Old 07-02-2010, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default Flare trouble...

Hey all,

After buying my D90 close to a month ago I've been pretty happy with it. That being said, I have noticed on multiple lenses a flare problem that is caused from the headlights/ditchlights when shooting close to or directly at them. Flaring is normal, and I don't think anyone minds it, but what makes me puzzled and a bit irked is that there tends to be a green tint to atleast one of the headlights along with the normal headlight color. Examples:

To the left of the top headlight
http://wctransfer.rrpicturearchives....spx?id=2108593

Left ditchlight
http://wctransfer.rrpicturearchives....spx?id=2123081

Left ditchlight
http://wctransfer.rrpicturearchives....spx?id=2116321

I think you get the jist, so as you would guess I'm looking for a solution. At this point I am clueless. I've switched a few settings on my camera, turned Active D-Lighting on/off, and nothing has changed. Any help is appreciated,

Thanks,

Alec
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Old 07-02-2010, 05:47 PM   #2
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Specular highlight flare has the bane of lens designers since time began. I don't think you will find much better performance with any other comparable lens.

Zooms complicate matters with their additional lens to air surfaces. Prime lenses or non-zooms have fewer lens to air surfaces and thus less issues.

I normally use a protective front filter but remove it when in such situations since the filter adds it's additional surface and flare.

Honestly, your problems are minimal compared to how bad it used to be. (I would have killed for glass so clean 30 years ago.) All you need is a little two-minute touch up in processing and you are good to go.
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:04 PM   #3
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Dennis, thanks for the input. I was pretty sure it would be one of those things that one just learns to live with.

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Old 07-03-2010, 12:31 AM   #4
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As Dennis said, lens flare is something that's inevitable for many shots. This is especially true with telephoto lenses and/or in low light situations. I'm not sure how much it has to do with lens quality; even on the 70-200L I have problems with lens flare at times. Regardless, it's definitely something that needs to be taken into consideration. I'm a little puzzled as to why you got flare on the first and third shots (it's typically much more of a problem as zoom length increases), but it doesn't look too bad to me. Using the hue/saturation/brightness brushes in Photoshop takes care of lens flare for me. I've never bothered using any filters on my lens, from what I've read the sacrifice on image quality takes away any advantage they bring to the table.
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:29 AM   #5
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There is raging debate on the merits of filters for protection.

I fall on the using filters for lens protection most of the time side of the discussion.

I have shot shoot millions of feet of movie film with quality filters and I have not seen any significant difference in image quality. Shoot tests yourself, with and without filters and find out for your yourself. Don't rely on what other people have written. (Or say here for that matter.)

In the heat of battle I change lenses a lot, the cameras bang into each other, into cars, walls, whatever and I feel good when I clean dirty protection filters and these is a clean, undamaged front element underneath.

Personally I'd rather buy a new filter than have a nicked front element on my lens.

Case in point: My Canon 15mm cannot take a front filter and guess what? There are two nicks in the front element that cannot be fixed.

Others swear no protection filter is needed. I swear they just haven't had anything bad happen yet.
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:32 PM   #6
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I feel neutral about filters, they have their place which is not permanently affixed.
I have never taken my filter off my 16-35, it has a bulging front element like Dennis' 15mm and I would hate to see that expensive expensive lens get scratched.
Whether there's a filter on my 24-105 depends on the weather and what I'm shooting. Rain? Plop it on, that'll weatherseal it. Cloudy day? Why not! Shooting into the sun or trains? You bet it's in my pocket or the bag.
I have never used a UV filter on my 100-400.
With the exception of the bulky hard to pack and ultimately ineffective hood for the 16-35, I ALWAYS use a hood. It's more effective than a filter by a thousand times. That being said, I'm glad I had a filter on my 24-105 last month when it fell out of my bag, it's easier to clip off a bent filter than it is to fix a bent filter ring on a lens.
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Old 07-04-2010, 02:49 PM   #7
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Another thing that I forgot to mention. All of my lenses were used on my D60 before, obviously, and none of them suffered from any sort of dis-coloration flaring on the ditch or headlights. That is where I become confused.

