Recommended Lenses for Shooting the Solar Eclipse on Any Budget

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What is the best lens focal length for photographing the total solar eclipse? Well, there really isn’t a correct answer to that question. There are many factors involved, so let’s outline some options for different types of cameras and budgets.

Above: The Hinode satellite X-ray telescope mission captures the January 6, 2011 solar eclipse. © JAXA/NASA.


Expedition 43 Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti took a series of photographs of the March 20, 2015, solar eclipse, from the International Space Station. Cristoforetti wrote, "Orbital sunrise and the #SolarEclipse... could it go any better?" NASA

Size of the Sun

Most of us think the sun is huge in the daytime sky. Even when masked by clouds, those days we can see the ball of the sun through a thin layer of clouds, the sun looks large. But even though the sun is 864,000 miles across (109 times the size of Earth), the fact that it is approximately 93 million miles away means that it appears to be almost the same size as the moon in our skies.

If you do not believe me, just think about the solar eclipses you have seen photographed in the past. You will see how the moon, during an eclipse, at or near its closest approach to Earth (perigee), blocks out the entire sun. (When the moon is farther from Earth [apogee], the result is a partial blockage of the sun during what is called an annular solar eclipse.) The relative sizes of the sun and moon, and their relative distances from Earth, are what make eclipses so cool for those of us on Earth.

So, the sun is moon-sized in the daytime sky. Got it. But, wait! There’s more.

During the totality portion of a solar eclipse, when the umbral shadow passes over the observer on Earth, the sun’s corona, usually invisible to the naked eye, is suddenly visible and it extends well away from the surface of the sun. So now, the sun and its usually invisible corona are larger than the sun alone.


The March 20, 2015 eclipse over Iceland

Field of View

When it comes to deciding what sized focal length lens to use for your eclipse photos, you need to figure out if you want to incorporate the following things in the frame:

  1. Foreground objects and scenery
  2. The corona
  3. Only the sun and moon discs
  4. An extreme close-up of a solar prominence

If you want to include some foreground scenery, you should scout your location carefully and select a wide-angle lens that embodies what you want to see in the landscape, while containing enough of the sky to capture the sun during the phases and/or totality of the eclipse. Be aware that, when using a wide-angle lens, the sun will be very small in your frame. Is this bad? Not necessarily; it depends on what type of shot you are trying to get, and many fantastic wide-angle, solar-eclipse images have been captured over the years.

If you have a standard-length telephoto lens, the sun will be slightly larger, but not frame-filling. To fill your viewfinder, you will likely need to go well past a 300mm focal length lens and decide how much of the corona you need to capture. See this graphic that illustrates the relative size of the eclipse for different focal length lenses.


An illustration of what the eclipse would look like with different focal-length lenses on a full-frame DSLR

As you can see, using an extreme telephoto lens may cause you to crop out significant portions of the corona. A focal length between 500mm and 1000mm will allow you to capture most of the corona while keeping the sun a good size in the frame.

I recommend you do some research online by looking at the thousands of images of solar eclipses available on photo sites. Many have information on the gear used to capture a particular image, including camera type, lens focal length, and exposure settings.

“Kit” Zooms

Included in many DSLR “kits” are a pair of zoom lenses. The wider of the two is usually at or near the 18-55mm zoom range. The telephoto half of the pair often is a lens that zooms out all the way to 300mm. On cropped-sensor cameras, this gives you the 35mm equivalent of approximately a 450mm zoom lens. That is a good focal length for shooting the eclipse because you will be firmly between our 400mm and 500mm example frames in the above diagram.

These lenses are perfectly suitable for solar-eclipse photography with a solar filter, and their reach is long enough to give you a fairly good-sized sun in the frame. However, none are renowned for their optical quality.

Examples of these lenses are any 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens, 55-210mm f/4-6.3 lens, or lenses with similar focal lengths and maximum apertures. There are also “all-in-one” zoom lenses with specifications like 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6, 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6, or similar.

Super Telephotos

In the land of wildlife and sports photographers, there are some extreme telephoto lenses that command extreme prices. Of course, these would be great for shooting the eclipse, but completely impractical for most of us. After all, any lens that comes in its own hardened case is not something you would casually throw over your shoulder and take on a trip or airliner flight. If you want to get one for the eclipse, I won’t stop you. If you want to get two, I’d love to borrow one!

One thing to consider, if you are going to go with one of these behemoths, is that most screw-in solar filters are not large enough to cover the front of these lenses. You will need a sheet of welding glass or Mylar to cover the objective lenses.

Feel free to browse B&H to check these lenses out but be prepared for some sticker shock!

Super-Telephoto Zooms

If you want the reach of those exotic telephotos without the price tag or sore back and shoulders, there is a new class of lenses that fills the bill, as far as focal length, but loses a few stops of light in aperture. The advantage to these lenses is that, because they can zoom through the range of the 300mm kit and primes lenses mentioned above, you can alter your solar eclipse compositions to zoom out and zoom back when you want to change the size of the sun and moon in the frame.

Lenses in this realm are like the popular 150-60mm f/5-6.3 lenses and others like a 200-500mm f/5.6, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lenses, and, for Micro Four Thirds a 100-300mm f/4-5.6, 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7, and 100-400mm f/4-6.3 lenses.

300mm f/4

For years, I have been a fan of the venerable 300mm f/4 lens. It has the same reach as those kit lenses mentioned above but, as a prime lens (non-zoom), it brings sparkling optics. Also, it is relatively portable, especially compared to its larger maximum-aperture stablemates. These are not inexpensive lenses, but when compared to the pro-level super-telephotos, they represent a sound value. Like the lenses above, a solar filter is needed.

Mirror Lenses

On the complete opposite end of the lens spectrum from the super telephotos is the classic reflex or mirror lens. Basically, these are catadioptric telescopes with camera-specific mounts. They are small, lightweight, and when compared to almost any other lens, very inexpensive. Mirror lenses, even the ones made back in the day by the big camera companies, were never known for their impeccable image quality. This is, by far, the least expensive way to reach the 500mm focal length. And, like the lenses above, you will need a solar filter.

Digiscoping

The last “lens” option for solar eclipse photography using a spotting scope or telescope with a camera is what is known as “digiscoping.” Many scopes allow cameras to be attached to them through various adapters and mounts, or you can simply hold your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera up to the eyepiece of the scope with a digiscoping adapter. One advantage of digiscoping is that you can achieve very high levels of magnification without the exorbitant expense of the super-telephoto lenses I mentioned above.

If you really want to step up the digiscoping game, there are telescopes designed solely for astrophotography—astrographs. These optical tube assemblies do not have viewing eyepieces and are designed to attach cameras for prime-focus imaging of the heavens.

Unless you are digiscoping through a dedicated solar viewing telescope, you must use a solar filter for imaging the sun. Some spotting scopes or telescopes have threaded front openings that allow the attachment of screw-in filters, and others have solar-viewing eyepieces. If your scope isn’t threaded, you can cover the objective lens with a filter sheet or a dedicated solar filter.

If you are shopping for a lens for the eclipse, or already own a lens that you were considering using for the eclipse, I hope this article helps you with your solar eclipse photography planning. Are you an eclipse photography veteran? Share your gear with us. Or, if you have some questions, please ask them below, in the Comments section.

For more information on solar viewing and photography, head to our Solar Eclipse page.

Visit: www.bhphotovideo.com/eclipse

Here is my $0.02 on sharpness of solar, astronomical, and lunar images:

The sun is a mean distance of approximately 93 million miles away and the moon is a mean distance of 238,855 miles away. Neither the moon’s cratered surface nor the sun’s explosive surface make them perfectly smooth spheres.

When I pixel-split my solar images, be it the ones captured with a sharp Nikon 300mm f/4, a sharp Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope, or any other optic, regardless of whether I am using a glass or metal-type solar filter, the sun is only, at its best, "kind of" sharp.

