until the total solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse Glasses, Binoculars, and Camera Filters for Safely Viewing a Total Solar Eclipse

Learn about solar eclipse glasses and other essential things to pack for the total solar eclipse.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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Important Notice

With the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse less than a week away, most of the solar eclipse glasses listed in this article are either out of stock or will arrive too late. It is imperative to have solar eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse. If you still need glasses, I recommend checking with your destination’s visitor center, local museums, and event organizers.

We were all told as children never to look directly into the Sun. But defiant children defy, and we all stole a look once or twice. The resulting bright orange blob in the middle of our vision that persisted for a few minutes was enough to discourage further attempts.

But every time a total solar eclipse appears in the sky about every year or two, people forget the valuable childhood lesson.

The only time it’s safe to look at the Sun during a total solar eclipse is during Totality when the moon completely blocks the sunlight. But during the partial eclipse before and after Totality, wearing specially designed solar eclipse glasses, solar binoculars, or solar telescopes is essential.

Solar eclipse glasses, binoculars, and telescopes must comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard. The standard allows only 0.0032% of light to pass through the filter, making it safe to view the Sun with the naked eye.

During the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, the American Astronomical Society found that Amazon was flooded with counterfeit solar eclipse glasses claiming to be compliant. The AAS compiled a list of verified suppliers of safe and compliant solar eclipse glasses to combat the dangerously fake glasses.

All my recommendations for solar eclipse glasses, solar binoculars, and solar telescopes below are made by suppliers verified by the American Astronomical Society.

Solar eclipse glasses are the most essential thing to have while viewing the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse. Don’t rely on a viewing party or festival to supply you with solar eclipse glasses, regardless of their promises – supplies sometimes run out. Buy your own solar eclipse glasses and pack them with your toothbrush to be sure you don’t forget them.

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Tips for Safely Viewing a Total Solar Eclipse

Watching a total solar eclipse – the moment a black hole appears in the sky where the Sun used to be – is one of the most amazing experiences in life. But it’s also one of the most dangerous. Most often, eye damage while viewing an eclipse was entirely preventable.

Here are a few tips and safety guidelines for safely viewing a total solar eclipse:

  • You must wear solar eclipse glasses while viewing the partial eclipse
  • During Totality, when the moon blocks the Sun, you can safely view the eclipse without solar eclipse glasses
  • Use the Solar Eclipse Timer to hear an audible countdown to Totality and another countdown to the end of Totality
  • If you view the eclipse through binoculars, a telescope, or a camera equipped with a certified solar filter, you do not need to wear the solar eclipse glasses
  • Before using the solar eclipse glasses, check for defects such as scratches or holes. If defective in any way, do not use the glasses.
  • Paper solar eclipse glasses are inexpensive and fragile – buy more than one for each member of your group

Best Solar Eclipse Glasses

American Paper Optics Plastic Eclipser HD Glasses

These stylish solar eclipse glasses are ISO-certified and feature a durable plastic frame for a comfortable and safe viewing experience.

The Eclipser HD Glasses are the Oakleys of solar eclipse glasses. The durable plastic frame is stylish and comfortable. The scratch-resistant polymer lenses are ISO 12312-2 certified to protect your eyes while watching the partial eclipse.

The glasses come with a drawstring bag and a 50-page guide to preparing for an eclipse.

I bought these solar eclipse glasses about three months before the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse – and I still have them. The sturdy frames fit comfortably, wrapping around the curve of my face. The joints were stiff enough to securely hold them onto my face without ever slipping. I safely viewed one eclipse with these glasses, and in 2024, I’ll view another with the same pair.

American Paper Optics Burning Sun Eclipse Glasses

These ISO-certified cardboard solar eclipse glasses are great for one-time use to safely view the partial eclipse.

The Burning Sun Eclipse Glasses make a fashion statement with a beautiful image of a total solar eclipse stretched across the frame. The rigid cardboard frame holds up to a single use and provides a comfortable fit. The IOS 12312-2 certified lenses are just what you need to protect your eyes while watching a partial eclipse.

The cardboard glasses come in packs of 5, 10, 25, or 100 for as little as $1 each.


Best Alternative Solar Eclipse Glasses

Rainbow Symphony Plastic Solar Eclipse Glasses

These durable plastic solar eclipse glasses are ISO-certified for safe viewing. The kit includes a drawstring bag, a strap for the glasses, and two pairs of paper solar eclipse glasses.

