1. Reminder: Please user our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Self wet-cleaning EM-5 sensor - help please.

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by hrsy1234, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Mar 29, 2013
    East London
    I am currently travelling and my sensor has a large bit of gunk on it. I expect it has come from the shutter itself, as it is sticky in nature rather than dust. I am travelling until January 2015 so cannot ship my camera for repair to Olympus - I am on the move constantly from country to country and currently have no home address anyway!

    I've tried using a rocket blower and a can of compressed air, but it does not shift at all. Is it visible in my photos? Well, you be the judge (link).

    I've lost a large number of otherwise fine photos because it is not easily removable via Lightroom's Spot Removal. I am trying to compose my photos around it but this is a stop-gap. I am in Egypt from next week and can easily envisage the frustration of losing lots of great tomb photos because of this.

    Has anyone here personally wet-cleaned their EM-5 sensor? If so, can you explain how you went about it, what tool(s) and methods you used etc. Any help appreciated. Anything information on using something other than Sensor Swabs would be good, simply because they appear to be difficult to source in most places around the world.

    Thanks!
     
  2. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    955
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Canned compressed air is nearly the worst thing (aside from your bare fingers) you could aim at the sensor. All canned compressed air has some oils and propellants that will damage the sensor if they get on it.

    Lots of people here have wet-cleaned their sensors with varying degrees of success, mostly positive.

    I had a similar situation to yours, except mine only appeared when using my 75-300 lens. It showed up as blobs with wide-open apertures and became a definite squiggle at smaller apertures. You could see it while composing the shot.

    So I "went at it" with my Visible Dust dry and wet kit and no matter what I did, I just couldn't remove the spots. So I sent the camera in for service. Lo and behold, the spot wasn't on the outward-facing side of the sensor - it was between the sensor cover glass and the sonic wave filter that rattles dust off the surface of the sensor.

    Anyway, they cleaned it and it's completely gone. Sending it in broke the wifi on the camera so it had to go right back again to fix that. It's now fine and the sensor is spot-free.

    So it's possible those spots are between the SSWF and the cover glass of the sensor - you can't clean that yourself.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  3. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I first wet cleaned DSLR sensors using Eclipse Lens Fluid and a piece of micro fiber cloth (PECC pad) wrapped with a rubber band around a plastic spoon handle. That might work with an EM5 sensor, but I would sooner get a pre-fabbed sensor swab and the Eclipse fluid if it is not pre-wetted. This is my reference.

    Eclipse is, I believe, pure methyl alcohol, and you may find that at a pharmacy. The common rubbing alcohols are either isopropyl or ethanol and usually 5% water. They will leave streaks. The PECC pad is an extremely lint free cloth. Might be some first aid bandages that would suffice. First aid gauze probably would leave more lint than it removed. When making a home built swab, the idea is to make it the same width as the sensor. Also, too much fluid, no matter what you use, has got to be bad. if it gets behind the top glass.

    You might be better off looking for a photography store or a studio that has someone with the skills.

    The sensor assembly on an EM5 is free to move when there is no power. It's locked down with power. I have cleaned my EM5 with a sensor swab with both approaches. Powered down, there is no need to apply enough force to move it anyway. Perhaps I am lucky as I've seen no problems. Then again, I am pretty hands on.

    There has been concern that cleaning removes an anti-static coating off the EM5 sensor, but no one has ever brought this up when cleaning all the older PEN's and all the Panasonics. It doesn't concern me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Remember that the camera has a super-sonic wave filter (SSWF) in front of the sensor, you will be cleaning that and not the sensor surface. So be careful with the cleaning, as there's no real guidance as to the SSWF robustness, though it should be pretty tough.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    • Like Like x 1
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Can you see the gunk? If so, can you nudge it with a clean cotton swab? Does it budge or change? There's virtually no way you can hurt your sensor doing this unless you thrust the swab like a fencing foil, and, as has been stated, you'd be touching the dust filter, not the sensor itself. If the "gunk" clings to the sensor, you should probably wet clean it, if it budges, it can probably be removed more easily. Don't let the naysayers keep you from using compressed air in cases where it's handy, just be careful, keep the can upright, and do test bursts before pointing it at the sensor.

    GX1•GF3•EP1•17/2.8•30/2.8
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    955
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Ok, tell that to 2004 me who watched as a technician used compressed air and caused the cover glass on my D100 to split. The rapid temperature change caused the glass to shrink and it pulled itself right off the die. It also interferes and disolves adhesives used on the sensor cover-glasses.