The same applies to images of the moon. I get sharp images, but never as sharp as I really, really want to get.

This got me thinking.

When you photograph something outside of our atmosphere, there is a fair amount of air between you and the subject. The thickness of Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 300 miles, with most of the dense air in the lower altitudes (obviously). Light is transmitted from the sun (or stars) or reflected from the moon (and planets) and it travels through the vacuum of space until it reaches earth. Once it arrives in the atmosphere, all your sharpness bets are off.

If you took a photo of a building, mountain, or person miles and miles away, especially on a hazy day, you probably wouldn't really expect a super-sharp image, right? Now, think about an image of something captured on the far side of dozens of miles of air. Sharp? Probably not.

So, if you are wondering what lens or filter is the sharpest to photograph distant things, or if you are wondering why your lunar craters or sunspots are not tack-sharp, even though you spent a ton of money on a super-sharp lens, just be grateful that earth has a protective shield around it that gives us air to breath and protects us from the harshness of outer space. And, also remember that there is a reason they try to put telescopes in dry places at high altitudes—or in orbit above the atmosphere!

116 Comments

I have a Nikon D810 and love its ability to shoot the night sky.  I purchsaed the metal type solar filter from B and H.   I recenlty photographed the solar eclipse with it but my pictures came out white no matter what exposure I used.  I got great shots but none of the reddish orange color we see in so many photographs of the sun.  I wish to continue my expoloration of the sun outside of the past eclipse.  What other/additional filter will I need to accomplish this? 

Hey John,

What filter did you use? The metal-type filters all have slightly different shades of color.

I have a Thousand Oaks filter that gives me a nice orange color, but my MrStarGuy filter is mostly white or bluish. When I use that filter, I adjust the white balance of the image to give me the warmer orange color. It seems to work well for me!

Try it out and let me know what you find!

Good luck!

Looking for a good filter to make videos of the Sun, Sun spots, I have the Nikon P900 thinking about getting the 67mm Hoya ProND100000 Neutral Density 16 3/5-stops Solar Filter. Anyone know any other filters that will help me. 

Hi Peter,

That filter would be good, or any dedicated metal-type solar filter. I personally like the color and detail provided by the metal-type filters over the ND types.

Thanks for reading!

Todd,

We chatted about a week ago (about how different filters/lenses and combos may affect sharpness in solar photography).  I ended up getting a Tamron 150-600mm (G2), Nikon mount.  With a DX camera it was 900mm equivalent.  I attached a cardboard cover with a 1" small hole in the center, covered with one side of eclipse glasses, and got some pretty good shots.  Wasn't sure how much sharpness would be lost with the ISO 12312 material as apposed to a nice glass filter.  Not in the path of totality so I never took it off, and made sure it was completely secure.  Used the D5100's live view to zoom in and manually focus.  I can make out sunspots, which I was not expecting.  If you are interested in seeing photos of the setup and the shots I got, let me know.

Thanks.

Hey Steve,

Cool! Did you post your images somewhere on the web? Social medial? Unfortunately, there is no way to post images here.

I am glad you didn't use your optical viewfinder!

Cheers!

I have a Nikon 600mm lens plan on using my Nikon 800e tog photograph eclipse. If I cut a solar mylar filter to fit my drop-in filter holder will this be sufficient, if I use my screen display to view image,

Hi Larry,

NO! Do not use a drop-in filter for your lens. You need to protect the front elements and of your lens from heat and sunlight. A drop-in filter will NOT do this.

If you try this, you are on your own, friend! That is a lot of expensive glass to put at risk. But, yes, do not look through the D800's optical viewfinder AND make sure you have your lens on your insurance policy.

Be safe!

 

I have Tiffen 77mm Variable Neutral Density Filter, polaraizer and clear uv, do you think is enough to protect my camera?
And my lenses is a sigma 70 mm to 300!!
Thank you for your prompt response

No!  You need a solar filter to photograph a partial eclipse, even seconds befote & after totality!  You will damage your camera & eyes!

During totality, you don't need a filter at all.

Hey Douglas,

I can only recommend a proper solar filter for your rig. I do not think what you have is enough to protect your camera. However, some folks have used ND filters in the past with OK results.

Having said that, I do not recommend it AND do NOT use your optical viewfinder if you are using anything less than a direct-viewing certified solar filter!

Sorry the reply isn't too prompt...I am on vacation and just logged in!

I am shooting most of the TSE from my Nikon P900 (with solar filter) but I am holding a DSLR on the side only to snap a shot of the corona during totality so that I'm not overwhelmed with my gear or distracted with changing settings in the short time that I have (also because I don't have another solar filter to use). I came across a guide for exposing to the corona but I'm not sure which setting to use (there is more than one and I don't know which "radii" to choose. I just want ONE GOOD SHOT of the corona that I can snap (maybe bracket expose) and then put down my gear and just take it in. Can you suggest a setting or starting point? I'm not looking for a super large corona, but I don't want a dinky bright one, either. Thanks for your advice!

Hey Joseph,

Good question. You already found the exposure guide, so my advice would be to dial in the exposure for the middle or inner corona and bracket from there. That is pretty much my plan...and I am leaning towards exposing for the middle area and letting the inner get a bit blown out while the outer gets naturally dim. I hope it works. If not, see you in 2024!

I cant wait to see what you and other P900 shooters get!

Remember to take your filter off at totality!

Just curious if a 100mm f2.8 will not give me the focal length I am looking for, but it will provide a better clarity - correct?  It is a nice lens that I have, but not sure if it is going to be the best to shoot with.  I finally got my solar filter in today so I am going to begin practicing and try and figure it out - but any idea you have on this particular lens would be great, THANK YOU!  And to all - Have fun shooting!!!

Hey Kristin,

I am not sure I understand your question. May you rephrase it?

Your 100 f/2.8 would be fine for the eclipse, but most people try to get longer focal lengths. Definitely practice now that you got your filter and see if you like the size of the sun in the frame.

Good luck!

Hello! I am trying to get a portrait of me and my fiance... to possibly use in our save the dates. I own a basic dslr. Nikon 3100 with the lens kit and a 50mm. Do you think any if these lenses could be any good? And if so, what aperture, iso, should i go for? 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!! 

Hey Rita,

Congratulations on the engagement!

Will you be in the path of totality?

You can capture the eclipse with any lens, as long as it has a solar filter. Without a filter, and without being in the path of totality, the sun will be just as bright on the day of the eclipse as it is today...and will be a large white blown-out part of your frame, especially if you are exposing so that you and your future husband are not completely lost in shadow. You might want to use a flash to try to illuminate the two of you and keep the sun from making the sky completely white.

And, if you are using a filter, the sun will look great, but you wont be able to see anything else in the frame.

It is going to be a tough shot no matter where you are or what gear you have!

Let me know if you have more questions. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi. This upcoming eclipse will be my first attempt at photographing something like this.  I have an older camer - a Minolta Maxxum 5D, that I plan to use with an even older mirror lens - a Soligor 650mm.  I ordered a solar filter from B&H and it is scheduled to arrive today - a DayStar Universal filter. I wanted one of the type with adjustable screws but they sold out).  I have a tripod and a remote trigger.  Any recommendations on settings?  I would like to get pictures of as much of the eclipse as possible.  Also, is it safe to look thru the lens to focus it during the eclipse?  I read on different sites recommendations of taking pictures of the full moon ahead of time and then taping the focus control in position.  I didn't have much luch with that.  I already plan to photography the 2024 eclipse and will have time to prepare more but this time I am pretty much using what I already have on hand - and I inherited this! Please help if you can so I can try to get the best pcitures my setup and skills are capable of and the most phases of the eclipse that I can.  Thank you in advance!

 

Hey Zavi,

First of all, very cool to shoot this on film!

Are you in the path of totality?

