Old 09-30-2012, 01:14 AM #1
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Default why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

recently ive been looking around this forum and ive noticed a common theme of shining 500MW- 3W lasers into cameras. i learned that the result is that the camera gets bricked. but what happens specifically that makes this happen? does it Permenantly and irreprably destroy the camera? how accurate do you have to be to get this effect? this is my second post here besides the welcome post, so please explain things i might not yet understand (your patience is VERY much appreceated, lol)


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Old 09-30-2012, 01:35 AM #2
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

A camera sensor typically consists of a huge array of light sensitive areas known as pixels.

The purpose of the lens on the camera is the focus the light down into a small spot on the sensor, so that you can capture a larger field of view on a small sensor.

The same thing happens to laser light - it gets focused down onto the image sensor, and because the power density is so high, it'll burn and destroy the pixels.

You should not see any camera damage as long as you're not pointing the laser INTO the camera.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:42 AM #3
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

It's pretty much the same thing that happens when a high powered laser hits someone in the eye. It destroys either the person's retina or the camera's sensor. Both your retina and a camer'a's sensor do the same thing in that they capture light and convert it to electrical signals that are sent to your brain and the camera's CPU to produce the image we see or that the camera records. The damage to the sensor is permanent but at least unlike your eyeball a camera's sensor can be replaced. It isn't cheap so it's only typically done with more expensive cameras like DSLRs.

A quick youtube search shows several video examples of this happening. This happened to be the first result.

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:20 AM #4
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

So I take it that the white line that showed up in the video is what is supposed to be the damage to the camera's sensor.

So if it could do that to the camera I wonder what it's doing to the people's eyes who are in front of the camera that are even closer to the laser



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A quick youtube search shows several video examples of this happening. This happened to be the first result.

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:27 AM #5
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaminpyro View Post
So if it could do that to the camera I wonder what it's doing to the people's eyes who are in front of the camera that are even closer to the laser
Hmm...

Do you agree with this reply?



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Old 09-30-2012, 04:14 AM #6
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

"'Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."
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Similarly, knowledge is knowing the human body can heal itself; wisdom is knowing not to take a bath in sodium hydroxide.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:36 PM #7
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

Well there's one major difference between the camera in that video and your eye. The physical shutter on the 5DmII in that video will remain open until the operator stops the recording where if a person gets hit their natural reaction of blinking and looking away will help prevent or minimize damage. Also I suspect that while your eye is much more sensitive to light a camera's sensor is much more easily damaged by a laser beam. There's also a bit of truth in the comment ryansoh3 posted in that the eye can heal and recover from minor damage where as once the receptors on a sensor are damaged they're permanently damaged.


edit: The question posed by FP is also why crowd scanning is vary rarely done in the US. IIRC it's prohibited by law and requires a lot of paper work and behinds the scenes work measuring exposure levels in the audience area(s), etc to be granted an exception.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:59 PM #8
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Default Re: why do cameras get destroyed when you expose them to lasers?

If you think about it. Digital cameras work very similarly to our eyes, and are consequently damaged by lasers in a very similar way.

Monochromatic light is very effectively focused 100,000X via the lens, onto a surface of arrays of quantized sensors that each only detect portions of the available spectrum at a time. When the intensity is high enough, and duration is long enough, entire lines and swaths of "sensors" or "rods and cones" become destroyed and no longer produce pixels as a part of the collective image signal.

Just some interesting food for thought.

Treat your cameras like you should your eyes.
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