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In the lower right in the picture above, there is a weird flare effect. I wonder what this is exactly. Is it simply lens flare, or could it come from my (not so expensive) UV filter?

Also, any tips on avoiding this effect? I was using a lens hood, so that apparently did not help :)

  • 2
    Just take two pictures, one with UV filter and one without, and you'll know if the flare is caused by the filter or the lens.
    – Sam
    Oct 8, 2012 at 8:12

3 Answers 3


This does look like some kind of flare, I can't tell if this is caused by the lens or the UV filter but filters (especially "not so expensive" ones) are know to cause flare.

To avoid flare you just have to prevent the light coming directly from the sun from hitting the front of your lens, this is what the lens hood does when the sun is outside the frame.

When the sun (or any light source) is in the frame remove your UV filter and try different angles, changing the lightsource-lens angle will move the flare in the image, you can either try to minimize it or to use it for artistic purposes.

And always remember - never look at the sun trough the camera's viewfinder, use live view (and preferably sunglasses too)

  • 1
    Indeed, if it is my lens or filter causing the flare I tend to try without the filter and change angle some. If you can get the flare small enough or less severe so that it doesn't have the rainbow effect you can cheat fairly convincingly by removing the rest with Photoshop/Lightroom (softwares from Adobe). And I am loving the highrise/mist scene!
    – Alendri
    Oct 7, 2012 at 21:29
  • 1
    So it probably is because of that UV filter then... Had a similar problem at night where the moon all of a sudden had a twin next to it. I tried another lens, which did not have a filter, and there was no twin then. So I guess I'll just not use that UV thing anymore. Causes more trouble than it helps. (I'm ultra careful with gear anyway). And angle also makes sense of course.
    – rompetroll
    Oct 8, 2012 at 5:43

It looks like prismatic ghosting to me. Notice that that the center of the flare is in the same location in the lower right quadrant of the photo as the sun is in the upper left quadrant (same distance both vertically and horizontally from the center of the image but in opposite directions).


42°, remember that to figure it out.


Refraction from the lenses. Notice it is mirrored as too look farther right.

  • 42° is relevant for water droplets - is it relevant to lens/lens coatings? And if it's the lens, why do you think refraction rather than internal reflections from the lens elements?
    – MikeW
    May 17, 2017 at 19:11

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