havent tried that, but it sounds like it just might do the trick
The other thing is that when you see "pro" photos with massive starbursts, they are often edited. Straight up photoshop to increase contrast and make them very noticeable.

Edit: Oh, and one more thing - some lights do starbursts better than others. I think LEDs are probably the hardest to take good photos of
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