Saturday, 19 March 2016

Canon Powershot SX60HS 65x Solar Eclipse results

The most recent TSE in Indonesia was a long travel and to cut space I did something I've never done before. I did NOT bring a tripod. But I still took pictures. Using a Canon Powershot 65x hand held was a gamble and most of the shots did not turn out well - as expected. BUT some came out great and I can say I am pleased.

To use the camera for totality I did not just rely on the standard camera settings. I turned off the automatic flash. This is important. I ignored the request from the camera to raise the flash. Another thing I did was go to the fixed aperture setting mode. I could use the dial to change exposures and the lens would remain at the fastest possible focal ratio (focal length over objective size) - wide open. I also set the ISO/ASA to 100. A bit slower than recommended by most photographers however I found it produced cleaner images with the Canon. The last major thing I did was manual focus. Setting manual focus (at infinity) using the dial was not really the best and the focus is a tad soft in my mind, but not bad as seen by the results.

So lets start with the mistakes. I started WAY TOO EARLY. When I looked through the view finder about 15-10 seconds before second contact I could see the corona! The following pic would have been unthinkable in the days of film. But the electronics survived.

1/2000s about 5 seconds before C2, note corona visible.
To get the corona at this stage in the eclipse move the brighter part to the edge or off the frame. Hand held was not easy to hold in position between the movement of the ship and the general excitement of a total solar eclipse.

A bit earlier I snapped an image. About 10 seconds before 2nd contact. This is not recommended at al and could have resulted in a blown camera. I was amazed the camera handled the brightness but look at all the internal reflections!

1/2000s about 10 seconds before C2, corona and internal reflections.
I kept on snapping images right into totality. The results are a lot better than I expected.

1/1250s about 5 seconds into totality.


1/800s - Adding more exposure time reveals corona but over exposes the prominences.

Corona structure revealed about 1/500 second.
Longest exposure I got hand held - 1/125s
So I am quite pleased with the results of the camera. Hand held, no tripod. Amazing. Highly recommended, even to beginners. Just remember to turn the flash off.

I won't do that again. Next time I bring a tripod because next time it will be on land and not a moving platform. Next time it is the "Great American Eclipse". Oh yeah baby!

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