The Solar Eclipse is on its way. So in preparation I have been testing solar based filters to shoot the eclipse through my Tele Vue 85 telescope, mated with a Nikon D5 or my Nikon D500, and 200-500 f/5.6. Annette and I will be in Columbia SC for this event.
The following images were taken with Nikon D5 or D500 camera. The lenses were either my Tele Vue 85 telescope or my Nikon 200-500 set at 500mm.
The D5 was mounted on the telescope while the D500 was on the 200-500. I used three different filters for the test: An Astro Zap Solar filter, Singh-Ray 15 stop Mor-Slo filter, and a LEE Solar filter.
When using the Astro Zap filter, the cameras white balance was set to cloudy. The filtration in the filter was UV corrected and white balance came out as shown with no post processing.
We had good clarity on the Sun spots and great color. The 3rd image was photographed with the 15 stop Mor-Slo. This image was a little more difficult to control the light, as I think 18-20 stops would have worked better. Singh-Ray does make a 20 stop Mor-slo which would fit the need. Here the photo came out almost white.
By shooting the image with a white balance set to Kelvin (10,000K), we begin to get our color back.
Once we get our image into post processing, we can further add warmth, as well as adding saturation. This brings back the nice color.
I found the same held true for the LEE Solar filter. The optical quality of both the LEE and Singh-Ray was excellent but you did need post processing to get the best results.
Here are a few shot with the LEE system. The final image was with the Singh-Ray filter.
In the end, any of these filter will work great. The results and the process vary a little but excellent results. I like the idea of the Singh-Ray 15 stop Mor-slo maybe with a 5 stop added. Why? so I can use these filters for other photography shoots. ie: long exposure moving water or clouds. The dedicated solar filters are good for the Solar photography.
The Astro Zap is nice because it takes less post processing to get that nice orange glow.
Note for the Eclipse, you only use these filter during the partial eclipse, Once you have a total eclipse, you remove the filter for that one image. NOTE: you must get that filter back on as soon as the sun starts to peek through. Otherwise you will damage your eyes.
Places to buy filters.. Go to www.singh-ray.com and, until August 21 use vinny20 and get 20% off any Singh-Ray order.
For LEE filters, contact Alan at Hunts Photo. 781-462-2383
email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Astro Zap solar filter. Call Southeastern Photo at 919-890-4484 Ask for Tony
You can also look at LEE filters Web page at www.leefilters.com
By the way, My Tele Vue 85, Nikon D5, D500, and 200-500 performed great throughout these tests.
For those interested in my Tele Vue 85 / D5 setup,here are a few images. NOTE: If your telescope has a spotter scope,you MUST cover or remove that scope while viewing the sun. You can get hurt or loose your eye sight. At the very least, you can melt you finder scope insides.
Two filter configurations are shown. The silver filter is the Astro Zap. The filter holder is a LEE filter holder. This holds the LEE Solar Filter or the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo Filter.