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Thread: Shooting the Sun

  1. #1

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    Pavel

    Shooting the Sun

    Good afternoon,

    What will happen if I try looking at the Sun through a viewfinder? Will my retina be burnt by focused sunlight? My friend insists that nothing will happen since there is build-in protection. Can I trust him? Honestly I do not want tj experiment too much since I have only two attempts. Thank you in advance.

    Best Regards,
    Pavel Murtishchev

  2. #2

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    Andre Burger

    Re: Shooting the Sun

    Pavel is he friend or foe? Not good advice to shoot the sun without proper filters and eye protection.
    You want to replace the sensor on your camera?


    Better try a very very large Can(n)on.

  3. #3
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    I rather suspect your friend is referring to either a point & shoot, vdeo camera or mirrorless design, rather than a DSLR, where the sunlight would be directed at the sensor rather than the viewers eyeball.

    My video camera comes with a warning to not point the lens directly at the sunlight. I know of at least one case where a video camera sensor was ruined by exactly what your friend is proposing is safe; and this was done accidently, not on purpose. You are essentially pointing a highly accurate magnifying glass at a piece of sensitive electronics or the photographer's eyeball. Not a good plan for either the eye or the camera.

  4. #4
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    Although there are times when the sun is suficiently subduded that you can safely point a camera at it, such as during a sunrise or sunset, the safest approach would be to never point any focusing device, including your eyes, directly at the sun.

    Besides, what kind of an image would you expect to capture while burning a hole in the camera's sensor, or your eye's retna for that matter?

  5. #5

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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    There are pros and cons to doing this. If you are viewing the image directly as hrough a DSLR type viewfinder I would not. The safe way is to project the image onto something and look at that for composition and focus. If you are viewing by a LCD, 'live view' I believe it is fairly safe because you are viewing the reconstruction created by the camera rather than the actual sun. I too know of a very worried TV cameraman way back who broke the rules and filmed the sun and it took some time before his sensor became usable again. I also knew a TV film cameraman who was off work with eye damage for a couple of weeks after he tracked a solar eclipse for his station.
    So basically it is a case of knowing what you are doing with you gear. I placed a Wratten 87 [IR filter passing not visible light] and shot an eclipse with a live view camera oak because I figured the camera would not hurt my eye as it showed me the sun in IR.
    In general I avoid including the naked sun in any photo as the contrast range is too great and try to hide it wholly or partly behind something ... cloud, lamppost etc.

  6. #6

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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    Google" Baader solar film". Its used to allow viewing of the sun through binoculars or a telescope safely. Basically it is installed over the camera lens and blocks out a lot of the light. Specifically it filters IR light which would damage either your camera or you.

    HTH

  7. #7
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanC View Post
    Specifically it filters IR light which would damage either your camera or you.
    I think you mean UV, not IR. IR is harmless, UV are the high energy wavelengths that cause sunburn, damage your eyes and your sensor.

  8. #8
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    I would say there is a fair chance of damaging the sensor in the camera if there isn't some severe filtering in front of the lens - faster the aperture the worse it will be. Camera lenses behave much like a magnifying glass when used to burn paper. They make the image much smaller which will also increases the energy. When the sun is low in the sky and can be looked at directly without any problems it may be ok but if say a telephoto was used and it filled the frame your eye will be getting a lot more light and you could suffer as a result. Probably best to try f22 carefully and only when the sun can be looked at directly.

    The solar film mentioned is effectively a very severe neutral density filter that also reflects heat away - that aspect, the heat is just as important as the light it reflects.

    John

  9. #9
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    It is a really risky business, but I can't help it. It is true that the sun focussed on the sensor long enough will burn a hole in it, but I worked down a bit at a time. Even so mistakes happen, and from mistakes I know 1/30 is alright in winter; a cold sun.

    It is just a madness I think I've cured myself from, hopefully.

    Shooting the Sun

  10. #10
    Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    I wouldn't point my lens directly at the sun, but then for a cracker like Steve,s (above) I might give it a try!
    Fine image Steve, is it HDR (doesn't look like it)? How did you manage the exposure ?
    Phil

  11. #11
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the Sun

    Yes it was HDR Philip, thanks for saying it is a cracker; I really appreciate it.

    Sequence: {CRW_0015.CRW: TV=0.000310, AV=10.0, Bias=0.0} {CRW_0016.CRW: TV=0.000620, AV=10.0, Bias=0.0} {CRW_0017.CRW: TV=0.001239, AV=10.0, Bias=0.0}

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