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How significant is the sensor dust problem on the Q?


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I know that sensor dust has been discussed before on this forum, but I'm trying to get a sense of how frequently it occurs. Is it fairly common, uncommon or rare? Also if dust does appear, what does it take to get it removed? Does the camera have to be sent in to Leica? I purchased my Q used, meaning that it is not covered by warranty. I dread what the cost might be. Am I worrying needlessly?

 

Rob

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One year after purchase I have zero dust on my sensor. To be honest if that happen and I have to pay for it to be cleaned I'll leave Leica forever. I love this camera but l couldn't stand paying to clean a camera that should have been perfectly sealed for the price it costs. Leica chose to not seal them, fine, but then they should clean for free at least during 10 years!

The issue isn't significant unless it happens, then it's very significant because you can't just remove the lens to clean the sensor.   I've had this problem with every fixed lens digital camera I've had and won't buy another.

The truth is that none of us knows where the dust enters, so covering all possible entry points makes some sense. My guess is that it is either at the focusing ring or the macro ring, but there is no way to seal them. Fortunately, the sensor dust problem seems to be the exception rather than the rule, though it is a pain when it occurs.   Rob

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The bad news: You are not covered by warranty by Leica USA. The good news: you have a full factory guaranty by Leica Germany. Which means that you will have to handle shipping and customs yourself, but you will be able to get major warranty claims honoured.

 

As for dust on the sensor, it should not be too expensive to have it removed by Leica NJ, in fact, on a good day they might decide not to charge you at all - at their discretion, of course.

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I've fallen foul of this problem. Only one day into my trip and a large piece of detritus has appeared in the very centre of my images. This shouldn't be happening and unless we are willing to repeatedly send the camera to Leica for expensive cleaning, the concept of a fixed lens camera becomes very unattractive.

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I've fallen foul of this problem. Only one day into my trip and a large piece of detritus has appeared in the very centre of my images. This shouldn't be happening and unless we are willing to repeatedly send the camera to Leica for expensive cleaning, the concept of a fixed lens camera becomes very unattractive.

Your comments are very telling. I love using the Q. It's an excellent all around and travel camera, but I've not experienced any sensor dust YET! It makes me begin to consider selling it and moving to an M-10. It's very difficult to know what the actual probability is of this becoming a problem. Leica should offer extended warranty for this issue then Q owners could relax about it.

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The issue isn't significant unless it happens, then it's very significant because you can't just remove the lens to clean the sensor.

 

I've had this problem with every fixed lens digital camera I've had and won't buy another.

The only one that did not suck  in dust is my Digilux 2

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I have not yet noticed any dust in my Q, but it's been quite a while since I went looking for it, too.

 

One thing I did was cover the speaker and mic openings with a small piece of black gaffers tape.  I did that the day I got the camera.  I've never used the video functions.

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For what it's worth I don't have a Q but when I bought an X1 in 2011 it acquired a prominent dust spot three months after purchase.

 

I returned it to Leica for a clean under warranty and fingers crossed despite it being a hard worked camera it has been fine ever since.

 

John

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I just did a serious look for sensor dust. F/16, ISO 100, clear blue sky. Looking at 1:1 in LR. I found nothing. Zero spots. I'm actually slightly surprised and more than a little pleased. Given what I've read on this forum I expected to find something. This is after continuous use over the past 18+ months. I've many times switched in and out of macro mode. I use a UV filter on the front element although I'm not sure that helps reduce dust into the lens. FYI. I'm a lucky one with a clean sensor so far.

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It appears that the sensor dust problem is real, but not inevitable or even common. I have taped over the mic and speaker holes on my Q and will hope for the best. And if it does happen, it won't be a life-threatening event, just a nuisance. 

 

Rob

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It appears that the sensor dust problem is real, but not inevitable or even common. I have taped over the mic and speaker holes on my Q and will hope for the best. And if it does happen, it won't be a life-threatening event, just a nuisance.

 

Rob

I've also covered the mic and speaker holes with gaffer tape although I did it for protection from rain more than dust. Maybe it helps. Don't know!
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I now have a variety of shapes of dust clearly visible through my viewfinder or LCD. It's worrying me. This camera could end up being an expensive brick. If Leica couldn't incorporate sensor cleaning into the body then they shouldn't sell fixed lens systems. Alternatively, they should have made an easily removable lens. Thinking back to my original decision to buy an M9 which I still have, I wish I hadn't gone along with Leica's experiment into advanced systems.

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I used my 'Q' extensively for about a year without dust-on-sensor problems. While I don't go out of my way to inflict trauma on my cameras, or seek out arduous conditions in which to use them, I don't keep them boxed up either.

I've also used a Fuji X100s for over 4 years and treated that quite carelessly, often carried loose in my coat pocket, and the basic design of the Fuji and the Leica Q is quite similar.

