I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 camera and I am going to see the total solar eclipse in Oregon in August. I would like to obtain at least one photo of totality and I think I should probably use the [STARRY SKY] setting but I have no idea which time setting to choose. I think I won't have time to try more than one setting as, on advice, I mainly want to experience the occasion visually. So, please, what is the best time setting to try? I can select 15, 30 or 60 seconds. Bracketing is not available. I will use a tripod.

  • 1
    Why is bracketing not available? I believe it is supported (3 shot bracket, up to 1 EV separation per shot) on your camera, yes? Why do you think you should use the Starry Sky setting?
    – scottbb
    Jun 1, 2017 at 22:14
  • Also, are you trying to take a picture of just the sun at your max zoom setting, or are you trying to take a picture of the entire scene, ground-to-sky, to include the sun as well as ground subjects (like people)?
    – scottbb
    Jun 1, 2017 at 22:23
  • My suspicion is that "starry sky" setting expects much less total illumination (night time) than you will experience at totality. Try a few shots now just after sunset (a few stars visible in deep blue sky) to see how those come out; then adjust your camera accordingly. Jun 2, 2017 at 13:11
  • I don't know why I can't bracket in [STARRY SKY] but that is what I understand from reading the manual. I only have a choice of 15, 30 or 60 seconds available on this setting. I want to watch the eclipse so intend to try for just one photo of the solar disc at maximum zoom — and enjoy the spectacle! Totality will last less than three minutes so I can't experiment much.
    – Roger
    Jun 2, 2017 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


You won't know the brightness of the solar corona in advance. It can vary from eclipse to eclipse, or even within the space of a few minutes. The good news is that a variety of exposures can give a pleasing shot of an eclipse.

If you are going to zoom in (your camera goes to ~500mm), you should use a shorter exposure. Motion blur will be a problem for exposures longer than 15 seconds.

I got good results in the 1991 total eclipse with 15 seconds, 500mm on a 35mm camera, f/8 and ISO 400.

If you take a wider angle shot, you might prefer a longer exposure.


There are tables for solar eclipse photography. These should give an idea about how to choose the right setting. Here is a table I have found by astrophotographer Jerry Lodriguss on astropix.com:

Recommended Exposures for a Total Solar Eclipse These exposures are in seconds for totality with no filter. Pick your ISO from the column at top left. Then read across on that line to your f/stop. Then read down for shutter speed.

enter image description here

As stated in the article: "These are suggested starting points for exposure times - they are not written in stone."

It might be difficult to get the shot right in just one try. If you have the chance, testing the camera beforehand at night - taking photographs of the moon the stars etc - could help to get familiar with night sky photography. Of course a total solar eclipse is still very different from the "normal" night sky.

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    I have been away on holiday and have just returned. So thank you both. (I thought I had said thank you before but it seems not) So, thank you again.
    – Roger
    Jun 13, 2017 at 21:30
  • @Roger did you manage to get the shot in the end?
    – bweber
    Aug 29, 2017 at 19:44

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