Fuji X100 Magic Flares..how to create them. By Simon Peckham

Fuji X100 Magic Flares..how to create them. By Simon Peckham

One of the special things about the Fuji X100 that I have learnt and still learning while using the camera is the way the photographer can “play” with the light and the resulting image. I will try to explain how I use the camera to control the light in a little more detail. It’s only possible to be able to control the camera this way using the EVF, it is not possible with the live view or the OVF. Take a look at the lens flare in this image.

You can clearly see the wonderful “star” effect from the suns rays. This is due to the blades at smaller apertures. You can’t see these at wide aperture. Then it’s a question of just trying to get the correct camera angle. Taking care using the EVF set the camera to f11 or f16 it works better at these apertures. It’s ok at f8 but since your pointing the camera directly at the sun it’s better using the smaller. Take care doing this looming directly at the sun is not something any wine should be advising or advocating but to get the shot then we need to take some risk. You also need some subject that can be use as a gobo.

The sun is a giant studio or speed light after all so you need a gobo, this can be a tree, leave,car,building it can be all most anything. Now you need to start to frame the shot by looking at the sun and moving the camera to just get the sun to peep around the gobo, this starts the flare, using the EVF you will be able to “see” the flare now you just need to choose you image. It’s amazing to see the effects that can be created this way, I a, often looking to take shots into the sun, I normally choose to shoot towards the sun at the end of the day it seems a little easier to control. Here is another similar shot.

You can see the above shot has creatures a beautiful flare with a partial halo. I love this type of control that I believe can only be controlled using an EVF. I have not been able to do this on any other camera, I am not sure if it is because it is EVF or the fixed fujinion lens. I am really hoping I will still be able to use this technique with either the Fuji X-pro 1 or the new Fuji X-E1. I would certainly like to hear from any Fuji X-pro1 or Fuji X-e1 owners that can try this method and confirm if is works particularly on other lens’s. it would be a real shame to lose this ability to play with e flaring. Take a look at the next shot.

This halo is really fun to play with. I really cannot explain what this is I don’t really know how it is formed but I do know its a similar technique to get it as the 16 point flares, the halo seems to be best created with the wider apertures but it’s created over all the range if you GE the camera angle right. Again use the EVF to do this and not look directly at the sun using the OVF. The full halo takes a little bit of practice to get the right angle. It’s also very sensitive to getting the right angle, pointing the camera at the sun slowly tilt the camera vertically and you will find you can get the complete halo to appear.

Now it’s just up to you to frame this image compose the shot make the halo appear and click away. I will be playing more with this in the future and hope to be playing with the same either on the new Fuji X-E1 or the Fuji X-Pro1 what ever I end up getting and with what ever range of lens I have I really hope I will still be able to create these type of really cool reflective artifacts and flares. We shall see. Go out and have some fun with this and see if you GE the same or similar results as me.

Simon Peckham – His Blog is HERE


  1. If you would like to get a full halo circle, a cheap UV filter is the tool for you. Maybe it is not necessary, but I never got any halos without it, but easily got when I used a UV filter.
    Nice post Simon, thank you!

  2. Something that might be helpful when experimenting with this is to set one of the configurable buttons (Fn or RAW) to toggle depth of field preview – with it enabled, you can adjust the aperture ring and get realtime feedback of the effects of different apertures.

  3. Awesome, thanks for the tips, this can be realy useful for my style of shooting 🙂
    I never shoot more than F5.6 typicaly so I probalby wouldnt find this myself 🙂

  4. Great article, and I love the example, particularly 2&3. I was having a go at something similar a couple weeks ago (you can it on the latest posting on my blog), but without anywhere near the success you achieved ….. my aperture was too wide. Will experiment with smaller….

    • That’s a shame JR Personally I like the quirks, flares and highlights from optics imperfections as it reminds me just of how amazing the human eye is. We see far and near with never a flare and focus with speed that is mind blowing.

