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Mirrorless Interchangeable lens camera issue.

Ron Texas

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#1
On my trip to Colorado I met a former National Geographic photographer who runs a retail store selling prints of his work and photo gear. I asked him if mirrorless cameras were taking over. At least from his perspective the answer was no. He further explained the issue was sensor damage. There is no shutter to protect the sensor. He said there were many incidents of sun damage with Sony cameras.

My own hunch is DX/APS-C cameras will be phased out in favor of mirrorless. This sensor size exists only because it was too expensive to manufacture 135 format sensors at one time and the flange to sensor distance is way too much for the format.
 

Ron Texas

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#3
I've not heard of a Sony specific issue, but could have easily missed it.

Did he have any affiliation with another manufacture, so many pros seem to and it makes their recommendations suspect.
Do you use Sony gear? Is your camera mirrorless? Would that make you biased?

I don't know what his affiliation is, but he also said Nikon was going to redo the Z6/Z7 for similar issues and they were bringing out two new DSLR's. The way I heard it, his concerns were about the mirrorless genre, so just because I mentioned Sony as an example don't go looking to turn my source into a liar. As for eclipse damage, that is an extreme situation having little in common with day to day usage.
 
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Old Listener

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#4
My wife and I have used mirrorless cameras since 2014 without any problems with sun damage to the sensors. We wouldn't go back to DSLRs now.

Of course, we don't routinely point our cameras at the sun.
 

Soniclife

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#5
The way I heard it, his concerns were about the mirrorless genre, so just because I mentioned Sony as an example don't go looking to turn my source into a liar.
You sound really angry.

Bias isn't lying, but it's good to have researched and found some evidence before posting this sort of thing, else what may be false information just spreads. I hope this site can be better than so much of the internet.
 

Soniclife

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#6
Of course, we don't routinely point our cameras at the sun.
Probably true for most photographers with real cameras, you soon learn it isn't ideal, apart from when you do it deliberately, e.g. sunsets, or stopping down to create a sun star, or loads of other reasons, before you get to it simply not being possible to frame it without the sun in the shot. But people with phones do it all the time, and they are same as mirrorless.
 

mi-fu

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#7
That is an interesting argument about mirrorless. It might be true for him, as he is a professional photographer for National Geographic, which is known for assignments in extreme environment.

For us, regular users, I tend to think it is a non-issue. If people need to change lenses a lot, there is certainly a higher chance for damaging the sensor for mirrorless. On the other hand, professional fashion photographers have been using digital backs for over a decade, which sensor is even prone to get damaged. So I really won't worry too much.

I do understand @Soniclife's point though. There are many professional photographers who are sort of "manufacturer ambassadors" or they are offered equipment with deep discounts. So there might be some commercial interest. Hard to tell....
 

Soniclife

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#8
That is an interesting argument about mirrorless. It might be true for him, as he is a professional photographer for National Geographic, which is known for assignments in extreme environment.
The bigger issue for harsh environments is dust and dirt, I'm not sure if any type of camera where the lens comes off is better than any other, mirrors may protect the sensor when the body is open, or they may have more moving parts to get clogged up, I've no idea. Don't change lenses in a sandstorm sounds like a good idea.
 

Gabs

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#10
Hi,

I had around 6 dslrs and around 7 mirrorless cameras. No issue for me on the sensors. Only with a Canon 5D, a known problem with the mirror which dislocates after some years. But accidents may happen and of course with mirrorless cameras the sensor is not very protected. Personaly, I fear more the dust than the sun...
I also remember that some Sigma cameras had removable IR filter that (also) protected the sensor.
What is the subject of this thread, the fear of mirrorless camera ?
For now I have a Sony A7RII (mirrorless) and a Nikon Df and find them complementary. I need something like a fixed lens Fuji or a Leica Q (or a Sigma Dp) as a third camera to have the perfect trinity.
To me DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are complementary. It's good to have both ;-)
 

mi-fu

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#11
Actually mirrorless cameras have fewer mechanical parts. They should be less prone to mechanical failure. Sigma FP has no mechanical shutter at all. Back to the question regarding Nikon DSLR vs Sony mirrorless, honestly, Sony cameras (especially older ones) simply do not have the same build quality of professional Nikon cameras. This can be part of the main reasons.
 

Rja4000

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#12
About the reliability of mirrorless camera versus reflex: well, I have several reflex camera that are almost older than me and still working.
And some recent mirrorless camera that are no longer.
Batteries, electronic viewfinder, memory card slots, all those things probably have a lower life expectancy than good old mech...
Just my 2€cents.
And I own several reflexes and several mirrorless camera, from various brands.

About the sun issue: you actually don't have to point the camera to the sun to damage it.
A camera laying on a table may be damaged.
Because the lens let any light go in and, indeed, there is no shutter on the light path.
(And the bigger the lens, the higher the risk, obviously.)
Except with the Canon EOS R, where the mechanical shutter shuts when you switch the camera off.
Which is also handy to avoid all kind of dust and spot on the (fully exposed) sensor when you change lens.

About sensor damage risk: laser pointed to the sensor is a quite common way to destroy a camera in seconds.
Especially for mirrorless, for the reason explained above.

Mirrorless has some strong benefits.
And some serious drawbacks too...

(Of course, aiming a big lens directly to the sun is pretty dangerous, and probably more so with a reflex, since you may destroy your eye!
See here some results of human stupidity
https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/09/rental-camera-gear-destroyed-by-the-solar-eclipse-of-2017/)
 
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Ron Texas

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#13
You sound really angry.

