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05-24-2012, 10:01 PM   #1
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So I use the camera to view the eclipse

Hey guys, I didn't know there was going to be an annular eclipse so I tried to find some filters and viewing glasses at the last minute and wasn't able to do so. I decided to use the LiveView feature on the K-5 to view it to see if I could see anything. I know the sun can damage my eyes viewing it directly, so I used the camera's LiveView feature.

Now I read that the sun can also damage the camera :/ (I found out while I'm searching for information on upcoming Venus thing). I must have pointed the camera directly at the sun for about 30 seconds continuously a couple of times. I don't see any damage to the camera as far as I can tell ... should I be worry or the potential damage to camera posted on the internet is just not that accurate?

05-24-2012, 10:05 PM   #2
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High intensity light can damage camera sensors. An extreme example are laser light shows - you can search on YouTube for these where people have used their Canon DSLR to video record a dance party. As the lasers pass over the camera a white band appears in the video - essentially a line of dead light sensors.

It occurs immediately though and I imagine it would be the same with the sun - if you damaged your sensor you would know already.
05-24-2012, 10:49 PM   #3
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Damage to the camera itself is less likely than damage to the lens. The danger is overheating the epoxy that binds compound elements together. The risk increases proportionally (I'm using that term very loosely here) as the focal length of the lens increases; for lenses shorter than 600mm the risk is very low.
05-24-2012, 11:24 PM   #4
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Yes, if the sensor was damaged, you would notice right away. And if you used a short lens, no problem. This recent annular eclipse was my first heliogrtaphy. I had my K20D pointed at Sol for about 1.5 hours with LiveView on most of the time, behind about 900mm of optics -- and a 950nm IR filter up front, to make photography possible. Next time, I'll use a SolarFilm filter. And I'll put that filter in front of a long mirror lens, not in the rear filter pocket. That's so heat is reflected away, not trapped inside the tube where its guts can overheat.

Look in the front of your camera manual. You'll see many warnings about operating temperatures and other hazards, but nothing about not aiming the camera at Sol.

05-24-2012, 11:53 PM   #5
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i can see with a laser, but am doubtful of any ill effects from that distant ball of gas in space we call Sun. I for one shoot plenty of sunrises and sunsets with the camera trained on the sun the entire time, no filters. perhaps a lesser camera struggles with this but i would have to see evidence that the K5 cannot handle it.
...the sun may have been responsible for my lens release button popping off, however.
05-25-2012, 09:29 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone ... the only thing I have to check is the lens release button lol.

How many stops on a neutral density filter is needed to take picture of the sun with the shape of the eclipse? I see the highest it goes on B&H is 13 stops (density 4.0), but I want a variable one so I can use on something else too and that only goes to 8.6 stops.
05-25-2012, 01:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrbrightside Quote
How many stops on a neutral density filter is needed to take picture of the sun with the shape of the eclipse?
This eclipse is over, but there will be more. Unless Sol goes nova first. I hate when that happens.

You do NOT want just an ND filter when pointing a camera at Sol for any length of time. ND filters block visible light but not IR (infrared) and maybe not UV (ultraviolet), so the interior of the lens and camera may overheat. Don't melt the lens!

Best would be a SolarFilm filter on the front of the lens. This reflects radiation throughout the EMF (electromagnetic) spectrum, including UV and IR. Second-best would be a 900-950-1000nm IR-pass filter. I used a 950nm filter for this eclipse, as I mentioned above. One problem: IR-pass filters reduce image resolution, because only 1/4 of the pixels on the camera sensor record anything. A SolarFilm filter won't have that lossy effect.
05-26-2012, 01:38 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
High intensity light can damage camera sensors. An extreme example are laser light shows - you can search on YouTube for these where people have used their Canon DSLR to video record a dance party. As the lasers pass over the camera a white band appears in the video - essentially a line of dead light sensors.
If it's intense enough to burn out sensors, why isn't it intense enough to burn out eyes?

05-26-2012, 02:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisA Quote
If it's intense enough to burn out sensors, why isn't it intense enough to burn out eyes?
It is, from temporary dazzling to permanent damage.

WARNING: Do not look into laser with remaining eye.
05-26-2012, 09:31 PM   #10
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lol, thanks. I'll look for some viewing glasses and solar film for the Venus transit coming up ... don't think it'll be as good as the eclipse though :/
05-26-2012, 10:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrbrightside Quote
lol, thanks. I'll look for some viewing glasses and solar film for the Venus transit coming up ... don't think it'll be as good as the eclipse though :/
Venus transits happen in pairs; last one was just a few years ago. Next pair won't be for over 100 years. Were many scopes and cameras aimed at that most recent transit. Have you seen the pictures? A wee tiny black dot against the huge solar disc. Or multiple shots, with a trail of wee tiny black dots. Sol does not have a big chunk bitten out of it, or a ring of fire. Just those wee tiny black dots.

Sunspot photography is even worse. In the amateur shoots I've seen, they're about indistinguishable from dust on the sensor. And neither SolarFilm nor fairly deep IR filters (like the one I used for the eclipse shoot) show flares, CMEs, Sol's surface roiling, none of that -- those require MUCH more expensive filters.

I shot the eclipse with 900mm of optics (300mm lens with 3x TC) and a 950mm IR filter. Were I to attempt to shoot the upcoming transit, I'd use 2000mm of optics (1000mm mirror with 2x TC) and SolarFilm. But here we have hail, rain, snow, thick clouds, and generally bad vibes coming up, so I'll just watch others show their shots online. A guy's gotta know his limitations, eh?
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