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02-12-2009, 08:26 AM   #1
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Lens Flare Advice Please

Hello

I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on lens flare. Below are two sunset pics I took this past weekend as a manual metering lesson. The first one I metered on the water, and I got of course the darker landmass, and a little lens flare. The second one I metered on the foreground and got a whole lot more lens flare.

In these shots I wanted a longer depth of field hence the f16, but I was going hand held to keep up with my 7 yr old and 21 month old. Not the best combo, but I wanted to give it a try.

Equipment is K200D, DA* 16-50, SR on

First photo F16, shutter 1/45, 0 ev, iso 400, 24mm focal length (35mm equivalent)

Second photo is F16, Shutter 1/20 0ev , ISO 400, 24mm focal length.

Any advice is appreciated greatly. Thanks

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02-12-2009, 10:53 AM   #2
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A lens hood would help some.
02-12-2009, 11:05 AM   #3
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No, it wouldn't. Not when the camera is aimed directly at the sun.

Secondly, and more importantly this is a lame "test" and has almost nothing to do with "flare" as it relates to lens performance. Really, this isn't "flare" it's more like 2 shots of the sun.

Real "flare" that's relevant is stray light coming ACROSS the lens. This phenomenon is brought on by lack of high quality coatings or many times the addition of filters. In such cases a hood will help, GREATLY.

So, please and I'm aiming this at everyone who might read it... Stop taking pictures of the sun and talking about "flare."

/rant

Regards,
Mike
QuoteOriginally posted by rockmaster1964 Quote
A lens hood would help some.
02-12-2009, 11:24 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by X Man Quote
No, it wouldn't. Not when the camera is aimed directly at the sun.

Secondly, and more importantly this is a lame "test" and has almost nothing to do with "flare" as it relates to lens performance. Really, this isn't "flare" it's more like 2 shots of the sun.

Real "flare" that's relevant is stray light coming ACROSS the lens. This phenomenon is brought on by lack of high quality coatings or many times the addition of filters. In such cases a hood will help, GREATLY.

So, please and I'm aiming this at everyone who might read it... Stop taking pictures of the sun and talking about "flare."

/rant

Regards,
Mike
Woah! Mike - Chill Out! The OP did not state that he was "testing lens flare" but rather that he was practicing manual exposures - good on him I say. You can't shoot sunsets without the sun - not a spectacular sunset here, but he's out on a walk practicing his photography so he'll take what he can get.

I'd say whether this phenomenon meets some technical definition of "flare" as you learned it, it does meet the conventional meaning of flare as many of us understand it (look here's an example - it's even from the sun ). If this understanding about the meaning of flare is wrong, it would help the OP, me and I'm sure others if you could point us to a good technical definition of flare rather than ranting at us without educating us.

So, to sum up... WTF??? (/rant myself - sorry if I had too much coffee this morning)

02-12-2009, 11:24 AM   #5
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Thanks for the /rant

I did have a lens hood on, but I knew it was not helpful going in this direction towards the sunset (ie head on). The lens hood did help in several other shots I took that day with light coming at an angle to the side and from above.

I had a Hoya UV filter on the lens.

I was only basing my question on what I'd read as a rookie and seeing a picture described of as "flare". If you have a pic of the proper definition of lens flare, I'd appreciate seeing it so I can know the difference moving into the future.

In this case, I guess my lame test should be more angling my shot to get the direct shot over into an angle. Based on your statements, that may be the proper technique to avoid such a silly picture.

Again thanks for the comment and I'll stick the knowledge into my kit bag for the future.

Cheers
02-12-2009, 11:25 AM   #6
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Nice link. Thanks
02-12-2009, 11:38 AM   #7
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Good on you for taking my rant for what it was. I'm not trying to be mean, and technically what you've photographed is lens flare. However, what I see when I look at your 2 examples, is very well controlled flare. Especially considering you had a UV filter aka: flare magnifier on. The lens is performing admirably.

