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I captured this photo a few minutes ago : enter image description here

The circle you see is the Sun :|. When I was taking this picture, I was in Live-View Mode with F/22 and no UV Filter. You think it's dangerous for my camera?

I've used Canon 60D with Canon 50mm 1.4 Lens

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The problem with doing what you did in Live View is that even though you are taking the photo at f/22, the aperture of your lens is likely at f/1.4 until you click the shutter. The energy of the sun is strong enough when focused by your lens to heat the internals of your camera very quickly. If things get hot enough, they will be damaged. Even if the heat doesn't cause damage, the voltages generated in the sensor's electronics may be enough to damage the circuitry. Thank goodness this camera wasn't in Live View with the shutter curtains open for the 1 minute it took the sun to do this through a 600mm lens during a flare test, during which the sun was just out of the frame but obviously just inside the lens' image circle, by Bryan at The-Digital-Picture.

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The warnings almost all camera's manuals have against pointing the lens directly at the sun are there for a reason, and it isn't just so you can't blame the manufacturer when something goes wrong. Especially when the sun is almost directly overhead in a clear sky, the chance of damage is very real. The lower the sun is in the sky, the more clouds there are between the sun and your shooting location, or the more anything else (such as a filter) is absorbing some of the sun's energy the less likely it is that short periods of pointing your camera at the sun will result in damage. This is why it is fairly safe to take sunrise/sunset photos: due to the sun's angle it is passing trough many more miles of the earth's atmosphere than when it is high in the sky.

Your photo appears to have been taken when fairly thick clouds were absorbing a lot of the sun's energy. Even then, it would probably have been better in terms of risk to the camera to take the photo using normal shooting mode, when the shutter curtains protect the sensor until after the lens is stopped down to take the shot, than to use Live View which exposes to sensor to all of that energy with the aperture wide open both before and after the shot when the lens is briefly stopped down. Just be sure to protect your eyesight and do not look at the sun through the viewfinder at all when it is at or near full brightness high in the sky!

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First I would look at the camera manual to see if there is some kind of warning. Here is an extract of the manual of my camera (d300s) :

When shooting in live view mode, avoid pointing the camera at the sun or other strong light sources. Failure to observe this precaution could result in damage to the camera’s internal circuitry.

Or also

Keep the sun well out of the frame when shooting backlit subjects. Sunlight focused into the camera when the sun is in or close to the frame could cause a fire.

So, according to the manual, you take a risk if you shoot the sun without any protection. What I would do is use a filter to frame the shot and then remove it before taking the picture.

Hope it helps.

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If you take a quick photo of the sun, it is unlikely that you will damage the sensor - or the shutter, but you may blind yourself a bit (speaking from experience here). If you shoot a photo of the sun in LiveView, you can generate a lot of heat on the sensor from the lens focusing the sunlight. Having said that, I have pointed a compact camera into the sun without issues using LiveView.

Heyfara quoted the manual which recommends you never point the camera at the sun, this is for two reasons: 1) The lens WILL focus sunlight and focussed sunlight can and will cause damage in the long term. 2) The manufacturer wants to take no risk for any damage resulting from a camera pointed into the sun.

Basically, you want to avoid pointing the camera into the sun for prolonged times. However, if you take a quick photo into the sun, it is unlikely to have negative effects - however there is no guarantee that it might not cause damage.

In addition, I have seen reports on the web that cameras such as an old Leica could suffer damage from the sun, for example because it uses a cloth shutter. In addition, a rangefinder camera lacks the mirror of an SLR.

  • Thanks, Good news is that my lovely camera is still working – Kermia Nov 12 '13 at 11:41
  • Thank those thick clouds. Pointing your camera at the unfiltered sun high in the sky for any length of time while in Live View usually doesn't end as nicely. Even an APS-C camera collects several times more light than a compact digital camera does. – Michael C Nov 12 '13 at 22:56

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