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Thread: sensor effects from very long exposures?

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    sensor effects from very long exposures?

    I've heard it said that very long exposures (>30 min? hours?) may cause sensor damage, possibly due to heat buildup in the sensor. On the other hand, I have seen star-trail photos which clearly used extremely long exposures. Can anyone comment?

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    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: sensor effects from very long exposures?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanK View Post
    Can anyone comment?
    I'll comment ...

    ... It's my understanding that the "heat build up thing" is just someones "sound good theory". It's never been a problem with my long exposures.

    What MAY be more of an issue is where the likes of Liveview is used, and the data is constantly being clocked out; can't speak for Nikon, but Canon have an over-heat protection mechanism built in for this circumstance.

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    Re: sensor effects from very long exposures?

    I can vouch for Canon's over-heat protection... at least in the 7D. Though I've scoured my manual several times to find it without any luck (which doesn't necessarily mean it isn't there as I am sometimes horrible for plainly overlooking things), I have indeed seen a red thermometer icon appear on my Live-View screen once. Granted that was while the unit was sealed in an Ikelite dive housing, and I was using Live-View + a lot of macro focus seeking + IS. Once I saw the thermometer, I shutdown the camera and let it sit for a while, then when I retried it, it was fine and I have never seen that again since (though I never used Live-View while on a dive again).

    - Bill

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    Administrator Colin Southern's Avatar
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    Re: sensor effects from very long exposures?

    From Canon's Tech guru Chuck Westfall: "Long exposures pose no threat to the longevity of Canon's CMOS sensors in EOS Digital SLRs, but they will run the camera's battery down. If the battery voltage falls below a prescribed limit, the camera will shut off and any image data in the buffer memory will be lost."

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    Re: sensor effects from very long exposures?

    Those star trails you mention are in 99% of the cases stacked photos.

    They use alot of pictures taken over 1 or 2 minutes. If you have to leave the camera open for the equivalent amount of time (hours maybe) then something might happen: either your battery won't last so long, or something will be blown out (if you have anything but the sky).
    Easiest way is to stack them

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