lens flare

Image artifact that scattered or flared light within a lens system produces

Lens flare happens when light is scattered or flared in a lens system, often in response to a bright light, producing a sometimes undesirable artifact in the image. This happens through light scattered by the imaging mechanism itself, for example through internal reflection and forward scatter from material imperfections in the lens. Lenses with large numbers of elements such as zooms tend to have more lens flare, as they contain a relatively large number of interfaces at which internal scattering may occur. These mechanisms differ from the focused image generation mechanism, which depends on rays from the refraction of light from the subject itself.