Annular solar eclipse with Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 300mm f/4.5

Here are some images of the annular solar eclipse that took place this past weekend. The photographs were taken by a reader in Yokosuka, Japan with a Nikon D7000 camera and Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 lens with IR filter:

Images credit: gqtuazon

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  • Audrey

    Brave soul….I’d be scared I’d fry my sensor. I’m sure the filter helped….but I’m still too chicken.

    • Al

      It’s your eyes you can fry during an eclipse, not your camera. Here are some photos I took yesterday (also with a D7000):

      • mikils

        in your shoes, rather than being afraid for your sensor, I’d have been
        very scared by the Lady with a bat!

    • Daniel

      It’s a camera, not a precious delicate flower.

      • Foolishcfo

        I called my local Ritz dealer to see if they had IR filters and they said no while strongly advising against shooting the eclipse with my D800. You can in fact fry the sensor if you aren’t careful. Nice pics from Japan!

        • Al

          Know any examples of fried sensors? Most everyone (or at least those selling filters) seem to say it is likely but I’ve never heard of it (or seen it) actually happening.

          • Foolishcfo

            Actually no. I have just relied on those that sell the darn things. Just picked up my D800 on Thursday and wasn’t taking any chances. Thats a great shot you got.

            • gl

              I wonder how its any different than taking a sunset photo that includes the sun…

            • Matt_XVI

              I find that a lot of these people that sell these things often have less of an idea of what they’re talking about than the actual customers they are selling to.

              I’ve also noticed that they sometimes interpret rumours or musings they’ve heard or read about and share them as fact.

              I was at an electronics store the other day and the “knowledgeable sales man” was trying to tell me that the TV had dual core processors.

            • Jake

              you can get tv’s with dual core processors. samsung PS51E8000.

            • Matt_XVI

              I should mention that this was for a 2008 Sony KDL-46Z4100. I should also mention that he was telling me that it had a 16 bit panel (it’s a 10 bit) and 4GB of memory (what??). To top it off he told me that it was “top of the line” with 720p resolution. This was in 2010 and the the 2 year old TV itself was 1080p.

              Just saying that you shouldn’t always take sales people’s words as the epitomy of factness.

          • Foolishcfo


            Question for you. Did you use Liveview or did you align with the viewfinder? I was told by more than one Nikon dealer that using Liveview was the way to align the camera with the sun. The downside was the sun beating on the sensor. If you used the viewfinder then I can see how it wouldn’t hurt the sensor.

            • Al

              I used Liveview while wearing a pair of sunglasses. No damage. My sensor looks physically identical to how it looked before the eclipse and subsequent photos have all been fine. I used no filters either.

              I researched before the eclipse to see if I could find a single instance of someone damaging their camera by taking photos of an eclipse and could not find any such stories or experiences.

              I think the whole “you must use a filter” is a myth started by retailers of filters, and it has since become fact without any real evidence.

            • Al

              No filter, no viewfinder, no damage to sensor. I used liveview.

              I’m still looking for evidence of any sensor ever being damaged by photographing an eclipse and I’m finding none.

            • Michael

              Wouldn’t shooting sun during midday be worse? There is more light.

            • Foolishcfo

              I just moved up from the D200. The D800 is my first camera with Liveview. I learn a lot more here than I do at my local camera shop.

            • komalkumar

              I have shot multiple shots of sun using viewfinder on my D90 with a 300 f4 + 1.7TC on a little cloudy day
              my eye took some time to get back to normal but all the snaps after that are fine…. I am still using the camera for the past 1yr !!

              Few of my friends also told me not to shoot sun after they saw those images…..

              May be very long exposure to direct sun might burn the sensor

          • Dave

            I have heard of camera sensors being fried by laser pointers a few years back. You could probably Google it. Whatever the case, I wouldn’t malign anyone trying to be cautious about their $3K camera body. You are not likely to subject your camera sensor to a more intense level of radiation than the sun during an eclipse.

        • John M

          If you are using Live View and observing the sun without a true solar filter, then your lens is concentrating light, including IR and UV light, on your sensor. That’s bad. ND filters do not help, as they don’t filter IR and UV radiation.

