HX5V Sensor Dust?

Started Oct 12, 2010 | Discussions
Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
HX5V Sensor Dust?

I've owned an HX5V for approximately 7 months. It has traveled a lot in pocket and been used to shoot perhaps 5,000 still shots and 30 hours of video. It has not yet (knock on wood) suffered any falls. The zoom gets moderate, but not obsessive, use.

Of late, I've begun to see to two dingy spots in the left portion of the frame of still photos shot against bright skies or walls in zoom. Example: a sunrise, clouds in sky, a shiney water surface, a light wall. They are always the same shape and have the same configuration.

It does no good to clean the lens surface. I suspect that sensor dust is the culprit. This fouled P72 and P93 models used some years ago. Sony failed to clean dust from a sensor on the P93 model under warrranty, which I had to send to a Sony-designated Laredo site at own expense, and simply returned the device without a meaningful note, comment, or substitution. I had sent the camera with a disc that included aJPG and MPEG files that illustrated the problem, but doubt the recipient troubled to view them. An H1 model never showed the dust problem, so I assumed Sony had remedied the cause. However, I now suspect that wear and / or intrusion of dust via the HX5V lens turret may be affixing to the lens. Alas, the sensor does not seem to have any self-clean function available on most recent DSRLs.

If any other owners of HX5V devices with moderate to heavy use can test theirs against a bright sky or surface at full zoom, and report if they see any spots, it would be interesting to know.

Local shops usually refrain from servicing "sealed" P&S models, since the cost may exceed the replacement value, and few were desigened to permit simple repairs, since there is often no way to make the repair "simple" or to guarantee the result.

DIY? I don't relish the idea of opening the camera to clean the sensor myself, fearing that the parts and design never anticipated or encouraged owner overhauls or reassembly. To open a "sealed" device also risks entry of more dust that may migrate electromagnetically to the sensor again anyway. But has anyone with the problem done this? Some P-series owners did this, but always warning others of hazards, and there are no long-term follow-ups on outcomes. Obviously, some people: 1) never notice the dust, 2) avoid shots that cause it to appear, 3) use the camera too lightly to incur the problem, or 4) get a new camera, sooner or later.

bill pohlman
bill pohlman Contributing Member • Posts: 897
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

It should still be under warranty--Have Sony either fix it or replace it....I think that you've been a loyal customer so I don't see why they won't assist you!!! Brian reads this forum so just maybe he can help??
Bill

D Lynch Senior Member • Posts: 2,903
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

I'm very interested in your post. I"ve used Sony for some time. However, I chose a Pany ZS3 instead (before the HX5V came out.)

I have the same problem!

You described my conundrum very eloquently. Here's evidence of my problem.

I hate the little black blob! Darn UFO!

I resolve to buy a ZipLok bag and keep my cameras in that in future. I simply don't know how to solve this problem, except to buy another camera and I was thinking of a Sony HX5V!

DaveL

ps My blob has morphed into 2. And that's twice as bad.

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OP Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

The same issue arises in a thread begun by Moef on August 12, entitled: "Just got my HX5V exchanged, because of a strange spot on lens, could not remove it?" At first it appeared to be dust on the inside of the lens, but others suggested it was sensor dust. One reply said that the dust might be dislodged by holding the camera in one hand and twacking it with the other. At least it worked for him.

I tried the "twack" technique, spanking the camera about as gently as an obstetrician startles a newborn to breathe. The camera was off.

Abracadabra, presto: the two dust spots had become four. Now I have the same two lateral spots (one may have moved slightly) one in the middle, and another on the other corner.

The blurry spots appear worst when the camera is set at full optical zoom. The location of the spots changes if one zooms further, using the digital zoom, but they do not go away.

As feared, the dust is present chronically inside the camera. Electrostatic charges may draw dust to the sensor. Even if the "twack" approach works once, the benefit may not last long, or (as in my case) compound the problem. To spank the camera harder may do no lasting good, but merely cause stress that worsens the dust or wrecks the camera.

DSLR owners routinely face a dust iissue. Newer models include an ultrasound cleaner and sticky "tray" to remove dust almost effortlessly.

"Sealed" P&S models, although allegedly immune from internal dust, may not be so at all. First, the lense moves out every time most P&S camera's turn on and off. The seams of the lense cylinders naturally capture dust, and the lens movement has to cause air pressure changes and leaks, particularly as months of wear and pocket lint or ambient dust take their toll. Only the T-series or underwater-tough models may be immune. However, it is also possible that, with time, the frictive action of internal movement of the lens or zoom features could losten bits that draw to the sensor. Very likely, though, it is the P&S models with projecting lens turrets and zoom action that are most vulnerable.

I don't like the idea of twacking my HX5V until (maybe) the dust specs appear to go away, since that may hurt the camera and provide only temporary reprieve. To ship it to a Sony contractor did not work with a DSC-P93 model that had dust. A local shop (I suspect) did not even open a dust-afflicted DSC-P72 I submitted, but merely charged me the non-refundable deposit for an estimate. The person I gave the camera was somehow "out to lunch" when I returned to pick it up. Even if a Sony contractor does clean my HX5V, that will be small relief if dust creeps in anew, which will almost certainly occur as use continues. Maybe I could coddle it in a plastic bag, except when used, but every time you open or seal it, dust will certainly come in contact.

Better to learn to clean the sensor and do this periodically? A nice idea, perhaps, but no fun to try. Yesterday, for the first time, I took out the three bottom and two side screws that are visible. Unfortunately, the camera did not then become easy to open. I nudged and pried gently, but it did not want to come apart. I dared not tug or wedge harder, fearing I'd warp the encasement or suddenly tear the whole camera open and rupture some elements or fittings. There is no "users guide to gut and fillet your HX5V." So I put the screws back in place and grumbled.

