Camera Control

< Previous page

Set your Camera to Manual

Some cameras allow for manual control of exposure times and focus. These work best when photographing the eclipse. Automatic focus and light meter systems were never intended to compensate for the type of light changes and the diffuse target of the solar corona.

Cameras that feature interchangeable lenses typically offer manual control of the exposure, focus, and f/stop. You will want to use the manual settings when preparing for the total phase of the eclipse. Detailed exposure settings can be determined using the Exposure Estimate information.

Manual focusing is a must. Automatic focusing systems have a hard time finding a good sharp edge and waste time getting the image into focus. Set the camera to manual focus mode before totality, use your solar filter to focus (or use a far distant object away from the sun). You may have to refocus slightly as totality starts and you remove your filter. Many skip photographing 2nd contact for this reason.
Bad focus
Automatic focus just can't deal with the image!

Many consumer digital cameras only allow for changes between icons for scenery or portraits. In most cases the scenery settings will work best since the object being photographed is distant. Experiment by taking pictures of the moon and sunsets to learn how well your camera works under eclipse like conditions. The picture will be mostly dark and some automatic cameras may be difficult to use. If you can't get a decent picture of the moon then set your camera aside and enjoy totality as an observer.

Be sure to disable the flash before totality!

You will hear the above request more than once before the eclipse. The flash is a distraction for anyone near you. As a precaution, you might consider covering the flash unit with black electrical tape just in case something is not set right. Virtually every eclipse group will have one or more members with black electrical tape available on the day of the eclipse - just ask around.

Camera Control Page 2 >

Free Eclipse Photography eBook

Custom Search of Eclipse-Chasers.Com