You may look though the camera when the camera is filtered with that Daystar filter. It is designed for direct viewing. Be sure you secure it to your lens so that it does not fall off when you don't expect it.

Regarding focusing on the moon...you are a bit late to that party unless you stay up super late or get up super early to catch the moon. You can also focus on stars if the moon isn't overhead...or just try your best to focus on the filtered sun!

Regarding settings, we do have an exposure chart in this article: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/how-photograph-solar-eclipse. But, do yourself a favor and head to Fred Espenak's website as he has a bunch of information about shooting the eclipse on film. Anything I would tell you here would be just regurgitating his information.

Good luck and let me know if you have more questions!

I own two ancient manual lenses, the AIS Nikkor, 300 f/2.8 and 400 f/3.5

Of course, filters which cover the front of such a big lens are horrendously expensive or sold out but I realized I had another option: These pro lenses have a drop in filter holder! Pull it out and you’ll find that the diameter is very small, small enough in fact to cut the filter from your cheapo paper eclipse glasses to perfectly fit.

What's your take?

Never place a solar filter behind the lens (in the lens slot, in the space between the lens and the camera, or behind the eyepiece;) an exposed lens array will magnify the intensity of the sunlight to a point beyond the filter's ability to perform.

To answer my own question: apparently this is a recipe for distaster as further googling reveals. The filter really does need to be in front of the lens because the lens assembly acts like magnifying glass and the drop in filter may ignite.

Yep! The only exception is if you are using an intermediate filter like a DayStar Quark Hydrogen alpha filter, but, in that case, you still need to get a UV/IR cut filter for the front of the lens.

 

DO NOT DO IT!

ONLY use filters for the front of your lens!

Be safe!

Netural density filters and solar filters do the same thing
reduce the amount of light coming in.. Measured in f stops

1 How many f stops should the light be reduced to record the eclipse

The eclipse will last over an hour so time lapse might be best
2  What devise do you have for an a65 sony to do time lapse

Because of the time it will take from beginning to finish, the camera will shut down.
3  How can you do a 2 hr plus time lapse with the camera turning its self off?

Hi Buddy,

First things first. An ND filter and a solar filter are NOT created equal. Yes, both reduce the amount of light coming in, but only the metal or Mylar-type solar filters also filter out all of the UV and IR radiation. Nikon, Canon, NASA, and others recommend that you do NOT use any type of ND filter for solar photography.

Because of this, if you are using an ND filter on your a65, do NOT look through the viewfinder on your camera!

To answer your questions:

1. It looks like ND filter manufacturers have settled on 16-stops as the magic number. I do not know how they arrived at this number, nor the science behind it.

2. Try this:  https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1218107-REG/vello_bluetooth_shutterboss_advanced_intervalometer.html.

Or... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1051876-REG/vello_rcw_ii_c1_wireless_shutterboss_ii_remote.html and https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1054116-REG/vello_rcc_s1_2_5_freewave_2_5mm_shutter_release.html.

3. The camera shouldn't power down if you are doing a time lapse unless you have it programmed to shut down after a few seconds normally. Check your menus and make sure the camera doesn't "go to sleep" on you in between shots.

Let me know if you have more questions. Good luck!

Hi Todd!

A lot of good advices in your article and your comments. Just want to add that the Sony A65 is an SLT camera, which actually is a mirrorless camera with a mirror - just what to expect from the crazy genius at Sony (they really ARE 'Like-no-others'...).

Therefore it is safe to look through its EVF or on its screen even with no solar filter in front of the lens. However, it is certainly not safe for the camera, the sun will fry its sensor almost immediately without filter, and then continue to smoke other parts of the camera (during the totality it is safe to view and photograph without filter, as you already have said.

I know that the eclipse took place yesterday, but anyone can photograph the sun anywhere when visible.

.

Thanks for all the great advice & info Todd, both in the article and all the great followup Q & A, it's helped me get closer to deciding what to use. My trusty 300 f4 Canon, [still deciding on using the 1.4x] paired with my old T1i on live-view for totality, and a Fuji x100s for wides and of course all the people shots! Nashville & Vanderbilt here I come!

