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E-M1's EVF & Sunlight Issue?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by tornado, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. tornado

    tornado Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Over on DPReview.com's M43 forum, there are a few recent threads about possible EVF damage (on the E-M1 due to strong sunlight entering from the viewfinder eyepiece. Thought is the optical eyepiece acts to focus sun rays onto the EVF's internal LCD, leading to over-heating/burning of areas on the LCD. Result is apparently greenish blobs visible in the EVF display. Does not affect captured images nor the camera's imaging sensor. Olympus has apparently repaired a few cases already. no actual preventative solutions at this time but owners being advised to protect EVF from direct sun exposure.

    Has anyone here heard of or experienced this? There are no reports to my knowledge of this on other models or brands.
    If this is a real concern, should we be seeing very high numbers of problems by now & other models/brands being affected?
  2. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    There was a post about it here; the user sent it in for repair.

    I've got my E-M1 on a shoulder sling, but I'm trying to keep the EVF from pointing upwards when hanging, just-in-case / paranoid.

  3. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    Here's the link to the other thread about this: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=64334

    My E-M1 is one of the ones that had this happen, and I added my experience to the list of others at DPR. I don't know if such a list will help encourage a real solution, but it's worth a try. I want to say that Olympus was very good about repairing my camera under warranty. The work was done no questions asked and no arguments. I truly appreciate that kind of service.

    The green spots came on very quickly - not there one minute, there the next. I was at the zoo with my husband and stopped to change lenses. The only time I can think of that the viewfinder may have been exposed to direct sunlight is when the camera was hanging lens down from the neck strap while putting the other lens into my Domke F2 - lift the top of the bag, drop in the lens, drop the top, pick up the camera. That would have been only 15-20 seconds. The camera was not sitting with the viewfinder facing the sun for hours.

    The rest of my thoughts about this issue are on the other thread, so I won't repeat them here, but I will say that since this happened, I do feel a certain loss of confidence in it. That may not be entirely fair, since having researched the problem, it sounds like this is the nature of electronic viewfinders in general. If that's so, then it's not the camera's fault, it's just not the right camera for the way I use it.
  4. JimUSNY

    JimUSNY Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 5, 2013
    Mid Hudson Valley NY
    I have had it happen on both my EM5 and EM1, it may have to do with where your diopter is set, I have mine set to two clicks from end of plus side...so if you keep it at zero and use glasses instead of diopter it may not happen, but I wouldn't test it
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    For those who have had this happen, has the camera has been on or off?
  6. tornado

    tornado Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I'm still skeptical these problems are a direct result of sun eats on the evf display. I've had the em5 out in bright sun, all day long, changing lenses, hanging cam from a sling style shoulder strap which leave cam back facing upwards.....done this for over a year now. I treat the em1 similarly but only had it since Nov 2013.

    There should be many cases of these by now. This feels more like a defect in the evf display suddenly appearing...like from an overheating issue dye to electronics. I do recall the em5 had a significant whirring sound when the evf was turned on. some said it was a cooling fan. This practically disappeared following a firmware update. Maybe they went too far? Em1 never had this sound.

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  7. jurgen

    jurgen Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2014
    Any reports on this on the E-M10?

    I, too, think it may have something to do with the diopter (makes sense from an optics point of view, at least).
  8. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Or there's just a bad batch of EVFs. My E-M1 survived 2 weeks of intensive shooting in very bright African sunlight, EVF eyepiece almost always up when not in use, and no problems.
  9. DWS

    DWS Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 6, 2014
    I wondered the same thing....anyone?
  10. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    There were no spots in the viewfinder when I turned it off for a lens change. When I turned it back on, the spots were there.
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Before the lens change, was the EVF on all the time ie, did you or didn't you have auto shut-off enabled. It may have no bearing, but interesting to see if there is a common thread.
  12. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    I would dearly love to believe this is just a bad batch of LCD's, but I searched the internet for instances of this happening and found quite a lot, particularly with video cameras. One of the people on DPR said they wrote to Olympus in Europe, and were told the spots are the result of sunlight entering the viewfinder. I can't personally support or dispute that, since Olympus Repair didn't attach any notes about the cause when they returned my camera. We also don't know if that's just the opinion of a repair tech, or the official word from Olympus. I'm not sure about the diopter theory, but mine is set two clicks away from being all the way towards the "+".
  13. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    The camera goes to sleep if I leave it on, I'm not sure if that's what you mean. The viewfinder goes black when I take it away from my eye and my Super Control Panel comes up on the rear LCD.

    I don't like leaving the camera on when I'm doing much moving around. It bothers me to hear the IS working when I don't need it, I'm afraid of damaging it.
  14. tornado

    tornado Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I've suggested on DPReview that when someone has this issue occur, perhaps they could perform some experiments with the EVf & sun on the eyepiece before sending the camera for repair. Try to see if they can create more blobs appearing and if certain diopter settings have any affect.
    The EVF will still need to be replaced by Olympus anyway...but the results could be useful to other owners.

    I'm skeptical, but can still be convinced of the evil sun gods at work here....
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The more you think about it, it really seems more of a manufacturing glitch than anything else. If sunlight were affecting the EVF, then you'd think it would be the entire screen and not just a few blobs here and there; afterall, it's simply another LCD style screen and if it were affected, then you'd think rear LCD screens would have similar issues.
  16. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Could be a really soft seal on the LCD that sunlight causes it to shrink and press into the glass substrate - that would cause smudges in the LCD "matrix" between the glass and the cover-glass.
  17. christofp

    christofp Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2012
    No, No, No.

    As two others above already said, it seems to be the diopter setting.

    A guy in a german oly forum had the issue and as the EVF was broken anyhow, he did some experiments.

    No issue with diopter setting = 0.

    New green blotches within seconds when the diopter setting was at +6.

    Conclusion so far and if the few reports are correct:
    those people that use diopter compensation instead of their glasses should be very very careful. Some soconds sun into the EVF are enough ...

  18. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    I'm not discounting the diopter theory, but one person's experiments on one camera don't make a conclusive study. If that is indeed the cause, then it's still up to Olympus to issue a formal statement, and to date there is nothing in the owner's manual and nothing on the website about the risk.

    People who paid for the camera should be warned of the potential for damage under certain conditions that they haven't (so far) been made aware of. Further, this should be made known to prospective buyers before they pay out money for a camera that may (because of this issue) not be able to do what they thought it could, and that's my real complaint about the problem. The camera is advertised as a professional grade, rugged, weather resistant camera. Weather includes sunny days. It is reasonable to expect to be able to carry the camera on a sunny day without damage.
  19. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    The screen on my laptop computer has somewhat same issue when I went Under full summer sun for a period of time. It's like the little lcd cell melted due to self heat plus the sun heat. While my IPS screen was very nice, I am really disapointed by the poor quality. Surely it's Lenovo cutting cost on cheap IPS screens...
  20. tornado

    tornado Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Maybe the "fix" will be to modify the diopter adjustment dial to prevent the problem settings. I'd like to see something like a IR-cut filter (aka Hot Mirror) to replace the eyepiece lens. I've looked at Window Tinting films...3M makes a 90% IR rejection film for the automotive use that transmits visible light with very little loss...for car owners that want cool interiors without loss of night time light transmission.

    We should be able to cut an appropriate shape out of such a film and slap it on the eyepiece...
    • Like Like x 1
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