Pointing a camera directly at a solar eclipse can ruin the sensor — much like looking directly at the phenomenon can damage eyesight. But on Tuesday, June 6, Lee Filter launched its own solution with a filter designed specifically for capturing the eclipse. The filter company also launched a new cleaner designed for photography filters.
The Solar Eclipse Filter, which is compatible with Lee’s Seven5, 100mm, and SW150 systems, is similar to a dark neutral density (ND) filter in that it’s capable of blocking about 20 stops of light. But unlike the typical ND, the filter also removes the infrared rays that could damage a camera sensor while shooting an eclipse.
The infrared factor means that images need to be color-corrected in post — and also that the filter can’t be used for general long exposure photography. Lee says the filter is designed for shooting the phases of the eclipse, while the filter should be removed when the eclipse hits totality.
The next solar eclipse visible through most of the U.S. is expected on August 21 — an event that is highly anticipated since the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. was nearly 40 years ago.
The filter is designed to slide into one of the three compatible Lee Filters holders. A foam seal at the back of the filter prevents light leaks, and also helps to keep the filter in place. The filter retails for between $95 and $200 depending on the size.
Along with the specialty filter, Lee also launched a specialty cleaner designed specifically for photo filters, the ClearLEE Filter Wash. The spray solution removes smudges and grime but is safe for glass and resin filters. Used with a microfiber cloth, the cleaner quickly and safely removes grime from filters, Lee says.
The company says that regularly cleaning filters increases the accessory’s lifespan, along with ensuring sharp photos. The cleaner is expected to sell in portable 50 ml bottles for about $9 and in a larger 300 ml size for about $26.