  5. I can’t wait to try this out! I’ve had my X100 for a week and so far it’s been really fun to play around with. This just gives me one more tool to hone.

      • Photo Al, I forgot to say, its a quirky little box of tricks, take you time, try not to get too frustrated, its not like a DSLR or any other camera, It has a little soul all of its own and you have too take all its failings give them a little hug and stick with it, then buy the Xe1 in a years time because I think Fuji have addressed most of the issues now.

        • I completely agree! I’ve lost many pictures in one year of use because of its crappy AF, but as much as it is frustrating I really think that the x100 is a magic box. And there is something in the pictures I’ve taken with it that I can’t really find in all the pictures I’ve seen from the Xpro-1 and the XE-1, but it’s very difficult to say what it is.

          • Yes its interesting that the X100 does have a different sensor to the Xpro1 and Xe1, so it does seem to render different image quality all of its own. I am the same in mind, I don’t either of the newer XP1, XE1 have quite the same thing, however I think they all come as close as you can get to that “Leica” look for the money. Its why I think the X100 will stay and my Nikon gear will go.. to make room for XP1 or XE1. ( not decided yet and wating for the UK XP1 price drop)

        • I’m very patient and in no rush to master the X100, if it’s even possible for me. I’ve never owned a DSLR but I am used to the lighting fast and accurate AF of the Nikon V1. So my first day or so playing with the X100 I really was wondering if it was worth the money. Now that I’m comfortable checking focus and getting it to focus on what I want, I just need to shoot! Shoot, shoot, shoot, and then shoot some more. In my short time I’ve really come to appreciate the fixed 35mm equivalent (makes me think more about composition since I can’t just zoom, I actually have to peddle around). I am already starting to view everything with 35mm eyes. For now this camera gives me so much fun and enjoyment that I can’t even think about buying an XE1, but who knows maybe I’ll want it in a few years (XE2 or 3?). Thank you for all the advice.

          PS – Between being a full time student and having a part time job I’ve somehow found time to take 800 photos in the first week of ownership. This isn’t just burst shooting of random subjects, these frames are well thought out and given time to compose. If there is one thing for certain, this camera is always with me and makes me want to get out of the house and do photo walks.

  6. Interesting article, thanks. A question though, the second picture has a very shallow DoF, how did you achieve that with f8/11?

    • Hi Nick, Like I said in the article, the star can be explained as narrow apertures are used, the halo I am not sure of, but a combination of wide aperture gives halo and flare but not star. But still trying to see what can be created, its a little tricky.

  7. It is a result of the aperture blades more than anything.
    Some lenses have what is sometimes called a star configuration.
    Not too many lenses have been produced with this configuration, but there have been a few over the years.
    I have a few vintage lenses with this configuration and can get the same effect on my Sony Nex’s using them. I have a few examples lying around, I will see if I can dig some up.

  8. My Sony RX-100 does very similar sun and moonstars too. Certainly have not seen a halo before though. Great shots too.

    • If you were to try to do a long exposure right into the bright sun wide open, maybe. But for shots like these where it’s just a little bit of time? I haven’t heard of any adverse effects (other than seeing spots for a while….). If it really wrecked the sensors that fast, there would be lots of people shooting sunset vacation photos complaining of ruined cameras 🙂

    • Agree with Tim, really long bright exposures may harm the sensor, but then who wants shots of blow out …. Im sure it will be ok I have take loads of shots like this and no problems so far.

  9. I love this about the X100. It has a unique “star” effect from the f16 aperture that i’ve not seen on any other camera. Though i’m guessing the X-Pro-1 and XE-1 can get something similar if not the same. The halo thing i’ve never gotten before though, that’s really cool!

    • Thanks Larry, I have had the X100 for just over a year now and still learning from it, I will be upgrading soon but never going to sell this little X100.

  10. Thanks for the article! It’s quite timely since I will be renting an x100 in a week or so.

    I bet the camera’s built in ND filter also helped with this technique.

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