I am looking to do a project which involves shooting night time scenes with lots of street lamps in the frame and would like to minimize flare, ghosts and halos ("sun stars" are expected unless they've found a way to eliminate those as well).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Specific equipment recommendations are off-topic across most of Stack Exchange. I suggest you rephrase this as a what-to-look-for question rather than looking for specifics. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ What about something like – How to avoid artifacts from street light sources? State your current equipment, and that you're open to adding to your collection if necessary. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ None of them if you insist on putting a flat "protective" filter on the front of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 23:32

2 Answers 2


In general, lenses with superior anti-reflective coatings will reduce the influence of brighter light sources to create flare and reflections within the frame of an otherwise darker scene.

Modern lenses designed during the digital photography age tend to have more surfaces with anti-reflective coatings applied to them and those more advanced coatings tend to be more effective than the coatings used on lenses created during the film era.

One factor that has necessitated more and better anti-reflective coatings is the higher reflectivity of the front of the filter stacks placed immediately in front of the imaging sensors in digital cameras as compared to the lower reflectivity of most common photographic films. The fact that the sensor stacks in digital cameras are almost perfectly flat doesn't help any, either. Film, especially roll film, tended to not lie perfectly flat against the camera's back plate unless special steps were taken. Some medium and large format cameras even had suction devices used to hold the sheet negatives or roll film as flat as possible against the back plate.

But beyond the differences in reflectivity between film and digital sensor stacks, premium anti-reflective coatings are also a result of the ever advancing state-of-the-art. Advances in what we call nanotechnology have allowed improvements to lens coatings at what many consider a reasonable cost. We make current lenses less subject to flare than lenses in the past simply because we can (and enough buyers are willing to pay a premium to get that improved performance).

Canon, for example, has two different nanotech coatings they use. Which one is applied to a particular lens element seems to be based on the amount of curvature of the surface of the lens. This would seem to indicate that one coating is more effective with flatter lens elements, while the other is more effective with elements having more curvature.

For more about these two nanotech coating technologies, please see this answer to Why does Canon have Two Kinds of Nanotech Lens Coatings?

You can also check out this Canon article that compares the two technologies:
ASC: Reduction of Flare and Ghosting

Other lens manufacturers have their own proprietary lens coating technologies. Nikon calls theirs Nano Crystal Coat. It appears to be similar to Canon's ASC. Sony has Nano AR Coating. Panasonic has Nano Surface Coating. Olympus touted their Zero Coating Nano used in concert with the older ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) Coating when introduced in the ED 300mm F4.0 IS Pro. Pentax uses Aero Bright Coating in their most expensive lenses, which they claim costs too much to implement in more budget sensitive products, which use HD Coating instead.

One thing you want to avoid, no matter what lenses you use, is placing a flat "protective" filter in the front of the lens. They're notorious for contributing to ghosting and other forms of flare.


Basically, you want a German lens from a famous German company or one of its famous German competitors because you want a lens that doesn't flare. There are a few Japanese "Greek" lenses that perform well also for about half the price.

After that, you need to make sure the lens is clean but do not put a filter of any kind on it. Avoid small apertures to limit sun stars. You may need to focus stack if you are using a telephoto.

Sorry for the riddles but I don't want to break any rules regarding promotions of any specific brands. I think it's obvious, though.


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