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Actually – I've also been concerned about the potential damage to the sensor. Does it actually happen, or does the CCD or CMOS element just saturate, produced full RGB levels but have sufficient design protection? I've not been able to find anybody who says they've lost pixels through overloading, but the ratio between the average light level and the hot spot must be huge. It could damage the phosphors on an old fashioned tube (both in the camera and on a display screen if left there for a while) and of course our eyes.
I'm not sure about ND – obviously it cuts down the light passing through the lense, but surely the result is the exposure has to be adjusted by opening the iris – meaning the hot spot level will be as high as before, or are we talking about deliberately under exposing then using gain to recover the image?
With tube technology there were always dire warnings because burn did happen. Is there any proper evidence that solid state sensors are immune from damage. There is also the issue of UV light on the camermans skin. They may be fine looking in the viewfinder, but is there any other protection needed?