Sudden Death of E-M1 - Purple Haze Sensor - I'm giving up on Olympus!

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by budeny, May 8, 2015.

  1. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Today I've turned on my EM1 just to check some settings and here is what I've seen, dead sensor! No warning, nothing intermediate that would indicate failure. Camera was never exposed to anything harsh or unusual.. Good thing is that camera is under warranty, but it's only my GM1 now that will replace it for upcoming Memorial Day trip to Lake Powell.

    After going through my memories of all my Olympus cameras, here is the list of failures:

    EPL3 - oversensitive control wheel
    EPL5 - oversensitive control wheel
    EP5 - back control wheel slippage (1st occurrence)
    EP5 - back control wheel slippage (2nd occurrence)
    EM10 - back control wheel slippage (again? wtf?!?)
    EM1 - dead sensor
    EM1 - sticky shutter in lower temperatures.

    Add to that multiple reports on EM1's green blobs EVF issue and back wheel (!!!) failures.
    No any other electronic brand has failed on me so often.
    So, enough is enough!
    Now it's official: I'm giving up on Olympus products for their poor quality and will recommend for everyone to avoid them too.

    LV with lens attached:
    View attachment 420014

    LV without lens:
    View attachment 420015
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2015
  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    That is a bad run.
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  3. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    My college major was statistics and probability theory, so I see very little "bad luck" in all those Olympus products failures - looks like a good solid trend to me.

    I'm not leaving the system, at least for now. I'll get extended warranty on EM1 and run it till then, but that will be my last Olympus body and I do not plan to add any of their lenses either.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    That looks more like an LCD failure to me (actually a pretty classical failure... google images it...), what do the pictures look like when you take the card out of the camera?
  5. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Sorry to hear that you are having such a bad run on the Olympus cameras. I've not heard of anyone else that has had the same bad run. Hopefully you'll find a satisfactory place to land once all this settles.
  6. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    No, LCD is good - menus and playback work just fine. It even able to focus.

    Here is what shots look like.

    View attachment 420023
  7. denniscloutier

    denniscloutier Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Well, FWIW I've owned an EPL-2, EM-5 & EM-1 and the only issue I have had was the control wheel falling off my EM-5. So either I've been exceptionally lucky or you've been exceptionally un. Meanwhile a friend of mine is a big Canon guy. His current cameras are the 5Dmk3 and 70D and I think he's had more maintenance issues with his cameras than I with mine.
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  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Wow, that is bad luck. Can't say I'd blame you. I guess I've been lucky with my run
    EM1, EM5, E500, EP1, E620 new
    E3, E30, E1x2, E500, E600, EPM2 all used or refurb and never had a problem. Never even spec of dust on sensor.

    Well, check that I did have the rubber ring on the EM5 fall off from wearing around my neck.

    Maybe you live on one of those mystery energy spots :oops:
    • Like Like x 1
  9. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Wow, that's really crappy... does it do it with video/live view also?

    I've had a few small issues with Olympus products - the rubber came away on part of my E-M1 and one of the dials on a grip died, however none of the previous 4 or so bodies have had any problems. With such a string of bad luck I don't really blame you for leaving the brand.
  10. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    GX7 and GH4 are pretty nice....
  11. My EM5ii had to go back because of a loose/faulty selector lever.

    Most of my cameras have had to go back because of one reason or another: Nikon, Fuji and now Olympus.

    My next system change might be Sony mirrorless.

    Why is quality control so crap these days?
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    We all want smaller and smaller cameras with more and more features and tech and we don't want to pay a premium for it.
  13. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    To be fair quality control can only trap build issues or component defects during manufacture (the Japs employ operator self-certification) but if the design solution embodies inferior parts, there's nothing quality control can do.

    'Electronic' cameras are probably designed and manufactured to a fairly tight budget, and probably designed to have a fairly short operational life, and as long as they don't fail in the first year of warranty the manufacturers are happy bunnies.

    Film cameras are mainly clockwork structures and are inherently robust. Electronic cameras on the other hand, although brilliant in concept, are poorly executed for budget reasons.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  14. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Ha and part of me buying into Olympus m43 at all was that my ~2004 C770UZ was still working great :D
  15. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Bingo ! And we want it faster and cheaper than before.

    My m43 cameras have been fine (2 new (e-p1, e-pm1) and 1 second-hand (g3)).
    However, warning . . . sweeping generalisation ahead - I believe m43's cameras and lenses are not designed with build quality or longevity in mind (neither of which figures into their technical qualities as image-taking machines).

    My film cameras are 30-40yrs old and going strong. Many more moving parts but not built under todays 'modern' constraints.

    I giggle inside when I read the 'build-quality' section of online camera reviews - I can safely bet on the outcome when I play conkers with my Nikon F3 and Panasonic G3. (And I completely appreciate that an F3 would cost way more than I could afford when it came out; it'd be bashing against a K1000 . . .)
  16. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Given that string of ugliness, I can certainly understand your position. Having said that, I question whether your experience is typical. I have had remarkable luck with my cameras (excluding the two that died on separate occasions when I crashed while mountain biking and carrying them in my Camelbak...) until I found myself a couple weeks ago in the bottom of the Grand Canyon staring at my P12-32 that was suddenly in two pieces. I think that's my first real equipment failure in many years of photography--covering a lot of different brands, cameras and lenses. When it comes to frequency of failures, I wonder if you're not at one end of the bell curve offsetting me at the other end of the bell curve.

    The question is where you're going to go that you won't have the same risk of issues. It seems like every manufacturer has had its problems. Nikon's sensor issues come to mind as one example. Is there really a material difference in reliability from one brand to another? I doubt it, but that's just an opinion and I don't have any data to really know the answer. I vaguely recall that Consumer Reports used to publish some information about that but I haven't read that in years.

    A question that may be just as important is which manufacturers have decent service and are willing to stand behind and promptly fix their products when they do fail. I can't say my initial impression of Panasonic is very positive.
  17. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Well, at least it doesn't look like they into complete ignorance mode of their issues and Olympus list is quite longer.
    Those back wheel issues are just migrating from one Olympus model to another, same does EVF cup, and (imo) it's only because of DPReview we've got a fix for shutter shock.
    I agree that today cameras are disposables, but it's because their technology becomes obsolete in 3 years, but all those issues happened to me in first 1-2 months of usage - this is too little of build quality.
  18. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Off the top of my head...

    Nikons have the autofocus sensor being too high causing reflection (on the d750), different batches have different impact.
    The dust/oil from shutter on sensor (d600).
    Flashes overheating and shutting down(SB900).

    Canon has the main fuse blowing (5d series)
    Flash detection switch failure (prevents pop up flash working, any camera with a pop up)
    50mm f1.4 lens focusing ring breaking (breaks auto focus)

    Sony "Camera error. Turn power off then on." basically every camera they have ever made...

    I own many of these products and the defects have not impacted me at all, people worry too much... every brand has failures.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    But out of six listed failures I just don't really understand five of them.
    What's the oversensitivity and slippage of the wheels again?
    Maybe some of my bodies do it and I need to be aware?

    The sudden dead sensor issue first raised its ugly head with the E-M5 : most seemed to have been caused by the new stabilisation getting into some state that made the sensor die in a purply way, like the OP here. There have been very few reports of E-M1s doing it, this is the first I've read.
  20. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's not slippage but lack of response for each click as the wheel is rotated. Olympus are replacing the top plate assembly when needed to fix it.
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