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Author Topic: Olympus OMD E5 sensor clean  (Read 15024 times)
David S
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« on: January 30, 2013, 10:33:02 AM »
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In a review of the camera by Thom Hogan (http://www.sansmirror.com/cameras/a-note-about-camera-reviews/olympus-camera-reviews/olympus-om-d-e-m5-review.html), he states that Olympus says that manual cleaning of the sensor is not allowed and yet I can find no reference to this in the manual.

Has anyone seen this or has anyone cleaned their OMD sensor without issue?

Dave S
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fike
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 02:20:55 PM »
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I have cleaned it both dry and wet.  It is a bit disconcerting because the sensor moves around when you do it. I haven't seen any negative consequence of it though. 

I have had this repeating oddity with the appearance of a big ugly black smudge in my images (most apparent in skies but obvious on many plain backgrounds).  Initially I tried to clean this out, but later I just started blowing out the sensor with a rocket blower and then cycling power.  It goes away.  Very strange.

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David S
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 11:02:57 AM »
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Just received this reply from Olympus.
----------
The sensor should not be cleaned by a user for two very important reasons:
1: When the camera is turned off the sensor is loose. When powered on, the
sensor is suspended in a magnetic field to enable the five-axis image
stabilization.
2: If the sensor is cleaned by a user using a swab, the anti-static coating
on the sensor is wiped off. Our repair technicians replace the coating when
they perform service.
Cleaning is not mentioned in the manual because from the beginning of our
DSLR/PEN/OMD program, we have employed a Supersonic Wave Filter to shake
dust off of our sensors, a feature other digital camera manufacturers have
neglected to employ.
--------

Interesting.

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fike
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 01:04:49 PM »
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Well, I blew that already.  With the use of primes and the lack of a protective mirror, I think this sensor is likely to get a bit dirtier than a traditional DSLR.  I wonder how much of that stuff is seriously true and how much is a desire to get people to send a camera for service.
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250swb
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2013, 02:15:10 AM »
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"Cleaning is not mentioned in the manual because from the beginning of our
DSLR/PEN/OMD program, we have employed a Supersonic Wave Filter to shake
dust off of our sensors, a feature other digital camera manufacturers have
neglected to employ"

I wet cleaned my E3 sensor because of oil thrown off by the shutter, something Olympus neglected to account for.

I am increasingly suspicious of camera manufacturers and their 'don't do' directives. I doubt they want the extra work of cleaning sensors, so it must be more to do with not trusting the average customer to do something properly. I never read in the manual a specific directive saying 'don't do it' (and I can't be bothered to read it again). But it can't be deadly to the camera. If you buy the concept of wiping off the anti static coating and it does have a negative impact the answer is easy, drop something horrible on your sensor and send it off to Olympus to be done by a technician and all will be put right. But I don't buy that. If/when I need to clean sticky crude off my OMD sensor the only thing I will question is 'should I have the camera switched on, or switched off?'

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kencameron
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« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2013, 02:28:35 AM »
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If/when I need to clean sticky crude off my OMD sensor the only thing I will question is 'should I have the camera switched on, or switched off?'
Me too. If I get dust (none so far) I will probably have a go at cleaning it myself, using an electrostatically charged  brush rather than a swab, and switched on/off will be the starting question. When they say the sensor will be loose when the camera is off, it is presumably still held in some way or it would fall out. I don't see that a gentle touch with a charged brush could possibly do any harm, but camera techs could probably quote multiple cases in which that kind of thinking preceded disaster.
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OldRoy
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 04:21:23 AM »
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A timely thread.
My OMD has a fingerprint on the sensor. There is no doubt in my mind that this print belongs to an Olympus employee as the camera came in an unopened box and - it goes without saying - I would remember poking my finger into the damned thing. I spotted blemishes not long after buying the camera, just after launch and managed to convince myself that I could delay getting it cleaned. Now the print seems to have attracted dust that won't shake or blow off. It's a mess that you can't effectively clone out any longer. But here's the dilemma.

I'm currently in dispute with the suppliers of the camera - Park Cameras, a large retailer that southern UK photographers will probably be aware of - who a few months ago offered to clean the sensor for me free of charge, whilst I wait. Now they want 40 and three days, which entails two round trips of about 50 miles. This company is terrific when there's a credit card hovering over a big-ticket item but generally hopeless when there isn't.

Given the information in this thread, I wonder if they are aware of Olympus' warnings about the procedure? Somehow I doubt it.

Looks like an email to Olympus is in order to clarify the situation. Are dealers equipped to meet Olympus' protocols for this procedure? Getting this retailer to clarify the issue is likely to be a very long job if my past experience of their sluggish responses is any indication.

Roy
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David S
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2013, 11:52:48 AM »
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What bothers me in all this is that while Olympus claims they don't talk of sensor cleaning (see my copied email)
why does the manual not say so too.

----
Cleaning and checking the image pickup device
This camera incorporates a dust reduction function to keep dust from getting on the image pickup device and to remove any dust or dirt from the image pickup device surface with ultrasonic vibrations. The dust reduction function operates when the camera is turned on.
The dust reduction function operates at the same time as the pixel mapping, which checks the image pickup device and image processing circuitry. Since dust reduction is activated every time the camera's power is turned on, the camera should be held upright for the dust reduction function to be effective.
# Cautions
Do not use strong solvents such as benzene or alcohol, or a chemically treated cloth.
Avoid storing the camera in places where chemicals are treated, in order to protect the
camera from corrosion.
Mold may form on the lens surface if the lens is left dirty.
Check each part of the camera before use if it has not been used for a long time. Before
taking important pictures, be sure to take a test shot and check that the camera works properly.