          Even if you aren’t in live view, that light is still entering your camera, and hitting your mirror and eye piece and other internals. Prolonged exposure with your lens pointed at the sun will eventually do damage.

        • Sahaja

          I knew someone who once burnt a hole in the shutter curtain of a rangefinder camera by leaving on a window sill it in the sun with no lens cap and the lens focused to infinity. This wouldn’t happen with an SLR because of the mirror.

    • gallon

      Posted May 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      “Brave soul….I’d be scared I’d fry my sensor. I’m sure the filter helped….but I’m still too chicken.”

      I’ve taken many many pictures with the sun in frame.

  • Awesome. Beautiful work. Must have been a really exciting experience witnessing the eclipse like that.

  • My eclipse report with iPhone and D7000 DSLR photos is at:

    A D7000 DSLR photo montage is at:

    • That’s awesome. The montage looks very effective.

  • 103david

    Great Shots.
    How to take shots like this:
    1. Remove eyepiece from telescope, and/or mount telephoto lens on tripod,
    2. Position standard sheet of white copy paper to allow focus of sun image on sheet of white copy paper.
    3. Carefully focus image of sun on sheet of white copy paper.
    4. Note sheet of white copy nearly instantly bursts into flame.
    5. Contemplate new lesson on why, exactly, not to position delicate eyeball and/or delicate sensor at focal point of sun without prescribed welding-level or solar glass filter in place.

  • PeterO

    Beautifully executed.

    I recall reading some comments here recently by some (in the context of the D600 rumour), that people should get rid of their old crappy lenses. This gentleman seems be doing just fine with his crappy old lens.

    • redirector


      Just bought this same “old crappy” lens over the weekend. The manual focus is smoooooth, the ED glass is sharp, and the sturdy design has stood the test of time. Already finding new life on a D800. That large focus ring can be turned with a single finger, with precision, inaudibly. This will easily generate valuable footage on 1080p video output. And under $300. Sold!

      • John M

        These old MF lenses are terrific for solar and lunar photography.

    • Jake

      Indeed. I had this lens for about a month. Returned it and am now waiting to find a nice copy of the 300mm f4.5 IF ED AIS with it’s nice 9 blade aperture!

      My 180mm f2.8 ais is working just fine too.

    • Hawkeye

      +1 from the guy who said older lenses were less sharp. I was talking about marketing. The only reason I noticed the difference in optical clarity was that I was zooming in past 100% to id birds. I thought it was an interesting issue, but doesn’t effect most people in day-to-day shooting (especially me; I love my holga lens on my D7000).

  • Arthur

    Interesting lens holder.

    • JohnGG

      This is the Really Right Stuff long lens support package, or parts of it. I have it and I say it’s awesome!

      • Spy Black

        No that isn’t a Really Right Stuff support, although the front looks something like it. The screws and other components are different. I’m not entirely sure what advantage that would offer over just mounting the lens on the lenses tripod mount, although it must do something I suppose.

        • peterw

          It helps keeping lens and camera exactly alligned, which shouldn’t be necessary with this lens, but is a wise thing to do when using convertors or extension tubes, …

          … and, one can position the camera lens combination above the centre of mass, which avoids bending through of the ball head after aiming at the subject.

          The latter will be the reasson for applying here. Very clever.
          I’d like one of those, but just can’t understand why anything like this would cost allmost more than half way as much as a Nikon 3100. I know a Manfrotto clone is being sold for about 60 euro.

        • Sahaja

          I’ve read a lot of complaints about some long Nikon lenses mounted on a tripod vibrating at certain shutter speeds because of the poor design of the tripod mount on those lenses. This looks like it might help as the lens is supported at two places. There also seems to be rubber on the two wheels of the Y mount supporting the front of the lens.

  • Bob

    I would not attempt taking photos of the eclipse without a proper solar filter to protect the telescope, the camera and the eyes, such as this one …

  • Niiice. My wife and I didn’t know about the eclipse in advance, but saw it in Illinois during a wicked thunderstorm while driving home. Thought it was cloud cover for at least 10 minutes before suspecting an eclipse and calling my sis to confirm.

