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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 14th, 2003, 09:17 AM   #1
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X-ray susceptiblity

Now to the next question.

I leave on Thursday for a work trip to Harrisburg, PA. I made the trip last year with a PC-110 and a VX-1000 because you-know-what wasn't working correctly.

The cameras I took last year sailed through security (well, maybe plodded through is more accurate) and suffered no problems.

Have they upped the power of the carry-on luggage scanners since then? A friend, long-term cameraman, and salesman for a local pro shop says that they are seeing many more bright pixels than ever before in pro cameras that are flown to assignments. He actually suggested that I wrap the camera heads in film shield before I get to the x-ray machine.

So. Any information? How many of you have lately flown your cameras around? Any travel tid-bits you'd care to share?
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Old January 14th, 2003, 10:02 AM   #2
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I don't know how the x-rays affect dv cameras or dv tape, but I do know that new regulations passed this past year in the US that up the x-ray strength of all scanners of checked-in baggage.

There were even warnings that came out of the gov't that if you have sensitive material such as photo film, to put it in your carry-on luggage.

Again, I don't know if that has any affect on DV tape and cameras, but if you have film, don't stick it in your checked-in luggage!
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Old January 14th, 2003, 11:14 AM   #3
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I flew to Oakland and back with my PD150 tucked away in my Pelican case and all went well through baggage handling. You could avoid the more powerful x-rays used in baggage by hand carrying the camera, but bring a battery as you will probably be asked to fire it up for the inspector. That would be a better idea than wrapping the heads in foil, IMHO. Something like that would probably flag you.

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Old January 16th, 2003, 04:26 AM   #4
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Microelectronic circuits, including CCD imagers are known to get degraded/deteriorated by heavy ion strikes in space applications. X-ray equips as used in airports don't generate those particles...however, depending on the applied strength they can cause ionization dammage and unwanted thermomechanical effects. Ionisation can cause leakage currents in the CCD photodiodes, and this means damaged(dead) pixels. I have no idea how strong (KeV) those sources are... Also the total dose (Mrads), thus the number of "deep screens" affects the potential dammage. Because this phenmenon also relates to technology details, only the manufacturer could give the right info. It would be good, in the mean time, that frequent flyers keep an eye on dead pixel evolutions and report here.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 11:15 AM   #5
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I've had a chance to evaluate the camera and tape after multiple trips through the airport scanners.

I can report that, at least for the flights I took, there were no bad effects that I can detect.

The new security proceedures were a bit strange. In one case they swiped the camera bag inside and out and scanned the cloth. In the other, they ignored the cameras completely. They opened my checked luggage on the outbound leg because I had a tripod and tripod dolly inside. Left me a note inside to commemorate the opening. Ignored the case on the inbound leg.

Go figure.
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 12:33 PM   #6
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Mike did you check for dead pixels by putting the lensdop on, setting the shutter time as long as possible (1/6sec?) and +9db gain-up? No "stars" visible?
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 06:57 PM   #7
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I hadn't but I just did.

1/4 sec shutter, 18 dB gain. No dead pixels. Just the random noise one would expect.
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 04:59 PM   #8
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Two weeks ago I flew from Orange County (California) to Vancouver by way of Seattle for a ski trip. I carried my GL2 in a Kata bag. In Orange Country they took me aside for a check of my bag because they could not identify the wide angle lens through the scanner. No problem with batteries, etc. The lady was very polite and efficient. Seattle suffered a security breach (and my connnecting flight was cancelled) so we had to go outside and check in at a different airline along with the others on our flight and the Seattle folks checking in. My camera went through the handcarry process without any questions asked. Leaving Vancouver the Canadian agent looked at my wide angle but that was all. Moral of the story: if there is any, each airport is different and each airport personnel is, too. The one thing all had in common was they all reiterated that the scanner would not damage anything in my camera bag.
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Old January 26th, 2003, 01:21 PM   #9
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A friend, long-term cameraman, and salesman for a local pro shop says that they are seeing many more bright pixels than ever before in pro cameras that are flown to assignments.


