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ND question

stevet1
Frequent Contributor

I have a question about the use of a neutral density filter and long exposure photography.

I think I read a while back that light falling on a sensor for an extended period of time can damage your sensor.

 

At what point should I consider using an ND filter? Exposures lasting:

1/10th of a second?

1 second?

30 seconds?

 

Thanks in advance.

Steve Thomas

6 REPLIES 6

rs-eos
Reputable Contributor

The only thing I've ever read about sensor damage is pointing the camera at the sun or other high-intensity light sources.

 

I've had no issues with long exposures at all (45 seconds+)

--
Ricky

EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS

wq9nsc
Respected Contributor

Agree with Ricky that a long exposure to normal lighting won't hurt anything.  That is what happens with mirrorless (and video cameras) which always have their sensor exposed when operating.

 

Lasers are probably the most frequent cause of sensor damage followed by the sun, arc welding, and any other unusually intense lighting sources.

 

I keep a high quality clear filter on all of my smaller lenses to offer some protection for the front element but primarily so that I don't hesitate to wipe them clean/dry during sporting events.  Fortunately the deep lens hood on my big primes (200, 300, and 400) keeps them dry since the front element is so big that there is no provision for using a filter; if there was they would have clear filters also.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

stevet1
Frequent Contributor

@wq9nsc wrote:

Agree with Ricky that a long exposure to normal lighting won't hurt anything. 

 

Lasers are probably the most frequent cause of sensor damage followed by the sun, arc welding, and any other unusually intense lighting sources.

Rodger


Rodger

 

Thanks, and thanks to everyone else.

I was either misinformed, or more likely, misread something I didn't understand at the time.

 

Steve Thomas

wq9nsc
Respected Contributor

Steve,

 

You are welcome!  It is very likely you read something that was wrong because there is plenty of bad information out there.

 

I know two people who got sensor damage from shooting at concerts, laser burn in both cases.  Another made the mistake of setting up some long exposure time lapse and neglected to consider that the camera was going to be aimed directly at the sun late in this unsupervised sequence and the camera was damaged but it took a lot of photos aimed at the sun before it finally gave up so an accidental brief exposure shouldn't hurt anything.

 

But this sort of stuff is rare, just use normal caution and your camera will be fine. 

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

kvbarkley
Honored Contributor

You can possibly overheat the sensor, but the camera will shut off if that happens.

ebiggs1
Forum Elite

"... light falling on a sensor for an extended period of time can damage your sensor."

 

If that was true then videos would be impossible.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!