Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo

Started Aug 18, 2012 | Discussions
Chefke
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Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
Aug 18, 2012

Hi all,

I've been using the Canon S95 for a little more than a year as a subsitute for my D300 for places where a DSLR is not convenient. I'm more or less happy with the results from such a small camera but there's one thing that's really annoying me and that's the effect in the following photo. I've thrown quite a few shots in the trash can because of this round blurry effect in the middle of the photo.

The effect decreases if I zoom in or pick a smaller aperture. It's always a round shape in the middle of the photo. It's not grease on the lens as the before and after photo's are mostly fine. I do get it mostly when I take the camera out of my pocket in a hot environment.

Has anyone experienced the same problem and know what causes it? Is this lens flare? Is something in the lens/sensor fogging up? What can I do to prevent it?

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Chefke

Canon PowerShot S95 Nikon D300
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hifly
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, Aug 18, 2012

I used to get not dissimilar shots after taking my camera out of an air-con environment and into a hot and humid environment and immediately taking a pic.

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flektogon
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, Aug 18, 2012

Clean the lens.

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arek daniel
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, Aug 18, 2012

It might be lens fogging up indeed.
Had similar problem few years back in tropical Bali.

My solution was to take the camera out in the sun so it can warm up for few minutes before taking photos.

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TodeW
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, Aug 24, 2012

My Canon S95 shows a very similar effect. It sometimes looks almost exactly the same as in your photo but in some conditions the light patch is larger and less well defined.

It must be flare as it shows only when there is brightness in front of the lens. Maybe not the sun or a light, it could be just a bright cloudy sky. Also ordinary flare from the sun in front of the lens but out of shot, is worse than it should be (and worse than when the camera was new.) It is not condensation, it happens in all weathers including very dry.

This started to happen more than a year after I got the camera and has gradually become worse.

It is not dirt on the outside of the lens, it looks clean, and cleaning it with a proper lens cleaner makes no difference (not that I would expect it to).

Strangely I had the same effect with my previous camera, a Fuji F31fd, which I sent back under guarantee. It came back cured. They said they had cleaned someting internal, I think the lens cover. Unfortunately that camera developed another fault when out of guarantee, which is why I bought the Canon.

I have an extended guarantee on this camera so I will be returning it. It will be really annoying being without it though, as it is often clipped on my belt and I use it almost every day as a notebook. Great camera apart from this annoying fault.

(Sorry if this is a duplicate post, I thought I had posted it once but it didn't appear.)

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Mark 100
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to TodeW, Nov 17, 2012

I have the same weird spot. It's not evident in photos but with videos it is evident.

Using a 14x jeweler's loupe to examine the lens:

There is the cover that opens when the camera is switched on, thereunder is a flat plastic screen which seems to be in front of the lens; there is small dustpatch either on the back of this plastic cover on on the lens.

On other forums mention has been made of a dirty sensor.

I'm not too keen to approach Canon and have them gloat that the camera is out of warranty; ONCE again I've spent $500 getting a few thousand shots in an 18-month lifespan (see my other posts on Canon's sensor longevity).

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brightlight
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Mark 100, Nov 18, 2012

My guess would be there is some moisture trapped between the lens elements.

Storing the camera with some silica gel dessicant for an extended periodof time may fix this without having the lens dismanteled and cleaned. Also changing the silica gel with fresh silica gel after a week or 2 may help.

Jeff

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rrtp
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, Feb 6, 2013

I have this EXACT same problem.  It doesn't seem to be a moisture thing, since I've tried drying it out.  It doesn't happen all the time, but quite often. seems to be affected by the brightness, and not necessarily by air temperature.

Could it possibly  be something to do with "hot" or damaged pixels on the sensor???

Help!

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afm
afm
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to rrtp, Feb 6, 2013

Could also be dust on the sensor.  Have had this problem on a number of G series cameras in the past. If so, only solution is to have it stripped down and cleaned at considerable expense.  Hope I am wrong in your case.  Good Luck.

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phantom4000
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, Feb 13, 2013

Chefke, I have the exact same problem.  It seemed to start randomly one day, even though I took great care of it.  I've not been able to get rid of blur spot nor figure out exactly what the problem is.  Have you figured out the problem or is the camera basically ruined?

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OpticsEngineer
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to phantom4000, Feb 13, 2013

I had a spot looking exactly the same on my Canon SX260 once.  In my case, the lens looked clean, but I cleaned the lens anyway and the spot went go away.  (I used a cotton swap and alcohol.) Afterwards I tried putting fingerprints on some of my other P&S cameras and found they were not as sensitive to having fingerprints as my SX260.

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B1ackhat
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to TodeW, Feb 13, 2013

TodeW wrote:

My Canon S95 shows a very similar effect. It sometimes looks almost exactly the same as in your photo but in some conditions the light patch is larger and less well defined.

It must be flare as it shows only when there is brightness in front of the lens. Maybe not the sun or a light, it could be just a bright cloudy sky. Also ordinary flare from the sun in front of the lens but out of shot, is worse than it should be (and worse than when the camera was new.) It is not condensation, it happens in all weathers including very dry.

This started to happen more than a year after I got the camera and has gradually become worse.

It is not dirt on the outside of the lens, it looks clean, and cleaning it with a proper lens cleaner makes no difference (not that I would expect it to).

Strangely I had the same effect with my previous camera, a Fuji F31fd, which I sent back under guarantee. It came back cured. They said they had cleaned someting internal, I think the lens cover. Unfortunately that camera developed another fault when out of guarantee, which is why I bought the Canon.

I have an extended guarantee on this camera so I will be returning it. It will be really annoying being without it though, as it is often clipped on my belt and I use it almost every day as a notebook. Great camera apart from this annoying fault.

(Sorry if this is a duplicate post, I thought I had posted it once but it didn't appear.)

Yes, I have this same problem with my S95.

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VNdC
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to B1ackhat, May 28, 2013

Me too.  Have had and loved this camera and was great for 1.3yrs. Now this circle. Happens in the cold, too. It doesn't happen unless it shooting into very bright light. I'm really bummed.

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Tjalpics
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to VNdC, May 28, 2013

Maybe you both have some residual moisture inside your camera, which shows its ugly head every time you switch between moist/cold and dry/warm environments. Best practice: bury it in a bag of uncooked, dry rice for 24 hours at least.

If it's (a) spot(s) on the sensor or lens: it is not so hard to open up a compact as you might think. Of course there's always a risk, but if you can't use the camera because of the spot, maybe it's worth the risk. Make sure your grounded when opening up!

I took apart two cameras. Although they're both Panasonic (Leica), most cameras have the same components which are arranged in more or less the same way. The sensor (white circle) sits often directly under a shield behind the casing:

However, cleaning the sensor will not always solve the problem. When you unscrew the sensor-unit, there's an ir-filter in front of the lens which can also be dirty. (white circle)

Then, depending on the build, there can be plastic (top) or glass (right) elements surrounding the lens-unit (left), which can also be dirty -or moist:

It's precision work, but doable. I'm no technician and didn't have any experience, but with the help of a 'Service Manual' (which can often be found online) and some Youtube examples, I successfully cleaned the sensors and lenses of both cameras.

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PJ48North
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Chefke, 5 months ago

I have the exact same problem, started a few weeks ago. I bought this camera in December 2011, so it is now over 2 years old.

It do not believe it is moisture: I first noticed it while shooting in a very dry environment, outdoors, above 8000 feet elevation, temperatures in the 70's and 80's. Camera had not been in a cool environment for several days. Same condition now after I am home in Minneapolis MN. Effect is worst when shooting with the sun in front of the sensor plane, and seems worse and more consistent while shooting video. It does not happen at all when the sun or strong light source is behind the sensor plane, but I have not examined photos closely to see if any other distortion effect is visible.

I visually examined the lens closely: with light reflecting off the (plastic?) lens covering, I can see a small dimple in the covering. I believe this is the source of the problem, and I have not thought  much about how this could occur.  I have not contacted Canon, but this is certainly out of warranty.

Any thoughts on this?

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Wpnr
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to PJ48North, 4 weeks ago

We noticed the same problem with our Canon S95 about a year ago, and have since replied it with a Sony RX10.  Today I put the S95 camera, lens up, under a 4 power National stereo microscope and peered into the lens opening.  The outer lens was perfectly clean, but as the microscope focused down into the lens opening the second lens surface came into view and was littered with dust and organic mater that looked like fine, translucent branching filaments.  Focusing further down, the final lens appeared and on it's outside (subject side) surface was a blob of debris, right in the center.  The fuzzy focus and smudgy glare that appeared in strong light is caused by this filth inside the camera on the lens components.  The camera is not weather or dust sealed, so finding debris inside the moving lens is no surprise.  The question is whether the lenses can be cleaned at moderate cost.  It was a great compact travel camera, but modern equipment outperforms it at a fairly low cost.  Any thoughts on cleaning the inside of this camera?

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Say Cheese
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Wpnr, 3 hours ago

Well, I'm having the same problem with my S95 as well, and came to the forum to see if anyone else had it, and what was to be done about it.

Looks like there is no solution, mine is well out of warranty, and this is a huge disappointment in terms of durability.

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Say Cheese
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Re: Canon S95 - weird spot in middle of photo
In reply to Say Cheese, 2 hours ago

Say Cheese wrote:

Looks like there is no solution, mine is well out of warranty, and this is a huge disappointment in terms of durability.

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Well, a little research revealed that I purchased the camera in 2010. I haven't been using it much for some time now. I still think it should still be working beautifully, because I don't have *that* many snaps on it, but then again, it's four years old. That's middle aged in dog years. Or something.

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