I have seen several examples of a beautiful lens effect, naturally due to a stopped down aperture, but not like a lens star I have managed to create myself - it is so clean. Here is an example:


What specific lens(es) are able to produce such a clean star effect? I am envious.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That lens flare looks fake to me. Probably added in post pro. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Almost certainly not fake, MichaelT's answer explains more. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2015 at 3:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ My argument that why it is fake is becouse the image is too sharp for a filter on the lens, and the filters make a "chromathic" pattern. And I think it is not just by the blades difraction becouse it is too long, to extreme and uniform. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ According to one commenter the effect was created with a Canon 16-35mm lens. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2015 at 11:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's gonna be hard to find a lens for that. Most manufacturers try to avoid this behaviour as it's typically unwanted. However you may be able to find a lens that has the straight aperture blades required if you look at specialist lenses. As a last resort you could use a filter. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 11:20

3 Answers 3


enter image description here

There are 14 points to the star. This points to one specific option of doing it in camera. The lens has 7 blades.

The diffraction spikes formed by the lens form at two spots for each blade, one major one and one minor one 180 degrees from the major one. You will notice that every other star point is shorter than its neighbors. As I said, this points to a 7 bladed lens aperture.

You will often see 6 (which only shows 6 points), 14 (from 7) and 8 (from 8) though more exist. Lenses that don't try to have a circular aperture (rounded blades) will produce a more pronounced star effect.

Given this, I doubt it was done post processing. Possible, but as I said, I doubt it.

Its also possible to force the effect with a star filter. These are filters that have been scored with lines that will cause similar patterns similar to the diffraction spikes from point light sources (its on everything, but tends not to be as noticeable though it does reduce the sharpness in the rest of the image - you'll frequently see it used in night photographs).

For example, the Tiffen Star filters come in a variety of points and arrangement of points. It all depends on how the filter was scored. They are also sometimes called 'cross screens'. B&H has an entire category for its star filters.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Star filters are exactly what I was thinking. \$\endgroup\$
    – SailorCire
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ To clarify for others, it's the aperture in the lens that has the 7 blades, not the lens glass itself. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2015 at 3:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I asked on the thread and apparently the effect in the photo above was created with a Canon 16-35mm. I just wanted to see if I can get a lens that can create a similar effect for my Nikon. :-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2015 at 11:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BentRasmussen the comparable lens (the Nikon 17-35) has 9 blades and a rounded aperture shape. This would create an 18 pointed star if it forms, however that the blades are rounded would make the corners less pronounced and the star less pronounced. The 35mm lens has 7 blades... and digging into it, Nikon really likes rounding their blades (this makes for rounder bokeh and lens flares (when they occur)). Either way, grab a lens stop down to f/22 and give it a shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – user13451
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 14:38

The ƒ/2.8L USM and ƒ/2.8L II USM is in fact the well known and excellent ‘starburst’ lens from Canon. It is better for starburst than any Nikon lens. Zeiss also make one that is incredible. The closest Nikon lens is the 20mm 1.8 or 2.8 for decent starbursts but it does not compare. Just my humble opinion from years of use.


This is fake. The EF 16-35 has nine rounded blades and this burst is indicative of a 7 blade straight lens. So either the EXIF data is wrong or the burst is fake, take your pick.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Not so fast. The ƒ/2.8L USM and ƒ/2.8L II USM have 7-blade apertures. The ƒ/4L IS USM and ƒ/2.8L III USM have 9-blade apertures. (Canon EF 16–35mm lens on Wikipedia). Were you able to pull EXIF data from the file? The photographer specifically credits his 16-35mm for the starburst. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 15:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Knowledge is always best to have before speaking. I am just reading this string. The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II does have 7 blades. 7 blades produces 14 point star. The argument about 9 blades applies to the 3rd version of this lens. The facts supports the star. Great image! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 3:17

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