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Old 07-04-2010, 05:57 PM   #8
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Another thing that I forgot to mention. All of my lenses were used on my D60 before, obviously, and none of them suffered from any sort of dis-coloration flaring on the ditch or headlights. That is where I become confused.

Alec
Hmmm...You are right, it should not make any difference.

I can only guess that it is something on the order of you not running into the exact same lighting situation or a difference with the camera sensor or the camera's processing?

Grasping at straws here...

I say that because sometimes flares are completely unexplainable. I have had discussions with top camera and lens manufacturers who where flummoxed by problems with the image created with their very expensive lenses and cameras.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:02 PM   #9
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The camera's sensor seems to be the only thing that would really make sense to me.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:55 PM   #10
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Beware... logic and good sense have gotten a lot of good people in trouble!
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:41 PM   #11
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Hahaha, ya.

So, if its the sensor, would any type of filter actually be good???

(I think I'm just desperate at this point...)

Alec
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:45 AM   #12
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Hahaha, ya.

So, if its the sensor, would any type of filter actually be good???

(I think I'm just desperate at this point...)

Alec
The best filter would be no filter I would have to say.

Shoot tests. Shoot the same shot of ditch lights with the same lens on different cameras.

That would eliminate variables and help pin point the problem.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:31 PM   #13
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Well I went to the camera store today and talked to them about my problem. Basically I was told that my lens (a relic 75-300mm AF 4.5-5.6 Nikkor) didn't have much protective coating since it was built in 1989, so they proposed the idea of a UV filter. So, after buying that I went out and took a few test shots with those lovely bright ditchlights, and for now atleast things look to be better. Not perfect, but there aren't any huge halos at the time being. Although I haven't shot at every light situation yet, so we'll have to see...

Thanks guys,

Alec
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:13 PM   #14
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Your first mistake was purchasing a Nikon..



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Old 07-05-2010, 11:48 PM   #15
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Your first mistake was purchasing a Nikon..



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Awesome contribution to an interesting discussion. I appreciate your input so much. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to impart your wisdom on the group.

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Old 07-06-2010, 01:02 AM   #16
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I noticed a proliferation of lens flare when I went to digital, and figured it was the nature of the beast. I previously shot K64 slides with Nikon F3 bodies and can't recall any incidences of flare around the headlights, and having looked at the few slides I've scanned, the small amount of documented evidence I personally have backs that up. Not to say I never had lighting effects on my lenses before, just not the flare "starlight" effect on headlights. With digital, I get it almost every shot when the headlights are intense (headlight shining directly at the lens)... time of day or light conditions seem to play no part (at night is another story).

For the record, I use the same prime and telephoto lenses on my D200 and D300 as I did on my F3's, so in as much as this could be considered a controlled experiment, the only change was film to sensor. I don't use filters and my glass was not cheap, either. I can't bear the thought of using a zoom lens, so I have no real experience either way to share with those halfpenny trinkets.
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Old 07-06-2010, 01:23 AM   #17
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Well I went to the camera store today and talked to them about my problem. Basically I was told that my lens (a relic 75-300mm AF 4.5-5.6 Nikkor) didn't have much protective coating since it was built in 1989, so they proposed the idea of a UV filter. So, after buying that I went out and took a few test shots with those lovely bright ditchlights, and for now at least things look to be better. Not perfect, but there aren't any huge halos at the time being. Although I haven't shot at every light situation yet, so we'll have to see...

Thanks guys,

Alec
Fluorite anti-halation coatings have been the secret weapon in lens design for over 70 years. More than the glass elements themselves, the coatings reduce flare, increase lens contrast thus apparent sharpness.

Such things come at a cost. The more money you pay the more coatings and better lens performance you get.

I am not familiar with your 70-300 4.5-5.6 Nikkor. However, those are the same specs as a Canon lens I used to own. It's performance was acceptable but nothing to write home about.

