Industry News: Sony officially warns about CIS laser damage

Canon Rumors Guy

EOS-1D X Mark III
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www.canonrumors.com
Sony has released an official warning about CIS laser damage to CMOS image sensors. I imagine there have been some recently damaged cameras from laser lights in recent months that brought about this official warning.
From Sony:
Do not directly expose the Lens to beams such as laser beams. This may cause damage to the image sensor and cause the camera to malfunction.
Note: In either outdoor or indoor environment when there is a laser display, tendency of direct or indirect (laser beam bounce from reflective object) damage to the camera CMOS Sensor is still very high.
This risk doesn’t just affect Sony CMOS sensors obviously, always take care of your camera around laser light presentations. There have been mentions of the risk lasers pose to camera sensors in the past, as we saw people showing the issue once videography became a big part of interchangeable lens camera usage.

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Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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Nov 7, 2013
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Funny :unsure:
I think, it was more than 10 years ago, that I heard that lasers could damage imaging sensors.
I think, it was about the same time I got into a quarrel with a father as I told his son not to point at me and my camera with his green laser pointer.
The father just couldn't understand why I didn't talked to him first.
And I told him that I would have done if he had been there in place and that these 5 or more mW lasers are no toys and could also harm eyes.
But he was not open to arguments. :rolleyes:

I suppose today his son is plane spotting with his laser still not knowing what he is doing.
 

Shellbo6901

EOS M50
Jan 16, 2015
43
10
So is that the laser that you can’t point in your eye and is illegal to point at airplanes etc? Is there a difference between those and a laser that would be at say a concert(because wouldn’t those have to not be pointed into the crowd for the safety of the fans eyes). I don’t believe I’ve yet to photograph a concert with lasers(at least none that haven’t only aimed for the roof of an arena/etc.) never heard of them specified as CIS, just laser pointer.
 
Aug 7, 2018
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Lasers in concerts or night clubs usually have to move to fast that they will only hit your eye 1/100 of a second or so. That should not cause any damage to your eyes. Direct sunlight should be a much bigger problem for your eyes and I saw photos of cameras melting after someone took a photo of the sun with a tele lens.

The problem is that today there are more and more lasers in the invisible spectrum. Either ultraviolet or infrared. If you can't see the light, you might not look away or with your eyes or your camera. Invisible lasers can be so powerful that you can melt or cut things with them. That is quite creepy. The US are working on lasers that can shoot down planes. Those lasers are also invisible.

I wonder how powerful lidar lasers in self driving cars are allowed to be, as they should have enough power to "see" things in a few hundred metres distance. A future with self driving cars would meand that lasers would hit our eyes all the time, if cars are nearby.
 

Joules

doom
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Jul 16, 2017
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Lasers in concerts or night clubs usually have to move to fast that they will only hit your eye 1/100 of a second or so. That should not cause any damage to your eyes. Direct sunlight should be a much bigger problem for your eyes and I saw photos of cameras melting after someone took a photo of the sun with a tele lens.

The problem is that today there are more and more lasers in the invisible spectrum. Either ultraviolet or infrared. If you can't see the light, you might not look away or with your eyes or your camera. Invisible lasers can be so powerful that you can melt or cut things with them. That is quite creepy. The US are working on lasers that can shoot down planes. Those lasers are also invisible.

I wonder how powerful lidar lasers in self driving cars are allowed to be, as they should have enough power to "see" things in a few hundred metres distance. A future with self driving cars would meand that lasers would hit our eyes all the time, if cars are nearby.
For what it is worth, the problem of invisible (Ultraviolet and Infrared) light in lasers is relevant to the cheap lasers you'll get from sites like eBay. Those can use a crystal to convert invisible light to visible light, but if they are cheap are inefficient at doing so, leading to powerful invisible laser beams alongside the visible one.

Not to mention that they are frequently labeled with wrong technical specs. Not everything sold as safe actually is so. Terrifying demonstration by the crazy laser guy on YouTube:


Car equipment and manufacturing is highly regulated, I don't worry too much about that. But in cameras, the invisible light is absorbed by the color filter in front of the pixels, so I suppose those will warm up when exposed to lasers and may get damaged.
 
