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Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:15 pm
by TrainWatcher
Ok gents, been having this issue for awhile with my pictures with the T4i. I use a UV filter or a polarizer (both from Rocketfish), and in low light (cloudy) conditions I get the headlight glare spots in the photo, while zoomed in on the 55-250 stock telephoto lens. Now, I normally have the polarizer on in low light conditions to protect the lens glass from scratches (my personal thought is if I ruin a $10 filter, better than a $250+ dollar lens), and it seems to happen when I am zoomed in more than completely out. Does anyone have tips on how to reduce or eliminate this condition? Any help is appreciated. :)

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:22 pm
by GreatLakesRailfan
I think your first problem is that you're using a $10 filter on a $250+ lens. In this hobby, you seem to get what you pay for.

That being said, I stopped using filters on my lenses because of the ghosting issues. My T2i, while several versions older than many others cameras, has a picture style setting that produces much better color than my old XT did. Rather than using the polarizer, I'd consider tweaking the camera's settings to get the most out of the camera's built in settings.

If you have to have a filter on your lens, consider investing in a slightly more expensive filter, or get a bigger lens...

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:29 pm
by ~Z~
Aye aye with Charles. I used to have headlight ghosting issues with my $20 UV filter. Bought it for the reason of "it'll protect my lens from scratches." Took it off, and all is well. I keep my lens hoods on which probably helps keeping me from scratching the lens. Ditch the filters James.
I rarely use a polarizer, and that's just on wide angle shots, and you aren't likely to get ghosting then.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:06 pm
by TrainWatcher
Cool, thanks for the help, I will look into hoods.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:16 am
by jkh2cpu
I'd like to see an example shot to know what you're getting at. Glare? Reflections? Which is it. I'm guessing reflections.

Skip the UV filter; that's old film practice, good for UV and lens protection, but not needed with digi cameras for UV, and it will introduce reflections. When I made the switch from film to digi 9 years ago, I purchased UV filters as was standard practice in the film days: reduce the UV effects on the film and get the added bonus of cheap lens protection. Being a belt and suspenders guy, I also used lens hoods to keep the sun off the lens face (fat chance) and a secondary lens protection. I got tired of the little green lights on my shots and ditched the UV filters after a few months.

Want lens protection? The lens hood works pretty well, but it's not totally foamer proof ;-)

A high quality polarizer should not give a whole lot of reflection issues, but if you've got a headlight coming at you, you do run the risk of reflections.

HTH.

John.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:52 pm
by PatAzo
Your seeing ghosting which are reflections occurring between the front lens element and the sensor. It's light that is not being focused onto the sensor as part of the image. With bright points of light in the field of view or near to it all lens are susceptible to ghosts and flare. Some worse than others. Prime lenses due to their simpler construction are less prone to flare than zooms which tend to have more lens elements. Manufacturers apply coatings to reduce reflections off the lens surfaces to varying degrees. Adding a filter will only add an extra surface to start reflections from. There isn't much you can do to eliminate the headlight ghosts aside from recognizing when they will be noticeable and changing your composition. A hood will help with flare from bright lights near the field of view and it's a good habit to use one.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:41 pm
by conrailmike
Lens hoods are for protection, filters are not.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:59 am
by TrainWatcher
Cool. Thanks guys.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:06 pm
by J T
TrainWatcher wrote:Ok gents, been having this issue for awhile with my pictures with the T4i. I use a UV filter or a polarizer (both from Rocketfish), and in low light (cloudy) conditions I get the headlight glare spots in the photo, while zoomed in on the 55-250 stock telephoto lens. Now, I normally have the polarizer on in low light conditions to protect the lens glass from scratches ...

I hope you meant to say that you use your UV filter in low light, not the CP filter. You'll typically lose at least 2 stops of light with a CP filter, so using it in low light conditions can be counterproductive, especially if you're shooting a moving subject like a train. Using a tripod and shooting a stationary subject, well in that case it's completely different (for example, shooting a water scene and you want to cut the glare on the surface of the water).

And the whole "keeping the lens protected by a filter" sentiment is baloney. I typically don't use filters (CP filter sometimes on a sunny day or when shooting water scenes) and rarely even use lens hoods, and all of my lenses which have been used heavily over the past 6+ years have nary a scratch on the glass. And I tend to beat the crap out of my equipment. :lol:

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:24 am
by CharlieX90
How do the filters help with sunny days or water scenes? Just curios as i thought about getting a filter.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:56 pm
by bdconrail29
CharlieX90 wrote:How do the filters help with sunny days or water scenes? Just curios as i thought about getting a filter.


Charlie,

UV filters won't do anything at all in digital photography. It won't cut glare and it won't affect image quality, as UV light affects a digital sensor in no way whatsoever. So to me, it's just putting an extra piece of glass in between subject and sensor.

Neutral density and circular polarizing filters are sometimes useful. Headlight glare, however, is best avoided by not shooting that steep into a locomotive's headlight, however, as we all know, sometimes it's unavoidable. So, if you cut the stops of light of your photo coming from the headlight, you could conceivably reduce the glare. CP filters, ND filters, and graduated ND filters all have their places. I know a lot of guys who use CP filters for water glare, but no experience with headlight glare (could be similar).

A great example for me to use an ND filter was track and field. I wanted to do a pan shot where the athlete's head was stationary, but the legs and arms were in a blurring/running motion. The f/2.8 lens I was using I had set to 1/80s, zoomed out to 200mm I could only close down to f/8. At ISO 100, I was still way overexposed. So with a 2-stop ND filter, I could now shoot the scene at f/8, 1/80s, ISO 100, and be properly exposed, whereas nothing else I could have done would have achieved the same result. Slower than 1/80s this type of shot won't work either, so that truly was the only option.

I'm sorry I don't have more experience in glare, but those are the 3 you would choose from if you did choose a filter.

Re: Headlight Glare

Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:04 pm
by J T
CharlieX90 wrote:How do the filters help with sunny days or water scenes? Just curios as i thought about getting a filter.

Here's some info about CP (circular polarizing) filters:

http://digital-photography-school.com/h ... g-filters/