A year ago I got a Canon 70-200 f4 L and I have been thrilled with it's images ever since. (I have said this on the forums ad infinitum so I apologies to all of you.)

In spite of it's outstanding color and sharpness, I get very noticeable green flare with this lens, particularly if I have it's filter on.

That is why I mentioned it. Twice. But then you went out and bought a filter anyway. The filter you bought will not magically make all the other lens surfaces in the lens have better coatings. And it will add it's own flare.

At this point I recommend again shooting some tests. Perhaps you have a car and a driveway. So at dusk you could shoot shots with both cameras with all your lenses of your vehicle's headlights at various distances. Try to make the flare occur and note what combination of lens length, filter on, filter off and what camera it is.
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Old 07-06-2010, 03:04 AM   #18
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Thanks Mike. Yeah, flare is not really bothersome to me, but the greenish fringe(halo) around the normal flare is where I have become unhappy.

Dennis, I appreciate the knowledge you have shared, and once I get back from Chicago in a few days I will work on some more comprehensive tests. I went out again tonight, during a storm so it was less than ideal lighting, and like I'm sure you would have guessed, there is still a greenish flare.

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Old 07-06-2010, 04:31 PM   #19
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Lens flare is 100% a product of the lens and the conditions the photograph was taken in, it has nothing to do with the camera body.

If you say you didnt notice it before, it is due to altered conditions and circumstances, not the new body
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:34 PM   #20
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Awesome contribution to an interesting discussion. I appreciate your input so much. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to impart your wisdom on the group.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to contribute to this discussion even further by ridiculing Chase and by imparting your wisdom on the group by showing us the prime definition of the word Hypocrite.

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Old 07-06-2010, 04:36 PM   #21
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I noticed a proliferation of lens flare when I went to digital, and figured it was the nature of the beast. I previously shot K64 slides with Nikon F3 bodies and can't recall any incidences of flare around the headlights
You can actually see it in the viewfinder a lot of times before or as you are composing your shot or shooting. It really does have nothing to do with the sensor (or film) that is behind the shutter. Although I can see how you might seem like a coincidence.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:19 PM   #22
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I noticed a proliferation of lens flare when I went to digital... Not to say I never had lighting effects on my lenses before, just not the flare "starlight" effect on headlights.
Michael, I find that star effects happen when the aperture is smaller which occurs more in digital than it did in the "good ole days" of 64 ASA.

I also would agree with Troy that that there should be no difference in lens flare from either film or digital camera bodies.

However, I'm open to information since I have seen strange things happen between the rear of the lens and the image plane.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:43 PM   #23
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Michael, I find that star effects happen when the aperture is smaller which occurs more in digital than it did in the "good ole days" of 64 ASA.
The star effect you speak of, i'm not sure what the technical term for that is, but it is not the same as lens flare, and that indeed might be something that digital may be more prone to do. But pure lens flare definitely not.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:04 PM   #24
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The star effect you speak of, i'm not sure what the technical term for that is, but it is not the same as lens flare, and that indeed might be something that digital may be more prone to do. But pure lens flare definitely not.
Troy

You are correct and my post was not clear that I was talking of two different things.

The star effect is a lens aberration caused by the leaves of the aperture and is not the flare issue caused by the lens glass elements.

Here is a site that explores this topic more throughly.

http://toothwalker.org/optics/flare.html
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:09 PM   #25
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I also would agree with Troy that that there should be no difference in lens flare from either film or digital camera bodies.

However, I'm open to information since I have seen strange things happen between the rear of the lens and the image plane.
Ah-Hah!

Look what I found on good ole' Wikipedia;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_flare

"Diffraction artifact in digital cameras"

"One form of flare is specific to digital cameras. With the sun shining on an unprotected lens, a group of small rainbows appears. This artifact is formed by internal diffraction on the image sensor, which acts like a diffraction grating. Unlike true lens flare, this artifact is not visible in the eyepiece of a digital SLR camera, making it more difficult to avoid."
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