VERY stubborn spot on Olympus sensor - any rare and effective tricks?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Phil Tuggle, Apr 15, 2018 at 5:24 PM.

  1. Phil Tuggle

    Phil Tuggle New to Mu-43

    Feb 7, 2018
    007- 1240SummitDrive.jpg There is a very stubborn spot on my sensor and nothing done so far will remove it -- it seems literally welded to the glass layer and is perhaps 25 microns across. Does someone know a super clever trick other than dynamite to get this removed? I REALLY don't want to send out the camera for a new sensor (the cost and time lost for that approach might justify a new body).

    I've had this problem for a while and tried everything I know of, short of sending my little M10 Mark II in for a new sensor. I've used VSGO swipes and their non-alcohol solution as well as Pec Pads with Eclipse solution. I've been careful but as aggressive as possible, to the point of being convinced there is no way a cleaning service could do any better....maybe. I live in a small town and there are no such services within two hours anyway. My wife is a long-time fine art photographer and she is stumpted, too. We are at our wits end, so asking for your help.

    To show the spot, I have attached reduced sized copies of images. Look fairly close to the edge at about the 4 o'clock position. As a real estate photographer, I'm aware of the problem so try to "heal the spot" when I catch it - blank walls and empty rooms are of course where it shows up.

    Anyway, has anyone discovered a good trick to getting this cleaned off? The best I can tell, it is NOT an imperfection or damage to the micro thin glass layer. As you can imagine, after all these cleaning attempts, the sensor is absolutely spotless except for this stubborn thing.

    Attached Files:

  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    send it have tried everything else. Should be covered under their flat rate of somewhere around $150 (can't remember the exact amount but it is in that range).
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    This happened with a GM1 that I bought new. I sent it in under warranty and they replaced it.
  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    any chance you can attach an image showing the spot? Say, taken with your phone (if you don't have a good macro on another camera)? They can be pretty good (this is mine without any additional lenses)

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 12:47 AM
  5. ohaya

    ohaya Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 1, 2016
    I got a couple of spots on several of my Pentaxes awhile ago. I got one of these digital microscopes,, and used that to view the sensor and could see the particles. The things I used were (in order) a large blower (didn't work), then I was able to get one of the particles off with a sensor brush, and on another sensor, I had to use one of the wet sensor swabs. Kind of nerve-wracking, but in the end I was able to get them all off.

    EDIT: This was the sensor brush:
  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    That's not a particle on the sensor. It looks like the residue from some liquid. It may not even be on the top of the protective glass over the sensor. It could be between layers of the filter stack over the sensor. If it's on top, you should be able to see it with a bright light and a loupe.
  7. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Which is why I suggested a picture
  8. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I assume it is in front of the sensor on the glass filter stack & not on the rear element of the lens?
  9. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Dark spots appear when there are particles on the top piece of glass covering the sensor and they cast a shadow on the sensor. The rear element of a lens is too far from the sensor to cast a distinct shadow on the sensor. The thick filter stack in front of the sensors used in µ4/3 cameras is probably a contributing factor to the general absence of dust spots on images.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    last time I've had this issue was with a brand new E-P5, and after a year I sold it.

    I guess the spots were not on the surface of the sensor so no matter what I did I just coudn't remove it, instead I dealt with that in PS, wasn't difficult at all.
  11. Phil Tuggle

    Phil Tuggle New to Mu-43

    Feb 7, 2018
    Yes, I can do that...stay tuned and I'll do tomorrow pm, 4/19. Sorry for late reply.
    Frankly I am very tempted to put a drop of extremely aggressive (but non etching and non oily of course) cleaner on the spot and let it soak a few minutes.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Mack

    Mack Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2018
    I've tried to get an answer out of Olympus on cleaning their sensor, but nothing other than "Send it in." One responded with: "I've cleaned a lot of sensors, but I won't touch my own Olympus" which I thought odd. He did mention the magnetic holder it floats in as a possible hindrance to the affair. I recall Sony had issues with the "sticky gel pens" to spot clean them and some early sticky pens caused issues with the mechanism so Sony came out with a less-tacky pen recommendation. Someone on DPReview posted the "Sony Service Memo" on the matter.

    Given in the Olympus Easter Egg "hidden menu" one of the items supposedly is the counter for Senor Cleanings and all I've seen are at 0000, so there must be something that increments the counter if it is cleaned manually. Some hidden lock-down menu perhaps.

