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could laser light burn CCD ?

bojan hohnjec , Dec 03, 2004; 05:09 p.m.

Hi, I am using EOS 1d & I am asking this because 4 years ago on music festival several cameras were destroyed by laser light used in DJ arena altougth most of them were cheap amateur cameras there were also a few professional tv cameras.Now I was told that the only way for laser to burn the chip is to "hit it" in the angle of 90 degrees is this true ? P.S.(sorry for my English)


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Charlie Vigue , Dec 03, 2004; 05:43 p.m.

How does the laser compare to the brilliance of the sun? People shoot into the sun all the time, no worries.

Bob Atkins , Dec 03, 2004; 05:46 p.m.

I wouldn't have thought that any laser which wasn't powerful enough to blind you could damage a CCD (or CMOS) chip in a camera under normal conditions.

I would hope that lasers powerful enough to blind people wouldn't be directed at people (with or without cameras) at music festivals - or anywhere else.

A powerful laser could certainly destroy a camera sensor. In fact it could punch a hole though it and the camera body.

BTW I worked with lasers powerful enough to drill holes through cameras for many years, so I do have some background knowledge!

I suppose it might be possible for an eye safe laser to damage a sensor if it were static and the light was focused by the lens onto a single spot for a while. One thing about laser light is that it is coherent can be focused down to a diffraction limited spot, so you can get very high intensities over very small areas.

I see no reason for the "90 degree" reasoning. As long as the beam was focused onto the sensor, you could have damage, but you'd have to be looking right down the beam, not seeing scattered light, i.e. the actual beam would have to hit the lens.

grepmat , Dec 03, 2004; 07:54 p.m.

Yes. I've melted tiny craters in CMOS sensors myself with lasers (don't ask!). Unfortunately, club-style lasers are often way too powerful to be safe. Even many laser pointers are too powerful to be safe, despite their ratings. By the way, there is a critical angle beyond which light will reflect from a silicon surface rather than penetrate it. That may be what the person was talking about. Cheers.

Charlie Vigue , Dec 03, 2004; 10:32 p.m.

"I've melted tiny craters in CMOS sensors myself with lasers "

How did you do it? How big was the resulting crater?

Greg Erker , Dec 04, 2004; 12:10 a.m.

Someone on candlepowerforums.com said he damaged his digital camera with a green laser pointer. I think it was one that was tweaked to run above its rated power.


Noboru Wataya , Dec 04, 2004; 02:17 a.m.

That's why they say never to look directly at a laser.

Charlie Vigue , Dec 04, 2004; 11:47 a.m.

Someone elsewhere said purple aliens came down and ate the CCD out of his digital camera, and that the alien expressed a dislike for CMOS. I'll believe both when I see some evidence.

bojan hohnjec , Dec 05, 2004; 04:24 a.m.

Anyone dares to photograph a laser directly with his digital camera & post us pictures? I don't. Do you ?

grepmat , Dec 06, 2004; 12:24 p.m.

Mr. Vigure: I used the NOVA laser at Area 51. It's a football field sized bank of lasers that produce 1337 GigaWatts of power for an instant. All 666 laser banks were focused through a microscope objective at the CMOS sensor. Although the sensor suffered melted craters of roughly 10 micrometers in size, the microscope objective was completely vaporized by the heat of the light. Interestingly, the CMOS sensor still worked more or less normally after all that. O.k., maybe I'm not being entirely honest about this - the true light output of the laser is classified. But in the end, there's likely nothing I could say that would convince someone determined not to believe, and I said not to ask anyway, didn't I. Cheers.

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