Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

Started Sep 5, 2009 | Discussions
ominglee New Member • Posts: 2
Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

Hi, anyone knows if using a DSLR to shoot the sun, or using liveview and point to the sun, will that burn the sensor? OR is the photoelectric diode inside the sensor already limited the maximum electric current so that it won't be the case?

To me this saying is such a "urban legend"; never ever seen this before but heard ppl saying this all the time. Any input appreciated (especially more scientific explanation)

iancbradley Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

There are lots of times when the sun appears (maybe indirectly or partially) in the frame of a shot without burning out the sensor but causing problems such as flare.

However, don't even think about trying to 'shoot the sun' except at sunrise or sunset. There is a much more sensitive and valuable sensor, called the human eye, which you will seriously damage if you look directly at the sun.

OP ominglee New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

so is liveview a feasible workaround to prevent burning my eyes?

iancbradley Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

I wouldn't try it! It's one thing to have the sun appear partially in a frame just once - another thing altogether to spend time composing & focussing a series of shots with the sun as the main item of interest.

Remember that your camera has lenses. They focus the sun's light to a point, and that light contains visible and non-visible wavelengths. While the visible energy may just result in the sensor recording 'maximum', the focussed infrared energy will cook your sensor, which is bad. Think of using a magnifying glass to set light to a piece of paper!

What kind of shot are you looking to take? Presumably not just a picture of a blown-out sun in a featureless sky . . . maybe we can help.

Doug J Forum Pro • Posts: 10,353
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

In addition to protection for your eyes, there are occasional threads concerning sun damage to cameras. Rather than reposting everything in these threads, I suggest you review them. You can shoot the sun, but be aware of the cautions and protect yourself and the camera, some of the actual experiences can help.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/620065
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27846965
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27166548
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27844485

-- hide signature --

Best regards,
Doug

http://pbase.com/dougj

ArdonRebel Regular Member • Posts: 130
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?
1

RTFM. Quoting fromt the 5DMarkII manual page 109 (bottom note): Do not aim the lens directly at the sun during Live View.

ominglee wrote:

so is liveview a feasible workaround to prevent burning my eyes?

weezy Regular Member • Posts: 279
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

The only safe way to photograph the sun is with a telescope either equipped with a special solar filter (white ) or H-Alpha (red), or you can project the image onto a piece of paper and photograph that. (make sure you cover the finder)

Right now the sun is pretty inactive, so white light or projection might not show much. H-Alpha scopes like the PST will show activity on the edge of the sun.
Coronado also has a calcium K. Google it.
Weezy

weezy Regular Member • Posts: 279
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

Forgot to add - Hutech does have solar filters for SLRs. They do a lot photographically.

Weezy

Leonard Migliore
Leonard Migliore Forum Pro • Posts: 17,411
Not good for your sensor

ominglee wrote:

so is liveview a feasible workaround to prevent burning my eyes?

This is by far the most convenient way to destroy a sensor. I mean, I have some big lasers that will also do a good job but it takes more work to aim them at the camera.

In liveview, the lens is wide open. You will be focusing the sun on your sensor. I expect the plastic microlenses to melt in about half a second, after which you won't have a sensor anymore.

But you won't burn your eyes that way.

-- hide signature --

Leonard Migliore

 Leonard Migliore's gear list:Leonard Migliore's gear list
Canon PowerShot G12 Sony RX100 III Nikon D300 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +12 more
grant837 Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

I would like to learn more about this topic. Three of the links in the above reply are dead, and a few searches brings up nothing that covers the wider range of can and cannots.

Its a clear sunny morning here in the Netherlands, close to the shortest day of the year, so the sun is low, but bright (and its -13C / 7.5F !). Still, I can look at it much more easily than say at noon in the summer.

The manual says never take a picture directly into the sun. What is direct? In the center, or anywhere in the picture. Still I see lots of pictures at all times of the day with the sun in it. When can and can I not take pictures that include the sun? Does it matter if the sun not centered vs centered. Do different zooms (eg 35, 50, 105, 300mm) make much of a difference in regards to potential damage. I have a D90, and common lenes, and no special filters.

Thanks,

Grant

Radu P Senior Member • Posts: 2,338
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

For what it's worth, I did take a few shots of the sun with a Canon A570IS, pointing it directly at the sun.

However, I set the aperture to F/11 and the exposure time to something like 1/20K. No damage to the camera.

Of course, the DSLRs are different, bigger lenses and more expensive. When I took those shots of the sun I knew there is a risk to ruin the camera, however it was only 150 bucks. A DSLR is 3-4 more times the money.

However, if you really want to try your luck, you can use the smallest aperture possible, put the camera on a tripod, and put a piece of paper behind the viewfinder, to focus the sun on that piece of paper rather than your eyes. It's probably not going to damage your camera, but if it does don't blame me.

Doug J Forum Pro • Posts: 10,353
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

grant837 wrote:

I would like to learn more about this topic. Three of the links in the above reply are dead, and a few searches brings up nothing that covers the wider range of can and cannots.

Its a clear sunny morning here in the Netherlands, close to the shortest day of the year, so the sun is low, but bright (and its -13C / 7.5F !). Still, I can look at it much more easily than say at noon in the summer.

The manual says never take a picture directly into the sun. What is direct? In the center, or anywhere in the picture. Still I see lots of pictures at all times of the day with the sun in it. When can and can I not take pictures that include the sun? Does it matter if the sun not centered vs centered. Do different zooms (eg 35, 50, 105, 300mm) make much of a difference in regards to potential damage. I have a D90, and common lenes, and no special filters.

