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Author Topic: Need advice on solar eclipse shooting  (Read 6172 times)

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« on: July 20, 2009, 23:07 »
Tomorrow I will try to shoot the solar eclipse, photo and video. Have no experience on it. Any tips ? Should I use filters ?

« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 00:21 »
last time I did that is was back in 1998. only a partial eclipse, I just shot it through the filter of a welding mask with a crappy first generation megapixel camera,

now if you include direct sun the background of an image you get lots of flare but no damage to your sensor? but i've never done that with a zoom lens!

The problem with I think would be previewing the image, with a DSLR you don't want to look through the view finder at it under any circumstances. you might be able to put a piece of paper at the right distance from the view finder and project a preview?

Putting any level of ND filter on would just mean taking a longer exposure so I don't think that would offer any protection to the camera/sensor, but it would to your eyes. if on a tripod taking the extra precaution of covering the lens between exposures might be a good idea?

just some thoughts here, probably wise to do some more reading somewhere on the subject before trying it out

« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 01:35 »
Putting any level of ND filter on would just mean taking a longer exposure so I don't think that would offer any protection to the camera/sensor, but it would to your eyes.

I wouldn't bet on a that. I think regular ND filters go up to about 8x, most likely not enough to reduce the sunlight significantly to protect your eyes, so definitely avoid using the viewfinder. And honestly, I am not convinced that the sensor will not take harm if you aim to the sun too long. I'd guess, the lens reduces the sunbeams like a loupe to the sensor. Combined with a long lens (200mm and more recommended) this will cause serious heat on the sensor. I wouldn't take that risk to an expensive camera.

I would recommend to build your own lens protection with special sunfilter foil* (which should be available somewhere around when an eclipse is getting close). You need to keep it on the lens until very close before the total eclipse, then you can remove it to take pics of the corona during eclipse (though even that might look more impressive with the foil on and longer shutter times) but don't forget to put it on again.

Be sure to set everything up (tripod, camera, foil) to test it in time before the eclipse starts. You won't have time to test it later. Use a big memory card and shoot lots of bracketing, you will hardly get the exposure right with every shot.

* and don't try to build your own "sun protection foil" from other dark foils. They might reduce the visible spectrum but not protect from UV and/or IR, this won't help protecting your eyes or camera from getting burned.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 01:37 by MichaelJay »

« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 07:12 »
Thank you Photohome and MichealJay. I will use my backup cameras and try to find filters.


  • If you think you know, you know squat
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 07:32 »
As a kid we had a solar eclipse one day and we were all told to look at the eclipse by looking at the reflection in a pail of water (bucket ) . We were told that was the safe way to do it.
As you know I am sure, even using a telephoto pointing into the sun is also know to be dangerous to your eye. As it is like using a magnifying glass on your retina. You can go blind. I am sure it could also do damage to your sensor, but no proof of that. I didn't test it on an expensive camera, or even wanted to try.

Careful.  I suppose you have to weigh the cost vs the benefit of getting the shot.

« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 16:51 »

« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 04:23 »
Thank you all.
Good news I didn't need any filter.
Bad news I have taken 0 (zero) photos. It was raining (overcast sky).


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