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Old June 23rd, 2006, 06:05 PM   #1
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Can one damage the HD100 with the sun?

This is perhaps an odd question, and maybe not one that is specific to this camera:

I am shooting B-roll for a film that needs images of the sun, and was this morning shooting the sun through leaves blowing in the wind. I noticed that when I do everything I can to reduce light -- stop down, ND2, shutter speed 1/10000 -- I could see a strange irregularity just before closing the aperture completely. Alarmingly, it looks rather like what film looks like as it melts when kept in front of the projector lamp for too long. This somewhat panicked me:

Am I damaging the chips or some other optical element by shooting directly into the sun? Is it possible to damage a video camera in general, or this camera in particular, by doing this? Coming from film, where this is not possible, it is not something I ever considered.

Any information on this score would be appreciated -- especially the injunction that I'm being needlessly paranoid!
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Old June 24th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #2
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Good question Robert,

I too have wondered the same thing.

I'm sure some of the Pros here will help us out. You're going to love this place. Lots of info.

By the way paranoid is sometimes a good thing!

Welcome aboard,

Tom
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Old June 24th, 2006, 07:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Schaller
This is perhaps an odd question, and maybe not one that is specific to this camera:

I am shooting B-roll for a film that needs images of the sun, and was this morning shooting the sun through leaves blowing in the wind. I noticed that when I do everything I can to reduce light -- stop down, ND2, shutter speed 1/10000 -- I could see a strange irregularity just before closing the aperture completely. Alarmingly, it looks rather like what film looks like as it melts when kept in front of the projector lamp for too long. This somewhat panicked me:

Am I damaging the chips or some other optical element by shooting directly into the sun? Is it possible to damage a video camera in general, or this camera in particular, by doing this? Coming from film, where this is not possible, it is not something I ever considered.
Any information on this score would be appreciated -- especially the injunction that I'm being needlessly paranoid!

You can shoot the sun, just be very careful with the iris, and do not shoot it with the iris wide open.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #4
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i was always told NEVER to shoot the sun. Can someone confirm with some further articulation?
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Old June 24th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amos Kim
i was always told NEVER to shoot the sun. Can someone confirm with some further articulation?

If I was going to do it, I would use the LCD monitor and NOT the viewfinder eyepiece.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amos Kim
i was always told NEVER to shoot the sun. Can someone confirm with some further articulation?
No, shooting the Sun would leave us in an icy blackness that would destroy all life on Earth... <g>
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Old June 24th, 2006, 07:57 PM   #7
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Focussing the sun onto anything is a quick way to fry it, even EVFs can get damaged. I'd put as much ND in front of the lens as possible rather than rely on fast shutter and irising down. Faster shutter speeds are not reducing the amount of energy hitting the imager, irising down is helping however then the iris itself is copping a lot of energy.
Bear in mind that sunlight contains a lot of invisible UV and IR energy that may get through the lens. Also due to the different wavelengths I haven't a clue as to where that energy is being concentrated. If it was my camera I'd be taking all possible precautions.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 08:08 PM   #8
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shooting the sun should not hurt your camera if:

you shoot with a LONG lens. This spreads the image out. shooting with a wide angle will concentrate the sun image to a point, which concentrates the energy to a small point. that said, you need a lot of ND to shoot the sun, and one option is to get a peice of dark glass from an ARC welder's shield. they sell replacements for like $10 and in several grades, get the middle or darkest one. With this in front of the lens ( tape it to the lens shade ), you should be in good shape. i've done this to shoot a few eclipses with my old camera.

AFA as the viewfinder thing. The concern is that the lens will concentrate the sun into a small image and burn the LCD. thats it. as far as shooting, it doesn't matter if you use the VF or the external LCD... same thing. with still cameras, you would directly view the light from the lens to your eye, in which case a great deal of care needs to be taken. Again, a wide anlge lens poses the most risk since it concentrates the image to the smallest point. Remeber being a kid and using a magnification glass, big image did nothing, smallest point would burn.

above all, use common sense and be carefull.

Steve Oakley
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley
AFA as the viewfinder thing. The concern is that the lens will concentrate the sun into a small image and burn the LCD. thats it. as far as shooting, it doesn't matter if you use the VF or the external LCD...

You missed my point. Irrespective of focused intensity, looking directly at the sun whether with a bare eye or through a lens can damage the biology of the eye. Retinal nerves, rods and cones, internal lens tissue, the whole nine yards. And even with a long lens on the camera, looking through the viewvinder will give that eye a nice strong dose of UV even on a cloudy day. Don't do it if you don't have to, and with an LCD monitor on board, you don't have to. That was MY point.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:35 PM   #10
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Thank you all for the information. I hope I haven't damaged it already -- I'll get some more ND glass for the lens in the future. This was not anything I ever thought to consider, since it wasn't an issue on film. New tools, new rules!

If damage did occur, what would it look like? How would I know?

Thanks again,

Robert Schaller
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Old June 24th, 2006, 11:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Knapp
You missed my point. Irrespective of focused intensity, looking directly at the sun whether with a bare eye or through a lens can damage the biology of the eye. Retinal nerves, rods and cones, internal lens tissue, the whole nine yards. And even with a long lens on the camera, looking through the viewvinder will give that eye a nice strong dose of UV even on a cloudy day. Don't do it if you don't have to, and with an LCD monitor on board, you don't have to. That was MY point.
um... the HD100, as do all video cameras, you aren't looking through the lens in the viewfinder, its a LCD, or CRT for other cameras. there is no risk here.

its only with SLR still cameras (digital or film) and 8/16/35mm movie cameras that you are sighting through the lens, and therefore any chance of eye damage rests only with those cameras.

Steve Oakley
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Old June 25th, 2006, 10:31 AM   #12
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I have never heard of damage to a CCD camera caused by shooting the sun. Viewing the image is like watching it on TV - if it's properly exposed, there is no danger.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 12:19 PM   #13
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I agree - you cannot damage your eyes looking at the sun through your viewfinder or the LCD - even if completely over exposed, you are only exposing your eyes to the maximum amount of light those electronic imagers can generate - it's harmless.
Looking directly at the sun through any kind of SLR or film camera with an optical viewfinder is dangerous without adequate protection.
Certainly on the old tube cameras you could damage them with any prolonged exposure to any bright source. CCD's seem to be more prone to gamma length radiation (ie that experienced at high altitude in an aircraft) - no doubt prolonged overexposure to high UV could damage them, but ND'd down correctly and with a single UV filter should be fine. All CCD cameras already have an infra red filter (sometimes removable for night vision) because of the colour cast this wavelength causes.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stephen Knapp
And even with a long lens on the camera, looking through the viewvinder will give that eye a nice strong dose of UV even on a cloudy day.
Video cameras don't have reflex viewfinders. It's an LCD in there. Looks like someone's a bit too used to shooting film.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 06:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephan Ahonen
Video cameras don't have reflex viewfinders. It's an LCD in there. Looks like someone's a bit too used to shooting film.

You're absolutely right, on both counts. I just opened up one on a Sony DXC, and sure enough it was just an eyepiece to a small LCD monitor. I stand corrected.
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