----

Nothing in the above would suggest we should not clean the sensor. So are we being taken to the cleaners as it were?

Dave S
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fike
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 07:13:23 PM »
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A few more thoughts on this subject...

I have cleaned mine with ASP-C sensor swabs and SensorClean liquid.  The sensor moves around like it is mounted on a coil-spring connected platform.  I was really weirded out by the movement when I was cleaning the sensor, but the more I think about it, the less I am worrying. Gently sliding a swab over the surface (assuming you need a wet cleaning) is no more destructive than hiking with a camera around your next or riding on a bumpy road.  It is inconceivable that the camera can't handle that sort of handling. 

A few notes from my experience:
APS-C sensors don't fit quite right.  You need to do two passes to cover the whole sensor.  Cleaning in the other direction is impossible because the sensor swab doesn't fit.  As a result, each pass requires two swabs.  It took me twelve swabs to get mine fully clean.  I still thing there is a piece of dust floating around in my camera somewhere because it occasionally turns up, but it always goes away when turning the camera off and back on.  I would reserve the aggressive wet cleaning for really bad smudges. 
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OldRoy
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 09:58:00 AM »
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I just received an email from Olympus UK in which they offer to clean the sensor FOC - however it's a 2 week turnaround.

"Thank you for your e-mail ....  I can confirm that we will clean the sensor free of charge under the terms of your warranty, as long as a copy of your proof of purchase is provided.
Regarding having the sensor cleaned via a third party, this is not recommended as any work carried out by a non-Olympus technician will invalidate your warranty. "


Which is interesting given that my supplier, Park Cameras, who I assume are an Olympus agent have offered to clean the sensor for a range of prices, depending on turnaround and the individual quoting, from 30-50, thereby invalidating the camera's warranty. A strange state of affairs.
Roy
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fike
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 10:19:54 AM »
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I did some additional research.  They swab manufacturers recommend using the 20mm swab for APS-H (1.3x crop factor).  This should fit the MFT sensor in the wide dimension.
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 10:37:34 AM »
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Do you think that the warranty invalidation is insignificant?
Roy
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fike
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 11:08:58 AM »
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I have trouble imagining how they would be certain that you cleaned the sensor.  It would have to be the cause of a failure, and as long as you are careful, I don't see that happening.  I think stuff like that is generally invoked to avoid paying when you send the camera in for the third time for the same user incompetence. 
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 01:51:23 PM »
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If Olympus' statement that the sensor incorporates an anti-static treatment is correct I'd assume that they can tell if it's still present. I take the point that these disclaimers are used to protect themselves against egregious mis-handing of the product however it seems there's something more here which it would be interesting to have clarified.

I think it's alarming that a major authorised dealer would be unaware that the procedure was liable to violate the warranty, as their email in response to my query (relaying Olympus reply to my question) indicates.

"With regards to the second email and correspondence from Olympus, this is a situation that we were unaware of. If we had known that this would void the warranty we would, of course, have informed you immediately and suggested a return to Olympus themselves to get the sensor cleaned. I apologise that this was not the case. "

It took numerous quite emphatic communications to clarify the situation with Park Cameras, plus the email to Olympus before I got this sorted out. I wish this was surprising. So I've saved them from potentially embarrassing and expensive disputes: no doubt they will show their gratitude...

Now I have to entrust my camera to the mail system and wait a couple of weeks. Given that the UK Post office were responsible for losing one of two signed for parcels I sent overseas recently (the other returned to me after about 6 weeks) and the fact that their obfuscatory insurance claims procedure takes about 3 months to process there's a chance that I'll be able to replace the E-M5 with the mooted "pro" version. Looks like the D700 is going to get some exercise.
Roy
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OldRoy
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« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 04:37:24 AM »
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I offer this for comments by the august population here at LL.

I had this sensor cleaned by Olympus, FOC. Yesterday, precisely two weeks after despatch, as promised, the camera returned but packed a lot less thoroughly than my own paranoid effort. When I opened the box and wrapping I noticed that it was stone-cold, and later discovered from the courier's website that it had come by air from Portugal. I did a quick check that it powered up, fitted a lens, set a couple of the operating parameters (it had been updated to firmware v 1.5) and put it in my bag for later use on a walk. In fact I didn't take it out again for nearly 5 hours when I had returned home.

I then took a few shots of the yard of a property I'm working on at which point the camera began misbehaving severely. Intermittent faults like freezing in various modes, sometimes recoverable by powering off and sometimes requiring battery removal. Failure to power-up or -down without a long lag; semi-powered states which displayed only a grey screen and no functioning controls. Audibly noisy start-up and power-down (when it would) etc. I tried 3 different lenses (Oly and Panasonic) with varying degrees of unpredictably repeatable fault conditions - or none.

I immediately completed Olympus' service inquest web form. Having sent them a faultless camera with a dirty sensor I'd received back one with a clean sensor but completely unusable, so the scores were on the low side. I also emailed Olympus' customer support (who I have found to be quite responsive in the past) with a description of the symptoms at that time.

This morning I started trying to find a repeatable set of conditions where these faults could be reproduced. And of course the camera refuses to misbehave. However shooting a capped lens I notice what appears to be a multitude of hot pixels, particularly apparent on a small JPEG (levels tortured a lot to show them of course.) This is much less apparent on a full size tiff generated in LR from the raw files.

My conclusion from all this is that it has been caused by moisture condensing on the very cold camera, despite the fact that it spent several hours in the dry and moderately cool conditions in my backpack. I'll attach the SOOC small jpeg in a subsequent post if anyone would like to examine it. My quandary is what to do now? If anyone can suggest a good diagnostic as to the general condition of the sensor I'd appreciate it.

Roy
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