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Pointing the camera at the sun


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k12123 Registered since 27th Jun 2011
Mon 11-Jul-11 08:25 AM

Today I was at the park and decided take pictures of the clouds. However, it happened twice that I pointed the camera directly at the sun and took pictures of it. Could I have damaged my camera?



Richmond, US
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#1. "RE: Pointing the camera at the sun" | In response to Reply # 0

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Mon 11-Jul-11 08:58 AM

Highly unlikely, although I suppose in the very, very distant decimal places the probability is not exactly zero. SLRs are not like rangefinders - the light path coming through the lens goes right through the camera for all time except the instant that you're actually taking the picture. So even if you point the camera straight at the sun and just leave it there, it isn't likely to damage the camera. The light goes in the lens, up the mirror, through the focusing screen and around the pentaprism - and out the viewfinder. The focusing screen is glass, so damaging it would require heating it to the temperature necessary to melt glass - which is many hundreds of degrees - and which is not very likely under any non-synthetic conditions.

Back in the day, rangefinder cameras were more common, and they were more susceptible. They don't have the mirror/pentaprism subsystem, and the lens focuses the light right onto the shutter. On a metal shutter like most cameras have today, that's not much of a problem, but in the early days, shutter curtains were made of cloth. As you can guess, it did occasionally happen that people would leave a rangefinder sitting upright with no lens cap, and in the worst possible circumstances they might burn a pinhole into the curtain.

Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

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