    Even if you manage to keep the propellant and oil off the sensor, that quick blast of very cold air can, over time, damage and shrink the glass. Add to that that we really don't know exactly what the SSWF filter is made of, and you have the potential for non-warranty-repair disaster.

    Carry a rocket-blower with you.
     
  8. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Canned compressed air is nothing like it was in 2004. I wasn't speaking of an air compressor, of course, which would be cameracide. High-quality canned air doesn't cause temp changes or propellant contamination unless the can is held off-axis or is cold to the touch (wait till it's back to room temperature).
    GX1•17/2.8•30/2.8
     
  9. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Sorry for your D100 mishap, though :/
    GX1•17/2.8•30/2.8
     
  10. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    955
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Thanks... A few months later the entire camera gear was stolen in a smash-n-grab, out of an unmarked police cruiser... Insurance replaced the entire kit...
     
  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    At least the ending was a fairly happy one then!
    GX1•17/2.8•30/2.8
     
  12. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Mar 29, 2013
    East London
    Wow - thanks for the really good responses guys. This is exactly what I am after, and has boosted my confidence in getting this resolved whilst on the road.

    That is something I will keep in mind. I have no idea how the mark got there - I was in a dry climate on the beach and suddenly it was there. I was comparing the sequence of photos I'd taken and it seems the spot appeared when no lens swap was performed.

    I will definitely be having a go at this. I will see if I can locate the required bits to build this. Thanks Harry! Also thanks for the tip on the powerd off or powered on, I wasn't sure which was best.

    Thanks pellicle, this is a good link, I could build something like that relatively easily. Not sure on the windex though, I think I would try to source some of the correct alcohol as per HarryS's post!

    Oh I can definitely see it. It's bigger than a grain of sand. I haven't tried nudging it yet - I might give that a go, it may stick to whatever I nudge it with.

    Thanks for everything guys, I will report back once I'm able to give this a go.
     
  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
  14. hrsy1234

    hrsy1234 Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Mar 29, 2013
    East London
    Today has been a surprising one.

    I am currently in South Africa. My wife and I decided to stop off in a town called Knysna to grab some lunch, which is on the Garden Route.

    I spotted a photographic shop on our wander, and popped in to enqiure as to whether they had any lint-free cleaning gear, to attempt this cleaning myself. They said no, but then noticed I was carrying an OM-D around my neck. Their next comment really threw me!

    "Do you need your OM-D cleaned? We are the Olympus Brand Ambassadors for South Africa and will clean any Olympus camera free of charge."

    WHAT LUCK. There was nothing on the outside of the store to show this. So now I have had both my E-M5 bodies professionally cleaned free of charge. The spot is gone, air could not remove it, or suction, but they had the tools to remove it without worry. It seems as good as new!

    Their store is a monument to Olympus - there are dissected PEN and OM-D cameras mounted behind glass on the wall, like a museum, plus they have countless old OM film cameras. They offer training, education and teaching, and are photographic ambassadors for the wider community.

    http://www.ianflemingphotography.com

    I cannot believe my luck. So if anyone else in South Africa needs their Olympus gear looked at, search no further. I hope this post is of use to someone else in the future.
     
  15. DWS

    DWS Mu-43 Regular

    76
    Jun 6, 2014
    Good fortune, indeed....congrats!!
     
  16. peter124

    peter124 Mu-43 Regular

    Were you able to see what special tools they used?
     
  17. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    That's spooky.... I go to SA occasionally on business. I must check this place out next time.
     
  18. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    What luck! I may have to travel to SA when my EP1 gets dirty ;)
     
  19. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    Hi
    be aware that on the "internet" you will find much of the writings of King Wang and his followers. Windex is safe on optics, even Schneider recommends it.

    I have long used the rolled up lump of non-allergenic unscented white soft toilet paper as the "pen end" for lens cleaning. Strange that people worry about coatings but use a "Lens Pen" with abandon ....

    I've can report that I have used windex for more than 20 years on my stuff including CD's and it kills mold before it even gets to a size where you can see it.

    http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2012/07/fungus-and-mold-on-cds-and-lenses.html

    and

    http://photo.toomastamm.eu/fungus

    There is much written by people who pretend to know ... but don't. The blind who wish to appear sighted often go along with it all. Long Live The King.

    Remember the chant ... King Wang King Wang King Wang

    ;-)

    PS: from a Schneider white paper on lens cleaning, this point on technique:
    Best Wishes
     
    • Like Like x 1