Wet Cleaning the EM1 Sensor

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Splitprism, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. Splitprism

    Splitprism Mu-43 Regular

    142
    May 10, 2013
    Angra, Brazil
    I recently discovered a small minority of images from my EM1 were showing blurred marks in two areas, always the same position, I checked all lenses for dust but couldn't see anything, looked at the sensor and there they were, two minute specks of dust glued to the sensor, no amount of blowing would dislodge them, even using the pixel mapping utility didn't budge them.

    I started researching cleaning the sensor, and saw that most people were relating to various blogs which were specifically stating not to wet clean the sensor yourself and to send the camera away for a professional clean.

    I'm not in a position to do that so decided to invest in a self cleaning kit, basically 5 swabs and a small bottle of cleaning solution, hold my breath and clean the thing myself.

    Two passes with the first swab has cleaned the sensor beautifully, a few test shots show not a speck, I can't recommend anyone do it themselves and probably in different circumstances, I wouldn't also, but I can say that the whole process if done carefully is good enough for me and so far, without any effect on the camera.
     
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I'm assuming that you checked the camera's IBIS and that there was no adverse impact on it from the cleaning.

    --Ken
     
  3. Splitprism

    Splitprism Mu-43 Regular

    142
    May 10, 2013
    Angra, Brazil
    With the lens off and the camera switched off, the sensor stack looks misaligned and resting at the bottom of box if that makes sense, switching the camera on see's the sensor stack lift up to align with the box, so as far as I can tell at this moment, there has been no adverse effect on the IBIS or the image quality following the cleaning.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Curious if before you wet cleaned the sensor if you simply tries turning the camera ON then OFF several times in a row to see if the ultrasonic cleaning might have been able to dislodge the specs?
     
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've cleaned my sensor several times without problem. I think it's important to make sure the camera's turned off so that the IBIS is at rest.

    There are some mutterings about there being an anti-static coating that we cleaning removes - but I've not seemingly had any negative impact in my experience.
     
  6. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Cleaning the Oly sensor will have about as much negative impact as cleaning any other brand of sensor.

    I've cleaned my own sensors for the last 12 years, and the Olympus setup is the least nerve wracking due to the omission of the mirror array.
     
  7. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Your other cameras have more than one mirror? ;)
     
  8. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Meh! Should have said Assembly.

    Fat fingers, I'm afraid :(
     
  9. Vandy

    Vandy Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Nov 8, 2015
    VA
    Marc
    This is good to know Michael. I am bound to do this at some point in time, was always afraid to for investment reasons.
     
  10. Vandy

    Vandy Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Nov 8, 2015
    VA
    Marc
    Any recommendations from a avid sensor cleaner on solutions?
     
  11. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    The trick is to be gentle, but without hesitation.
    Use a good quality swab. One of those pre-wet types tend to be best, in my experience.
    If you have access to one of those illuminated loupes, make use of it. Even if it means having to borrow one.

    This is a very old write up on sensor cleaning by Thom Hogan, but still an interesting read:
    Cleaning sensors by Thom Hogan
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    511
    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I usually recommend Green Clean. They do both dry and wet swabs.
    In the UK, they would come from Wex
    Over the water, I would guess B+H, or any of the other larger stores.
     
  13. Yong

    Yong Mu-43 Regular

    96
    Sep 25, 2014
    I have a similar experience with OP. Discovered little smudges on small aperture shots, tried in-camera sensor cleaning function, but smudges still there, then I went for wet cleaning with sensor swabs, and it worked. To be precise, shutter failed at first try(I touched shutter mechanism while my sensor scrubbing) after cleaning, but started working again itself somehow.
    My camera is E-P5, so I was aware to risk of damage on IBIS module, and I discovered that mine has survived after almost-obsessional tests. It works perfectly as always had been.

    Maybe I've over trusted Super Sonic Wave Filter of micro 4/3 system. From then I'm being cautious when I'm swapping lenses. I don't want to do that again. And I wouldn't recommend wet cleaning for oneself to anyone unless it is inevitable.
     
  14. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    921
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    FYI. The floating sensors will move if too much pressure is applied when swabbing them. I found that if I powered up my EM5, I could clean it and the sensor remained steady. I've needed to cleaned that EM5 twice since 2012. In fact, all of my M43 cameras have needed cleaning.

    Get quality cleaning equipment. I use Eclipse solution and pre-made swabs. Be careful of low cost pre-moistened swabs commonly seen on ebay. They use some unknown solution, that will streak like crazy, and make it worse.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Regular

    192
    Nov 26, 2011
    I have a similar issue with my EM5 MKII, I can see one spec on the sensor. It is right in the middle which makes shooting around it difficult. I read something on the DPS forum that you have to send to Olympus for cleaning so as not to damage the 5 axis IBS. Not true? I don't mind taking it to my local camera store but never like to send it away if I can help it.
     
  16. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    443
    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Richard
    I bought an E-PM2 from someone who shipped it to me with no body cap or lens, and packed in styrofoam, so the camera arrived with sytrofoam dust on the sensor. The particles were too charged to remove with my bulb blower, so I bought Sensor Swabs, size 2, from Photographic Solutions, and used one with the company's Eclipse solution, which I already had for cleaning lenses. I was careful to use each side of the swab for just one gentle wipe across the sensor, to reduce the risk of scratching the sensor with debris. It worked fine.
     
  18. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    767
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Other cleaning methods I have heard work pretty well for charged particles attached to the sensor (dust, etc.) is a Swiffer duster sheet. Never tried it myself, but cut a small corner off one and if you hold it near the sensor, charged particles may jump to the sheet. You may need to "charge" up the sheet first by rubbing it on something first (glass for example).
     
  19. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I'm really not sure that cleaning with the camera turned on is sensible. It's asking a lot for the IBIS to hold the sensor immobile when you're applying pressure via a swab. They're just loghtweight coils similar to those found in small loudspeakers.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3