You want to see flare you should worry about? "Flare" Big Time!There, that's a lens performing horribly with flare that destroys photos. This, is "flare" as it relates to photography when referring to unwanted stray light.

Regards,
Mike
QuoteOriginally posted by ecwoj Quote
Thanks for the /rant

I did have a lens hood on, but I knew it was not helpful going in this direction towards the sunset (ie head on). The lens hood did help in several other shots I took that day with light coming at an angle to the side and from above.

I had a Hoya UV filter on the lens.

I was only basing my question on what I'd read as a rookie and seeing a picture described of as "flare". If you have a pic of the proper definition of lens flare, I'd appreciate seeing it so I can know the difference moving into the future.

In this case, I guess my lame test should be more angling my shot to get the direct shot over into an angle. Based on your statements, that may be the proper technique to avoid such a silly picture.

Again thanks for the comment and I'll stick the knowledge into my kit bag for the future.

Cheers
02-12-2009, 11:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ecwoj Quote
Hello

I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on lens flare. Below are two sunset pics I took this past weekend as a manual metering lesson. The first one I metered on the water, and I got of course the darker landmass, and a little lens flare. The second one I metered on the foreground and got a whole lot more lens flare.

In these shots I wanted a longer depth of field hence the f16, but I was going hand held to keep up with my 7 yr old and 21 month old. Not the best combo, but I wanted to give it a try.

Equipment is K200D, DA* 16-50, SR on

First photo F16, shutter 1/45, 0 ev, iso 400, 24mm focal length (35mm equivalent)

Second photo is F16, Shutter 1/20 0ev , ISO 400, 24mm focal length.

Any advice is appreciated greatly. Thanks
Re. the flare (or whatever the blotch-of-light-in-the-photo-from-the-light-source-hitting-the-glass-thingy is supposed to be called), I'd say the difference is caused by a slight difference in the angle of incidence of the light hitting your lens elements, resulting in a different flare (or... wtf, let's just call it flare for now). Next time you're in a situation where you can look at a fairly bright point source like this (without blinding yourself), spend some time looking through the viewfinder and moving the camera view around this way and that... you'll see that the flare can vary dramatically with just a few degrees of movement from a huge wall of low contrast wiping out your picture to just a small star around the light point source. The other reason the flare would be lighter in the second photo is that the exposure was a whole stop lighter, so your light will be "lighter" too, but I think the majority of the difference will be from the different relationship between your lens elements and the light source.

QuoteOriginally posted by rockmaster1964 Quote
A lens hood would help some.
Not so much in this case as the light from the sun is directly impinging on the front element. Putting the front element in the shade (ie. behind a tree trunk) will cut down or eliminate the flare, but then you can't shoot the sun in the sunset.

02-12-2009, 11:59 AM   #9
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Thanks All for the advice...

Another clear afternoon coming up with good weather. Might get a chance to try the things you all mentioned! That way when I get my "big chance" for something special I'll be ready!

That is what I enjoy most about digital...cheap lessons!
Battery power + computer development is no where near what film was!
02-12-2009, 12:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by X Man Quote
this is a lame "test" and has almost nothing to do with "flare" as it relates to lens performance. Really, this isn't "flare" it's more like 2 shots of the sun.

So, please and I'm aiming this at everyone who might read it... Stop taking pictures of the sun and talking about "flare."
QuoteOriginally posted by X Man Quote
Good on you for taking my rant for what it was. I'm not trying to be mean, and technically what you've photographed is lens flare.
Wow. Mike the X Man, what's the deal? "This isn't 'flare,'" and "what you've photographed is lens flare." Those two quotes together show the coherence of X Man's advice and thought processes.

Ecwoj, I don't think your "test" was "lame." And it's pretty hard to take a picture of the sun and a landscape and not talk about, "flare." So your post is a very good one if we all want to learn more about flare, and how to control it. I think an interesting thing to do would be to take a picture of the sun exposed like the first, and then for the second, remove the filter and keep everything else the same. Then you could determine how much of the flare is due to the lens, and how much is due to the filter.

