GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
Rupert Brun
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GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
10 months ago

On holiday hiking in the Greek Islands in temperatures of 40 degrees, I sweated a bit. A few drops of perspiration got onto the EVF of my GH3 and wiping them off with a soft lens cloth took some of the coating off. Using a loupe I could clearly see a "crazed" effect in the coating, making the view even more "smeary" than it usually is. By the end of the three week holiday all the coating was gone from the centre of the viewfinder eyepiece. Panasonic UK replaced it under warranty.

Since then I've come across two other people who have lost the coating from the viewfinder of their GH3, one of them as a result of a few specs of light rain getting onto it and wiping it off with a soft cloth.

Given that this is supposed to be a weather-proof professional camera, it is very disappointing and I feel justifies a recall for replacement weather-proof viewfinder optics to be fitted free of charge.

Anybody else had the problem? Might be worth sticking a loupe in your eye and checking your viewfinder whilst it is still in warranty.

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Rupert Brun

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sea_dragon
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Rupert Brun, 10 months ago

Funny you should post this as I too noticed just the other day that the plastic viewing bubble on my EVF has a hazy film on it in the center.  Cleaning it with a lens cloth does not help at all.  I just got my camera back from service (rear screen died and was replaced) and noticed this EVF haze.

The dust comes off, but the rectangular shaped hazy outline does not.

Starting to get a little ticked at this camera to be honest...

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Rupert Brun
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to sea_dragon, 10 months ago

Yes, "Hazy" is how mine started, then it went crazed, then it came off altogether which actually made it usable again. Given that this is supposed to be a splash proof pro camera, I really feel Panasonic need to come up with a fix and provide new viewfinder optics free of charge. Clearly if a splash of water makes the viewfinder coating come off, the camera isn't as advertised, and with you that makes four people I know who have the problem.

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Rupert Brun

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sea_dragon
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Rupert Brun, 10 months ago

What is the coating anyway?  Anti-glare?

I wish it was made out of glass instead of plastic.  Glass is much easier to clean.

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Graham Best
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Rupert Brun, 10 months ago

Sunscreen/lotion (especially the spray type), and insect repellent containing DEET are known to damage plastics, and the coatings used on plastics. One may find numerous instances reported on the web of damage to various products resulting from contact with sprays/lotions.

It's a pity that more people aren't aware of the problem. My education resulted from ruining a pair of sunglasses years ago.

One can find products labeled "gear safe". I use Sawyer brand insect repellent containing Permethrin, which is effective and plastic safe.

Graham

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ernstbk
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to sea_dragon, 10 months ago

sea_dragon wrote:

Funny you should post this as I too noticed just the other day that the plastic viewing bubble on my EVF has a hazy film on it in the center. Cleaning it with a lens cloth does not help at all. I just got my camera back from service (rear screen died and was replaced) and noticed this EVF haze.

The dust comes off, but the rectangular shaped hazy outline does not.

Starting to get a little ticked at this camera to be honest...

IMHO this is NOT a Panasonic problem, it could be bad treatement by the user or bad environmental conditions that affect the material.

What is very suspiscious is not the EVF lens but the Eye-detector. a) it seems to be full of "dirt" around the edges and b) there are horizontal scretches on the surface.

I (blow out) clean the sensor about once a week, iirc I have cleaned the EVF with a cloth once or twice. Using my eyes I do not see visible dust on the EVF or the Eye-sensor. But with a 10x magnifier I can see an "evenly" distributed coat of dust on the EVF and the Eye-sensor (meaning they are dirty but still functioning ok).

When I look at the above photo then I get the impression that the EVF and Eye-sensor have been cleaned with some abresive method (Lenspaper ?) instead of a soft cloth.

Page 302 of the advanced operating instructions has the following to say:

Do not use solvents such as benzine, thinner, alcohol, kitchen detergents, etc., to clean the camera, since it may deteriorate the external case or the coating may peel off.
When using a chemical cloth, be sure to follow the accompanying instructions.

Use of some kind of cleaning fluid can be a reason for the damage on the EVF but not the Eye-Sensor, same for bad environment.

Here are the part numbers in case you need a replacement:

VKW3535 EYE SENSOR WINDOW
VYK6F57 LVF DPT BASE UNIT

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sea_dragon
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to ernstbk, 10 months ago

Thanks for those part numbers. I've only ever used lens cloths to wipe and a rocket blower to clean the EVF and eye sensor.

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sea_dragon
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to ernstbk, 10 months ago

I should also add that, as we all know, shining a high powered LED flashlight across the surface of anything (as in my original photo above) will show a lot of "stuff" that is not normally seen by the naked eye.

This is what my camera looks like in "normal" lighting conditions...

EVF off.

EVF on.

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Rupert Brun
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Graham Best, 10 months ago

Graham Best wrote:

Sunscreen/lotion (especially the spray type), and insect repellent containing DEET are known to damage plastics, and the coatings used on plastics. One may find numerous instances reported on the web of damage to various products resulting from contact with sprays/lotions.

