Q. on sun damage to mirrorless sensors

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by tom_cheshire, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. I don't have a mirrorless camera yet (using interch. lenses) but have been reading about their similarity in some ways to the 35mm rangefinder cameras. So, it cropped up in my thoughts how, in the old days, the photo magazines used to say rangefinder camera lenses that had been left focused at infinity would burn a hole in the focal plane shutter if, let's say, theoretically the camera was left on a table pointing at a window and the sun passed by during the day.
    I still haven't read up enough on mirrorless cameras to know if they have focal plane shutters or just "blink" their sensor on/off for an exposure or whatever but was wondering if this "sun burning a hole" situation has resurrected itself to be of relevance in the digital world and a potential danger to sensors or FP shutters again? Or, hasn't anyone thought of this yet?
  2. I don't know either, Tom, but will take a stab at it.
    To my knowledge only the Nikon 1 series uses totally electronic shuttering; others have focal plane shutters but that doesn't really answer the question until we know whether those with mechanical shutter are normally open or normally closed.
    The same might also apply to DSLR with live view.
    It would intuitively make more sense for mirrorless camera shutters to be normally open so power isn't consumed to keep it open during most of its usage time. If that's the case then it would appear that all mirrorless cameras will be more susceptible to damage when exposed to direct sunlight while not in use.
    On the other hand, I can't see it being more of an issue that a simple warning in the manual can't address, given that all pocket and smartphone cameras are made in similar ways and it's common knowledge among users to avoid pointing the camera into direct sunlight.
  3. I bet the shutters aren't made of cloth thoguh
  4. That was my thought too Leslie ... Trouble is we cannot open the back to check :)
    Still my cameras live in their cases except when actually being used. But most people from observation seem to treat their gear as if it is a tank and impervious to damage.
  5. I believe most mirrorless system cameras use focal plane shutters. The shutters are constantly left open until a split second before taking a shot. When pressing the shutter release, the shutter immediately closes, then opens again for the required time (1/125 etc), closes to complete the photograph and then reopens again to reveal the sensor. This is essential as the LCD or EVF gets its image from the sensor. If the shutter remained closed like on a film camera or DSLR camera then the LCD and EVF would remain blank. This is how my Olympus EP-3 works and I imagine most other similar cameras use the same method.

    So, if there is any danger of damage from the sun, it would damage the sensor or AA filter, not the shutter.
  6. Oh S%$#@. You mean mirrorless cameras have viewfinder blackout at the moment of exposure the same as an SLR? What a rip. I was interested in mirrorless to avoid viewfinder blackout. Even my 47 year old Canon Pellix overcame that problem.
  7. Yes Tom. Blackout is here to stay in the mirrorless world I'm afraid. You may like to consider the new Sony Alpha SLT models. They use a pellicle mirror to avoid blackout.

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