OMD: Wife smudged sensor and cleaned it with an alcohol wipe for lenses.

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by ryanlogic, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Title says it all,

    I don't really know the whole story... I haven't been using the camera much lately. But I was taking pictures and things just didn't seem very sharp so I took off my lens and started examining everything but I didn't even look at the sensor which I instinctively covered with the cap as I removed the lens.

    My wife walks up to me as I was cleaning the back of the lens (which had a smudge) and told me that she smudged the "other thing" on the camera side and not to worry because she cleaned it... Ugh.

    Well basically the sensor does look clean and she swears she did it lightly with "feather like" swipes...but I'm freaking out because I know the image stabilization is fragile and the sensor has coatings on it etc...

    How should I check to make sure everything is working properly... Or isn't?
  2. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    I don't even use those alcohol wipes on my camera lenses... I keep them around for my glasses...
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's entirely possible that the coating has been affected. Have you tried other lenses to confirm?
  4. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Your sensor is the least of your worries! :eek:
    How did she smudge the "other thing"? What was she doing to access the "other thing".
    Do you have pets and are they still alive?
    Do not let her drive, cook or access the internet.

    You might survive. It could be touch and go.
    • Like Like x 8
  5. Kiwimac

    Kiwimac New to Mu-43

    Oct 9, 2013
    Is she still in warranty? Or the return period?!

    I keep threatening to invent a DNA lock that won't open unless you have X and Y chromosomes!
  6. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Real Name:
    Honey I put your shoes in the washing machine ? hope that was OK :) I am sure they will be OK cause I put them in side your purses first :)

    serious hope ya get it fixed ? send it in ? but life happens I honestly would be like well when I am perfect I will complain attitude but thats the island in me that says no worries man :)
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Neftun

    Neftun Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 15, 2012
    Real Name:
    Patrick Kristiansen
    Wow. That's just... Wow. I guess you love her, huh, not throwing a fit?
    Test with a lens you know, and send in to have it fixed professionally. I was told that replacing a piece of glass that is in front of the sensor costs the equivalent of 180usd, so not too bad. Your camera is likely fully salvageable:)

    Patrick K
  8. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    Perfect excuse to buy an EM-1!

    But, If she really used "feather like strokes" it seems unlikely to me that she damaged anything. It could be that the sensor is still smudged/dirty. I would try to properly clean it or take it somewhere and have it done if you are uncomfortable. But first, order that EM-1 while you've got leverage! :)

    EDIT: I was not aware that Olympus warns against sensor cleaning because of the 5-axis IS in the OM-D. Sounds like a diagnostic trip to Olympus repair is in order.
  9. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Just do your checks for sharpness. Run the shutter count regime if needed and see if any diagnostic codes popped up, A sensor unable to move freely is surely one of the Oly codes.

    Back before the advent of sensor cleaning kits, users used some of the most awful methods you can imagine, even worse than breathing on the sensor and rubbing. And they touted them on the net, so they couldn't have been too bad. Spectacle cleaner tissue, lightly feathered on the sensor shouldn't be a disaster.

    My feeling is that if Oly doesn't want people cleaning the EM5 sensor they should put it in print. It's a reasonable operation on every other ILC camera and they have a obligation to keep consumers aware. That said, I hope the OP's issues turn out to be the lens smudge.
  10. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    While I was on a trip earlier this year with my other half, she blew air on to my sensor thinking it would clear the dust that was on it.

    I raged.
  11. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    Real Name:
    Replace camera

    and wife....
  12. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I guess Nikon putting a layer of glass in front of the sensor on the 1 series isn't such a bad idea....
  13. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    Oahu, gathering place of many cars
    Real Name:
    Peter Gunn
    I used to find makeup and fingernail polish all over my camera gear so I bought my wife her own camera so she wouldn't borrow mine. She got a 60D, a small DSLR so now she leaves my "heavy" stuff alone. Somehow she doesn't like my M43 gear...
  14. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Email Olympus and ask them if alcohol will hurt the coatings. Or, if you can't see any damage on the sensor, just smile and let it go.
  15. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    Honestly, your camera and sensor are probably just fine.

