What are Sunstars? Bright point sources of light that create star patterns in an image. Sunstars can make a photo more dramatic. They are caused by the shape of the diaphragm in a lens. Older lenses with straight diaphragm blades create more drastic stars.
The technique is simple. Set your aperture to a high f-number like f/16 or f/22. This will increase the diaphragms influence on the overall photograph. Next, point the camera towards something with a bright point spec (sun, flashlight, etc). Be sure to not over expose the bright point source.
The number of spokes of the sunstar depends on the number of blades in the diaphragm of the lens. For example, a 7 bladed diaphragm will have 14 spoke sunstar. While a 5 bladed diaphragm will have 10. Even number blade diaphragms create the same amount of spokes. Canon makes 8 bladed diaphragms which create 8 spoke sunstars.
NIKON 24MM F/1.4 [9 ROUNDED BLADED DIAPHRAGM]
NIKON 24MM F/2.8 AF-D
GREAT SUNSTAR LENSES
Modern Nikon lenses have 9 rounded bladed diaphragms. This is to improve bokeh or the quality of blur. Some older Nikon lenses have straight diaphragms, with typically 7 blades. These older lenses typically produce more defined sunstar spokes. Also zoom lenses are usually have poor sunstar performance. Below are some lenses which I found to produce great sunstars.
- Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AF D (7 Straight Blades)
- Nikon 35mm f/2.8 AF D (7 Straight Blades)
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF D (7 Straight Blades)
- Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF D (7 Straight Blades)
- Nikon 24mm f/1.4 AF-S (9 Rounded Blades)
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-S (7 Straight Blades)