Dracula's Castle

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I've purchased a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. But I'm really disappointed in the results, especially when using it for night photography. :(

In my night shots a lot of lens flare appears in my photos. I've tried to change the angle and position of the camera to no avail. Also I cannot do any night photo without directing my camera to direct light like in street photography!

This photo was taken with my Canon 650D and 50mm 1.8 Lens in a long exposure night shot, and as you notice there is a bunch of lens flare in it. Some people suggested I remove the UV filter. This decreased the lens flare a little but there is still some flare in the photo .

enter image description here

I want to know if there is a problem with the lens? Or is this normal for a $100 lens? Does anyone else have a similar experience with this lens?

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I don't think you are seeing lens flare. I'm seeing some over-exposed street lights, you can see this in the halos around lights, especially the blue ones. –  Paul Cezanne Feb 22 '13 at 23:26
Just to confirm, you have no filters at all on the lens during the sample shot? Are you shooting through a window at all? –  dpollitt Feb 22 '13 at 23:28
I own that same lens, and I don't have a problem with lens flare. I agree with @PaulCezanne, The majority looks like over-exposed light, but I'm not sure about the green tinted one at the bottom... –  Joe Feb 22 '13 at 23:31
Every Canon person should own that lens. I don't. :- ) But I do borrow my GF's! –  Paul Cezanne Feb 22 '13 at 23:31
The photo is overexposed but still all these blues and green dots in the center are not a light sources at all , they are all reflected light and I can see them from the viewfinder . –  Amro Ashraf Feb 22 '13 at 23:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

What you are seeing in the photo is a specific type of lens flare known as ghosting. It is an inverted and reversed reflection of the brightest highlights of the scene. If you were to draw an x and y axis intersecting in the center of the photo, then the bright light on top of the building just left of the vertical axis is reflected the same distance below the horizontal center line and the same distance to the right (in the ball court). The greenish tint is caused by the color of the bright light. That color would be more visible at lower exposure levels. The color of lens coatings designed to minimize reflections is also influencing the color of the reflection. The other bright lights in the scene are also being reflected the same way. Lights in the upper right will show up in the lower left and so on. The five-sided shape of the bokeh around the reflections are due to the number of aperture blades in your lens.

The brightest parts of the scene are most likely bouncing off the IR filter on the front of your sensor and then reflecting back off the back of elements in the lens. If you can also see the reflections through the viewfinder, then the first reflection is occurring in the lens. The EF 50mm f/1.8 II was designed in the film era. Film is less reflective than modern sensor assemblies and so reflections from the camera were less of a concern. Newer lenses have mult-coated optics on both the front and rear surfaces of most or all elements to help combat this.

My Rebel XTi with the EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens tended to do this in similar conditions as well.

Parade pic

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Really very useful information and problem analysis , Much Appreciated . So, do you know how to get rid of this reflection lights ? any solution for that ? –  Amro Ashraf Feb 23 '13 at 0:01
If there is any kind of filter screwed onto the lens, remove it. They are usually the biggest culprits for the secondary reflection. Other than that, the only other hardware option is a lens with better anti-reflective coatings or a camera with a less reflective sensor. Not exactly what you wanted to hear. –  Michael Clark Feb 23 '13 at 0:26
You can also try to compose shots so that the brightest points in your scene have visual elements at the corresponding point in the cross quadrant to make the reflection less obvious. Although I've never tried it, you could make a mask for the front of your lens that blocks half the field of view. Then combine two exposures, one with the mask on the left, the other with the mask on the right (or you might do the same thing with a strong graduated Neutral Density filter). The reflections would still show on the "dark side", but you would mask them out when combining the two images. –  Michael Clark Feb 23 '13 at 0:37

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