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Window in front of sensor on E-M1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Leigh, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    Ok, so I just updated the firmware in my E-M1 from 1.1 to 2.2 using the digital camera updater.

    After updating the camera I was updating my Olympus lenses at the same time and when I was switching them I noticed that the sensor (or what appeared to be the sensor) had some dust on it.

    No biggie, I've cleaned the sensor before. I grabbed one of my disposable sensor swabs but when I went to clean it I realized I wasn't cleaning the sensor. It was a window that slightly moved around when I tried to clean it with the swab.

    The swab ended up leaving a residue on this window (they never do this on the sensor)

    So my questions I guess are:

    1. What is this Window and why is it now locked in front of the sensor since the firmware update?
    2. How can I lock up this window to get access to the sensor?
    3. How can I clean this window since the sensor swabs don't work?

    Any advice appreciated.
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I believe you are referring to the automatic sensor cleaning unit. It vibrates at ultrasonic speeds to shed dust at the time the camera is turned on.

    Short of modified cameras, you are never cleaning the actual sensor. There is a filter stack on top of the sensor.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    The top level is glass, which is part of the assembly that is ultrasonically shaken to remove dust. This layer may also have some filter properties, I've read that the stack of filters and glass above many M43 sensors is almost 4 mm thick. While we cannot touch the silicon, we can scratch the top level or leave it dirty..

    The whole assembly moves on the EM1, EM5, probably the EM10, and the EP5 because it floats on magnetic bearings when the camera is powered up. It's suppossed to be parked when the cameras get powered off, but can still be pushed around.

    I've cleaned my EM5 sensor three times now. Used sensor swab with a drop of Eclipse lens cleaner as solvent. I found that the assembly gets locked down if I leave the power on, so that's how I have done the last two cleans. although it can still move if you press too hard. Proceed at your own risk.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    Ok, I must be remembering cleaning my GX1 last which doesn't move and seems to have nothing in front of the sensor.

    I was sure I'd cleaned the E-M1's sensor before but I guess I hadn't as I don't remember it moving. I've read up now about being cautious with the IBIS and also the fact that by swabbing I'm removing the anti-static coating.

    I need to clean the sensor myself though, I shoot in the mountains a lot and change lenses frequently. Even when trying to shield the sensor, dust invariably gets in. I'm just usually in windy environments. Sending the camera in to Olympus every few weeks just isn't feasible.

    Hi HarryS, I used a pre-moistened sensor swab by eclipse and found it left a residue on the glass. Have you found this before with the EM5?
  5. tornado

    tornado Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    You should be trying with a blower bulb first, without touching the sensor assembly, to remove any dust.
    Only if that fails should you resort to a swab method. Failing that, the service tech is your friend...
  6. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
  7. zathras

    zathras Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 13, 2014
    Waikato, New Zealand
    Chris Nielsen
    I fumbled my E-M1 while changing lenses and put a dirty great fingerprint on the sensor. I had my local shop do a wet clean and 6 months later have no noticed any difference (assuming the wet clean strips the anti static coating) and it doesn't seem to have been detrimental to it at all.
  8. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I do have pre-moistened swabs, but they may dry out in the package, I bought a pack in 2012and rarely use them. So I have been putting a drop of Eclipse on them.

    Internet has lots of advice on anti-static on the 16MP sensors. The Olympus literature has none. The same cover glass is used in the GH4, GX7, GM1, EPL5, etc,, I believe, and there's been no internet cautions that I know of about antistatic coatings on them. The Olympus manuals do say not to touch or wipe the imager.
  9. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    0. You have NEVER cleaned a sensor...EVERY sensor has multiple layers of glass in front of it. One of the layers is the "hot mirror" which blocks infrared light. Another layer (if the camera has it) is an anti-aliasing filter. Olympus also adds the SSWF filter which vibrates to shake off dust when you power on the camera, and that's what you are cleaning. For instance, this is Canon 60D sensor layout just to show on other cameras you are NOT cleaning the sensor itself:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    1. The entire sensor sandwich moves on the E-M1...that's the image stabilization. It is designed to float when off:


    2. As already explained, you can't!

    3. The end user isn't supposed to clean the sensor on the OM-D cameras because of the moving sensor and SSWF because it's easy to damage the mechanism...you need to send it to Olympus or Olympus repair outlet. Maybe a store that sells Olympus cameras has the skil to clean the E-M1 sensor.
  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I've cleaned my E-M5 several times now with no apparent ill effects. I did it with the camera turned off and laying flat down. By using only light pressure, via a SensorSwab, the IBIS mechanism didn't move. With a few clean swabs and Eclipse fluid, it cleaned up beautifully and with no residue marks. I'm personally sceptical about this anti-static coating story. The SSWF seems no less effective now than it used to be and the incidence of dust is no worse after my cleaning sessions.

    YMMV of course - and remember, go easy!!
  11. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    Thanks everyone for all the advice. I appreciate it.

    I kind of came to the same conclusion. I've been reading everything I could find online about cleaning OMD sensors and a lot of the opinions are anecdotal regarding reasons to not clean it. I know the official line from Olympus that seems to be relayed to customers is to not clean it. Like you said it's hard to find this in writing from Olympus.

    I haven't come across a single account of anyone actually damaging the IBIS from cleaning either.

    I'd imagine any one of the extremely bumpy 4x4 rides I've taken with this camera has shaken the sensor a lot more than the nudges I gave it with the sensor swab. I can't imagine the suspension mechanism is all that fragile otherwise there'd be a plethora of cases about it online.
  12. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Are you sure you need to clean the sensor as often as you think? I live in the dry dusty desert southwest and have never had an issue with dirty sensors on my Olympus products: multiple E1's, E3, EP1, EP2, Multiple EM5's and now EM1. My Nikon and Canon files from all those years are strewn with dust spots. It is one reason I keep coming back to Olympus! I hate cleaning spots on the computer.
  13. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    If air doesn't get the dust, I usually use a soft swab to kind of nudge stubborn specks and then air usually takes care of them. Only wet swabbed maybe once.

    • Like Like x 1
  14. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I've NEVER had to clean a FourThirds sensor as long as I've used them, since 2005, since the SSWF works so well. It's only if you get something sticky like pollen on the sensor.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Leigh

    Leigh Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2015
    Squamish, BC
    I understand what your saying and I do appreciate the advice and perspective. I've been using m43 since the end of 2012, I've only had to clean my sensors 3 times in that time, those 3 times have been in the last few months. I've been shooting "starbursts" of the sun recently so I guess I've been noticing dust more as I'm using high f/stops to generate these effects. I've also been shooting more rock climbing so I'm increasingly in environments with a lot of chalk and dust and I'm also using chalky hands to change lenses. How and where a person shoots will affect the amount of dust on their sensor and how much they actually notice it.

    Just for some closure to this thread as I know people will find it now. I hate when the OP doesn't come back to explain how the initial problem was resolved.

    My sensor is now spotless. I picked up a "SensorKlear Pen II" at my local camera store. It worked really well! The triangular head got into the corners and no dust or debris was left on the sensor. Mightily impressed. I followed the advice online which said to turn the cap a few times first to clean the tip, then to tap it a few times on a microfibre cloth to make sure that any loose powder is gone before using it on the sensor.

    I powered on my camera to clean the sensor from the info in this thread. Powering on does lock the sensor in place really well. I was gentle, but the sensor felt solid and didn't budge.

    Recommended for stubborn sticky dust that won't budge with the SSWF or a blower.
    • Like Like x 1
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