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In Germany only pocket lasers mit 1 mW or less are legal without special permission. In think in the US the limit is 5 mW, but in China there does not seem to be a limit. I bought a 50 mW laser in Beijing and the beam was already visible from the side. Felt like a laser sword, but on Ali Express you can buy 500 mW lasers. That's 500 times the maximum legal amount in Germany, but until you turm them on, they look like a small harmless pocket laser.

The green lasers look the brightest. I think the purple ones are the most dangerous, because they do not look very bright, but still have the same power and most of their power might produce invisible light.

Modern cameras have strong infrared filter built in. I think for the UV spectrum you might need an external UV filter, but that might spoil the image quality, as it is another piece of glass that can produce additional flares.
 
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Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
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Funny :unsure:
I think, it was more than 10 years ago, that I heard that lasers could damage imaging sensors.
I think, it was about the same time I got into a quarrel with a father as I told his son not to point at me and my camera with his green laser pointer.
The father just couldn't understand why I didn't talked to him first.
And I told him that I would have done if he had been there in place and that these 5 or more mW lasers are no toys and could also harm eyes.
But he was not open to arguments. :rolleyes:

I suppose today his son is plane spotting with his laser still not knowing what he is doing.
Cole's axiom:"The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant. The population is growing".
 

Rofocale

I'm New Here
Aug 3, 2021
13
13
Hmmm, wonder if there’s any damaged caused by prolonged exposure to low powered VSCEL lasers used for facial recognition in mobile phones or LIDAR.
 

dtaylor

Canon 5Ds
Jul 26, 2011
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I wonder how powerful lidar lasers in self driving cars are allowed to be, as they should have enough power to "see" things in a few hundred metres distance. A future with self driving cars would meand that lasers would hit our eyes all the time, if cars are nearby.
I believe Tesla uses cameras only, but the rest are using lidar as well. IMHO they shouldn't be allowed to. There hasn't been any where near sufficient study to determine safe wavelengths and power levels, if any, in the chaos of the real world. It's nothing like radio where you have a relatively constant exposure that drops off with distance according to the inverse square law. You have nothing, nothing, nothing, then a massive exposure at a single random point on your body or equipment. And while I would think, given the nature of laser manufacturing and operation, that wavelength and power level would not vary much in production, we have dangerously out of spec laser pointers coming from China all the time. What happens if a lidar is out of spec? I imagine they can also vary power output depending on distances they need to cover (traffic versus rural). What happens when that bugs out? What happens when that bugs out at the same time that the emitter jams, holding the laser on a single point for seconds?

I wouldn't allow lidar at all outside of military and industrial niches which severely limit use/exposure. But this generation thinks that everything should move at the tempo of computing and the Internet, and jumps head first into new waters. Often in the middle of the night with no moon.
 

Kit Chan

I'm New Here
Sep 7, 2020
23
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Hmmm, wonder if there’s any damaged caused by prolonged exposure to low powered VSCEL lasers used for facial recognition in mobile phones
If that were the case, I think it would damage the phone's camera and we'd have heard about it.
 

Rofocale

I'm New Here
Aug 3, 2021
13
13
If that were the case, I think it would damage the phone's camera and we'd have heard about it.
Yeah, but the lasers are pointed outward not at the phone’s camera. Even so, I doubt they’re of a strength to do damage to a sensor directly aimed at the emitter or we would of heard about it. Would be good to get confirmation, though.
 
Jan 26, 2015
5
0
Yep, this is a real problem, I do many music shoots. Several years ago I noticed a strange issue with the images coming off my 7D mk1, there was a faint line of dots / short lines appearing in all my photos. always in the same place in the images. By tracked back through images worked out it was due to a laser at a music event, The laser was over the peoples head, but I managed to get the camera in the way of the laser doing a over crowd to stage shot. Gave me a reason to update my kit.