Laser Lights can damage the camera's sensor, scary!

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
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Jul 9, 2020
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Just read a post on Reddit that a laser light can damage your sensor and require replacement of the sensor. This may or may not be covered under the warranty as it's not an equipment failure. Check the link below for more information. The explanation for the failure was listed:

"“The damage occurs when the laser beam hits the lens directly or reflected off of a highly reflective, flat surface. The lens intensifies the light and it shorts out a pixel. Since pixels are addressed by row and column, the entire row and column corresponding to the pixel no longer work.” This explanation was found in a post of a wedding photographer who had the exact same outcome as you."

https://www.reddit.com/r/canon/comments/j6sd08
 
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YuengLinger

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This is a good heads up for any event photographer.

I wonder about direct sunlight. I was thinking the other day that a benefit of mirrorless is not getting sunlight in our eyes through optical viewfinders, but maybe some caution should be used with sun in the background...
 

Bishop80

EOS M50
Jan 4, 2014
27
17
Thanks for raising awareness!

I wonder if the new High-Res AF array sensor in the 1D X Mark III is susceptible as well? It is not like the line-based AF sensor in previous generations, but has a higher density sensor with square pixels. If so, then just looking at a laser through the OVF could potentially cause damage.
 

crazyrunner33

EOS RP
Nov 4, 2011
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This is a good heads up for any event photographer.

I wonder about direct sunlight. I was thinking the other day that a benefit of mirrorless is not getting sunlight in our eyes through optical viewfinders, but maybe some caution should be used with sun in the background...
It's not much of an issue if you shoot for a short period at a standard focal length, especially at sunset or sunrise. But if you're using a longer focal length and having it pointed at the sun for a long period of time(more than a few seconds), then you'll want to take the same precautions as you would shooting the eclipse.

With that said, I've shot many timelapses and videos with the sun in view at standard focal lengths and never had an issue.
 

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
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Jul 9, 2020
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Las Vegas, NV
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This is a good heads up for any event photographer.

I wonder about direct sunlight. I was thinking the other day that a benefit of mirrorless is not getting sunlight in our eyes through optical viewfinders, but maybe some caution should be used with sun in the background...
I'm sure sunlight could be a problem as the lens focuses the light on the sensor.
 

Bishop80

EOS M50
Jan 4, 2014
27
17
Can does provide warning about sunlight:

1602105524200.png


But the PetaPixel article about Lidar which caused sensor damage stated "These lasers are designed to be safe to human eyes,...".
I think the average photographer wouldn't automatically equate "safe to human eyes" with "intense artificial light source".

So contrary to what was claimed about this being known for years, Canon might want to explicitly add the words "artificial light sources such as lasers". I don't see a downside to making the statement. Their warning about lasers in some User Manual are to avoid "looking" at lasers through an OVF, for personal safety, not camera safety.
 
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VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
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My point was that the chances of damage from lasers are not being emphasized by the manufacturer. As a long time photographer, I've known that you shouldn't point your camera to the sun and damage your focal plane shutter to damage from the focused rays of the sun. But it seems in this case that simply being in a room with laser lights could destroy the sensor while taking pictures. It's a matter of degree and I'm assuming that the person who suffered sensor damage didn't continually focus on a laser light but was simply taking pictures of the action in the room. Until we know better, I'm not going to use my R5 in any scenario where laser lights are in use.
 

YuengLinger

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I'm sure sunlight could be a problem as the lens focuses the light on the sensor.
So if the sensor is always exposed when the EVF is active, should we be worried about taking any backlit photos where the sun might slip into the edge of the frame while we are composing??? Just give up such "dreamy," sun-drenched images that are so popular the past decade?
 
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VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
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Jul 9, 2020
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So if the sensor is always exposed when the EVF is active, should we be worried about taking any backlit photos where the sun might slip into the edge of the frame while we are composing??? Just give up such "dreamy," sun-drenched images that are so popular the past decade?
Good question but I'm guessing that sunlight is not as potentially damaging as a laser. A laser is a collimated beam of light, whereas sunlight is more diffuse unless your looking directly at it.
 

privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
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Jan 29, 2011
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It is absolutely possible to do serious damage to your camera with the sun. Though generally it takes a telephoto lens to do it.

 
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YuengLinger

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It is absolutely possible to do serious damage to your camera with the sun. Though generally it takes a telephoto lens to do it.

Thanks, PBD. I read this when originally published, but it didn't register because I'm not planning to ever photograph an eclipse. However, now it has me thinking! Sure, composing in Live View while photographing a sunset.

And, as mentioned above, shooting backlit and letting the sun edge into the frame. Of course I always avoided that with an OVF because of the dangers to eyes, but with my R I began to get more careless about it, thinking my eyes were protected from that morning or afternoon sun because I'm just looking at an EVF. And somehow I forgot about the danger to the sensor and the lens. Just didn't think about it. Usually I was only doing it for a few seconds at a time, but still, if only a few pixels are damaged each time, then it accumulates.

Mostly I do it with a prime lens from 35mm to 85mm, up to about f/2.2...I don't do if often. (Heck, with the lockdowns and masks, not much people stuff at all this year.) So far I haven't seen any problem with my R, but I've never gone looking for hot/stuck/dead pixels. Now I don't want to look!