Capturing sun photo is very hard as it is very bright(3PM).

I used below settings on my nikon3300 but still i'm not able to capture the sun photo.

Aperture:32 ,ISO:100, stutter speed :4000


My question:

what setting or lens will allow to take sun image?


why there are different types of rays(14) around the sun?


3 Answers 3


You have already used the "best" settings : low ISO, fast shutter speed and small aperture.

However, you have reached a physical limitation called "diffraction". Take a look at this question : Why do light sources appear as stars sometimes?. Short story : small light source + small aperture = "star" effect.

This image explains it well (taken from https://www.slrlounge.com/school/diffraction-aperture-and-starburst-effects/).Effect of aperture on the star effect

So, if you want to have a "better" picture, (less "rays") you need to use a bigger aperture (probably at least f/11) and use a lower ISO and a faster shutter speed to still have a correct exposure... which is impossible on your lens/camera, because you are already at the lowest iso/fastest shutter speed.

Don't give up yet ! You can artificially decrease the quantity of light entering your camera by using a Neutral Density (ND) filter. Take a look here : What are neutral density filters and how do I use them to create long exposures in daylight?. What you are looking for is obviously not a long exposure but this post provides great information about what ND filter are and how they work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ ohh, now i understood. thanks. i was wondering the image would be like sunset orange or yellowish with black background. also thinking that ND filter and polarizer lens are same but after reading this dpreview.com/forums/post/42043535 they are different. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 10:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ An ND filter doesn't seem any more artificial than using aperture or shutter speed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 6:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Caleb, you are right, I wrote "artificially" because a ND filter is an external device regarding the camera+lens classic group that a "beginner" knows. Do you think I should edit this out ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olivier Doesn't matter -- it's a fine answer, just seemed like a word out of place to me. No big deal. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 13:08

I really depends on whether you want the photo to be correctly exposed for the sun itself, or whether you want to correctly expose for a piece of sky that includes the sun.

In the first case you need to use a type of neutral density material to reduce the brightness of the sun to a level your camera can handle. The following image was made using a piece of welder's glass over the front of the lens. There are solar filters specifically designed to be used with telescopes and telephoto lenses when imaging the Sun.

Pointing an unprotected camera and lens directly at the sun when it is high in the sky can cause potentially cause damage to the camera (shutter curtains, sensor, light box, etc)and/or lens, especially when using high powered telephoto lenses. Looking at the sun through the viewfinder using an unprotected telephoto lens can cause permanent eye damage! Remember that even if you have a very narrow aperture selected, the lens stays wide open when composing, metering, and focusing! The aperture only stops down the instant before the shutter opens. For more, see How do I photograph the sunset without damaging my camera? and Is it dangerous to take pictures of the sun without any filter?

Canon EOS 7D and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II at 120mm (with large piece of #12 welder's glass attached to the front of the lens). ISO 100, f/16, 1/1600 sec. Heavily cropped. The large dark spot is the planet Venus transiting the Sun on May 5, 2012. The lighter spots are sunspots. Note that the Sun was very high in the sky at the time and so of course the sky was very bright. But to get proper exposure of the sun itself the sky appears to be dark!

Transit of Venus

On the other hand, if you want to capture the surrounding sky then you must expose for the sky rather than the sun. With wider angle lenses the risks of pointing your camera at the sun are lower, but still very real. Unless the Sun is very close to the horizon, do so only long enough to capture the image and never look directly at the sun in your viewfinder! Always look at another area of the frame!

Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II at 70mm. HDR image combining three frames. ISO 320, f/11, respective shutter speeds of 1/3200, 1/800, and 1/200 second for a -2, 0, +2 stop series.

Seaside sunrise

Even in the dark frame the sun is completely oversaturated. In the brightest frame much of the center of the frame was blown out. Processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 3 with the same recipe applied to all three frames and the raw files combined using the HDR module of DPP 3 with additional adjustment made to brightness, saturation, contrast, detail enhancement, and smoothing.

settings screenshot

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice answer Mickael. You should probably write it there : photo.stackexchange.com/questions/4870/…. I don't think HDR has been described there so far. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 9:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ yes sir, in viewfinder the light was very bright so i took the shot without looking into it. Q: in first image there is black dot. it's looks like that might be Mercury or Venus? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 10:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @editinit As is already mentioned in the answer, it is Venus on 5/5/2012. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 13:30

Use Aperture-priority (Av) mode and use the largest f/ number.

Use negative exposure compensation so to prevent that and make the sun appear to gleam brighter in the photo, set exposure compensation to a negative value.

Attempt your shot on a clear, fine day. Just like astrophotography dust, pollution and haze make for a poor image.

Make sure your lens are clean should be obvious.

Never use a product that is not meant for your equipment. Welding glass is not designed for your camera. Solar filters and ND 5 (16.5 stops) is a good starting point.

I use my Canon attached to my 4.5" 900mm Celestron telescope and use a full-aperture glass solar filter. I recommend glass over the less expensive mylar...you are protecting your equipment and your eyes.


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