Recording laser tattoo elimination damages digital cameras

We live in an age where almost every event is recorded on smartphones for posterity’s sake. Some, however, still resort to their trusty professional digital cameras for capturing memorable events. And perhaps no event is more memorable than removing the semi-permanent mark of a tattoo. Well, maybe the destruction of an expensive camera sensor while recording such a removal will probably top that, not to mention make for a traumatic and unforgettable learning experience.

It’s almost too easy to presume that nothing will go wrong. Lasers are, of course, known to be dangerous to optics, both biological and digital. But what’s the danger of recording a laser that isn’t pointed directly at your eye or even at a camera? Turns out quite a lot.

Reddit user LooseFilters posted a YouTube video that recorded what should have been a liberating process of removing a tattoo using a laser. Sadly, that wasn’t the case and each pulse of the laser created a lasting burn mark on a Sony A7s II sensor. Andy Boyd, who uploaded the video, noted that the repair cost as much as a brand new camera, which currently stands at around $2,200.

To be fair, the laser doesn’t shine directly on the sensor but the diffuse reflection alone could damage the sensor. As one comment notes, that reflection is strong enough to damage the naked eye, much more a sensor that captures hundred times more light than the human eye. While not all lasers are that strong, it is perhaps better to err on the side of caution rather than crying over a thousand dollar waste.

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