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Old Aug 30, 2006, 1:46 PM   #1
stripperdave's Avatar
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So, being a newbie to the dSLR market, I made a really newbie and STUPID mistake. I was vacationing when I switched lenses and then noticed a little dust particles on the viewfiner image. I kept shooting but could not tell if the dust was on the sensor. Anyways, I went back to my hotel and attempted to clean the camera. I went to the nearest camera store to buy a blower. All the store had was a cheap blower with a brush. (A "new" girl at my local camera store said that it would be fine to use these for internal cleaning). I tried to clean the inside (without reading the instructions) and noticed that the dust kept getting worse. So, I went to buy compressed air (again, without reading the e500 instructions). I got some condensation on the focus screen and mirror....but I had to run out and had to leave the camera.

Here's the bottom line:

(1) looks like my focus screen is scratched

(2) looks like my mirror is a little discoloured now (some purpling on the physical mirror)

(3) i don't think there's duct on the sensor, but I am worried that some condensation would have gotten on the sensor while in the process of cleaning. I did put the camera on cleaning mode and attempted to clean the sensor. I have to look at some pics in Photshop that I took of clear blue sky at f22.

I am thinking of taking it to my local Olympus dealer to get checked out. Anyone have any suggestions? This was a huge lesson learned. I am really at a loss about what to do and am very concerened about my time without the camera and how much this will cost me (already bought body and have 40-150 lens and 14-54 lens)

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Old Aug 30, 2006, 2:52 PM   #2
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Yes, the silveredmirrors are very, very delicate. I typically leave it be unless there's a huge piece of annoying something on it, but usually for something like that a blower brush (blower part only)while the camera is turned facing down is enough to get it out. Canned air is definitely something (like I'm telling you anything here now) you don't want to be using inside the mirror box.

It's a story that'll make anyone sick to read- it does me. Chances are a trip to replace the mirror and/or focus screenwill be at least a couple of weeks (my realguess would be longer), and I have no idea what a new mirror will cost. Unless you just blasted the inside with the canned air, chances are the sensor is fine- at least let's hope so because it makes up a huge part of the overall cost of the camera.

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Old Aug 30, 2006, 2:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Greg. Is the best way to tell if my sensor is damaged to take it in. I did blast the inside.....I was trying to be a perfectionist at the time of my MISTAKE.
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Old Aug 30, 2006, 3:21 PM   #4
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If you don't notice anything affecting picture quality, the simplest answer may be to just live with it.

Continue your experimentation with pictures of clear blue sky or consistent overcast and look for problems. If you don't find any problems, then there is probably little PRACTICAL benefit to sending the camera for inspection.

A scratched focus screen and discolored mirror may be a distracting annoyance but don't, by themselves, affect image quality. They interfere with the lightpath to your EYE but not to the camera SENSOR.

Another thing to keep in mind, as much as I hate to say it, but current DSLR bodies really won't be state-of-the-art for very long. I'd be reluctant to invest in body repairs unless they were necessary for image quality. Given the ongoing changes in technology, you'll probably get three years of service out of a DSLR body before it's relegated to backup status. In the old days, you could fix a NIKON F2 or F3 and expect to use it for 25 years. As it is now, things just don't stay current for that long. The three year old E-1 is obsolete. And in another three years, I expect the E-500 will look pretty pale in a world of 14MP cameras with image stabilization.
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