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02-03-2012, 10:00 AM   #1
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Shooting the Sun?

This is more of a general mirrorless question than a specific K-01 question, but the K-01's release is what brought it to my mind. Normally you want to avoid long exposures with the sun in them, bad things happen to the sensor. Since there is usually a mirror and shutter between the sun and the sensor except for the brief moment you're taking a picture, this isn't normally a problem. But on mirrorless cameras you're gonna be exposing the sensor for the entire duration of composition plus the actually exposure. Has this been a problem yet for anyone or are mirrorless cameras smart enough to stop down enough to prevent it?

02-04-2012, 12:18 PM   #2
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Bumping because I'd like to know this too - it's an important consideration if you take a lot of backlit landscape photos.
07-22-2012, 04:46 AM   #3
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Bump because I'm perhaps too afraid to try this one.

I'm almost tempted to place a stack of N/D filters onto the front of a lens or perhaps even see if there are solar filter available in sizes for some of the Pentax lens'
07-22-2012, 05:29 AM   #4
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I dont know what you mean by "bad things happen to the sensor" as I'm completely new to landscape photography and plan on picking a ND filter up, but here are some shots I took pointed straight at the sun with K-01...










07-22-2012, 06:19 AM   #5
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Well technically when it's that low on the horizon - probably no damage or very little would occur. If that were taken a half hour further up on the horizon it wouldn't take long for the sun to permenantly damage most any digital sensor.

So with the Pentax K-01 as an example... Without costly add ons that model would not be the ideal choice for pics of the sun.

Sure one could add an optical finder and then cover the lens/sensor until the optimal time and really gamble at it. But since the K-01 is showing the screen image of basically exactly what the sensor sees - then that sun could also easily damage the sensor. Whereas it would be better ideally to photogaph sunrise/sunset with a dslr; because the sensor is blocked out by both a mirror and shutter.

But then again there's also all of the warnings about photographing the sun; as clearly demonstrated in almost all digital camera user manuals. That even most medical doctors would only suggest looking at (or photographing) the sun using a professional quality solar filter, but... It is also to my undertanding that most solar filters are almost tailored to telescope use and not true photography using a non-telescope.

I'll have to see if I can locate a link of a place that sells a type of solar filter for use as a front end filter; or perhaps in lens tray filter. Until then i'll take a few chances perhaps and extensivelt stack a bunch of N/D's also reducing the optical quality drastically
07-22-2012, 06:46 AM   #6
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no idea to the amount off damage toexpect.
07-22-2012, 01:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
Well technically when it's that low on the horizon - probably no damage or very little would occur. If that were taken a half hour further up on the horizon it wouldn't take long for the sun to permenantly damage most any digital sensor.

So with the Pentax K-01 as an example... Without costly add ons that model would not be the ideal choice for pics of the sun.

Sure one could add an optical finder and then cover the lens/sensor until the optimal time and really gamble at it. But since the K-01 is showing the screen image of basically exactly what the sensor sees - then that sun could also easily damage the sensor. Whereas it would be better ideally to photogaph sunrise/sunset with a dslr; because the sensor is blocked out by both a mirror and shutter.

But then again there's also all of the warnings about photographing the sun; as clearly demonstrated in almost all digital camera user manuals. That even most medical doctors would only suggest looking at (or photographing) the sun using a professional quality solar filter, but... It is also to my undertanding that most solar filters are almost tailored to telescope use and not true photography using a non-telescope.

I'll have to see if I can locate a link of a place that sells a type of solar filter for use as a front end filter; or perhaps in lens tray filter. Until then i'll take a few chances perhaps and extensivelt stack a bunch of N/D's also reducing the optical quality drastically
oh thats what you guys mean, is that it would actually cause damage to the camera, crazy didnt know that, I guess good to know than...
07-23-2012, 04:54 AM   #8
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With a film slr camera; even if one left the shutter open long enough the sun would only melt the film somewhat.

With a digital camera the sun would be hitting a sensor that's always there. Not sure how well protected the sensors are outside of some limited dust protection, but... The sun could very well permenantly damage a sensor in a fraction of a second. The K-01 would be effected more than (say) the K5; due to the K-01 not being a dslr - and if one is using the K-01 and already looking a the screen to compose the shot - that one is already seeing what the sensor is

07-23-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
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Some caution is wise

I researched this issue at the time of the solar eclipse and transit of Venus in May.

Images of the eclipse shot through a telescope with a naked eye-safe mylar filter, and the same filter was used with most of the Venus transit - shooting directly at around 420mm.

As the sun was near the horizon during the transit, shooting through wildfire haze, I felt is was safe to quickly shoot directly with no filter (I didn't have screw on filters to fit the 77mm thread).
No damage to the sensor, but I don't think I would risk that on a clearer day. And, the shots were taken quite quickly with the use of a monopod. I really wanted that horizon transit shot (no more coming this century), so I thought it was worth the gamble - and it caused no damage - no dead pixels.


Solar Eclipse over Pueblo mesa - James Robins - Powered by Phanfare
Transit of Venus 2012 - James Robins - Powered by Phanfare

My rule of thumb is that if you can comfortably glance at a colorful (hazy) sunset for a couple seconds with your naked eye, your sensor should be able to withstand a quick, magnified shot of the same. However, a bright, uneventful sunset would not be worth risk unless perhaps you were shooting with a wide angle lens.

Jim
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