Please don't <b>laugh</b> but the OZONE layer, at certain altitudes on plane flights. actually effect the ccd block causing dead pixels. NIKON now sends their digital still cameras via ground delivery. My friend just contacted them as he had two dead pixels in a new camera. LOU
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Old August 26th, 2005, 12:55 AM   #10
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"Please don't <b>laugh</b> but the OZONE layer, at certain altitudes on plane flights"

I just sent my JVC GY-DV5100 in for services, 4 dead pixels the camera is only 6 months old. Talked to the tech and he said the same thing (the OZONE layer, at certain altitudes on plane flights) if you travel over seas changes are the flight plan will take you close to the north pole making it easer for ion strikes from the atmosphere to damage your CCD. I have traveled over seas 3 time this year w/my GY-DV5100. Is this why I now have 4 dead pixels? The tech seems to think so... or is it the x-ray at the airport? or both?

So what do I do now? Take the boat? Rap the camera in led? Go back to film? Not traveling, is not an option... some one has to have an answer.

-patrick
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Old August 27th, 2005, 06:58 AM   #11
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I work at a nuclear power plant and we use video cameras extensivley for monitoring high radiation areas to keep personnel from having to enter. Cameras in these areas don't last long. It usually takes only one to two years before the cameras ccds have been bombarded by enough gamma radiation to produce an image covered with brightly colored dots from dead pixels. The first dead pixel can show up within a matter of days. These cameras are exposed to moderate radiation levels of 2 to 8 rem/hour of mostly 6 MeV N-16 gamma radiation 24 hours a day 7 days a week. An X-ray is basically just a lower energy gamma but in an x-ray machine the radiation levels are much, much higher (for a very short period of time) than they are in the monitored areas in our plant. It's a statistics game. You may have damage the very first time you run it through a machine or maybe not for years but statistically every time you put it through one you increase the chance. The more accumulated exposure your camera recieves the better the chance for noticable image degradation.

I purchased a Nikon D70 in Baltimore over the summer and cringed when I had to put it through the x-ray machine for the trip home.


edit:
Wow, I just noticed this thread was revived from years ago........... Sorry for the late response. :-)
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Old August 27th, 2005, 08:42 AM   #12
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Lamar, if you are at a nuclear powerplant you may know that so called radioactive material radiates (decays) in different ways. One of them are gamma rays. These are electomagnetic waves which do not harm CCD devices at all. That kind of radiation is the only one which is being radiated by X-ray machines (using x-ray tubes...no radioactive material involved) in airports. What harms CCD devices (and may other microelectronic devices if they are not radiation hardened) is the heavy ion radiation (alpha particles) which is present in nuclear plants. Also known as cosmic rays. Living high in the mountains, or close to a poorly shielded powerplant could cause "dead pixels", not x-ray machines in airportds.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 09:19 AM   #13
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Alpha particles cannot penetrate human skin and they won't penetrate the coatings of CCDs let alone the camera housings, etc.

The only thing that is energetic enough to do damage at high altitude are the gammas.

Around the reactor, the Neutron flux might hit the odd component in the CCD and activate it. The decay of that element might emit an alpha or Beta particle that might cause a bit of problem. But I'd think that would be a short term disruption of the CCD.

In all cases, I'd guess the real culprit is the Gamma.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 11:18 AM   #14
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Mike, I never heart that electomagnetic waves (gamma radiation) could damage CCD. I would love to read about gamma radiation destructing semiconductors. Only heavy ions ( belonging to the alpha and beta radiation family)do.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 12:45 PM   #15
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Radiation damage came up in another thread just the other day. Here's my post from that thread:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....05&postcount=7

To add to those comments, in everyday life we and our cameras are not exposed to enough high-energy electromagnetic radiation (EM, eg gamma photons) to worry ourselves about. Alpha particles are low energy and not very penetrating, but much of the GCR is highly energetic and very penetrating.

I'd suppose -- without really studying that particular issue -- that high energy neutrons could also occasionally cause a "hit" to a CCD pixel, eg within a nuclear power plant, albeit at a much lower probability-per-particle than GCR. But then, unless we are at a nuclear facility of some kind, that's not an everyday worry for us, either. Anyway, I'm not so sure that EM in the x-ray and gamma frequencies is a practical concern for our cameras.
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