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DIY filter holder & how I shot the solar eclipse

Discussion in 'Astrophotography' started by Rum Maximus, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Rum Maximus

    Rum Maximus Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2013
    LV, NV
    Here's my take on how I shot the solar eclipse last week with some DIY and old school manual focus stuff thrown into the mix.

    From what I had read on various astronomy websites, you can safely view a solar eclipse using a piece of shade 14 or darker welding glass that has the IR/UV reflective coating on it. Apparently the cheaper polycarbonate welding filters don't have the IR/UV protective coatings on them (noted for future reference). So I went digging through one of my many "boxes o' stuff" that I seem to have all over the condo. Dug out my old welding helmet, checked the various filters I had for it and !voilà! it turns out I had a shade 14 piece of glass and didn't need to order one. Now to mock up a filter holder.....

    I had tried shooting lunar stuff before using my Pany 45-150mm lens with unsatisfactory results, and found my Takumar 200mm turns out some decent images (considering the age of the glass) so I opted to use that for attaching the DIY filter holder to. Pretty simple - I used the cardboard from a 12pack of cider and some electrical tape to create an "envelope" of sorts to hold the welding glass in place while attaching it to the lens hood of my Takumar 200mm.

    Not the greatest of shots, but it should give you an idea of how I DIY'd the glass filter in an "envelope" and attached it to the lens hood for my Takumar.
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    And here's the finished product all mounted up to the lens/camera/tripod for shooting. Pardon the crappy Instagram filters used in the pic.
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    This was shot at ISO 200, f/4 & 1/1000th sec and is cropped down from the original size. You can see that between the manual focus Takumar and shooting thru a piece of welding glass, the image isn't nearly as sharp as hoped for. Despite the fact the welding glass isn't "optical quality" the pics turned out better than I had expected, since this was the first time trying something like this.
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    And one last shot that I took after the eclipse was over - ISO 200, stopped down to f/8 & 1/250th sec.
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    Overall, not a bad outing for my first attempt at shooting a solar eclipse. This was done on a whim with very little preparation and it has me thinking what I would do differently the next time around.

    - Spring for a better solar filter, something like this or similar: Levenhuk 76 mm Solar Filter Baader Planetarium film www.amazon.com/dp/B00BU2KL2Y/ref=wl...UTF8&colid=H80CQHFVWXGI&coliid=I32XWMPJYRJ9SU

    - Either rent a better Micro4/3 telephoto lens or go shopping for an older manual focus prime mirror lens (like an Adaptall-2 500mm f/8 or a Russian 500mm/1000mm model). Something I've seen on the Russian mirror lenses is the ability to mount the lens to the tripod, instead of mounting the camera body and having all the weight of the lens & filter leveraged out to the front. The Takumar 200mm had a bit of shake while I was focusing it due to this, so I would imagine that mounting the lens directly might eliminate (or at least minimize) that issue.

    - Or just spring for a decent telescope and use a t-mount adapter to mount the camera directly to the telescope. Since I am using an E-PL5 the weight of the camera wouldn't be a significant issue.

    Overall it was a pretty good experience and I learned some things in the process.

    Oh, and those sun spots you see in the picture? According to an article I read on-line the other day, those are approximately 80,000 miles across. :eek:  Our planet is only about 7,900 miles in diameter...... Kinda puts things into perspective and makes you realize just how tiny we truly are in the grand scheme of things. :wink:
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  2. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California

    You can get 4/3 500mm mirror lenses cheap, but from my experience and what I've read mirror lenses tend to suck.

    I had a bunch of SMC and Super-Tak lenses, including the 200mm f4 and 300mm f4; in my tests, my 500mm Opteka 4/3 lens was worse (softer) than all the other lenses and is very hard to focus.

    BTW, UV filtering shouldn't be needed for mirrorless camera use, but is needed for bare-eye or telescope or mirrored camera VF use.
    IR is good to protect the sensor.

  3. AdamSF

    AdamSF Shutterbugger

    Oct 13, 2013
    San Francisco, CA
    I like that the sunspots show.

    Also, couldn't you just manually set the focus to infinity?
  4. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sounds easy but actually turns out not to be so easy!
  5. JimUSNY

    JimUSNY Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mid Hudson Valley NY
    Back on the Venus transit I just bout a sheet of this and made several filters for various lenses and keep them in the closet of I ever want to use them... this type gives a more realistic orange color

    I would think any long lens will work, doesn't have to be that great for capturing teh sun especially when using a cheap filter which will affect sharpness more than the lens will?

    these were shot with my 350MM OM lens and ec14

    Venus Transit and one I caught not long ago of the ISS crossing the path of the sun, ISS is teh top spot, the rest are all sunspots, a bit cloudy on the Venus transit day but at least it was completely clouded over
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