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Sensor Damage In Flight?

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Hello,

 

I know there have been a few words of caution on possible sensor damage when flying (gamma radiation causing sensors to fail, thus RED LINE issues) but was wondering if anyone has experienced this first hand? And if so what measures can be followed to protect from this potential damage? E.g. would a lead-lined film protection bag be useful for the camera body?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

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Hello,

 

I know there have been a few words of caution on possible sensor damage when flying (gamma radiation causing sensors to fail, thus RED LINE issues) but was wondering if anyone has experienced this first hand? And if so what measures can be followed to protect from this potential damage? E.g. would a lead-lined film protection bag be useful for the camera body?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

 

there is no issue from flight at all

members here have flown around the world many times individually

 

Leica mentions the possibility of hot pixels from lots of flying but never heard anything myself. they could anyway be mapped out

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I do 4 short distance Flights (around one hour each) a week. My M9 is always with me since August. Up until now there is completly no issue.

 

But I'm also interested in more expirienced travelers. ...

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Actually, not gamma rays (high-energy photons) but cosmic rays (which are high-energy particles - protons, neutrons, electrons).

 

Which is good, since a gamma ray can penetrate 10cm of lead rather easily. Thus a foil bag would be pointless.

 

Primary cosmic rays from outer space do not penetrate the atmosphere very far - but they do cause showers of secondary particles when they collide with air molecules in the upper atmosphere. It is these secondary particles that cause sensor damage (and possible health effects) when flying.

 

Neutron particle radiation in those secondary showers is the most severe source of hot pixels and other sensor effects, knocking loose silicon atoms in the chip.

 

cf: http://harvestimaging.com/pubdocs/090_2005_dec_IEDM_terrestrial_cosmic_rays.pdf - last page "Conclusion"

 

Unfortunately, lead is "practically transparent" to neutrons:

 

cf. page 10-11 - http://www.psi.ch/industry/MediaBoard/neutron_imaging_e_07.pdf

 

Water or boron stop neutrons fairly effectively (thus the use of boron-saturated water as neutron shielding in nuclear reactors). But are hard to wrap a camera in.

 

___________

 

Edit - I've flown with my M9. I've had hot pixels or red lines appear over the life of the older camera. I can't show any cause-and-effect relationship, however.

Edited by adan

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E.g. would a lead-lined film protection bag be useful for the camera body?

 

How do you imagine Leica cameras are distributed around the world, by boat?

 

Steve

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Hello,

 

I know there have been a few words of caution on possible sensor damage when flying (gamma radiation causing sensors to fail, thus RED LINE issues) but was wondering if anyone has experienced this first hand? And if so what measures can be followed to protect from this potential damage? E.g. would a lead-lined film protection bag be useful for the camera body?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

 

I had 200K miles last year for my actual miles, not included bonuses etc.

My M9 was always with me, not a problem

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How do you imagine Leica cameras are distributed around the world, by boat?

 

Steve

Maybe not Leica, but some manufacturers do exactly that.

 

Incidental reports on a random phenomena " I have flown with the camera and nothing happened" don't say anything about the facts. "I smoke and I did not get lung cancer" falls in the same category. It has been well documented, it is mentioned by Leica in the camera manual and the scientific explanations have been extolled on this forum countless times. Flying gives a higher chance of pixel defects, especially trans-polar flights. As it is a random occurrence and a statistical probability, there is no predicting when or if it will happen to a specific camera.

Edited by jaapv

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Also, the effect is cumulative. You can expect a higher number of stuck or dead pixels when the camera has been exposed to the radiation for a longer span of time.

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Maybe not Leica, but some manufacturers do exactly that.

Which camera manufacturers would that be, I wonder?

 

Incidental reports on a random phenomena " I have flown with the camera and nothing happened" don't say anything about the facts.

The point isn’t so much that individual cameras survived an individual flight, but rather that millions of cameras survived dozens of flights without noticable ill effects. If you think that flying will be bad for your camera, chances are it will be bad for your health as well – which of course it will be if you spend enough time at 10,000 m altitude. But that’s something to worry about by pilots and flight attendants mostly.

 

It would be interesting to know how the Nikon D2Xs and D3S bodies onboard the ISS are doing.

Edited by mjh

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The main reason I ask about the possibility of such damage is that after many cross-country US trips within the last 2 years I've had the red lines appear in new and troubling ways (new lines consistent across all frames every few trips). Which ultimately led to sending the M9 into Leica 3 times, once for sensor chip replacement and twice for remapping. And the warranty is coming to a close...could be coincidence...