  • Vin

    Very nice!

  • Anonymous

    Nice work. It really takes a lot of effort to get images of this type given the challenge the sun poses. Using proper precautions is a must.

  • AXV

    People should refrain on commenting on topics they don’t know, bunch of retards saying the sensor will burst into flames, as you can see on a flickr or google search millions of people photograph this event and nothing happens only a photo, no damaged sensor, no blind people.

    • agree

      amen brother

  • Looks a lot like the ones I got with a D7000, Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 and a Hoya ND400. People are right – the sensor can’t get damaged by this event. Your eyes can though! =)

    • Foolishcfo

      Thanks for sharing this link. It confirms my decision not to photograph the eclipse ad I didn’t have a solar filter.

  • JR

    Nice pics……I have a 300mm f4.5 ED IF ais for sale……perfect condition……nice and light……superb lens.

    • Jake

      How much for the 300mm f4.5 ED IF Ais?

  • It was only a partial eclipse where I was in Orange County CA, but here are my photos I shot with my D7000 and the Nikon 200-400 zoom lens. – No filters.
    Not that it’s important but, photo of my girls (and dog) with shadows was with the D4.

    • Scott M

      Nice shots Steven! Love the eclipse shadows off the tree. Laguna Beach was fogged in from marine layer.

      • Laguna Beach was fogged in?!?!?
        I bet Don Leach (photo editor for the Daily Pilot & Coastline Pilot and lives in Laguna Beach) was bummed!

        • Ric

          Hey! I know Don Leach! My wife grew up with him in the same neighbor hood of LB.

          • I do a lot of work for him. A REAL nice guy!

            • Ric

              To bad he is a Canon guy. 🙂

  • Trent

    Took plenty of shots last night with D300 and 300F4 with a B+W ND 10.0($130 on amazon and works great with daytime long exposures for rich, saturated color), which blocks 99.99% of the light, and while most say that you need to block 99.999% of the light to be considered a safe solar filter, I had no problems and ended up with some great shots. I wouldn’t recommend shooting without an at least somewhat strong ND filter, though. Even if you do, the resulting image of the sun is likely to be white or very pale, while a strong ND gives the familiar and pleasant orange color.

    • OK, sounds good. I have a 300 f 4.0 on the way and was wondering if the B+W ND 10 made sense so I’ll go ahead and order one. Wanted to try the long exposure daylight shots anyway and, what the hell, rationalizing a camera gear purchase is one of the easier of life’s propositions.

      • John M

        ND filters do not filter out UV and IR radiation. Long term exposure can damage your eyes, and heat up the internals of your camera (it’s still magnifying non-visible light). Use an approved solar filter, like Baader solar safety film, or a metal-coated glass filter explicitly rated for solar observation.

        • Fair enough. Appreciate the comment. I’ll continue to do my homework. I’m assuming the UV-IR filters I routinely use now aren’t strong enough, but again, I need to come up to speed and stop guessing. I’ll use the ND filter I’ve ordered for some local daylight long exposure experiments.

        • Trent

          Yes, just to clarify I did not look through the viewfinder, I used the lcd in live view, and I put the cap back on when I wasn’t shooting(had it on a tripod, but if you shoot without just don’t keep it pointed at the sun) and had no issues. While I think you could reasonably look through the finder without eye damage, I wouldn’t look for more than a few seconds just to be safe. Sole Prop, the ND 10 does give very cool effects for long exposure daytime shots, you won’t be disappointed.

    • Michael Fairbanks

      I used the same filter yesterday and it worked great, even down to sunspots. Prefocused manual at infinity, 300mm, f22, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100, no tripod, just got the sun in the viewfinder without directly looking at it and fired the shutter. Good shot every time and I can still see. I composited 9 images in Photoshop and posted on Flickr:
      Even without and eclipse, this filter works great just to check out sunspot activity.

  • Excellent photos, “congratulations”.

  • Ric

    Very Cool. I was too busy with the cardboard and white paper with my kids to even think about photos. 🙁

    Maybe next time.

  • I had great luck using a HOYA ND400 filter. I had to jerry-rig the 77mm filter to fit on the smaller diameter 70-300mm lens I had. I used an old Nikon D70 and when shooting at the fastest shutter speed and smallest aperature I was able to properly expose the sun (I was able to even capture the sunspots). Photos at:

    • Brian Menges
    • John M

      Use a step-up ring.

      Note that using ND filters is not safe as they do not filter out UV or IR radiation. Long term exposure can damage your eyes and heat up the lens elements or the shutter in your camera.

  • JR

    Hey Jake!…….it’s on ebay….go have a look.

  • JackyBoy

    Where can you buy these types of mount? I’m looking to get into night sky photography and I’m sick of snapping with my little compact up to my telescope. Any help or advice appreciated

  • Jöhan

    Wow my son is looking very nicely. I am scared the delicate will give no joy to my one zero film. The photo up high make very nice eye sex. It like the wife having the slimy vagina tube.

    Sorry for my bad english.

    • AShooter

      The best comment ever.

      • Michael Fairbanks

        I think his middle name is Borat.

        • Sahaja

          Jöhan Borat the Kazakh photographer?

  • John M

    It’s easy to photograph the sun: all you need is a true solar filter over the objective similar to what is done for telescopes, a long lens, and a tripod to keep it steady. You can even go cheap on the lens and get manual focus (the sun isn’t going anywhere) with a slow aperture (you have more than enough light).

    I, too, used a D7000 with the 300mm f/4.5 (non-ED version that has a hard infinity stop) but I added a TC-301 teleconverter.

    • Foolishcfo

      What did you use as your solar filter?

      • John M

        I bought a sheet of Baader solar safety film. I had to construct a holder for it.

        I also have an Orion glass filter as a backup. The optical quality is not as good through those which is why it’s my backup (Baader film is ultra-thin and hence has almost no impact on the light path).

    • Josh

      Sun not going anywhere? Huh? You do realize that relative to the earth the sun moves and so you will get a blurred photo if you set too low a shutter speed?

      • Sahaja

        On a Pentax K5 you can track astronomical objects during exposure without a special tripod head. The camera moves the sensor, using the sensor stabilization mechanism, during the exposure. Clever feature.

      • Too slow of a shutter speed? On the sun?

  • marv

    after a bit, it does’nt even hurt any more
    can,t drive at night any more though and not hit stuff

  • EvanK

    I got plenty of shots with my D7000 coupled with my Celestron C8 and a focal reducer (about 1200mm eq.). The view was quite nice from Winnipeg, with about 60% of the sun eclipsed, you could get some pretty good pics. Unfortunately the sub was setting, and the clouds got in the way of a few shots, but it added a certain “artistic” effect, like the fog in these ones. I honestly wouldn’t worry about frying your sensor, as long as you don’t look directly at the sun through your viewfinder, you should be fine.

  • Kenneth Kwok

    I have watched a Youtube video of a man
    using a DSLR to record video in a Pop music concert.
    There was laser used for the stage effect.
    The Laser was shone to the audience as well.
    And when the laser reached the DSLR,
    the sensor suddenly died.

    I have no idea on how powerful that laser is, and how
    it compares to the sun.
    No idea if the sun is powerful enough to kill a sensor.

  • KevinR

    A filter in front of the objective is always the best, safest way to go–Baader Solar Filter, Solar Skreen, aluminized optically flat glass, #14 welder’s glass, or the strongest ND filter available. If using the ND filter do not look through the viewfinder; use Liveview only. But…the overwhelming portion of solar radiation that reaches the ground is in the visible wavelengths. The IR wavelengths are almost all absorbed by atmospheric water vapor, which is why IR telescopes are built on very high and dry mountain peaks or launched on satellites. Objects on the surface of the Earth absorb the visible light, heat up, and re-radiate the energy as IR-which is why IR photos work. Everyone knows that most of the UV from the sun is absorbed by the ozone, but the UV that does get in in is very well absorbed by glass–with a strong ND filter and all of the glass in a long telephoto, there is plenty between the sun and the sensor. Worry about the visible light, please–and protect your eyes and those of the people who might be with you while you snap your photos. The next big event is the transit of Venus in two weeks, and unlike the eclipse the brightness of the sun will not be at all diminished. You will need a filter–please be careful.

