Shoot the Eclipse with a Phone and Do Not Go Blind

So you want to photograph Eclipse 2017 but you don’t want to rush out and buy an expensive DSLR just for the event? Not a problem, if you build this simple smartphone filter and occluder.

It all started innocently enough for [Paul Bryson] with his iPhone and a lens from those cheap cardboard eclipse glasses we’re starting to see everywhere. Thinking that just taping the filter over the stock lens would do, [Paul] got a painful faceful of sunshine when he tried framing a shot. Turns out the phone body was not big enough to blot out the sun, and besides, the stock lens doesn’t exactly make for a great shot. So with an iPhone telephoto lens affixed to a scrap of wood and a properly positioned filter, [Paul] has a simple rig that’ll let him get some great pre-totality shots of the eclipse, and it’ll be easy to bust out the phone for two minutes of totality selfies. Looks like this setup would be easy to adapt to other phones, too.

We’re all over Eclipse 2017, from Hackaday Eclipse Meetups in at least four different points along the path of totality to experiments on relativity to citizen science efforts so you can get in on the action too. Mark your calendars – August 21 will be here before you know it.

16 thoughts on “Shoot the Eclipse with a Phone and Do Not Go Blind

  1. The two links in the article “experiments on relativity” and “citizen science efforts” say Page Not Found for me; both sound interesting, so I hope you can fix them.

    1. Sorry about that, looks like the articles got published a little out of order. The citizen science piece will publish tomorrow; not sure about the relativity piece.

    1. I also concur with that the filter needs to be on the sun side of the l ns. That’s why there is such horrible ghosting in that test image. I’d try and find a local camera shop or possibly a big box store might have a cheap UV filter that will thread on that can be repurposed to hold the filter material. Or, use the lens cap via cutting a hole into it.

      1. UV Filter won’t cut it. What you want is a neutral density filter, plus extra IR blocking most likely. The sun is just that massively bright that you have to drop even the visible light out to prevent destroying your camera.

    2. I thought about that; but, it was easier to put it inside the case. And when I tried it – I kind of liked the lens flare artifact. It seemed to me it added some interest to the image.

      But you are right. For completeness I should try it the other way.

  2. Just watch it, especially if in the path of totality! Seriously! It’s a 180-degree happening and very brief – maybe try to get a ground-up shot of you and whoever with the blacked-out sun in the background – and that’s it. Those phone telephoto add-ons are usually worse than just cropping the default image.

    1. As the writeup says, to aim the phone he has to look at the sun, and the phone was too small to block the sun from blinding him around the phone body he claims.
      He could of course also just close one eye though, but oh well.

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