DPR sometimes formats links in a way that do not work. Click on one of them and you'll see "forums.dpreview.com/...forums", the "..." before the second "forums" should be removed, then the links will work. The users in these threads describe sun-damage to components in the mirror box - plastic melting, fogged mirrors - not so much damage to the sensor. The amount of time a DSLR sensor is exposed is very short, mode depending. You may note that one or more of the posts related to pointing the camera at the sun, whether intentionally or not.

I sometimes shoot into the sun when it's relatively low on the horizon, the sun's energy is lower as there is more atmosphere for the sunlight to pass through which attenuates the energy. If I can safely look at the sun without eye protection, it's probably OK to shoot. Although the partially-silvered mirror reflects only a portion of the image to the viewfinder, it can be enough to damage the eye on a bright day, a neutral desity filter will help reduce the risks.

There do not seem to be a lot of threads/posts on this, but there are risks and caution is advised.

To make it easier to go to the threads I posted that do not work, I converted the links to Tiny URLs that should work with a mouse click.
http://tiny.cc/b5SWi
http://tiny.cc/Woa34
http://tiny.cc/doFAH

Best regards,
Doug
--
http://pbase.com/dougj

ChaseCar New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

Doug J wrote:

In addition to protection for your eyes, there are occasional threads concerning sun damage to cameras. Rather than reposting everything in these threads, I suggest you review them. You can shoot the sun, but be aware of the cautions and protect yourself and the camera, some of the actual experiences can help.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/620065
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27846965
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27166548
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27844485

Thank you Doug for actually answering the question.  It's refreshing that someone can answer the 'actual' question which was; will shooting the sun damage the camera lens or sensor? Many answers were advice about the dangers of sun and not answering the question.  Again, thank you!

beagle1 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,214
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

ominglee wrote:

Hi, anyone knows if using a DSLR to shoot the sun, or using liveview and point to the sun, will that burn the sensor? OR is the photoelectric diode inside the sensor already limited the maximum electric current so that it won't be the case?

To me this saying is such a "urban legend"; never ever seen this before but heard ppl saying this all the time. Any input appreciated (especially more scientific explanation)

I'm thinking if you point the camera directly at the sun during midday you will get overexposure and could burn a few pixels on the sensor (but I've never tried it)

Janoch
Janoch Veteran Member • Posts: 4,327
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

ChaseCar wrote:

Doug J wrote:

In addition to protection for your eyes, there are occasional threads concerning sun damage to cameras. Rather than reposting everything in these threads, I suggest you review them. You can shoot the sun, but be aware of the cautions and protect yourself and the camera, some of the actual experiences can help.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/620065
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27846965
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27166548
http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=27844485

Thank you Doug for actually answering the question. It's refreshing that someone can answer the 'actual' question which was; will shooting the sun damage the camera lens or sensor? Many answers were advice about the dangers of sun and not answering the question. Again, thank you!

A very, very good reason to revive a seven year old thread.... excellent job!

 Janoch's gear list:Janoch's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +2 more
cookedraw
cookedraw Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

ominglee wrote:

Hi, anyone knows if using a DSLR to shoot the sun, or using liveview and point to the sun, will that burn the sensor? OR is the photoelectric diode inside the sensor already limited the maximum electric current so that it won't be the case?

To me this saying is such a "urban legend"; never ever seen this before but heard ppl saying this all the time. Any input appreciated (especially more scientific explanation)

a camera sensor is very similar to a solar panel, creates an electrical charge from light.

It is not a coincidence that solar panels and camera sensors are very good these days.

My guess is that it is a myth.

People also say that standard size SDcard is better than MicroSd and adapter, but I have used MicroSD for years and never had a problem.

-- hide signature --

" Use the shutter button on the headset cord " - Leonardo Da Vinci

Janoch
Janoch Veteran Member • Posts: 4,327
Re: Shooting the sun--will that burn the sensor?

Erhh...

Our friend 'ominglee' had two posts ever on dpReview.

Last one was 2748 days ago.

I doubt, you'll hear anything from him.

 Janoch's gear list:Janoch's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F4G ED VR +2 more
gordonpritchard Veteran Member • Posts: 4,157
Here's two shots of the Sun

And my camera and eye survived...

Transit of Venus (The big black dot is Venus)

 gordonpritchard's gear list:gordonpritchard's gear list
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Sony SLT-A57 Sony a77 II Sony 500mm F8 Reflex Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
Dave
Dave Veteran Member • Posts: 4,742
Re: Here's two shots of the Sun

gordonpritchard wrote:

And my camera and eye survived...

Transit of Venus (The big black dot is Venus)

Very nice, Gordon.  May I ask what filter (if any) you used and whether you journeyed to Point Venus to capture the image?

 Dave's gear list:Dave's gear list
Canon PowerShot S20 Canon PowerShot S5 IS Canon PowerShot G6 Canon PowerShot SX40 HS Canon EOS 80D +7 more
gordonpritchard Veteran Member • Posts: 4,157
Re: Here's two shots of the Sun

Dave wrote:

gordonpritchard wrote:

And my camera and eye survived...

Transit of Venus (The big black dot is Venus)

Very nice, Gordon. May I ask what filter (if any) you used and whether you journeyed to Point Venus to capture the image?

The sun photo was taken with my Sony a57 & Sony 18-250mm using a 1000x ND filter. I composed the shot looking at the LCD on the back of the camera. It was shot from my backyard in Victoria BC Canada.

The shot of the sun and cruise ship was taken with the same camera setup but no ND filter just a standard clear lens protector filter. Again composed with the rear LCD screen.

-- hide signature --
 gordonpritchard's gear list:gordonpritchard's gear list
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Sony SLT-A57 Sony a77 II Sony 500mm F8 Reflex Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads