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OM-D E-M5 Sensor Out of Alignment & Repair Experience

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by justin4192, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    I did some searching on the forum and Internet and could not find reports of sensors getting out of alignment on the E-M5. Unfortunately, it appears to be the case on my camera. I pre-ordered the camera when it came out, delivered in June 2012, so it's one of the first. I noticed in some of my images starting in July of this year that the lower right of the images is always slightly out of focus and lacking detail. Some scenes it is more prominent than others depending on the foreground and subject in relation to the focal plane.

    Here's an example of a scene you can tell there is a lack of detail in the bottom left corner of this portrait orientation scene. The "Do Not Enter" sign in the lower right foreground is mostly in focus, as are the buildings on the right and the center further down the street. The entire bottom left quarter of the image is out of focus, even parts that are in the same focal plane as parts of the image in focus. Notice the street lamps on the right side of the street are more in focus than the left side.
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15891812442" title="PA290640 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "600" height="800" alt="PA290640"></a>

    I did some tests recently using a street map taped to a box. I placed my E-M5 on a tripod, manual mode, IS off, 2 second timer release.

    Here are some samples I uploaded to Flickr. Click on Z or zoom in to enlarge the image.

    This is focusing on the center of the image. You will overall the image is mostly sharp but the bottom right quarter gets more out of focus as you get to the corner.
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15866646066" title="20141127-PB271420 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB271420"></a>

    With this image, I manually focused on the bottom right corner. You can then see how out of focus the image is.
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15891811312" title="20141127-PB271422 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB271422"></a>

    My most recent test was to eliminate the possibility of it being shutter shock that I read others complain about. With these tests, I just used the 10x enlarge image function for manually focusing. I manually focused the bottom right corner, then scrolled to each corner to see how out of focus the image was without touching the focus ring on the lens.
    I took photos of the camera back with my E-PM1, recording each corner.

    Bottom right in focus:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15891812752" title="20141127-PB273368 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB273368"></a>

    Top left extremely out of focus:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15891813232" title="20141127-PB273369 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB273369"></a>

    Top right out of focus:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15706692267" title="20141127-PB273370 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB273370"></a>

    Bottom left out of focus:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15866649586" title="20141127-PB273372 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB273372"></a>

    Similar setup, just using a home behind ours, further distance than a map up close. Same results:
    Focus on their roof in the top left corner:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15891814622" title="20141127-PB273379 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB273379"></a>

    Scroll to bottom right and the siding is out of focus:
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15272824483" title="20141127-PB273380 by Justin, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="20141127-PB273380"></a>

    I called Olympus a couple weeks ago after my initial map photo tests. The tech had never heard of such an issue and suggested I reset the camera to defaults and test it out more. I've been traveling and just did a few more tests today to confirm that there is a problem. The reset did not help as I thought. I plan to call Olympus back and ship the camera for repair. I would be surprised if I'm the only one that has had this problem, but I didn't find other reports of the issue. Has anyone come across this issue? I will keep the thread updated on whether Olympus repairs the camera. It is out of warranty, so I expect to pay the repair fee.
  2. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    Looks like the focal plane is tilted relative to the sensor.
    This could have three reasons:
    A) The sensor itself is tilted. The EM-5 sensor can move and is suspended between some magnets. If this is a new problem then something might have come loose. You could try your experiment with the camera facing straight up or down, so that gravity would tend to pull the sensor flat.
    B) Something is wrong with the lens mount. The lens might not mount straight or flush or is a bit loose.
    C) The lens itself could be de-centered. You can eliminate this as a cause by trying the same lens on your EPM-1.
    BTW, you should be able to get everything in focus by tilting the camera a bit around the lower left to upper right diagonal. Check out Scheimpflug for an explanation.
    Of course it's not really convenient to have a tilted focal plane by default...
  3. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    I have a feeling it is something with the 5 axis stabilization, the way it suspends the sensor. Maybe it got out of calibration. I have never dropped my camera and am very careful with my gear.
    I have tested several lenses, 14/2.5, 20/1.7, 12-40/2.8, 45/1.8, 12-50, they all show the same issue, so it is the sensor itself. The mount is solid.
    After posting, I can see the first examples above aren't that obvious, but when enlarged, you can see the loss of detail consistently in the bottom right corner. The back of camera images clearly show what is going on though.