A cheap filter normally won't handle flare as well as an expensive lens. You have an expensive lens with good coatings. I don't know how high quality your Hoya UV filter is. If you notice, Hoya sells many UV filters at the same size for different prices. They can be about 10 bucks or around a 100 bucks. The difference in price is due to the quality of the coatings on the filter, and the quality of the coatings, of course, affect flare.

I don't use filters because I can't afford good ones. If I could, I'd probably try to save some more money and buy another lens. I always am very careful not to touch the front element or let anything else touch it. I have a little girl, and she's not to grabby with expensive stuff, so it's usually okay. Your little tyke might like grabbing lenses though, so a filter can save an expensive lens. Of course it can also make the images from an expensive lens look like ones from a cheap lens. That's the catch-22.

As Mike paradoxically pointed out, though, the "flare" (which apparently doesn't actually exist) is well controlled. Still, remove the filter and it might be even more so. All that said, a lot of times flare can be very fun. I try to get it quite often. Interestingly enough, and against Mike's direct orders, I do this by including the sun in a shot. The wonderful thing about good coatings on lenses is, even when you get flare, it doesn't completely wash out and leave the image with a terribly low contrast. The lens hood and good coatings usually make the flare from obliquely angled light (the absolute bane of Mike's existence) a non-issue. So you're on the right track. As far as flare from head-on light sources, just keep experimenting to see what you can get out of your equipment for your taste.
02-12-2009, 05:34 PM   #11
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Using a prime lens, instead of a zoom, probably would have helped you in this situation. It's a pretty simple relationship...the more elements in a lens, the better the odds of getting lens flare. And yeah, I do think of that as lens flare in your pics. It's just flare on your internal lens elements, as opposed to the front lens surface.
02-12-2009, 06:15 PM   #12
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Well Bruce, the point I was trying and apparently failing to make is that taking a photo where it's virtually impossible to eliminate lens flare and then in essence complaining about it... not that the OP was complaining, I just see the exact same shots, directly into the sun, over and over again, and they are usually followed by complaints about their equipment, when the shot was guaranteed to exhibit flare in the first place. It serves little purpose, IMO and I hopefully have cleared up my intentions.

Lastly Bruce, if you haven't already done so I'd like you to check out the link I provided earlier HERE. That's flare to be really concerned about and it's worth looking at ways to avoid such things, because they are avoidable rather than futile.

1.) Most filters are rubbish and will increase lens flare problems, not help them. It's best to avoid filters unless for effect rather than protection.
1.b) The exception to the above is polarizers. Since they by design reduce or eliminate glare they may very well in certain conditions help reduce flare.

2. Lens hoods, the longest hood that doesn't cause unacceptable vignetting is best. Your hand will do in a pinch.

3.) Awareness of where you're pointing the lens and what direct or stray light is around and how it may cause undesirable flare. Experience is key here.

4.) Glass with good multi-coatings. As much as I love my old screw mount stuff, a lot of it has poor coatings and are very prone to destructive flare.

There, hopefully I've offered enough thoughtful, relevant, and constructive advice to satisfy my detractors in this thread.

Regards,
Mike
QuoteOriginally posted by brucestrange Quote
Wow. Mike the X Man, what's the deal?
02-12-2009, 06:26 PM   #13
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is that 3 lakes in Richmond that your shooting at?
02-12-2009, 07:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by X Man Quote
There, hopefully I've offered enough thoughtful, relevant, and constructive advice to satisfy my detractors in this thread.
We live in a funny world when "constructive advice" is a substitute for a good old-fashioned apology. But some people have their pride.
02-13-2009, 09:58 AM   #15
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I have nothing to apologize for, Bruce.

Regards,
Mike
QuoteOriginally posted by brucestrange Quote
We live in a funny world when "constructive advice" is a substitute for a good old-fashioned apology. But some people have their pride.
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