Sony has published an official warning about laser beams on its support pages for the first time. It warns against pointing the lens of a camera directly at a laser beam, because otherwise the image sensor will be damaged and all pictures taken with it in the future will show errors.
According to Sony, the risk of damage to a camera&s CMOS sensor from a laser beam exists even if you don&t point your camera directly at the laser source, but simply take pictures indoors or outdoors where a laser is active, because even if the laser beam is only reflected by a reflective object, it can still damage the sensor.
However, these reflections cannot be estimated because they can occur on all kinds of objects. Whether a sensor is damaged depends on how energetic the laser beam is, how long it hits the sensor and whether it passes over the sensor along the horizontal or vertical axis.
Damage to camera sensors caused by lasers has been known since about 2010:
Since then, there have been numerous examples captured on video of image sensors damaged by laser shows, which show up in horizontal or vertical bright static lines on subsequent images:
Caused by permanently damaged camera sensors, when a laser hits a row of sensors horizontally or vertically and heats them up so much that the analog-to-digital converter of a row of sensors is so permanently damaged that it constantly triggers a voltage signal, which in the form of "gate noise" then results in a red line on all following images.
However, the problem is possibly more serious than it seems at first: although each filmer can decide for himself to avoid places where (by the way also dangerous for human eyes, because high-energy) laser beams occur, possibly the LIDAR systems of autonomous cars also pose a problem. In any case, in 2019, the image sensor of a Sony A7R II was apparently damaged by the laser-based range-finding system of a self-driving car.
Sensor damage by the LiDAR of an autonomous car.
Another, perhaps unexpected, source of danger is filming the removal of a tattoo by laser:
Bild zur Newsmeldung: