Cleaning the E-M5 Sensor

Started Feb 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: Cleaning the E-M5 Sensor

BrentR wrote:

Anders W wrote:

BrentR wrote:

BrentR wrote:

bgalb wrote:

My E-M5 sensor needs cleaning. I have seen many cautions on this forum saying don't try to do the cleaning, yourself. Yet when I look at that (broken glass?) plate in front of the sensor (photo here ), I can see no reason why you could not fairly easily clean the sensor (cover) yourself with a cleaning kit. I am extremely reluctant to entrust my camera to oly USA for this job after reading a couple of bad stories about careless handling and packaging of the returned camera.

I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully cleaned his E-M5 sensor. If I hear from several successful people, that is all I would need to do it myself. It has been a couple of months since I saw the last thread on this topic and I thought maybe some brave soul has done the cleaning job himself since then. I know all the warnings about the "floating" sensor, but am not convinced.

I don't usually put much stock in manufacturer warnings about self help. Have seen too many bogus warnings about using ONLY the manufacturers product to (clean, lubricate, service, etc) their product.

So, has anyone actually successfully done the sensor cleaning?

Get a Rocket or other high quality blower. Try blowing your sensor off before you try to wet clean. It is necessary to get a decent blower so you don't blow more debris onto the sensor than you blow off.

I find that a good blow job usually cleans up a sensor to acceptable levels.

Although I've never wet cleaned my E-M5 sensor, I have wet cleaned a large number of other sensors (including Nikon with the oil problem). There's no magic however be prepared to repeat a few times until you get it right. I generally use Visible dust products but there's lots of good wet cleaning stuff out there.

Their "sensor loupe" is very helpful because you can examine the sensor and it alleviates the need to take pictures between each cleaning attempt. The "Arctic Butterfly" is also a pretty decent tool.



I guess one should not wet clean the E-M5 sensor because it swivels for the image stabilization to work. If needed I would try myself but I needed to add this caveat.

I don't know if I'd say "swivel". It can move a little bit up-down, left-right, and about the optical axis. That's presumably why you should be extra careful if you wet-clean it. But since the sensor is free to rattle around with the force of gravity whenever the power is off, I have a hard time thinking that the slight sensor movment you might cause while cleaning should do any harm unless you are far more brutal than you need to be.


As I said, "If needed I would try myself..." Personally I would try it...

Sure. No problem. I merely wanted to point out in which ways the sensor can actually move (and not). There have been some misunderstandings circulating about that, most recently exemplified by Thom Hogan's review of the E-M5. Here's what he has to say about its IBIS:

"One of the big claims to fame on the E-M5 is the so-called five axis image stabilization, done at the image sensor. The first time I saw that marketing claim I thought perhaps the Olympus engineers had solved String Theory. The "strings" in that theory can exist in ten dimensions, after all (some versions of string theory require 26 dimensions).

Apparently a thesaurus isn't a common desktop tool in Japan. What Olympus means is that the sensor-based stabilization of the E-M5 uses five different sensor motions to compensate for camera movement. Those motions would move the sensor up/down, left/right, tilt it up/down, swivel it left/right, and rotate it."

Unfortunately, Hogan has completely misunderstood what is actually going on here. The five axes refer to the types of camera movement the IBIS system can correct: pitch, yaw, roll, vertical shift, and horizontal shift, not to the way the sensor moves in order to correct them. The sensor itself moves in three ways only: up-down, left-right, and rotation about the optical axis. It doesn't tilt or swivel.

Perhaps you knew that already. I am not saying you didn't. I just wanted to make sure noone else misunderstood what was going on here.

 Anders W's gear list:Anders W's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +28 more
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