5

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 '17 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 '17 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. – Carl Witthoft Jun 2 '17 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 '17 at 21:53
5

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.

| improve this answer | |
2

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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    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 '17 at 21:30
  • @Roger did you manage to get the shot in the end? – bweber Aug 29 '17 at 19:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.