What is the difference between a Camera ND Filter and a Solar ND Filter?

The main difference between a camera filter with a 1000000 (10-stop) and a solar filter with an ND5 (0.3-stop) is the amount of light they allow to pass through.

A camera filter with a 1000000 (10-stop) ND (Neutral Density) filter significantly reduces the amount of light entering the camera. It is often used in photography to achieve long exposure effects, such as capturing motion blur in waterfalls or creating smooth, ethereal clouds. The 10-stop filter darkens the entire image by 10 stops, allowing for longer exposures without overexposing the image.

On the other hand, a solar filter with an ND5 (0.3-stop) is specifically designed for solar observation and photography. It reduces the intensity of sunlight to a safe level for viewing and photographing the sun. The ND5 filter allows a small fraction of light to pass through, protecting your eyes and camera sensor from the extreme brightness of the sun. It is crucial to use a solar filter when observing or photographing the sun to avoid damage to your eyes and equipment.

In summary, a camera filter with a 1000000 ND is primarily used for long exposure effects, while a solar filter with an ND5 is designed for safe solar observation and photography.

What is your return policy?

  • All Seymour Solar products come with a 90 Day Guarantee:

    Returns will be accepted if still in the sealed plastic bag. Except for manufacturer defects customers are responsible for return shipping charges. Return the product in the same packaging to:
    Seymour Solar
    85 W. Main Street., #520
    Escalante, Utah 84726

    Please include your name, address, contact phone number, and reason for returning the product. Refunds will be credited to your method of payment upon receipt and verification of product condition.
What is your Shipping Policy?
  • We ship via United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS). The shipping calculations occur upon checkout. Most products ship the next day and always within 3-5 business days.
How do I find the right size filter to order?
  • When ordering telescope, spotting scope, binocular or camera filters you need to know the outside diameter of your optical tube. For a correct fit, measure the widest distance across the end of your optical tube from outside edge to outside edge.
​What is the difference between Glass and Thin Film Solar Filters?
  • Glass solar filters have an aperture made of highly reflective metal coated glass. The glass filters demonstrate a higher resolution than thin film which is why they are recommended for photography. For viewing the comparison is personal preference.
Are the Solar Filters safe?
  • Yes. All of our Glass and Thin Film Solar Filters are safe for unlimited visual use and photography. Helios Solar Film and Helios Solar Glass® have been tested and meet the requirements for ISO 12312-2.
  • These filters block 99.999% of the sunlight and therefore are rated with a neutral density of 5. Careful handling and proper maintenance will ensure a long filter life.
What should I expect to see?
  • With your optical device you will see sunspots, solar granulation (suns Photosphere), transits, or a solar eclipse.
Can the telescope optics get hot or damaged?
  • The heat and intense light is blocked before it enters the telescope. Your telescope may get warm from direct sunlight on the telescope but not from the small amount of visible light transmitted through the filter. Please read and understand your filter instructions before use.
What is thin film?
  • There are many "thin films" on the market today used for solar viewing. Some of them include Mylar, Baader, and Black Polymer. The thin film we use in our filters is Black Polymer which has a neutral density (ND) of 5 and is safe for solar viewing . The sun is viewed as a sharp natural orange image, not blue or white.
What is the difference between a full aperture and off axis solar filter?
  • An off axis solar filter blocks light into the telescope by only allowing light through a small portion of glass that is off center. A full aperture filter allows the most light into the telescope because it allows the full aperture of your telescope to be viewed. This allows the best possible daytime viewing when there is minimal atmospheric turbulence. If turbulence is present, a mask can be put over the end of the filter to effectively reduce the aperture. With a mask you can effectively change the aperture range to anything less than full aperture depending on the size of the mask. An off axis solar filter cannot be used on a refracting telescope.

What is the difference between the competitor glass and the Helios Solar Glass®?

  • We conducted a thorough comparison between the competitor glass and Helios Solar Glass. Here are the key findings:
  1. Light Transmittance:
    • Both glasses exhibited consistent light transmittance from 400 nm to approximately 640 nm.
    • Beyond 640 nm, the competitor glass allowed more light transmission as it approached the infrared wavelengths.
    • In contrast, Helios Solar Glass maintained a steady level of transmittance across the entire spectrum.
  2. Infrared Transmission:
    • Notably, Helios Solar Glass does not transmit infrared light.
    • This makes it a safer choice compared to the competitor glass because is truly a neutral density (ND) filter.

  • There is some confusing information and articles out there about solar viewing. To clarify, ISO and CE Certification for Solar Filters does not exist. Any company or article providing information that there is a Certification process for Solar Filters is providing false information. Companies that are claiming they have ISO Certification on their Solar Filters are not being honest. There is a standard established by ISO, but no body to certify filters yet. Seymour Solar's Helios Glass and Helios Film have been sent to an Independent Laboratory which have documented that these two products are safe for viewing and photographing the sun and meet the requirements for ISO 12312-2. A copy of the testing is available through our Support team. NASA and Observatories all over the world have purchased Seymour Solar Filters for over a decade.