    Regarding getting everything in focus and the Scheimpflug principle. I think I have some instances where this applies. From my troubleshooting, it appears the bottom right corner is focusing closer than the rest of the image. Here is a specific image where it actually worked out in my favor, where there are rocks in the lower right closer to me and the landscape beyond with everything in focus.
    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_wolfe/15631992030" title="PB120878.jpg by Justin, on Flickr"> View attachment 396180 "800" height="600" alt="PB120878.jpg"></a>
  4. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser

    Nov 16, 2010
    I've had same kind of issues with my first E-M5. It was the whole left edge of the photo that was out of focus. It wasn't very obvious but it was there with all my lenses and wasn't with E-P1 with the same lenses. I did send it to service but it was the same after I got it back so I just sold it forward with 6 months warranty by Olympus service. Yours look much worse though.
  5. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser

    Nov 16, 2010
  6. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would think the tilting lens would be the first consideration myself too (with variation in samples), but the sensor is held in place with springs (pulling it back) & if any of those came off it might give the above symptoms as well perhaps. See here (from this site http://www.pekkapotka.com/journal/2012/2/24/olympus-e-m5-5-axis-image-stabilization.html )

    And here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS7hHeM2iuI
  7. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    Here is an update to what has ended up being quite a frustrating repair experience with Olympus Service & Repair. Back on December 17, 2014 I sent my E-M5 in for repair with a description of the issue, how to replicate, sample images, and they even have this thread noted on their system and viewed it while I talked to their tech support. I receive the camera back on December 31 with a note saying they were not able to replicate the issue and that it may be a lens problem. It is very simple to replicate and it appears on all my lenses.

    I called them back and they said they will take a closer look at the camera and cover return shipping costs. I shipped it back to them and they received it on 1/14/15. I routinely checked the status and after two weeks of seeing no progress, I called to follow up. I told them my concern that I want to make sure they understand the problem, replicate the issue, and properly repair it. The customer service rep couldn't give me any update on the status until the http://oiaservice.com/repair-status-lookup-Olympus.php website had an update. He said it should be completed on 1/30 and for me to check the status and call back then for more details. He was correct, the status changed to repair completed. I called and he had his supervisor get in touch with the repair team to find out the details of the repair. She said they replaced the sensor and image stabilizer. It was shipped out and I received it Tuesday.

    At first I was excited to have my repaired camera back after about 6 weeks of missing it. After using my E-M5 for 2.5 years, I knew its particular traits very well. This one I received, I noticed the buttons and dials had a different feel. They are springier and the dials metal are rougher. Mine had a small defect in the paint on the EVF bump which was no big deal, but I noticed this one did not have it. The flash hot shoe mount also looks new and unused when mine showed wear. At first I thought maybe they just gave me a nice refurbished camera. I checked the serial number sticker on the bottom and it matches my camera. Kind of odd, but they must have swapped the bottom of the camera with another. As I begin to put my camera strap on, I notice the right side lug is scraped, loose, and the body was broken and glued. I am not going to trust a loose lug and broken body to keep my camera and lenses from crashing onto the ground, especially when my camera was solid! The repair ticket states that the "Description of Parts Used" included the "Main circuit board and IS Unit 2-R". I expected they simply replaced those internal parts, but this was not the case. This is not my camera and I am extremely disappointed and aggravated with my Olympus repair experience! The only good thing with this camera is yes the sensor is aligned properly.

    Here are photos of the damaged lug. You can also see the black finish above the lug it worn off and glue residue exposed. The fake leather on the front of the camera also must have been removed for the poor repair because their is glue near the memory card hatch that my camera did not have.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I called Olympus last night and explained my frustration. This rep apologized and said this really should not have happened. They are paying the return shipping again and plan to fix the situation. I plan to ship it back to them for the third time this afternoon. I really expected better service from Olympus since I have read of good experiences here. I will keep the thread updated with the future outcome.
  8. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I would spread the words out if they don't make it right.
  9. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa
    He seems to be ... this is about the most widely read forum related to m43 gear...
  10. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Thankfully, Oly seems to understand that that is completely unacceptable. :frown:
  11. KBeezie

    KBeezie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 15, 2012
    Grand Rapids, Mi
    Karl Blessing
    Makes me nervous seeing as I have an E-M5 there now for repair (just not sure when they will get to it, it has a sticky shutter, so darker than they should be past like 1/1,000th or so). In my opinion 3rd time a charm if you have to keep sending it back up to 3 times, it shouldn't be an indefinite warranty servicing, but a total camera replacement since by then, the man hours probably cost them more than the camera.
  12. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    Latest update to this most frustrating repair experience:

    Last Tuesday 2/10, I called to check the status of them receiving my camera and make sure that this is being escalated as the rep told me to do. They had no update other than that the camera was received. This rep told me to call back in two days to see if they have any update.

