what does it take to burn out a sensor?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by iCheese, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. iCheese macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #1
    I thought of this question after reading another thread, and a search result didn't come up with anything..

    What kind of situation would be required to burn out and ruin the sensor on a digital camera?

    I know you shouldn't point your camera directly at the sun and so on, but its certainly ok to take pictures of sunsets, or even photos where there is a small bit of the sun showing, right?

    What about other light sources?
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #2
    I can't find much on this either. Shooting sunsets or anything else into the sun seems to be OK because the sensor is only exposed to the sun for the duration of the exposure. Astronomy photography does seem to be a potential killer because the sun takes up a large portion of the field of view. All in all, they seem to be tough little buggers.

    Dale

    Edit: What is on your mind that might be damaging?
     
  3. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

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    At home
    #3
    Well my camera survived these. The second picture was the transit of Venus a few years back - I had to use a filter.
     

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  4. greg555 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 24, 2005
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    Canada
    #4
    On a different forum I saw the results of someone (accidentally) shining a high power green laser (>20mW) into their camera. It didn't burn out the whole sensor but damaged it as far as taking regular photos.

    But a laser like this is brighter than the sun (when in focus) so that is an unusual situation.

    From photo.net:
    All CCD cameras can be used easily to measure laser beams. Scientific CCD cameras (like hamamatsu) do not have anything to make them more resistant to laser light (in most cases). Except one small thing, in fact they are maybe a bit more resistant because they do not have the dyes in order to choose colour like the bayer sensors (they work like scanners or the SIGMA dslr for better sensitivity). Dyes usually are substances that can be usually damaged by lasers. Eitherway in a lab, people attenuate the beam or they sample the beam in order to make a measurement. From personal eperience I know that you have really to try to burn the CCD when using laser of 1-2mW. For example, green laser pointers are up to 5mW and I would consider them safe if it was not MY camera :) .

    So perhaps the green laser damaged the red and blue color filters (since they absorb rather than pass the green light).

    Greg
     
  5. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

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    Apr 16, 2005
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    #5
    I think to burn out a sensor, you'd have to do it on purpose (i don't even know how u would except for doing a crappy job cleaning a sensor). It's usually the shutter that people worry about, after so many clicks it starts to die out on you.
     
  6. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #6
    Prolonged eposure to light is exatly what will damage the sensor. Dp mag covered this last year July edition if memory serves. They tested by exposing the sensor to continuous sunlight by holding the shutter open. Can't remeber exactly how long before it failed but they did note under normal use you would be fine obviously selective filter use is wise.
     
  7. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

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    Dec 4, 2008
    #7
    That's it exactly. My camera has live view so sunsets with live view are out of the question. It opens up the shutter so light shines on the sensor. Also bulb would be a bad idea.

    Unless your trying to burn out the sensor, then just set it up on a tripod, set to bulb, click and come back in 30 minutes. Presto! cooked sensor!
     
  8. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    Nov 23, 2007
    #8
    Hmm, the odd thing is, I see some (actually a few) landscape photographers who has their shutter set to 1-3 minutes :eek: And they never mentioned anything bout their sensor cooking.

    And the newest range of DSLRs with video is able to record (5 mins for Nikon and longer for Canon), so I don't think the sensor is damaged easily. At least from what I'm seeing the market is given a choice of using a camera for.
     
  9. iCheese thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #9
    Thanks for all the responses everyone. I read about some guy in another thread who uses a flashlight in some of his portrait work, and someone else mentioned a 100 lumen flashlight being capable of burning out a sensor. I guess that's what made me think up the question.

    Chappers, those are some really awesome photos!
     
  10. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

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    Dec 4, 2008
    #10
    1-3 minutes into the sun??? What are they stacking 25 filters on the end of there lens?
     
  11. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    Nov 23, 2007
    #11
    I have no idea, but that what I saw printed in the photo magazine :eek:

    I myself was shocked when I saw that, but it does explain how that photographer shots look different then how normal landscape shots look like. Any filter users care to elaborate on how many ND filters needed to get a 1-3 minutes exposure?
     
  12. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Jul 24, 2009
    #12
    What your all forgetting is that in the world of photography it's the lense that costs a professional classes the body as disposable.
     
  13. Kronie macrumors 6502a

    Kronie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    #13
    ^^^
    That's not really the case anymore. My 5D MKII inst disposable in any way. I expect it to last for many many years. It used to be that way when cameras were cheaper than lenses but were reaching a threshold in camera technology. You can only pack so many MP into the current sensor. Sure you can add more bells and whistles like video, GPS, Bluetooth, hell even online access. You will be able to surf the net from your camera soon.

    But the IQ will remain the same. At least until they develop a new sensor.
     

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