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HELP! Spot on M10 sensor!


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Hey guys,

 

I'm new to this forum and I'm also new to the Leica M system. 

I just bought my new m10 one month ago with a Elmarit 28mm ASPH (so far).

 

After some shooting I noticed a relatively big spot in the upper right part of the sensor. I don't know how this could have happened because I never changed lens till I opened the camera and attached the Elmarit the first time.  

 

It's very annoying to pay so much money for a camera and then having a spot on the sensor. 

 

Do you have advice what to do now? Should I send it to Wetzlar or can I fix it on my own? 

I did a sensor cleaning on my DSLR once, but I'm a bit afraid of doing so on this expensive, new camera. I don't want to make it worse...

 

Cheers,

Sebastian

 

 

 

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Sensor cleaning is an easy DIY, but if you  feel unsure, bring it to any local sensor cleaning service. Camera dealers often offer this on a whilst-you-wait basis. You should learn to do it yourself, though. 

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It's very annoying to pay so much money for a camera and then having a spot on the sensor. 

 

A speck of dust can get in there with even one lens change, with any camera. It's not the camera's fault.

 

Get a rocket blower, and see if that fixes it. If not, you can try wet cleaning swabs, if you feel confident in yourself. I've done it many times without issue, but it's not stress-free...

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I read Jaapv‘s article after coming back from a few weeks in Ireland. Guess what: When looking at my photographs in LR I discovered that many of my pictures had dozens of bigger and smaller dots in the sky. I was very upset about this. Indeed I changed my lenses quite frequently unlike I normally do at home (It was all my fault as I should have taken less lenses)

 

But then I bought such a blower and blew air onto my sensor of the M10. AND IT WAS THEN FULLY CLEAN. I was so happy that I came along Jaapv‘s post.

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Ups... as said, new to the forum 

Thank you! I have a blower and also a full frame sensor cleaning kit. I will try it on my own... 

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I've also had to clean my m10 sensor several times. Sensor cleaning fluid on a soft q-tip seems to do it for me. Also, a pro-tip (actually, super basic, but I only just realized this): to check your sensor for dust and other spots, stick a lens on, crank the aperture down to f/16 or thereabouts, and look at a white surface with liveview activated. The spots will show very clearly.

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And by the way I had to fix dozens of spots on hundreds of photographs in LR.

Isn't there a feature where you can apply these fixes in batches? I don't know LR but it would seem like an obvious feature to have as, like you say, the spots don't usually move between photos.

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And by the way I had to fix dozens of spots on hundreds of photographs in LR.

And if the spots were in many of the same places, I hope you synced your edits across multiple pics to make this quite easy.

 

Edit... just saw Ian’s post above and, yes, easy peasy.

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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Here is my hierarchy of sensor cleaning methods from easiest to most involved:

 

1) Invert your M10, use the Open Shutter feature, and use a rocket blower to blow several strong puffs of air on the part(s) of the sensor that correspond to the dust spots on your photos.  If the dust spot is in the upper-right corner of your photos, the dust particle is on the lower-right corner of the front of the sensor.  (That is, it is at the optically mirrored lower-left corner of the sensor as viewed from behind the sensor).  The M10's built in Dust Detection feature will identify where to clean for larger dust particles, but smaller dust particles will NOT show up on the Dust Detection feature even though they CAN appear in your photos.

 

2) Use an Eyelead Sensor Cleaning Gel Stick.  It is amazingly effective and easy to use, and supposedly used by Leica to clean sensors.  It's basically a blob of firm, sticky gel that does not leave residue behind on glass.  You push the gel blob on top of the part of the sensor you wish to clean, lift up, then firmly push the blob onto very sticky paper which pulls off any dust particles that adhered to the stick.  With practice, you can clean a full-frame sensor in 1 minute this way (it takes about 6-8 press-lift-stick cycles to cover the entire sensor).  I have done this successfully with all cameras I've used, including Nikon DSLRs, Sony A7riii, and Leica M10 cameras.  Usually if I do this process in a relative low-dust environment, the sensor is perfectly clean afterwards.

 

https://photographylife.com/product/sensor-gel-stick

https://www.amazon.com/Eyelead-COMINU061065-Sensor-Gel-Stick/dp/B00JPD0UQW

 

3) Use a wet sensor cleaning swab and some sensor cleaning solution (which, as far as I can tell, smells and behaves like simple methanol).  I would only use this procedure if you've repeatedly tried (1) and (2) and the problem persists.  In my experience, wet cleaning is only necessary if some liquid droplet (like oil or saltwater) lands on the sensor.  The problem is that the methanol can dry in ways that leave streaks on the sensor.  The streaks aren't permanent, but they require redoing the wet swab process.  If your technique is very smooth (typically, one firm swab swipe left to right, then right to left, or vice-versa, covering the entire sensor), then your odds of leaving behind no streaks or debris is higher.  Of course it's important to buy the sensor swab size that exactly fits your sensor's size (full-frame for the M10).

 

Good luck!  With practice this process is much less scary than it sounds.  Whenever I change lenses outdoors (or in an active area indoors), there's some risk of getting dust on my sensor, in my experience.

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Here is my hierarchy of sensor cleaning methods from easiest to most involved:

 

1) Invert your M10, use the Open Shutter feature, and use a rocket blower to blow several strong puffs of air on the part(s) of the sensor that correspond to the dust spots on your photos.  If the dust spot is in the upper-right corner of your photos, the dust particle is on the lower-right corner of the front of the sensor.  (That is, it is at the optically mirrored lower-left corner of the sensor as viewed from behind the sensor).  The M10's built in Dust Detection feature will identify where to clean for larger dust particles, but smaller dust particles will NOT show up on the Dust Detection feature even though they CAN appear in your photos.

 

2) Use an Eyelead Sensor Cleaning Gel Stick.  It is amazingly effective and easy to use, and supposedly used by Leica to clean sensors.  It's basically a blob of firm, sticky gel that does not leave residue behind on glass.  You push the gel blob on top of the part of the sensor you wish to clean, lift up, then firmly push the blob onto very sticky paper which pulls off any dust particles that adhered to the stick.  With practice, you can clean a full-frame sensor in 1 minute this way (it takes about 6-8 press-lift-stick cycles to cover the entire sensor).  I have done this successfully with all cameras I've used, including Nikon DSLRs, Sony A7riii, and Leica M10 cameras.  Usually if I do this process in a relative low-dust environment, the sensor is perfectly clean afterwards.

 

https://photographylife.com/product/sensor-gel-stick

https://www.amazon.com/Eyelead-COMINU061065-Sensor-Gel-Stick/dp/B00JPD0UQW

 

3) Use a wet sensor cleaning swab and some sensor cleaning solution (which, as far as I can tell, smells and behaves like simple methanol).  I would only use this procedure if you've repeatedly tried (1) and (2) and the problem persists.  In my experience, wet cleaning is only necessary if some liquid droplet (like oil or saltwater) lands on the sensor.  The problem is that the methanol can dry in ways that leave streaks on the sensor.  The streaks aren't permanent, but they require redoing the wet swab process.  If your technique is very smooth (typically, one firm swab swipe left to right, then right to left, or vice-versa, covering the entire sensor), then your odds of leaving behind no streaks or debris is higher.  Of course it's important to buy the sensor swab size that exactly fits your sensor's size (full-frame for the M10).

 

Good luck!  With practice this process is much less scary than it sounds.  Whenever I change lenses outdoors (or in an active area indoors), there's some risk of getting dust on my sensor, in my experience.

 

 

 

NEVER lift straight; it puts unnecessary force on the cover glass. Wobble!

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And if the spots were in many of the same places, I hope you synced your edits across multiple pics to make this quite easy.

 

Edit... just saw Ian’s post above and, yes, easy peasy.

 

Jeff

 

Hm. No I didn't. Is not the spot that the repair brush takes to fix the dirty spot always taken from the same spot that might not be the right spot for all pictures. That is what I thought. Anyway: I did not synchronise. Is this very silly? Maybe I should have tried. But I didn't . . .

 

This is what I worked with:

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Isn't there a feature where you can apply these fixes in batches? I don't know LR but it would seem like an obvious feature to have as, like you say, the spots don't usually move between photos.

 

Yes - except that, while they don't usually move, the spots change shape and size and density depending on the aperture that was used. And focal length of the lens used - although if the OP is only using his 28mm that won't be an issue in this particular case.

 

This is why stopping down to f/16, as aokajiya suggests for his testing method, makes the dust more obvious. A small aperture produces more Depth of Focus (analogous to depth of field, but behind the lens (either side of the image plane on the sensor/film,) rather than in front of the lens (either side of the focused point in the subject matter). Additionally, and the opposite of depth of field, a LONGER lens may make sensor dust more visible. My 135mm f/4 just loves to reveal dust specks that are faint or invisible with my 35mm lens @ f/4.

 

It all comes down to the narrowness of the incoming cone of light from the lens - how much the lens exit pupil resembles a "point light source" - and thus how sharply or blurrily it casts the shadow of the dust onto the sensor.

 

Also, a dust mark that is painfully obvious in smooth bright tones (sky) may be virtually unnoticeable in the next picture, with a different composition, if it falls into a darker area or into a "busy" texture.

 

In which case "automated batch dust removal" or "synced corrections" may unnecessarily wipe out or corrupt real detail in some pictures.

 

Unless, of course, one's idea of photography is to put the camera on a tripod, set a given aperture, focus point, and composition, and then hold the shutter button down for 25 exposures.

 

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Isn't there a feature where you can apply these fixes in batches? I don't know LR but it would seem like an obvious feature to have as, like you say, the spots don't usually move between photos.

 

In the case where the spots are in the same location on each frame, you can record an action (or save the action as a droplet) in Photoshop to clone away the spots. One exception - with Photoshop CS5 it does not work with a single-pixel selection area.)

Edited by pico
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Lightroom actions are nondestructive... always simple to test, see results and change if needed. Sync actions across multiple photos of course require user judgment as to whether the issue is common across pics. Dozens of actions can be synced. I rarely do so, however, preferring to work on only selected worthy pics for printing.

 

Using a blower if needed is an even better action.

 

Jeff

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@Sebastian,

 

First of all, welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new M10/Elmarit 28 kit.

 

As 250swb observes, cleaning your sensor is a good skill to learn.  It seems that a lot of people are afraid of damaging their sensor by cleaning it themselves so they pay $25-50 to have it done. 

 

If you read your M10 manual where it addresses sensor cleaning along with the instructions that come with your sensor cleaning fluid and swabs - and adhere to the instructions - you will not damage your sensor or camera. 

 

I have been cleaning my own sensor on my M-P 240 since I bought it and have never had a problem resulting from doing it myself.  On the other hand, a friend took his Canon DSLR to a "professional" to have it cleaned and two weeks later it quit on him.  He sent it to Canon to be repaired.  $200 later, Canon's verdict was "electrical problem due to excessive cleaning fluid used in sensor cleaning."

 

I keep a logbook for my M-P 240 and looking back, I have cleaned my sensor every 4-6 months.  I do not have access to a clean room such as are used in computer manufacturing, so I find as dust free an environment as I can and clean my sensor there, usually at my local library.  I find a room where I can be away from people and clean my sensor there. 

 

Another good place would be a museum, since museums have a high level of environmental control for the artwork they exhibit.  We have a couple of art museums at the local university but since I have always gotten good results by cleaning my sensor at the local library, I have continued to go there.

 

Hope this helps...

Edited by Herr Barnack
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I've also had to clean my m10 sensor several times. Sensor cleaning fluid on a soft q-tip seems to do it for me. Also, a pro-tip (actually, super basic, but I only just realized this): to check your sensor for dust and other spots, stick a lens on, crank the aperture down to f/16 or thereabouts, and look at a white surface with liveview activated. The spots will show very clearly.

 

 

Or just use the "Dust Detection" feature in the camera, in the "main menu", almost on the bottom, under "sensor cleaning".

It is by far the easiest way to detect dust, and also, to figure where the dust is for spot cleaning.

 

I usually use a rocket blower or an eyelead sensor cleaner.

 

Hold the camera upside down while changing lenses, and practice one-handed lens changing where the sensor exposure time is minimized down to 1-2 seconds. And don't change lenses if there's wind or if you are in a very dusty environment. If I practice this I basically never get dust on the sensor.

 

Also make sure that the rear of the lenses are free of dust... Otherwise it will most likely displace of the dust inside the camera.

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