You can buy solar film (thin plastic sheets) at a very reasonable prices online. However, the sheet format isn't great for photography, telescopes or binoculars. You can by them as screw-on filters, but the cost gets a bit ridiculous and the size selection is limited.

This instructable is trivial, but that's where the beauty lies. Using cheap and readily available filter step-up adaptors and UV filters you can fit solar filters to your equipment.

  • Protects film from accidental scratches.
  • Wind protection to stop creases.
  • Holds filter flat and close to lens to stop internal light reflections that can create image artifacts.
  • Looks clean and professional.
  • Made using cheap and readily available parts.
  • Securely holds filters to reduce risk of them slipping and exposing your eyes to magnified UV.
    Important safety feature when using with telescopes or binoculars!
It is important to never scratch or crease the solar film since it might allow dangerous UV light to reach your eyes. If you mistakenly do so while following this instructable, don't try to salvage that section of film, just use a different piece.

This technique can also be used for colored gels!

Step 1: Materials

You'll need a few things you can get pretty cheaply.

  • A cheap, thin "step up ring adaptor".
    Used to attach larger filters to cameras. ($1.20 on ebay)
  • A cheap, thin UV filter. ($3 each on ebay).
    You don't really need the UV protection, you just want physical glass to protect the film.
  • High quality solar film.
    Do NOT go cheap here!!!! 8x8 on Amazon is $18, but it's enough to do a lot of filters. Also, you won't have to worry if you mess up the first attempt.

  • Clean, smooth surface that you can cut on.
    You will be sliding the filter film around on it and you don't want to scratch it. Non-corrugated cardboard, felt, or paper with cardboard under it.
  • Needle
  • Razor
  • Lens cleaning cloth

Again, do not buy solar film from unknown vendors. If you get sold something that isn't really cutting out the UV, then you will damage your eyes and not even realize it until it's too late. It's not as important with digital cameras that use LED screens, but anything involving your eyes and the quality becomes critically important.

Great idea. <br> <br>Also, consider the Baader solar film. <br>http://www.baader-planetarium.com/sofifolie/sofi_start_e.htm <br> <br>Ive used this stuff telescopically, and <br>it works very well. <br>
That site has a scary instructable for using cardboard and tape to &quot;secure&quot; filters onto a pair of binoculars. <br> <br>http://www.baader-planetarium.com/sofifolie/bauanleitung-bino-en.pdf (PDF) <br> <br>Would be nice if they updated it to use the technique I described here. <br> <br>BTW, I put this instructable under a public domain license. Sites can either link to it or just create their own white paper based on it.
Actually, the card board n tape method works pretty well.<br>You make a card board cup that<br>mates to your instrument with a friction fit.<br>Also, since youre looking Up at the sun,<br>gravity helps keep the filter on your instrument.<br>Ive made 2 of these,<br>one for my 3&quot; refractor and<br>one for my 8&quot; reflector.<br>The baader film works very well.<br>
Thanks! It's good to have choices since many sellers are perpetually out of stock.<br><br>My filter usage is with OLED viewfinder cameras, but I plan to do one for my telescope and am looking for a better source than Amazon.
<a href="http://agenaastro.com/baader-astrosolar-film-visual-nd-5.html#" rel="nofollow">This</a> is one of the best solar films.
Good to know! Thanks.
Much better than the Thousand Oaks filter.
<p>This is great, and I managed to do this using some Thousand Oaks film bought on eBay and I am wondering if I got ripped off. My calculations show it blocks 1/67M of the light instead of 1/100k as it was specified to do. It's so dark you can't see anything through the viewfinder or holding the filter up and looking through by eye. This makes it really hard to aim it at the sun, and even then I was only getting an image when over 1 second, ISO 1600 and f6.3, which seems ridiculous to me. Could you post your typical camera aperture, shutter speed and ISO? Thanks.</p>
<p>As soon as I can get a clear shot of the sun, I'll provide it.</p>
I got the attached photograph today at ISO 800, F11 and 1/8s with a 400mm and 2x on a APS-C sony A300, so 1200mm equivalent telephoto.
<p>OK. Too much rain here in SF to get a good shot of the sun, but I will try again soon. Forecast says maybe Sat.<br><br>I really recommend using cameras that don't have a &quot;through the lens&quot; eyepiece, but instead use an OLED screen just for eye protection.<br><br>Here are some older shots I took with my A77 using an IR filter only. Again, because it's OLED eyepiece it was safe. EXIF info is there.</p><p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/trophygeek/7343896264/in/set-72157630002420303/" rel="nofollow">https://www.flickr.com/photos/trophygeek/734389626...</a><br></p><p>My newer Sony A6000 camera has a &quot;Full Spectrum&quot; conversion which basically replaces the internal UV/IR cut filter with a clear filter. This means it picks up light well into the infrared part of the spectrum. I haven't tried it with the solar filter, but I'm curious to see how it behaves.</p>
<p>OK. I found my original set of photos I took for this article. </p><p>This shot's information is: </p><p>Sony A77</p><p>ISO: 50<br>6.3F @ 1/13th</p><p>Focal Length: 250mm (using a Sigma 18-250mm lens)</p>
<p>Thanks for the info. </p>
I would aim for the true color filter solar material myself. And you can always sandwich two UV filters together to give the solar filter material more protection.
<p>Of course, a micrometer and cnc laser cutter might be the most precise way to go about this, but this works great for those of us who don't have expensive laser equipment available to us...</p>
<p>Why don't you pay attention to the huge spots on the sun?</p>
<p>Will this type of solar film work for viewing an eclipse?</p>
It's the same film and it works great for photography and this hack. <br> <br>I plan to do it for my binoculars for the upcoming US solar eclipse in 2017. <br>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_2017 <br> <br>It's a good idea to plan solar eclipse trips a couple of years in advance.
<p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Solar-Eclipse-Viewing-Grand-Island-NE-8-21-2017/205981596088588" rel="nofollow">https://www.facebook.com/pages/Solar-Eclipse-Viewing-Grand-Island-NE-8-21-2017/205981596088588</a></p><p>Thanks, I am already making plans. Come to Grand Island, Nebraska to see the eclipse. likely to have clear weather that time of year and time of day. That is why I was asking.</p>
<p>Oh, and some other comments below list sights that have high-quality solar filter sheets. You might want to check them out.</p>
<p>When I was a kid, in accordance with the astronomy books at the time, I 'smoked' a glass plate by placing the glass plate over a candle's flame and moving it around until the soot was dark and uniform.... my goodness, I'm lucky I still have any eyesight left.</p><p>Nice instructable and much more safe!</p>
Yikes! Yeah, I had a &quot;wood burning kit&quot; as a kit that was nothing more than a soldering iron. Your story makes that sound downright safe. <br> <br>I was in China for the 2009 solar eclipse and the &quot;solar viewing glasses&quot; that street vendors were selling would damage people's eye. Their culture (at the time) was very much buyer-beware. Good thing is was clouded over for most of the country.
<p>You can use a good set of scissors to cut the solar film out. If you are using corrugated cardboard, the change in density between corrugations can cause the razor blade to slip and give an irregular edge. Also not as safe.</p>
Yeah. I suggested felt fabric and when I said cardboard, I was thinking non-corrugated. I'll update the instructable to be more clear.<br><br>High quality scissors can be used, but I always struggled to not crinkle the solar film while handling it. Placing it on flat surface seemed to work better for me. But I don't have a lot of scissor cutting experience.
Clever, fellar!

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