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Old December 19th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #1
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Air Travel, CCD, Dead Pixel prevention

It has been confirmed to me by a camera tech that you have to be careful of dead pixels from the radiation when flying.

What do most of you do when flying with CCD cameras to protect the sensors?
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Old December 19th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Nothing. The level of radiation needed to cause trouble to cameras would cause serious trouble to you, the crew and all the others in the plane.

Same deal with security xray scanners, be happy don't worry.

Cheers.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 03:01 PM   #3
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I usually do a few black balances when I arrive, including the ones where you hold the switch down for ages...

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Old December 19th, 2010, 10:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Nothing. The level of radiation needed to cause trouble to cameras would cause serious trouble to you, the crew and all the others in the plane.
Same deal with security xray scanners, be happy don't worry.
Cheers.
Sorry, but you're wrong. It's a known problem and is discussed here by top people in the business:
Pixel Still Stuck
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Old December 20th, 2010, 02:25 AM   #5
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Ever been to a doctor making a Xray picture? Have a look at the plates they use to shield other parts off. Or see the wests they wear to avoid the Xrays impact their own bodies.

Xray and cosmic parts are agressive and small....

Placing the camera in a lead would be a way - but not practical.

The best way is to avoid unnecessary Xrays (usually the security people dont ask you to place the camera in their Xray) and take the camera into the cabin.

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Old December 20th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #6
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Thank you Doug,

I knew it was a known problem and was waiting for someone experienced enough to help me out.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 08:13 AM   #7
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I guess with 10 round trip flights planned in the next four months I will use ground to ship the camera.

There are a few sites that discuss this and of course the skeptics.

It happened to me when I sold my F800 this year. The camera was perfect when sent, Black Balance checked and nice dark screen. When it arrived in CA from RI after being shipped by FedEx air it had 4 white pixels. Sure it could be fixed for $250 and hours with pixel remapping, but why deal with it if you donít have too. And believe me this is no reason to go CMOS over CCD. CCD is much better for the applications where I use the PMW-500.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 03:19 PM   #8
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Guys I stand corrected, in 15yrs on forums first I've ever heard of this.

Uli, my cams are always required to go through airport scanners around the world, so far without trouble.

Cheers.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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Allan,

No worry the fact that you have not had to deal with it is a good thing. I did not know until I had a problem. So I felt it was time to look for solutions and options. And the option I have found are take the risk or ground ship. From what I read even lead will not stop it.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #10
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It's not the X-Ray scanners at the airport that do the damage, it is high energy neutrons from cosmic rays that can lead to bright pixels. It would take something like 200m (600ft) thick concrete or many feet of lead to have any noticeable protective effect. Some of these particles can pass right the way through the earth. So it's not practical to try to shield the sensor. The potential for damage is worst on north polar routes as the earths magnetic field concentrates cosmic rays in the northern polar regions. Transatlantic flights and flights between Europe and Japan use very northerly routes and can be amongst the most likely to incur damage. In this case a single 12 hour flight is the equivalent of around 100 days at sea level in terms of the potential for pixel damage.

Sony now no longer ship cameras or sensors using polar flights. I've experienced hot pixels after transatlantic flights on many occasions, but have always been able to use the cameras masking functions to eliminate them. The same particles can cause problems with memory chips, but in most cases these are not permanent.

The sensor element of a CMOS chip can also be effected by cosmic rays, but they do tend to be a bit more robust and the way a CMOS sensor is read means that any damage may be less apparent.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #11
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Nice summary Alister of the information explained in Doug’s link and a few other sites I have found on the subject.

The high energy neutrons from cosmic rays can pass right through us. They use CCD to count the high energy neutrons from cosmic rays.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:25 PM   #12
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It's funny how airplane electronics, mobile phones, laptops and cameras carried by tourists do not suffer the effects of cosmic rays but CCDs do! If a cosmic ray decides to wreck havoc, there's nothing that man has invented that can prevent that. Even power grids and telecommunications go out when that happens. It could affect you even when you're shooting on location. And, lead isn't going to cut it for cosmic rays.

Never had a problem flying with gear and the chances of electronics (including CCDs or CMOS) getting spoiled due to cosmic rays or radiation are far lower than the chances of the car carrying the camera on ground getting totalled by a freight train, or the camera being struck by lightning.

What can one do? Remove the camera battery and always ensure everything is switched off in transit. Use a case with antistatic material. This won't help stop radiation, but it will prevent the camera and case from creating its own magnetic field. A Metal case also helps in keeping the camera electrically isolated.
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Last edited by Sareesh Sudhakaran; December 20th, 2010 at 10:26 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old December 21st, 2010, 01:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
Never had a problem flying with gear and the chances of electronics (including CCDs or CMOS) getting spoiled due to cosmic rays or radiation are far lower than the chances of the car carrying the camera on ground getting totalled by a freight train, or the camera being struck by lightning.

What can one do? Remove the camera battery and always ensure everything is switched off in transit. Use a case with antistatic material. This won't help stop radiation, but it will prevent the camera and case from creating its own magnetic field. A Metal case also helps in keeping the camera electrically isolated.
That's not true. Sensor damage due to cosmic radiation is quite common. I've seen it many times on my own cameras. On the ground you can expect a pixel hit between about once a year and once every 100 days. It's just that the cameras pixel masking, some of which is fully automatic will do it's job and hide the damaged pixels. I chase storms driving 40,000 miles a year and I don't get struck by lightning that frequently or get involved in train or car wrecks.

Removing the battery, a metal case, antistatic bag etc make no difference whatsoever.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 06:27 AM   #14
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I am with Alister, Sareesh you are not correct in your statement. It happens all the time and is a common problem.
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; December 21st, 2010 at 07:35 AM.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 06:29 AM   #15
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I know what I am going to do to protect my CCD. Take the risk if I need to and if not ship on the ground.
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Last edited by Paul Cronin; December 21st, 2010 at 07:35 AM.
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