Saturday, October 18, 2014

$10 DIY Solar Filter for DSLR Camera

I made a solar filter that fits over my DSLR lens for $10 and it only took me about 10 minutes. I made it to photograph the partial solar eclipse that will be visible for much of the western and Midwestern US on October 23, 2014.

The only real cost was for the 4"x4" sheet of Thousand Oaks Optical black polymer solar filter. You can by it in bulk to bring the cost per square inch down, but this 4 inch section is more than enough for what I'm making and was about the same price as a pack of 5 solar eclipse cardboard viewing glasses. I chose this over Mylar because it is supposed to make the sun appear a more natural orange rather than blue-green.

I've read other posts about making ones out of CDs or x-ray paper or whatever - I wouldn't skimp on this just in case. It's just $10 and shipping took 1 day, don't mess around, just get a sheet of the good stuff. It still beats a threaded camera filter for $50-$65 using the exact same black polymer.

how to make solar filter for camera
Final product fits snug on lens and holds the black polymer filter in place

This is the final product, and the photos below show the sequence of making it out of tape and a black school folder.

solar filter arrives in the mail
Thousand Oaks Optical black polymer solar filter arrives in the mail

thousand oaks optical black polymer
Black polymer solar filter 4"x4" sheet

trace camera lens circumference
Used the lens base cover to approximate the size of the viewer

trace camera lens circumference
Traced it with a pen and cut it out

school folder on floor
Made 4" squares on a school folder

cutting out folder
And cut them out

how to make a solar filter for camera
Cut a strip of the folder and rolled it up to wrap around the lens for size

solar filter for camera lens
Wrapped it around and taped it to size

solar filter for camera
Cut wings on one end and bent them flat. Taped the flaps between cardboard and folder

Flaps are taped down to cardboard and folder taped over that to cover

make a quick solar filter

easy solar filter for camera
Put the solar filter uncut between the sandwich made of folder and cardboard

diy paper solar filter holder
Taped all around to hold in place. Now my solar filter is uncut and un-damaged and held in place


  1. Just finished my solar filter for my dslr it worked. I used any emergency blanket instead of the polymer. Had to cut 3 sheets it turned out OK. Thanks saved a lot of money.

  2. Hi Tara, glad to hear things worked out with the Mylar blanket! I hear the rule of thumb is that if you can see a regular light bulb through it that it is too thin, so hopefully the 3 layers was enough to stay safe. When I hold mine up to a lamp (or anything dimmer than the sun really) it looks solid black.

  3. Wanted to prepare for the partial eclipse on 20 March, so I put together a solar filter and documented the process -

    And here's the first proper image! -