  • I used a 300mm as well (the f/2 in my case, with its dedicated 1.4x TC), but the more interesting shots were with the 70-200 and less aggressive filtering… the details like sunspots were blown out, but the odd rainbow refractions in the clouds were pretty cool.

  • Houston D7000 Guy

    Did pretty well with the D7000, 300mm F4 AF-S TC-20E II from Houston. It hit 41% as the Sun set. No live view, that would be a lot harder on the sensor than 1/8000th sec stopped down….

  • Sunseeker

    When will be the next eclipse?
    Don´t waste too much on expensive filters – two sheets of RescueFoil do the trick..
    Filmed some nice eruptions of the sun with my 70-200 x 2 (converter) with my F90x back in the days…

    But be careful – do not look too long in the viewfinder…

    • We don’t get to see your (back in the day) photos of the eruptions?

  • Here is a series I took with my D300s and a rented 600mm f/4 + 2x teleconverter. I had a solar filter in front of the lens.
    I would say be safe and do buy a proper filter. The 12×12 sheet I bought was $18.95. I used it for that lens, and had plenty left over for my friend’s 300mm, and my son’s little P&S.

  • Sahaja

    There may be more chance of damaging the sensor when photographing the sun with a normal lens or a wide angle lens than with a telephoto – because, with a wider angle lens, the sun’s light is being concentrated on a much smaller area of the sensor.

    I wouldn’t use live view either as that leaves the sensor exposed to the light for a long time. A manual focus lens like this with a hard infinity stop seems ideal as then you don’t need to use the camera or your eyes to focus.

  • 103david

    Kind of reminds me of the the fellow who always said, “There was never any need for earplugs while standing by the muzzle of a cannon going off as he’d been doing it for years…” The reporter said, “Really?”
    The fellow replied, “What?”

    Your can add any number of key action points to this observation involving everything from fingers to your wanker, but it always comes out the same. Think about the risk and think about the fellow the reporter asked, “See the sun over there?”

    He said, “Where?”

  • Spenser Dickerson

    No offense, but I could create all of those images in photoshop in about 10 minutes and add a little noise and you would never know the difference.. but they’re still pretty cool images.

    • Sahaja

      Some people say they could have created almost any image in photoshop. If you are that good, then you don’t need a camera

      • Spenser Dickerson

        Very true sir (or mam), but I’m a commercial photographer and I use photoshop a lot to create certain elements for campaigns and promotional material. Geometric shapes with a slight blur and dashes of colored smoke, dust, or clouds like these images are fairly easy. However, I’m not saying my way is better. Their are some things you can recreate though… A digital JPEG is a collection of pixels and information, a digital manipulation of the same image is still a JPEG with pixels of similar information… With the leaps in CGI, 3D, HDR, and everything else in the digital world today no one can really say one way is better than the other because of the skills, techniques, or quality time spent.

        Joel Grimes said “you can dig a hole with a shovel or a stick, but the manner in which you dig isn’t important because the outcome to both situations is a hole.”

        However, the major difference is reliability and experience. Just because I know how to create this in photoshop doesn’t mean I could go out there and capture it with a camera (obviously). That has a lot more value and is respectable. Similar to the fact that iphone’s have Instagram apps and HDR features so everyone can mess around with silver gelatin overlays and different dynamic ranges without having the slightest clue of real dark room techniques or exposure values and bracketing… For sure this headed downhill quick, but you have to roll with the times ya know.. I say master both sides of the equation technique, aesthetics, behind the camera, post production, and all aspects and thats the way to go… You can’t be stubborn with advancement and can’t be controlled by it. You have to master both to stay alive in this photo world…

        Lastly, B&H needs to ship my D800 it’s been a month now come on guys!


        • nonombre

          The comment was pointless and added nothing to the discussion. Just say the images are nice and move on. No need for that bombastic attitude.

  • charlie

    Offtopic question:
    can you tell me, what type of Gitzo is that?

  • Alan

    You clearly need a filter so you don’t hurt your eyes looking at the prints.

    If you’re shooting for the web, just be sure to shift the histogram left before publishing.

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