Bias isn't lying, but it's good to have researched and found some evidence before posting this sort of thing, else what may be false information just spreads. I hope this site can be better than so much of the internet.

Please refrain from making personal attacks like accusing me of spreading false information which isn't any different than calling me a liar. If you want to make this site better, disappear. You obviously own a mirrorless camera, probably a Sony and are offended by any criticism of your gear. Grow up, you are the angry one.

By the way, the problems are not limited to sun damage.

A mirrorless camera has an exposed sensor. It can get dirty or damaged with greater ease than in a reflex camera. How is that false information?
 
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Ron Texas

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#14
A

About the sun issue: you actually don't have to point the camera to the sun to damage it.
A camera laying on a table may be damaged.
Because the lens let any light go in and, indeed, there is no shutter on the light path.
(And the bigger the lens, the higher the risk, obviously.)
Except with the Canon EOS R, where the mechanical shutter shuts when you switch the camera off.
Which is also handy to avoid all kind of dust and spot on the (fully exposed) sensor when you change lens.
I believe this is what my source had in mind as far as sun damage goes.
 

JJB70

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#15
Is this not addressed by the lens cap? I put the cap on if not shooting, more to protect the lens from mechanical damage and scratches than anything else. Admittedly that leaves the sensor exposed when having the camera ready to use but I don't think that is an issue.
 

Soniclife

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#16
A camera laying on a table may be damaged.
Because the lens let any light go in and, indeed, there is no shutter on the light path.
I cannot work out what sort of angle the table and the sun would have to be for this to happen. Sunset would produce the angle, but the suns rays are filtered then. On a tripod however and it could happen, especially for people like wildlife photographers who set up and have to wait for an animal to do something.
 

Rja4000

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#19
I cannot work out what sort of angle the table and the sun would have to be for this to happen. Sunset would produce the angle, but the suns rays are filtered then. On a tripod however and it could happen, especially for people like wildlife photographers who set up and have to wait for an animal to do something.
Ok
My description lacks some accurare scientific contextual description. Don't take it to the word.
What I meant is that you may get problems even if the camera is not on use. Which will not be the case with a reflex.

On my Canon R, when you switch it off, a message is displayed saying "don't let the camera exposed to the sun or another light source without lens cap"
Do you thing they'd display that if there was not a measured risk? Where would be their interest?
 

gene_stl

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#20
This is nothing new and it is a non issue.

The sun has ALWAYS been a hazard when ANY optical gear is pointed at it. Even metal shutter blades could be scorched to the point that they wouldn't work if someone was careless enough to say , lay it on a picnic table with no lens cover pointing up right before high noon. Camera instructions and telescope instructions and lens instructions ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS warn the consumer to not let it point directly at the sun. And they did in the 1960s when I began to read them.

The notion that, that is a reason to not get a mirrorless camera is moronic. Your source likely had some kind of skin in the game or didn't like that HIS equipment choices were being criticized by the marketplace voting with their feet.

I am a longtime photographer (mainly scientific) , from a LONG family line of photographers. I mostly used Nikon gear in the film days. As an adult I liked to shoot through microscopes for which Nikon's Coolpix line of point and shoots had some talents that were quite useful and much beloved by microscopy types.

But I never ever wanted to buy and mount on top of any of my scopes a DSLR. I waited untill Olympus came out with their OM D mk II series which do tricks specific for macro photography and photomicrography. (microphotography is something completely different).

The point is that like stereo equipment , photo gear has to be selected based on its use. There certainly are many many applications for DSLRs. But the huge majority of consumers and even prosumers, do not need the reflex mirror with its extra size, weight , mechanical complexity, reliability degradation and mirror slap noise and vibration. Most people do not need more than 16 or 20 mp either so Full Frame wastes the consumers money.

I mainly shoot macro and on microscopes so if I had a dSLR I would operate it with the mirror locked up. Since I knew this would be the case I just didn't buy one and had a series of dedicated scientific microscope cameras. (these are like FREE now) But the Oly mirrorless cameras are a technological tour de force so I had to buy one because they do tricks that are otherwise very hard to do. (Focus stacking and increasing resolution to 80mp by sensor shifting and unbelievable image stabilization). Because they have smaller sensors they also have smaller, lighter and less expensive lenses.

the main reasons people may need a dSLR have to do with what and how they are shooting. Full frame sensors perform better in low light than smaller sensors. ( Better signal to noise ratio) Optical reflex finders may be preferred for any number of reasons over electronic viewfinders. (mainly latency) But that depends on who is using it and for what. In the kind of work I do I can just dial up the lights more. (Frequently using arc lamp sources though LEDs have pretty much caught up)


Finally I will recall that the very first Nikon F(1968) I bought, I bought from a middle aged man who brought it back from Japan. I said if you ever want to sell it let me know. About two weeks later he called me. It was too heavy around his neck. He went back to a smaller rangefinder camera. This is an extension of that dichotomy. dSLRs today are even bigger and more clunky than that 68 F model.

Lasers will generally not damage cameras unless they are 1) illegal lasers that are high powered and in the hands of unqualified users and 2) the person is purposely TRYING to damage the camera by pointing and tracking it. Legal lasers get their legality by being able to be pointed at an animals eye for a longer period of time than a blink reflex and not causing a corneal nor retinal burn. This applies to legal laser pointers now available in all colors. It may not apply to illegal high powered lasers which are usually used not in compliance with laws governing them.
 
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