    You can try and find one of their "Olympus Clean and Check" meetings on their website and see if one is close to you to see what they do. I don't see any near me in 2018 on their current schedule.

    Not crazy about sending it into P.C. as they took over a month for a simple lens version update along with three estimates to do it (I didn't own an Olympus camera then to do it as it was used on a drone.). Quote went from $40, up to $170, and back down to $140 so process was very slow overall for a two minute update, and why I bought the Pen-F too.
  13. jpig

    jpig Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2011
    I wouldn't be too sure about that. I had what I thought was a persistent spot on the sensor of my E-M10 mkI last year. Three wet cleanings of the sensor had no effect on the spot. I was about to pack it up to send back to Olympus when it occurred to me to try a different lens. After I changed lenses, the spot was gone. When I put the original lens back on (O 25 1.8), the spot came back. When I examined the rear element of the lens, there was a sizeable dust particle on it. A few puffs with a rocket blower took care of it. When I put the lens back on the camera, the spot was gone. I felt silly for not checking the rear element of the lens sooner. Given how easy it is to do so, it can't hurt to check and clean the lens rear element and/or try a different lens to see if this has any effect.

    By the way, wet cleaning Olympus sensors is not particularly difficult. I have done so several times without incident. One just has to be gentle.
  14. Phil Tuggle

    Phil Tuggle New to Mu-43

    Feb 7, 2018
    Here you go...the most stubborn spot ever to exist. Ha
    M10M2_Sensor_resizedA.jpg M10M2_Sensor_resizedB.jpg
  15. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Can't get closer? That's pretty hard to see any details.

    At first glance (its a blurry tiny thing) it looks like it might be mold. Get thee a good magnifying glass and confirm by eye that it does or does not look like these
    in my view ...: fungus and mold on CD's and lenses

    Confirm with light from the side that its exactly on top of the sensor.
    The one in that shot was in full bloom, but even when removed fully they etch the surface and those who are inexperienced with looking at fungi damage often see it as still there, when what they are looking at is the remaining damage caused by their "root system" (mycelium)
    Do you live in a place where its cool and humidity above 60%? For instance where I live in Finland (where we heat our well insulated homes) my hygrometer usually reads 20~30%, while when I visit my friend in England his house always feels cold (like 18 in winter, but feels colder) and that's often a sign of humidity.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018 at 5:55 PM
  16. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    I had that on my em1 and sent it to Olympus. Fine since.
  17. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Tough to tell from that photo, but it looks like possibly a nick or perhaps something solid adhered to it? Do you know if this has always been there or if it only appeared recently?

    If you have an eye loupe, I have had good luck taking photos with one in front of my cell phone's camera. Also look into some "magnifier" apps for your phone to take much more macro shots.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    to follow up on my above, this is a shot I just took with my phone. I use the "manual focus" to make sure that its focused at the closest point (most modern phones have that in their advanced setting area, perhaps iPhone is SOL I wouldn't know)


    you can tell from the reflection (as being viewed from the side) that the spec is on top of the (glass covering of the) sensor.

    If I could more clearly see it I could perhaps make a better determination of is it fungus or not. Mine is dust and blew away simply.

    Given what you've said with cleaning the only other thing I can suggest is to do another sensor clean, but (with something like a cotton bud) this time put a drop of windex onto the "speck" first for maybe a minute and then see if that same cotton swab dislodges it.

    EMPHASIS be careful, don't put a bunch of fluid in there, and apply it with a cotton bud as mentioned. Have the camera flat so that the drop (which shouldn't be so large) does not run anywhere). The idea is to moisten it for a bit and make it perhaps easier to shift (unless its fungus in which case its replace it).

    It can be "soaked up" with the corner of a bit of tissue and then a usual sensor clean performed to remove any residue that may remain on the sensor causing shadowing.

    Let us know how you go
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018 at 7:58 PM
  19. Phil Tuggle

    Phil Tuggle New to Mu-43

    Feb 7, 2018
    I will give that better look a good try by tomorrow pm. That said, it is by no means new (almost a year since discovery), but I am pretty sure it was not there - at least in this easily detectable size - in the new camera. Can I assume it IS mold and treat it with something that will dissolve it?
  20. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa

    Well if it is mold then the organic component has probably been removed by your cleaning (assuming you used an organic solvent like windex when you swabbed), but the fact that mold always etches the surface (think etched crystal glasses) would mean that if it was a mold then that mark is permanent.

    A closer look is required :)