Burning the sensor?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by N1C0L3, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. N1C0L3

    N1C0L3 New Member

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    Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide

    So my Dad sent me this link a few months back, it shows a sensor on a DSLR that got burned from taking video at a laser light show. I was shocked because I had never really thought about the fact that a sensor could become ruined in that manor. Last weekend I was shooting video outside with my 5D Mark II, right into the sun.. all of the sudden my heart stopped as I remembered this video clip. Is there any risk of burning a sensor from shooting video right into the sun? My camera ended up being fine, but I'd like to know for next time..
     
  2. scorpion_tyr

    scorpion_tyr Active Member

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    Taking pictures directly at the sun can burn the sensor, and locking the mirror up for cleaning in direct sunlight can damage the sensor, so I would very likely imagine shooting video would do the same thing.
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    Depending on your camera, aiming right at the sun could also burn your shutter curtains...
     
  4. LarissaPhotography

    LarissaPhotography New Member

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    How exactly does it get "burned"? It's not like the heat from the sun is really all that hotter when you're pointing your lens at it, right?
     
  5. N1C0L3

    N1C0L3 New Member

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    Ekk! I take pictures into the sun ALL THE TIME. I think someone told me that as long as you don't focus on the sun while you take the picture you'll be ok.. So far I HAVE been ok, but if it's a real risk I might try to be more careful
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever burned ants with a magnifying glass? Same thing.
     
  7. Davor

    Davor New Member

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    I still haven't heard of anyone's sensor getting burned because of the sun, its more durable than you think. you could do damage to the mirror, viewfinder, exposure meter, and most importantly, your eyes if you are using a long telephoto lens that will magnify the intensity of the sunlight. And your sensor is blocked from the sun until you press down that shutter, and you mostly be using fast shutter speeds so the sensor would get exposed to real tiny amounts of direct light.
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    I would be more worried about the shutter curtains than the mirror, IMO. They are generally very thin, and I wouldn't want to tempt fate. :lol:
     
  9. Davor

    Davor New Member

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    Im just saying, you prob wont be exposing the camera to the sun more than a min or so and that's not enough time to burn that up even with how thin it is, there's more of a risk burning your cornea :lol:. I usually can't stand more than 5-10 Seconds looking at the sun with my Camera
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    Well, it all depends on your specific camera. That's why I said "depending on your camera". Some mirrors pass more light than others, some cameras don't even have a mirror - so all light goes straight to the curtain.

    Also, shutters are made of a pretty wide range of materials - everything from silk to titanium.
     
  11. Dzone2

    Dzone2 New Member

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    It is not easy to be damaged by the sun but it is not advisable as it will wear off the sensor quicker than normal
     
  12. Forkie

    Forkie Well-Known Member

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    Lenses magnify the sun's light (and therefore, heat) to incredible levels.

    (This is a mirror, but it magnifies the sun in the same way)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  13. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Unless you can provide some links, I don't think so. Particularly if the scene is not completely, and dramatically, over exposed. In cleaning mode the image sensor has no power applied to it, and there are several filters in front of the actual image sensor.

    The only caution in Nikon DSLR manuals about pointing the camera at the sun has to do with eye damage when looking in the viewfinder, and the viewfinder reducing the sun to a point - like frying ants with a magnifying glass, and starting a fire outside the camera.

    Also, sunlight is not coherent light like lazer light is.

    Obviously, when the sun is in the image frame, shutter speeds will be very short for a proper exposure.
     
  14. nikonD50user

    nikonD50user New Member

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    Hello all,
    I stumbled upon this forum when searching for 'burned sensor Nikon D50'. I think I have a case here.
    I have been using my Nikon D50 since end 2005. It has always served me very well.
    Last week I took a picture facing sunlight and noticed on the LCD screen something was wrong. I took the photo again and got an even worse result. After this all pictures look over exposed and have a pink hue. Tried every possible setting, etc. but no, my D50 won't take normal photos anymore.
    I tried to insert photos here but it doesn't seem to work.
    Anybody an idea how this problem could be resolved?
    Many thanks.
     
  15. unpopular

    unpopular Well-Known Member

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    This issue seems to be unique to digital, if it were a matter of light concentration alone, it would be the same with film, if not worse. I have never heard of a film camera bursting into flames. It's not exactly the same as burning an ant with a magnifying glass either. Magnifying glasses are simple lenses with very, very small f/ ratio numbers. Also, only a wide angle lens could focus an object at infinity to such a concentrated point, and wide angle lenses are typically pretty slow, especially when comparing to a magnifying glass. Try burning a piece of paper with a photo lens in the sun. It doesn't really work. Maybe with a f/0.8 lens, but not with a typical f/2 lens, and certainly not when focused at film to flange.


    I think the issue here is physical damage by heat or, and more likely, excessive light at the sensor. The problem is moreso when shooting video I'd imagine since the camera is constantly being exposed to high levels. However, if the lens is adaquetly stopped down, this shouldn't ever be a problem, the lens is limiting the amount of radiation, including IR radiation.


    Lasers are probably a bit different a story, and it't be best to avoid direct exposure entirely. But there is no way that radiation from a laser light show would generate enough heat to damage the sensor, as lasers emit a very narrow band of radiation - because we cannot see IR there is no need for a laser light show to emit heat generating radiation. So again, I think it's more likely excessive light at the sensor, however, because of their nature it's going to be very difficult to safely adjust exposure.


    Also, don't most dslr cameras have hot mirrors?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011

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