Achieving Sunstars

sunstar

How does one get those wonderful looking sunstars in pictures




An Assortment of Sunstars and Nightstars shot with a Nikon D7200

Have you seen on-line pictures with awesome 5 or more pointed sunstars? How does one achieve those in their own pictures. Here are some basic rules of thumb for achieving sunstars:

  • Use small apertures like f16 or f22
  • Night shots at high f-stops will require a tripod and long exposures
  • Day shots including the sun should have pure light with no clouds in the way
  • Partially obscuring the sun or light to make it smaller can sometimes improve the sunstar
  • The number of rays in the sunstar depend totally on your lens and its number of aperture blades
  • Not all lenses can produce sunstars. Basically it should have 7 or 9 blades (odd number) for best results.
  • Straight blades can produce crisper sunstars. But modern lens are moving towards rounded blades for better looking bokeh.
  • Others have noted:
    • The wider the lens, the smaller the sunstar in the frame, making it "crisper"
    • 5 blades = 10 point star
    • 6 blades = 6 point star
    • 7 blades = 14 point star
    • 8 blades = 8 point star
    • 9 blades = 18 point star
  • Here are some that can:
    • Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 ATX PRO DX (9 straight blades) (Sample)
    • Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 ATX PRO DX II (9 rounded blades) (Sample)
    • Tokina 11-20mm f2.8 ATX PRO DX (9 rounded blades)
    • Tokina 28-80mm f2.8 ATX PRO (9 straight blades)
    • Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 (7 blades)
    • Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 AF C (7 rounded blades)
    • Sigma Art 18-35 f1.8 AF (9 rounded blades)
    • Sigma Art 24mm f1.4 AF (9 rounded blades)
    • Sigma 30mm f1.4 EX DC HSM (8 straight blades) (Sample)
    • Sigma Art 35mm f1.4 AF (9 rounded blades)
    • Sigma 15mm fisheye (7 blades)
    • Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 AFS G (9 rounded blades)
    • Nikkor 17-55mm f2.8 AFS G (9 rounded blades)
    • Nikkor 20-35mm f2.8 AF D (9 straight blades) (can produce sunstars starting at f5.6 !)
    • Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 AFS G (9 rounded blades)
    • Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AF D (9 straight blades)
    • Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 AFS G (9 rounded blades)
    • Nikkor 20mm f1.8 AFS G (7 rounded blades) (Sample)
    • Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF D (7 straight blades)
    • Nikkor 35mm f2.8 AF D (7 straight blades)
    • Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF D (7 straight blades)
    • Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF D (7 straight blades)
    • Nikkor 24mm f1.4 AF-S (9 rounded blades)
    • Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF-S (7 straight blades)
    • Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-S G (7 rounded blades)
    • And several others not listed...