It's a pity that more people aren't aware of the problem. My education resulted from ruining a pair of sunglasses years ago.

One can find products labeled "gear safe". I use Sawyer brand insect repellent containing Permethrin, which is effective and plastic safe.

Graham

I think we will have to differ. For a start, I am an engineer and am very aware of the risk to plastics posed by various chemicals, in my view Panasonic should have fitted a "pro" camera with a glass eyepiece not a plastic one. I've not changed my brand of sunscreen for several years and I've never had this problem before. Your theory doesn't explain why one user is now reporting the coating coming off as a result of wiping the EVF with a lens cloth to remove a couple of small drops of rain, when it was in perfect condition before that. The same user (who does use her camera a great deal) is also reporting that the icons are burnt into the viewfinder so they are visible when they are not meant to be.

I want to be clear I'm not a Panasonic Basher, I bought a G1 the first day they were available in the UK, I have a lot of lenses, and I've also got through a GH1, GF1 and GX1 before buying the GH3. But the GH3 viewfinder has been a huge disappointment in many ways, not just the coating coming off.

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Rupert Brun

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Olymore
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Rupert Brun, 10 months ago

I'm not disputing your story but for info, do be very wary of any insect repellent containing DEET.
I've seen it melt (literally) rucsack buckles.

I personally don't use the stuff myself as it is also toxic to human beings in high concetrations. Apologies if you're already aware of this

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sea_dragon
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Rupert Brun, 10 months ago

Rupert Brun wrote:

I think we will have to differ. For a start, I am an engineer and am very aware of the risk to plastics posed by various chemicals, in my view Panasonic should have fitted a "pro" camera with a glass eyepiece not a plastic one. I've not changed my brand of sunscreen for several years and I've never had this problem before. Your theory doesn't explain why one user is now reporting the coating coming off as a result of wiping the EVF with a lens cloth to remove a couple of small drops of rain, when it was in perfect condition before that. The same user (who does use her camera a great deal) is also reporting that the icons are burnt into the viewfinder so they are visible when they are not meant to be.

I want to be clear I'm not a Panasonic Basher, I bought a G1 the first day they were available in the UK, I have a lot of lenses, and I've also got through a GH1, GF1 and GX1 before buying the GH3. But the GH3 viewfinder has been a huge disappointment in many ways, not just the coating coming off.

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Rupert Brun

I agree completely.

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Maria_H
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to sea_dragon, 10 months ago

I am the "other user" that Rupert mentioned, another early adopter of the GH3 - and generally very happy with it up to now. Whilst on holiday in Scotland last week (no sunscreen or insect repellent used) I noticed my viewfinder seemed rather fogged up and smeary. At first I put it down to it steaming up in the cooler weather or just needing cleaning. At one point I got a tiny drop of drizzle on the viewfinder which I wiped away with a soft lens cloth - then attempted to clean it properly when we got back to our apartment. I'd remembered reading Rupert's post before I went away and the problems he and another user had with their's and hoped it wasn't the same. Attempts to clean the viewfinder lens with a soft coth only seemed to make it worse - as it was nearing the end of our holiday, I left it and when we got home, my hubby checked it out with his magnifying loupe light. The surface of the lens looked like miniature crazy paving in places - as though it had been cleaned with a scouring pad. The coating had cracked and attempting to clean it (I have only ever used a soft lens cloth) was starting to rub it off.

I also noticed a second issue, this time with the evf itself. I use the evf 99% of the time, even for reviewing photos. I started to notice that on images with an even mid tone - like a dull grey sky - ghostly burn-in images of the icons were appearing on the edges of the image. It isn't noticable on the black background of the menus or if the images have a lot of details round the edges but is on those with an even mid tone round the edge. Has anyone else seen this on their GH3?

My hubby had a theory that heat from the evf has hardened and cracked the coating over time (maybe the heat of Greece exacerbated the problem on Rupert's), rather like a cracked glaze on pottery - and maybe also caused the burn-in of icons that I've seen. Maybe the lens and coating expand and contract at different rates. Once cracked, it looks like moisture starts to lift the coating, enabling it to be rubbed off. Whatever the cause, it is very annoying and I hope the replacement isn't going to fail in the same way some months down the line.  Over several years of ownership I've never had a problem with my previous cameras - a G1 and GH2 - both treated in exactly the same way.

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sea_dragon
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Re: GH3 Viewfinder Coating comes off
In reply to Maria_H, 10 months ago

Wow, that's not good to hear about the burn in Maria. Can't say I've ever noticed that on mine though.

I just got back from the Panasonic service center where I dropped my camera off (trim piece came off from a previous repair).

Anyway, I mentioned this coating issue to the tech and he looked at it with his loupe. He agreed it doesn't look right and will most likely replace it.

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