Instructables

DIY Solar Filter for Camera

Featured
Picture of DIY Solar Filter for Camera
This should have been posted before the transit of Venus but I have been having a hard time finding some time to work on an ible the past few months. Anyway, this ible will show you how to make your own disposable solar filter for your digital camera using materials accessible around your home.

DISCLAIMER: There is no guarantee that this method is safe. However, you can ensure to protect your eyes by using the "digital camera LCD screen" for viewing. As for ensuring the safety of your gadget, all "digital camera sensors" have an IR cut-off filter, and a UV-absorbing thin-film coatings for protection.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you need?

Picture of What you need?
GEDC3977.JPG
GEDC3965.JPG
GEDC3943.JPG
124_7207.JPG
1) Compact Disc – Compact Discs are made of thick polycarbonate plastic and a thin layer of aluminum making it reflective which in return, reflect back excessive light. Moving on to cutting-off the CD, if you are going to cover large lenses, I suggest you use photographic film exposed directly to x-rays. However, there is no guarantee that the use of the following is safe. Since CDs and DVDs only have thin layer of aluminum, some invisible variables such as IR and UV light can still pass through this thin layer, same as with medical x-ray films, which may cause harm to the eye. Fortunately for digital cameras, you can use the LCD screen for viewing and avoid eye exposure. On the other hand, if you are using a telescope, try acquiring a product particular for solar observing.
2) Cardboard – I found used cardboard at home. A great way to recycle.
3) Glue, Electrical and Clear Tape
4) Cutters and Scissors
5) Plastic Ruler

6) Marker

Step 2: Measure the diameter of the lens you need to cover with your modified solar filter.

Picture of Measure the diameter of the lens you need to cover with your modified solar filter.
GEDC3948.JPG
GEDC3949.JPG
PicMonkey Collage.jpg
Fortunately, my camera’s lens is not that big so I could go on using a CD instead of an x-ray film. After measuring, if you have decided to use Compact Disc for this DIY solar filter, you need to carefully peel half of the polycarbonate plastic and retain the reflective side of the CD.
pooh.do9 months ago
Mylar balloons also work well. Just do not pull the mylar tight; the stretching can cause distortion. I'ld also echo that this is not something I would trust my eyes with but looking at a screen on the camera, totally safe.
TonySpektr1 year ago
Ok Captain Safety hat on for a second...

I initially started this as a "waaah! dont do that!" post but I've done some digging and thought you might be interested.

According to NASA 

"More recently, solar observers have used floppy disks and compact disks (both CDs and CD-ROMs) as protective filters by covering the central openings and looking through the disk media. However, the optical quality of the solar image formed by a floppy disk or CD is relatively poor compared to mylar or welder's glass. Some CDs are made with very thin aluminum coatings which are not safe - if you can see through the CD in normal room lighting, don't use it!!"

It goes on to say you should never use a filter like this in conjunction with an optical device ie a camera.  I'd say I wouldnt use it with a camera where you actually look through the lens ie a digital SLR - but with a cheap digital camera all you're risking is the camera itself. 

Actually you could use almost the same design and replace the cd's with a sheet of "baader solar film" it will work even better. The film comes in A4 sheets and costs £20 (sorry not sure about US costs). Or buy a pair of eclipse specs  and carefully cut the film out. Less frugal but a single A4 sheet would make half a dozen filters.

Sorry - hat removed !!

T

:D
Analogue-Chick (author)  TonySpektr1 year ago
Thank you for your comment!

I'm initially aware of the Baader solar film and have used it in the past. However, I mentioned in my ible that my goal is to create a solar filter from parts you can easily acquire at home, I think I just forgot to mention the use of digital camera LCD screen for viewing and have added it on my disclaimer, thanks for reminding me! :)

As for risking the camera, I think it's also safe because all digital camera sensors have an IR cut-off filter, and a UV-absorbing thin-film coatings for protection.
rmagtibay1 year ago
Epic... coolness
Analogue-Chick (author)  rmagtibay1 year ago
Epic frugalness. XD
cool! I had no idea cd could be used this way! is it hard to peel off the plastic from the cd without breaking it?
Analogue-Chick (author)  amandaghassaei1 year ago
Hard at first, but when you get to the point when you have separated the polycarbonate plastic, you just need to slowly peel it off and everything should be easy by then. :)