Avoiding Lens Flare


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Dec 22, 2014
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I purchased a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS HSM a little while ago, and I notice that it's got much more lens flare than my 35mm prime. This is without any sort of filter attached to the lens. I know it's probably a by-product of the extra glass in the lens, but what are some tips for avoiding flare?

Or is it just as simple as and limited to minimizing light and repositioning my shot angle?
Use your lens hood
I'm no expert but I notice that my older lenses are affected more when it comes to lens flare. My newer lenses can handle it better, assuming more advance coating to reduce/soften the flare. I kind of like the old school flare though.
Try avoid stray light coming in from the side. I know this is what your hood is designed for but maybe sometimes you may need to use your hand to shade even a little more. Other than that its as you said likely down to the individual lens. I have that lens and did't notice it flaring to much, but then again its been raining and cloudy here since I was a toddler ;)
You could follow my father's advice when I was young - keep the sun behind you.

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I would be very surprised if a pretty fast zoom lens didn't have some lens flare. It's like wearing bifocals, and you'll have to learn how to use this lens. When I first got my bifocals I almost fell on my .... wallet by trying to step down into the street looking through the closeup lenses. There's probably a particular angle or focal length the lens does not handle that well. Good luck and good hunting for that decisive moment.
I had a third party 28mm lens that worked well for me until I covered boxing and the glare from the lights all around the ring pointing partially toward the lens ruined any thought of using an image from that lens for boxing. For most scenes it was fine.
"Some" lens designs are prone to flaring very easily; many lenses will flare in tough lighting situations; a select few can be shot right toward the light with virtually no flaring of any kind. So, there's a broad spectrum, from lenses like my old Tamron, which I nicknamed Herr Flaremeister, to lenses like the Nikon 105 D.C., which is very resistant to flare. Most lenses are somewhere in between, so, if the 17-50 OS is too prone to flare, you'd be wise to replace it. The alternative is to use it only when the light is not likely to cause flaring.
Or is it just as simple as and limited to minimizing light and repositioning my shot angle?

That about covers it!

Do your best to keep strong light from shining on the lens, the hood does that to some extent, sometimes moving a few feet to one side can shade the lens from direct sunlight without changing the composition excessively. Sometimes you have to accept the flare to get the shot.

It might be possible to plan ahead with the view to removing the flare in post - perhaps taking parts of the scene with your hand blocking the strongest light source to give you unaffected portions to clone back into the original view.

Better lens coatings might improve the lenses flare resistance, but it's not practical to add extra coatings, and I certainly don't think that's a cheap uncoated lens :)
Dont point it towards the sun.
Different lenses handle lens flare differently. If your photos usually have a bright object(s) in the frame, you may need to use a different lens that handle lens flare better. Based on what I read in the past, the better lens still may not eliminate them completely, just better control.
However, there are lenses out there just not very good with a bright object in the frame. i.e. Street photos at night.
Thanks all. I'll just do my best to minimize, i.e. reframe or avoid the light. I realize in some situations I'm either going to have to just accept it or figure it out in post. To be fair, I'm talking about night shots where most lenses would have flare. I guess I just noticed more from this lens.
It is true that some lens have better control than others. Take a look at the following link (ultra wide angle lens comparison).
Sigma, Canon, Tamron and Tokina APS-C Wide-Angles [JuzaPhoto]

See how well the Canon did in the test in lens flare test when compared with the others? (the Sigma f/3.5 also pretty good)

I also read that, not sure if that is true or not, prime lenses in general is better due to less lenses inside (less reflective surfaces inside the actual lens).
Embrace the Lens Flare. What would JJ do?

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