Hey Bill,

You are very welcome! See you down in Music City! Let's hope for clear skies!

I am glad you found the article and discussion information useful!

I have a question regarding relative loss of sharpness/quality of different types of equipment.

I have a 18-300mm Nikon DX (450mm eq) lens (67mm threads), and a 16MP D5100.  At 300mm, the sun represents no more than 1-2MP of the frame.

For filtering, a nice solar filter ($150) or a DIY wrap-on filter with the same eyeglass material ($20).

I'm looking at a cheap ($100) teleconverter for the Nikon lens (to now use 3-4MP) or a cheap ($150) f/8+ 500/1000mm lens with teleconverter (to now use 10-12MP).  Not sure after you put a solar filter on anything, how much sharpness is lost anyway. 

I know what is "best" but if I just did the DIY filter option, would it matter what kind of glass was behind it.  I'm looking to capture the Bailey Beads and prominances. Would these details just be blurred into oblivion with the cheap glass or filters or can you capture them?

Hey Steve,

Good questions and I am not sure I have a great answer for you, but let me take a stab.

I'll start by saying this about sharpness:

The sun is a mean distance of approximately 93 million miles away and it is not a perfectly smooth sphere. When I pixel-split my solar images, be the ones captured with a sharp Nikon 300mm f/4, a sharp Leica APO-Televid 77 spotting scope, or any other optic, using glass and metal-type solar filters the sun is only ever "kind of" sharp. Remember, you are shooting during the day...there is a fair amount of air (about 300 miles of it of various densities) between you and the subject after the light travels through the vacuum of space. If you took a photo of anything miles and miles away, you probably wouldn't really expect a super-sharp image, right? Sunspots show up, but their clarity always seems to leave something to be desired. Sunspots in general are a natural phenomenon that are randomly shaped, so not the best thing to use to evaluate sharpness. My point is, a sharp solar image is a bit of a moving target. There is a reason they put telescopes in dry places at high altitudes.

So, now that I have shared that info with the world, let's look at your questions...

When it comes to solar filters, I have actually gotten better results with the metal-type filter than with a more expensive glass filter. But, when doing long exposures of landscapes, the glass filters easily outperformed the metal solar filters. Interesting, right? Bottom line, any type of quality solar filter will probably work well for you.

A cheap teleconverter will probably have more of a negative effect on sharpness than the solar filters ever would. And, cheap lenses are rarely sharp unless you are talking about 50mm f/1.8 or f/2 lenses from years past.

For Bailey's beads and promincenes, you will want to be as sharp as you can and as telephoto as you can get. There are downsides to this—chiefly cost! 

I am hesitant to derail your solar eclipse photographic vision, but, if I were you, I might filter the 18-300 and concentrate on shooting as much of the corona as you can (you will have a great focal length for that) and leave the close-ups of the prominences and Bailey's Beads to those with bigger guns. Personally, I am going to use a 300mm lens on an APS-C camera and enjoy the close-up action with binoculars and memories instead of photographs.

Standing by for follow-ups!

 

Thanks Todd for the prompt reply, and the great info on the filtering.  I found a few photos taken in China (2008) with cheap refector type lenses (all manual, f/8, 500mm).  These showed the Baily Beads and Prominences pretty well. They aren't perfect, but would work for what I'm looking for.  

Now I don't want to plug any competitors, so I won't mention names, but I could rent a Nikon 200-500mm lens for a week for $90, assuming it's available.  Does B&H do rentals?

 

Hey Steve,

No worries!

Unfortunately, B&H does not do rentals...but we are aware that some of our competitors do! Better rent soon, my guess is that there is already a huge run on big telephotos this week for some reason! :)

Good luck!