I haven't encountered any problems with dust on the sensor with either camera, but, like the Infiniumguy, I use a UV filter. My usual practice with any new camera is to fit a good-quality UV filter (B+W Multi-Resistant Coating, or the Hoya equivalent) as soon as the camera comes out of the box for the first time, and only to take it off on the rare occasions when the rest of the camera is being thoroughly cleaned.

I also, with these cameras, always use the lens hood, which I don't remove either. The MRC coating seems to withstand a lot of 'abuse' and is easy to clean. I'm assuming that since I very rarely see any dust on the front element of the lens, behind the filter, that little is likely to be drawn into the camera body when the lens is focussed.Clearly, the camera isn't air-tight, but the volume of air trapped behind the filter must stay fairly constant as the lens moves, being redistributed in front of the front element or in the body of the camera.

I appreciate that many photographers dislike the idea of putting anything in front of their lens which the designer didn't include, but the filter-plus-hood works well for me. I remember reading a quotation from fashion photographer John Cowan in the late 60s, when he said that lens hoods had little to do with control of light, but were for keeping beer, cigarette ash and suntan oil off the lens!

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I used my 'Q' extensively for about a year without dust-on-sensor problems. While I don't go out of my way to inflict trauma on my cameras, or seek out arduous conditions in which to use them, I don't keep them boxed up either.

I've also used a Fuji X100s for over 4 years and treated that quite carelessly, often carried loose in my coat pocket, and the basic design of the Fuji and the Leica Q is quite similar.

I haven't encountered any problems with dust on the sensor with either camera, but, like the Infiniumguy, I use a UV filter. My usual practice with any new camera is to fit a good-quality UV filter (B+W Multi-Resistant Coating, or the Hoya equivalent) as soon as the camera comes out of the box for the first time, and only to take it off on the rare occasions when the rest of the camera is being thoroughly cleaned.

I also, with these cameras, always use the lens hood, which I don't remove either. The MRC coating seems to withstand a lot of 'abuse' and is easy to clean. I'm assuming that since I very rarely see any dust on the front element of the lens, behind the filter, that little is likely to be drawn into the camera body when the lens is focussed.Clearly, the camera isn't air-tight, but the volume of air trapped behind the filter must stay fairly constant as the lens moves, being redistributed in front of the front element or in the body of the camera.

I appreciate that many photographers dislike the idea of putting anything in front of their lens which the designer didn't include, but the filter-plus-hood works well for me. I remember reading a quotation from fashion photographer John Cowan in the late 60s, when he said that lens hoods had little to do with control of light, but were for keeping beer, cigarette ash and suntan oil off the lens!

 

 

It seems to me that the front end of the lens is a very unlikely site of entry for dust, no matter how much may land on the glass or its surroundings. That area appears to be tightly sealed and does not move during the focusing process, either auto or manual. All focusing movement is internal. The manual focusing ring itself is a more likely site, but it would not be shielded by a front end filter. There may be good reasons for using a protective front filter, but I doubt that preventing sensor dust is one of them.

 

Rob

Edited by robgo2
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I used my 'Q' extensively for about a year without dust-on-sensor problems. While I don't go out of my way to inflict trauma on my cameras, or seek out arduous conditions in which to use them, I don't keep them boxed up either.

I've also used a Fuji X100s for over 4 years and treated that quite carelessly, often carried loose in my coat pocket, and the basic design of the Fuji and the Leica Q is quite similar.

I haven't encountered any problems with dust on the sensor with either camera, but, like the Infiniumguy, I use a UV filter. My usual practice with any new camera is to fit a good-quality UV filter (B+W Multi-Resistant Coating, or the Hoya equivalent) as soon as the camera comes out of the box for the first time, and only to take it off on the rare occasions when the rest of the camera is being thoroughly cleaned.

I also, with these cameras, always use the lens hood, which I don't remove either. The MRC coating seems to withstand a lot of 'abuse' and is easy to clean. I'm assuming that since I very rarely see any dust on the front element of the lens, behind the filter, that little is likely to be drawn into the camera body when the lens is focussed.Clearly, the camera isn't air-tight, but the volume of air trapped behind the filter must stay fairly constant as the lens moves, being redistributed in front of the front element or in the body of the camera.

I appreciate that many photographers dislike the idea of putting anything in front of their lens which the designer didn't include, but the filter-plus-hood works well for me. I remember reading a quotation from fashion photographer John Cowan in the late 60s, when he said that lens hoods had little to do with control of light, but were for keeping beer, cigarette ash and suntan oil off the lens!

 

Adam

 

Dust doesn't enter the camera through the front of the lens although I do use a clear protection on my lens. While we can't be sure, it appears to enter either by the macro setting ring or else the focus adjuster. There is also the possibility that dust enters via the microphone holes. I doubt that Leica will reveal the cause of the problem but I am in touch with them and hope to get the matter resolved. If there is a design weakness, then the problem will return.

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