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Well, I currently have about 3 million frequent flier miles, which tells you how much I fly, and have never seen ill effects to any of the cameras I've taken with me.

 

Sandy

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I believe we discussed all of this previously in a different thread. Anyway, summary:

alpha - will not penetrate to the sensor

beta - permanent damage unlikely, the pixel might avalanche

gamma - permanent damage unlikely, the pixel might avalanche

neutrons - not normally a component of cosmic radiation, will probably go straight through the sensor without interaction

 

So beta and gamma are the relevant ones, if the camera is off probably nothing interesting will happen, if it is on you might see spurious noise. I would be most surprised if the pixel cannot stand an avalanche breakdown. I recall seeing a video taken inside the sarcophagus at Chernobyl. That was scary, looked like an old film with all the radiation noise. The camera still worked fine after that. Same applies to the electronic gear in spacecraft (Spacestation, Voyager, Hubble, untold numbers of satellites).

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It is not true that only exposure to cosmic rays will result in damage to the image sensor. Both gamma rays and high energy protons cause increase in dark current which manifest as hot pixels. Image sensors intended for space applications are typically tested for radiation tolerance by exposing them to a Cobalt-60 (gamma rays) source during Total Ionizing Dose testing and high energy proton with energy levels ranging from 9.5MeV to 63MeV during proton irradiation tests. Exposure to high energy protons also result in increased dark current and lead to hot pixels.

 

Actually, not gamma rays (high-energy photons) but cosmic rays (which are high-energy particles - protons, neutrons, electrons).

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It is not true that only exposure to cosmic rays will result in damage to the image sensor. Both gamma rays and high energy protons cause increase in dark current which manifest as hot pixels.

It is well known that radiation causes transient phenomena such as hot pixels. But that doesn’t mean the sensor sustains permanent damage, just that the image quality of shots taken during a flight might suffer (usually it doesn’t).

 

(Apparently this whole debate started only last year after Kodak had uploaded a talk given by Rob Hummel. Hummel claimed that levels of radiation sustained on transcontinental flights would regularly damage image sensors and that manufacturers wouldn’t ship cameras by plane because of that. I tend to believe he was just pulling our leg. His story bears the hallmark of an urban legend.)

Edited by mjh

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We have also to keep in mind that not only camera sensors get exposed to radiation during flight, but any other kind of electronics we are carrying. And compared to a CCD sensor which does not really contain any logic circuits, the CPUs of a modern smartphone would be extremely sensitive to radiation (they are manufactured on far more advanced process nodes too and that rather increases the sensitivity to radiation). So if there were a significant danger due to cosmic radiation during flights to electronics, we would hear it first due to dying smartphones.

Cosmic radiation certainly is harmful, there is plenty of it on sea level even, more of it when flying and much more on the ISS. In all the locations I worry least of what might happen to my camera...

 

Peter

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Which camera manufacturers would that be, I wonder?

 

 

The point isn’t so much that individual cameras survived an individual flight, but rather that millions of cameras survived dozens of flights without noticable ill effects. If you think that flying will be bad for your camera, chances are it will be bad for your health as well – which of course it will be if you spend enough time at 10,000 m altitude. But that’s something to worry about by pilots and flight attendants mostly.

 

It would be interesting to know how the Nikon D2Xs and D3S bodies onboard the ISS are doing.

Most do - electronic equipment is usually shipped by container over the sea, not by air freight - if only for the cost. And yes - there are reports - disavowals and again disavowals of those disavowals about elevated numbers of brain tumors for aircrew on the transpolar route.

Edited by jaapv

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Hot pixels resulting from radiation damage are actually permanently damaged. Some success has been reported with low temperature annealing of the sensor, but it's not a guaranteed solution.

 

It is well known that radiation causes transient phenomena such as hot pixels. But that doesn’t mean the sensor sustains permanent damage, just that the image quality of shots taken during a flight might suffer (usually it doesn’t).

 

(Apparently this whole debate started only last year after Kodak had uploaded a talk given by Rob Hummel. Hummel claimed that levels of radiation sustained on transcontinental flights would regularly damage image sensors and that manufacturers wouldn’t ship cameras by plane because of that. I tend to believe he was just pulling our leg. His story bears the hallmark of an urban legend.)

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