Hi, Todd, I live in Nashville and I plan shoot  the eclipse from 3 cameras a Canon 5d, 6d, 7d all on tripods.  I plan to use the Camranger on one of them and I ordered eye glassed and  Firecrest National Density 5.4 solar eclispse filters for the camera  lenses, 70-200 2.8 with a doubler,  28-300 3. 5.8.   You have given some great advice.  Today I tested the  5d and the battery life with the camranger lasted exactly 1:30 hours.  So I plan to have a back up battery.   I am using a remotes with the other cameras  with should be fine as far as my battery power.  Is there an eyepiece cover that I can order to completely cover the eye pieces on my all three cameras.  Is the 6d, since it is low light, be the best one to connect to the camranger for the total eclipse  or should I just use a remote shutter control on the 6d.

thanks

Hey Donna,

I will see you in Nashville! I hope it isn't cloudy!

That is a comprehensive plan!

You are looking for eyepiece covers for your viewfinders, I assume? I cant find one specifically built for Canon. I hate to say this, but gaffer tape might be your best friend in this case.

As far as which camera gets the CamRanger, I guess I would go with your highest-resolution camera, but that is, of course, up to you.

Standing by for follow-ups!

Todd,

I was planning on using a Canon 2X Extender on my 5D MkIII with 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens with solar filter also attached. I know the aperature range is severely affected when dusing the extender but I'm hoping that it will work. Otherwise, I'll be limited to 400mm f/5.6 without the extender. Curious about your thoughts on this setup.

Thanks

Hey Robert,

A couple of things...

First, get outside today and shoot the sun and see what shutter speeds you are getting with and without the teleconverter. During all but totality, this will be an exposure very similar to what you get during the partial phases.

Second, during totality, it is going to be dark. Look at the exposure chart in this article [https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/how-photograph-solar-eclipse] and compensate for your new maximum aperture to see what shutter speeds you will get. If you are less than around 1/125th, you might get motion blur in the image from the rotation of the earth. I use that number as a good base from years of lunar photography.

If you are too slow with the shutter, you'll need to bump up the ISO or remove the teleconverter. 

Standing by for follow-ups!

 

Thanks, I will have a chance to test my setup this weekend. I'll be printing out and referring to the exposure chart many times in the next couple of weeks.

Good luck, Robert! Let me know how it works out!

Todd,

What filter would you recommend for the Canon 600mm f4 II?

Should it be mounted in front or on the lens hood?

Thanks.

 

How does the optical quality of the inexpensive fixed focus mirror lenses (Bower or Samyang) compare to the quality of the Canon 75-300 zoom lens that came with the camera kit?

Hey Daniel,

My guess, and this is only a guess, is that they would be pretty similar in quality. The Canon might have a slight advantage.

Like lots of lenses, I have seen a mixed bag of results from both kit lenses and mirrored optics.

Thanks for your question!

Is an 8  stop nd filter dense enogh or do you need s dedicated solar filter?

Hey Terry,

I would NOT recommend using an 8-stop filter. Most manufacturers seem to be settled on 16-stop as a minimum.

I recommend a dedicated solar filter for solar viewing and photographer. 

Do NOT look at the sun through an optical viewfinder using an ND filter.

Thanks for your question!

>> I recommend a dedicated solar filter for solar viewing and photographer. 

I was planning on stacking my 10, 6 and 3 stop ND filters.  Do you see any issue with this?

Hi Tom,

I do NOT recommend that.

From my article on Solar Eclipse photography: "Solar photography is NOT the time to experiment with homemade filtration concoctions, like stacking polarizers and ND filters, in an effort to save a few bucks."

Never look through an optical viewfinder when using ND filters.

Be safe!

There is NOTHING inherently wrongwith stacking filters, save, the adding of additional glass could have a minor (negligable) degradation of picture.

Todd just wants to sell you a filter.

xman is incorrect.

Todd [me] just wants you to be safe and not destroy your gear. No one at B&H makes commission on sales and if we sell 10,000 filters or none, it has no effect on my paycheck.

Most experts (Nikon, NASA, NSF, etc) tell you not to use an ND filter, much less stack a bunch of them.

I recommend buying a dedicated metal-type solar filter.

Stay safe, friends!

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