A concert-goer had their smartphone camera broken by a laser beam that fired directly into the lens.
The incident took place during a Geolier gig at the Palapartenope Theatre in Naples, Italy on April 19.
In the video, Geolier is seen on stage as a sea of people holding smartphones and pointing their cameras toward the rapper.
An aggressive laser can be seen chopping down, as the beam points from up to down extremely quickly. It repeats this motion several times until a line appears in the picture where the laser beam had just been.
Within milliseconds, the entire picture is covered in black lines, ruining the image. In some of the frames, the picture disappears entirely — replaced by static.
The person filming carries on but points their camera away to inspect the damage. Not much is known about the smartphone camera’s owner, but it appears the camera sensor is irrevocably damaged.
Laser Beams and Camera Sensors
In 2021, Sony officially published a warning on its website stating that it is aware that lasers can cause damage to its cameras’ image sensors.
“Do not directly expose the Lens to beams such as laser beams. This may cause damage to the image sensor and cause the camera to malfunction,” the warning published in July 2021 reads.
“Note: In either outdoor or indoor environment when there is a laser display, the tendency of direct or indirect (laser beam bounce from reflective object) damage to the camera CMOS Sensor is still very high.”
This is not the first time PetaPixel has reported on laser beams breaking camera sensors, in 2010 an unlucky photographer lost his Canon 5D Mark II when a laser shined directly on the sensor.
In 2013, a similar situation occurred at another concert, but this time it seriously damaged a $20,000 RED Epic.
2019 was a particularly eventful year for sensor destruction via laser, as both a self-driving car laser and a tattoo laser were the culprits behind two destroyed sensors. Additionally, Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters were using laser pointers to confuse and destroy surveillance cameras being used against them.
In the first instance, a man attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas says that a car-mounted LIDAR permanently damaged the sensor in his Sony Alpha 7R Mark II camera. At the time, PetaPixel’s DL Cade reported that different lidar systems feature different designs and lasers, so many or most of them may be completely safe for cameras. It was unfortunate that in this particular case, it appeared the laser permanently damaged the camera’s sensor.
In the second instance, a video shows a tattoo removal laser destroying pixels on a Sony Alpha 7S camera sensor.
“Don’t record laser tattoo removal on… anything,” the unlucky photography said at the time. “You can see with each pulse the sensor shows new damage. The repair cost was about as much as a new camera so try to avoid this.