    I then call on Thursday 2/12 and spoke to another rep who said there was still no update and he was sending an email to the repair department to get details on the repair. He told me to call back in another two business days, on Monday 2/16 to see if they have received a response to the email. I asked if they could call me when they get a response, but he said they cannot make calls out.

    I call on Monday 2/16 (get the rep I spoke to on 2/10) and she said there was no email response and that with no update in the system, they have no information to share. She said call back in two more days.

    Today 2/18 the status changed to being out of repair on the website. I called this morning and spoke to another rep and he was more helpful and understood my frustration. After 30 minutes on the phone with this rep doing everything he could to help me, he sent a message to the repair department and said he will be checking this afternoon for a response and call me back. He kept his word and called me back once he heard back from the repair department. He said the repair department claims they did not replace my camera and that they are not replacing it. He named three parts that they replaced which are supposed to repair the problem. He doesn’t know the details of what those parts are exactly and if they replaced the cracked body or not. When he asked them about the glue, they said that is a part of the repair which makes me think I’m going to get this cracked camera body back which was not mine to begin with.

    There is nothing that the tech support line can do other than have the repair facility ship the camera to me and I’ll have to see what the actual repair is. I asked about escalating it, but his supervisors don’t have any additional information and the repair facility is not considering any option other than shipping it to me. There is poor communication between the tech support line that we communicate with and the people that actually repair our cameras. I really wish I could speak directly with the people handling my camera.

    I look forward to finding out what they send me. Since they say they are not replacing this camera, hopefully they ship this camera back with no traces of a cracked camera body, but I have a feeling that is not going to be the case. If I receive it back with the same obvious cracked body, I am going to have to re-think of how to get this escalated because this would be totally unacceptable.

    This isn’t that exciting, but to be continued…
  13. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    Some of the Olympus tech support reps seem to understand this, but the repair facility apparently does not!
  14. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser

    Nov 16, 2010
    Please keep us updated. This kind of "quality service" should get more publicity to end.
  15. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Apologies if I should have figured this out already, but I take it that the serial number of the body they returned to you does not match the number of the body you purchased and originally sent in for repair?

    This amazingly frustrating experience is being sponsored by the repair facility in CT, rather than TX?
  16. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    Surprisingly the serial numbers do match, but I know my camera and the one sent back to me was not mine. They must have swapped the bottom of the body with this damaged one unless they have another way to create or move serial numbers. As I mentioned earlier, mine had a small paint defect on the EVF, showed wear on the hot shoe, and the buttons & dials were broken in with 2.5 years of use. This camera they sent me was like new other than damaged lug corner. The buttons were stiffer, no wear on the hot shoe, and the dials edges felt more like fresh cut metal. If it weren't for the damaged lug corner, I'd be very happy!

    You are correct, this is the CT facility.
  17. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Thanks. It's possible, maybe likely, that the bottom plate (which has the s/n) is a separate part, so the body shell could be a replacement even if the s/n matches your original camera. A bummer and a truckload of frustration; hopefully it will come out OK soon.
  18. zulfur666

    zulfur666 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 30, 2014
    You can always take a photo and check the S/N in the photo from the camera in LR or PhotoMe. They would have needed to change the internal Firmware too. Highly unlikely. Perhaps they just replaced your hotshoe and cleaned the buttons etc?
  19. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    Good idea on checking the S/N in Lightroom. I will do that. The camera has been shipped and is due to arrive on Monday. No, they did no only replace the hotshoe and clean buttons, etc. The dials' edges felt new, lilke fresh cut metal (not slightly smoothed out with 2.5 years of use). The paint defect that mine had is not on this camera. My camera was never dropped and had no damage to the lugs or body. When I looked at the body, it appears the base is a separate component.
  20. justin4192

    justin4192 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Fairfax, VA, USA
    I received the camera this afternoon and I am very happy to find that they replaced the scuffed loose lug, the part of the body around it that was cracked, paint worn, and glue exposed, and whatever internal parts to make the lug solid. You can't really tell that it was previously damaged. Since they shipped it damaged to me last time, I got the impression that their repair standards were not high. This is the same replacement camera, I can tell because of the same small amount of glue visible behind the fake leather, but that is not a big deal.

    I just checked the shutter count and it shows only 143 releases! Other specs are 7 flash fires, 0 sensor cleanings, 49 ultra sonic filter counts (I assume = power offs). Like I previously thought, this is a newer camera, not my original camera, but I am happy now after 2 months of hassle.
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