    Hold it up to a bright light, and inspect the sensor. I doubt there would be any scratches put in it.
  16. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    It took me a second to realize you weren't referring to the camera.
  17. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    Hi Ryan!

    Page 102 of the E-M5 manual:

    "Do not use strong solvents such as benzene or alcohol, or a chemically treated cloth."

    However the manual is unclear as to whether this applies to the sensor as well as the camera body. I do not see anything in the manual that prohibits "home" cleaning of the sensor.

    There are various and sundry opinions as to how best to clean the E-M5 sensor but I've been unable to find anything on the official Olympus website that prohibits "home" cleaning - or even warnings against making the attempt.

    I've found a number of sources that say "Olympus says" or "Olympus recommends" but those sources have no link back to the original Olympus text.

    If you purchased the factory extended warranty a free cleaning/servicing is included in the contract.

    I doubt that any serious damage has been done to sensor/stabilization functionality if your wife did indeed 'feather' the cleaning attempt. My concern would be more of some material that has streaked or smudged the light path, causing your photos to be not-quite-as-sharp as before.

    I would contact Olympus repair directly and post your question to them:

    Of course you may get the factory line of "we have to look at it before we can recommend a solution" or some such - but you may receive help on checking the camera yourself as well.

    Obviously you can perform lens tests (newspapers on the wall, etc.; I'm fond of using my outside water meter, which has visible gears that are VERY small and if they show up on my shots then I know that the problem is not with the camera or lens but rather is an "eye dee ten t" issue).

    ("eye dee ten t" = IDIOT, referring to myself when behind the camera...:biggrin:).

    Such a test might alleviate any concern (or reinforce it!).

    Sorry for your troubles.


  18. shutterduster

    shutterduster Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Keremeos, BC. Canada
    Real Name:
    Dave T
    I have or have had five Olympus ilc's with ultrasonic cleaner built in.
    Changed lenses some 1000 or more times.
    Have never had anything on the sensor that needed physical cleaning.
    The question is,,,,,,,,,,how did the smudge get on the sensor? :rolleyes:
    Sticking ones finger in to see what that shiny thing inside the camera is, doesn't constitute normal usage.

    How many of you have ever had to clean the sensor on your m4/3 (Olympus) camera?
  19. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    Hi Dave!

    I've not had to clean the sensor on my E-M5 or EPL-1 bodies, nor on my D70S or D300 Nikon bodies. However I don't live in a particularly dusty environment and exercise due care when swapping lenses. I imagine those owners who live near salt water or beaches or the desert might have experiences not in common with mine (I'm in an urban environment most of the time).

    I have had to clean the mirror on 35mm SLR bodies; dust built up over time and the SLR bodies didn't have the auto cleaning features now available on digital bodies.

    That's only half of the question; answering that half might prevent a recurrence of the problem. The other half is, how does Ryan get the problem resolved without emptying his wallet? :biggrin:


  20. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've cleaned the sensor on both my E-M5 and E-PL5. I used Eclipse solution (which is mostly methanol/methyl alcohol) and sensor swabs. My E-PL5 in particular had a particularly stubborn drying mark on it (I think a drop of sweat!) and I had to use several swabs before it was clean. Neither camera shows the slightest ill-effect from the cleaning.

    I know this is controversial, but here was my reasoning around doing it myself:

    - Many local camera stores/repair shops will clean Oly sensors and I doubt that more than a very small few will have special training or tools - aside from what they have gained from cleaning other camera sensors. I've not heard of any complaints from this type of cleaning service. I figure I'm unlikely to do any worse a job.

    - There is obviously a concern about the IBIS. Accordingly, I made sure the camera was off and used only gentle pressure.

    - There are rumours that the sensor has an anti-static coating on it. This may be true and using alcohol will probably remove it. However, at least in my experience, there has been no increased dust accumulation since I cleaned mine.

    Personally, I'd be surprised if using alcohol (ethanol) has caused any particular problem. Ethanol will not dissolve plastics. Of course, if your wife used nail polish remover (acetone), then it will be a completely different story!
    • Like Like x 1