Dirt or scratch on sensor

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by a_hit_of_meth, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    I came across this display unit E-m10 today, it's good and clean condition with a few light marks and only 2500 shutter actuations. For 250usd - 190 minus what I would get for the lens, and a full years Olympus warranty it's something that I am considering.

    Everything seems good but there is this mark on the sensor or the protective glass in front of the sensor that I'm having trouble identifying. There are little spots that I'm sure will rub off but there is this one large mark that won't come off so easily. The guy at the store tried to gently nudge it out with a lenspen but it seemed stuck in place.

    I'm not sure if it's some type of dirt stuck in place or it could be an actual scratch on the filter or the protective glass in front of the filter (I don't know if it's the same as the E-m5 that way). The warranty is good for electronics or any shutter/button/lcd issues but it doesn't cover damage like this.

    I know it's hard to tell from pics but any input I get would help. Thanks.

    Closeups, the circled red mark is the main thing I could not identify as dirt or an actual scratch.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  2. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    Ask the guy in the store to do a wet clean before you will buy it. I wouldn't buy that as it is. It could even be an impact mark and impossible to remove by cleaning.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Try a wet clean. If that doesn't shift it, then leave it at the store!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    If it is dirt the store should be able to clean it with proper cleaning liquid and a cotton swab. If he cannot get it clean probably you won't either.
    You could take a few pictures and see what you get but I'm sure it's going to be visible. Could be the very reason the camera was sold.
  5. That mark is huge - I would not buy unless it was cleaned and tested. I'm pretty sure that mark will be disasterously visible at f/8. A much tinier speck on my new GM1 started becoming visible at even f/4, thankfully Panasonic replaced it under warranty (GM1 was discontinued so I got a GM5 instead).
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    I look at a lot of demo models at shops and I notice the same type marks on many sensors, not just mirrorless but dslr as well. They leave them out in the open with the lenses removed sometimes. The particular branch I found this at keeps their display behind a glass, and I pass by there quite frequently so I know it hasn't been there as long as other shops have had theirs out.

    The camera guys at the store didn't seem all that confident in going after it when I asked. They don't have anything other than a lenspen at the store either, so I might pick up a sensor cleaner on the way tomorrow to try it. Not a lot of places near this shop that actually sell sensor cleaners, I might have to improvise with some lens tissue and cleaning liquid.

    Do you guys happen to know if the E-m10 has that protective glass in front of the sensor like the E-m5?
  7. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012

    You posted while I was typing.

    Yeah, it does look a lot worse in the pics than under low lighting with my poor eyesight at the store. The closest thing I can think of when describing it is that it looks like something melted on the the surface of the glass or sensor.

    I need to clarify the warranty of specks that appear on the sensor and ones that happen from it being mishandled. I think Oly are pretty flexible on some user inflicted damage from cleaning or even accidents - not that I'm counting on getting away with having them fix it, if it is in fact some type of impact damage.

    Actually salespeople at these stores aren't expected to do much technical stuff or cleaning beyond applying the screen protector and vigorously wiping the lens down with microfibre cloth since they deal with new stuff and rarely have to look at dirty cameras they are trying to offload. I'm far from an expert having only done it once but I probably have a better chance of cleaning it off than their guys, which is not in any way, a positive in this particular situation.
  8. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    I agree with all the ideas of wet clean. Or if the price is $50 then give it a go yourself.
  9. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    I would stay away from that one. It almost looks like a mar on the plastic rather than simple dust. They did not take care of the unit while it was on display. If they won't send it for a wet clean, I'd walk away.
  10. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Offer $175
  11. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2012
    I'm going to have another look. You guys are probably right about giving this a pass.

    I keep thinking about what kinds of dirt would end up on the inside of a sensor, and stick in such a way a light nudge with a lenspen wouldn't remove. Dust, saliva, other body fluids or chemicals they use to clean other things at the store that may end up on the surface and harden, or maybe someone just like to go around camera shops and poke the sensors with their fingers. Even if I could remove it with a wet clean, I'm not sure there won't be permanent marks left on the glass from having been left there for a while.
  12. Procis

    Procis New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2016
    Speaking of dust, I bought a EPL7 last Sunday and there was a dust stuck under the sswb. No amount of wet cleaning etc would make it go away. Managed to get an exchange for another EPL7 which had the same problem albeit in a different location. I doubt I can get it exchanged again.

    The thing is my dust is barely noticeable, and only so at smaller apertures and above a certain focal length (because the dust is near the side of the sensor). I don't think I am that unlucky to get two lemons in a row, so perhaps some degree of dust is to be expected?

    Even in my f22 shots I need to struggle to see it sometimes, but of course once you see something it cannot be unseen.

    Back to the topic, I would definitely not risk it. While wet cleaning may solve it, it could be that it's under the filter (as in my case).
  13. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Anything that visible to the naked eye is not good - I often need to use 5x-8x magnification to see the dust that shows up in photos on my 35mm digital. Pass on that camera.
  14. Fine dust on top of the SSW filter is to be expected, but under? Not in a new camera - they are supposed to be manufactured under clean conditions after all. I've had 1 new E-M5, one used E-M1, one new GM1, and one replacement GM5, only the GM1 had the speck under the sensor. You have to also note that due to the smaller format, dust becomes more visible at comparatively wider apertures compared to a 35mm sensor.
  15. Procis

    Procis New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2016
    yes, I was surpsied as well. And I just came from returning a Samsung NX500 with dust stuck in the middle of the sensor, also below the filter. I ran pecpads with eclipse fluid multiple times in each of these cases, but they were unable to be cleaned.

    Perhaps these clean rooms aren't that clean after all? In my case, the sensor dust is right at the left corner, is not visible most of the time even under the blue sky at small apertures, so I guess the likely reply my retailer or Olympus will tell me that there's nothing wrong with the camera.

    Then again, I'm ocd about my gadgets and I always somehow manage to find minor imperfections in my gadgets...
  16. Here's what that GM1 speck that I was talking about looks like - spot the UFO in the sky.


    This is at only f/4, it's easily healed out in this case but I wasn't going to live with it in every shot... Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the speck itself, but it was definitely smaller than the OPs.
  17. Procis

    Procis New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2016
    Wow! Is that with contrast boosted or anything? That shouldn't have passed QC.
  18. It is processed from original RAW, yes, but not boosted to enhance the spot or anything. I simply removed the healing brush step from my original edit to illustrate what the spot looks like. I agree about the QC, I thought it was my carelessness at first until under close inspection under close lighting revealed that it was clearly under the filter. For the first couple of weeks after I got the camera, I was just using fast primes at wide apertures so wouldn't have noticed the problem.
  19. Procis

    Procis New to Mu-43

    Jan 21, 2016
    This is how my dust spot looks like, at f/22, with contrast.


    This is the original image. I took a slightly blurred image on purpose to show the dust more clearly.

    Should I get it replaced or it's too minor to get it checked out?
  20. That's not too bad given it's f/22 with contrast. I'd say it doesn't even show up under normal shooting conditions right? If it will bring a significant cost I wouldn't bother getting it fixed.
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