The Rainbow Symphony Plastic Solar Eclipse Glasses are made of durable plastic and fit comfortably for long periods while viewing the partial eclipse. The lenses are ISO 12312-2 certified and produce a sharp image safe for viewing.

The kit includes a drawstring storage bag and eyeglasses strap, so you don’t lose the essential solar eclipse glasses. The kit also contains two paper solar eclipse glasses as a backup if something happens to the plastic glasses.

Best Solar Eclipse Glasses for Children

Rainbow Symphony Wrap-Around Goggles

The wrap-around design of these solar eclipse glasses and the included strap are better for keeping them secured to children’s faces while watching a partial eclipse.

The Rainbow Symphony Wrap-Around Googles are the best solar eclipse glasses for children. The wrap-around design fits faces better than paper glasses, providing a safer viewing experience for young children. The included eyeglass strap also helps secure the glasses to children’s faces.

The kit also includes a drawstring storage bag and two pairs of paper solar eclipse glasses.


Rainbow Symphony Clip-On Solar Eclipse Glasses

The ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses clip onto prescription eyeglasses for a better and safer viewing experience for the near and far-sighted.

The Rainbow Symphony Clip-On Solar Eclipse Glasses are perfect for people with prescription eyeglasses. Instead of trying to awkwardly wear two pairs of glasses, this plastic frame simply clips onto your eyeglasses. The ISO 12312-2 certified lenses are the same as those in plastic solar eclipse glasses for a safe viewing experience.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

Rainbow Symphony Solar Eclipse Glasses

There’s nothing fancy about these ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses with a thin cardboard frame, but they’ll work in a pinch for a safe viewing experience.

The Rainbow Symphony Solar Eclipse Glasses featured ISO 12312-2 certified, scratch-resistant lenses for safely viewing a partial eclipse. The thin cardboard frame is durable for an hour or two, but you must be careful wherever you store it to prevent bends or tears.

Available in packs of 5, 10, or 25.


Celestron EclipSmart Solar Eclipse Binoculars

Observe the Sun and Moon details during the eclipse with these ISO-certified binoculars.

Change your viewing perspective with powerful Celestron EclipSmart Solar Eclipse Binoculars. The binoculars feature ISO 12312-2 certified permanently attached filters for a safe viewing experience.

Binocular specifications include a strange series of numbers like 10×40 and 20×50. These numbers tell you the magnification power and objective lens diameter. But what do these numbers mean for a solar eclipse?

The objective lens is measured in millimeters – the diameter of the front lens. The larger the lens, the more light passes through to your eye. This is especially helpful while observing the fading sunlight during a partial eclipse.

The magnification power determines the field of view and details you can easily see. The higher the number, the narrower the field of view. However, almost any binoculars have a wide field of view to see the entire sun at once during a partial eclipse.

Celestron EclipSmart Solar Eclipse Binoculars are available in 10×25, 10×42, 12×50, and 20×50 sizes. I recommend the 20×50 binoculars for the most light and greatest detail for an eclipse.

All models include a carrying case and cleaning cloth. I also recommend buying this binocular tripod adaptor or this universal adaptor for hands-free alignment during the eclipse.


Celestron EclipSmart 50mm Refractor Telescope

Watch the solar eclipse with this dedicated, ISO-certified telescope perfect for travel with a convenient storage bag.

Celestron is one of the leaders in manufacturing telescopes for newcomers and professional astronomers. The Celestron EclipSmart 50mm Refractor Telescope is dedicated to safely viewing the intricate details of a solar eclipse.

The telescope features an integrated solar-safe filter that meets the ISO 12213-2 certification, making it safe to use without risking a filter falling off. The Solar Finderscope is as brilliant as simple – line up the tip of the shadow with the center of the scope to align with the solar eclipse.

The 50mm refractor telescope is the bottom end of the ideal focal length – 60mm is the best, while 100mm is the upper end of the range.

The telescope includes a decent bag for easily packing and traveling with the telescope. The entire kit weighs less than 3 pounds, making it easy to carry long distances to a viewing location. But this also works against the telescope – the aluminum tripod is prone to wobble, and it’s too easy to accidentally knock over.

This telescope is great for beginning astronomers. And it’s more useful than just looking at solar eclipses – use this telescope to observe sunspots, solar flares, and other phenomena all year.


VisiSolar Smartphone Solar Imaging Lens

With this simple and clever solar filter, capture photos and videos of the partial eclipse using your smartphone.

No matter the advances in smartphone camera technology, smartphones will never capture stunning photos of football games, weddings, or partial eclipses. But that doesn’t mean people won’t try.

Like solar eclipse glasses to protect your eyes, a camera sensor needs a filter to protect against the Sun’s intensity. That’s why if you’re determined to capture tiny dot photos of the eclipse with your phone, you’ll need the VisiSolar Smartphone Solar Imagine Lens.

The photo filter is a simple piece of cardboard with a large circular solar filter. You must manually hold the filter against the smartphone’s back while capturing photos or videos.

This filter is not a replacement for solar eclipse glasses; you should not try to view the partial eclipse using this filter. It is strictly for capturing photos and videos with your smartphone.


Solar Filter for Camera Lenses

Too many first-time eclipse chasers learned the hard way that cameras need protection during a partial eclipse, just like humans do. Capturing photos of a partial eclipse with an unfiltered lens often leads to the sensor overheating and significant damage. Avoid the damage with a solar filter for the camera lens.

Avid eclipse chasers use flexible sheets wrapped around the lens or slip-on filters. For these photographers, it’s important to be able to remove the filters quickly. But for casual photographers, it’s better to have a screw-on filter that won’t fall off.

Neutral Density filters reduce the amount of light passing through to the lens without tinting it any color. But capturing photos of an eclipse requires at least a 16-stop ND filter. And viewing the partial eclipse through any ND filter is unsafe.


ND filters are not a substitute for solar eclipse glasses. Never look at a partial eclipse through an ND filter or through an optical viewfinder with an ND filter attached to the lens. However, it is safe to look at a digital viewfinder with an ND filter attached.

ND filters are measured in many factors, often leading to confusion about which filter you need. The Filter Factor Number is the most common scale beginning with an ND2, providing 1 stop of light that reduces the light by half. The Optical Density Number is another scale that starts with ND 0.3, the same as an ND2.

You need at least an ND100000 or ND 5.0 for solar eclipse photography. This provides a 16-stop light reduction necessary to protect the camera’s sensor. You can achieve this light reduction with a single filter or by stacking filters until the required ND filter factor is reached.

Here are the three best options for ND filters for solar eclipse photography.


Best Value

K&F Concept ND 4.5 Square Filter

Capture photos of the partial eclipse with this neutral density filter securely fastened to your DSLR or mirrorless camera body, but you’ll need to stack this filter with an additional ND4.

The K&F Concept ND 4.5 Square Filter is the company’s highest filter factor – and it’s not enough. To use the ND 4.5 filter for solar eclipse photography, you’ll also need to stack an ND 0.6 or ND4 along with this filter.

Fortunately, the K&F Concept X Pro Filter Holder System can stack two square filters effortlessly. The system uses proprietary plastic frames to hold the square glass filters and slide them into place on the filter holder. With an ND 4.5 and ND 0.6 attached, you’ll have the required 16-stop filters.

This is a more complicated system but also more versatile. You’ll be using the filter system and filters long after the solar eclipse has finished.

Best Camera Solar Filter

Hoya ProND ND 5.0 Solar Filter

With this 16.6-stop Neutral Density filter, you’ll be prepared to capture stunning photos of the partial eclipse.

The Hoya ProND ND 5.0 Solar Filter provides a 16.6-stop reduction in light, which is more than enough to safely capture photos of a partial eclipse. The aluminum alloy screw-on filter features a glass material with a truly neutral result.


Tiffen Solar ND Filter

You’ll be able to capture great photos of a partial eclipse with this 18-stop Neutral Density filter, but afterward, you may be left with an unusable filter.

The Tiffen Solar ND Filter goes above and beyond the minimum requirement with an impressive 18-stops of light reduction. This is more than enough light reduction to safely capture photos of a partial eclipse.

However, the 18-stop ND filter will be challenging to use anywhere else. Capturing daytime photos of urban landscapes or waterfalls typically requires a 4-stop filter. The 18-stop filter is so powerful you may find yourself capturing a 15-minute exposure just to get enough light.

Then again, that’s how you make 5th Avenue look abandoned in the middle of the day.

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