I must either:

1) Try again, pull harder, and pray I succeed.

2) Get some advice from anyone who has dismantled their HX5V, for whatever reason.

3) Try (again) to get a professional cleaning job, then keep the camera in a sealed container, forget about quick casual shooting, and pray (against all odds) that new dust does not creep in soon.

4) Shoot only wide angle. (Bye-bye travel "zoom")

5) Do some "healthy" crying or cursing, and save up for a replacement, perhaps a "rugged" model without any projecting lens and perhaps better sealing against external dust intrusion. The other (albeit more bulky and costly) solution would be to get a self-cleaning DSRL. Do the m 4/3 or Nex models have reliable self-cleaning sensors?

Has anyone opened or dismantled an HX5V? Any tips on which places or directions to pull or push after the screws are out? Must something else be pulled free before the other panels move? Is there a delicate membrane or connecting medium that is at risk of rupture? Is it hard to re-seat all the pieces and get the screws to fit after having been taken apart?

I've dissected a long-dead S700 model as practice for surgery with the HX5V. The experience does not make me expect anything to be easy. But I was at least able to take it apart without the guts simply popping out in an twisted mess.

jrdu Forum Pro • Posts: 21,371
Us a vacuum cleaner

Gently "thwacking" your camera, as described in the post before, and using a vacuum cleaner as vigorously as you dare, you may be able to dislodge and suck out the dirt.
--
John Dunn
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OP Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: Us a vacuum cleaner

jrdu wrote:

Gently "thwacking" your camera, as described in the post before, and using a vacuum cleaner as vigorously as you dare, you may be able to dislodge and suck out the dirt.
--
John Dunn

Possibly, if only I can figure out how to open the thing without ruining it. Four years ago, a "mamkho" posted a guide here to open and clean a P-200. The HX5V encasement is a bit different, and I can't find a service manual. Anyone else know where such a manual can be found? Or has anyone opened and closed their HXFV without fatal consequences? To remove the screws does not, by itself, cause the cover to come easily off. There must be some other steps or procedures.

jrdu Forum Pro • Posts: 21,371
Just extend the lens, use the vacuum and pray

Try that before you open it up. This suggestion doesn't carry a warranty, sorry.
--
John Dunn
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OP Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

I purchased a Level 2 service manual for the HX5V. It provided lots of diagrams and "blown up" illusrations of various pieces and parts. However, there were no step by step instructions for disassembly to access the sensor or clean it. The word "dust" occurs only twice in the document, and only in reference to cleanup after other repairs or replacements. The pictures and narrative did give the impression, though, that there was no succinct way to remove the top section (with the shutter and control knob), which persuaded me it was better not to try that.

Going back to square one, I removed the bottom screws, took off the bottom and left (from behind) side bracket, and then removed the two screws under that panel. I then carefully pulled off the back panel, tugging it gently downward to get free of the upper strip or panel. I then carefully unfastened the control button panel and moved it to the right, being gentle with the connecting strip. I then lifted the LCD panel. Underneath, there is a coin-shaped panel covering the sensor and the lens section underneath. I removed the two screws and lifted the panel. The copper-colored CMOS is "easy" to lift without damage. The dust particles were very tiny but also very evident and conformed to the pattern seen on zoom pictures. An air blower did not suffice to clean it, so I used a brand new lens cleaning cloth. The specs were stubborn, but did come off without ruining the sensor. Given their color and the rather isolated location, they seem more likely to be of internal origin. There is no direct exposure to the other side of the lens glass or the lens turrent seams. When seated the sensor fits against a tiny gasket and plastic screen, which fit against the beginning of the lens section. I cleaned them too, just in case, but this can be tricky unless one has a non-scratch tweezers and immaculate settings. I then reassembled everything, which proved to be easier than I feared. The screw slots were no trouble to align.

Result: No more dust spots, so far. Honestly. I cross my fingers and hope not to see any new ones too soon. The cleaning job turns out to be slightly less challenging than fixing a leaky faucet, but with the proviso that the parts are much more tiny and delicate. The other hazard is if you introduce more dirt or have improper tools. A single finger print or scratch would be a problem.

My sensor cleaning was a purely amateur, ham-handed experiment. I don't guarantee it will work for anyone else. Sony esupport did not offer any help, or identify a licensed technician for the HX5V, even after I told them their site yields a blank when one searches for servicers of that particular model for my ZIP code. I did not have, therefore, an estimate of the likely cost of a professional job. Given the lack of specific guidance in the manual, though, I suspect a tecnician (if experienced) might use "horse sense" and do exactly what I did, perhaps for $100; or (more likely) quote a price very close to replacement cost. Another inspiration for my experiment was that a Sony-designated contractor failed to clean the sensor of a DSC-P93, under warranty, I sent in 2004, after seeing dust problems.

Caution: there is a condenser in one section of the camera that packs a current charge that, if short-circuited, could wallop the fingers or possibly hurt someone badly. I steered clear of that condenser (near the power button), had the battery removed, and used an insulated micro screw driver. Any parts I touched or rubbed with the lense cloth were neutral or low voltage anyway, even when n operation. If your camera does not power up or has a power button issue, I'd recommend NOT to try to repair it yourself.

cutie07 Regular Member • Posts: 267
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

Had the same problem with my WX1. The vacuum cleaner did get the dust off. Did you try this before opening?

Somonica
Somonica Regular Member • Posts: 122
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

well, I did find dust inside my HX5V, again only noticeable when shooting back-light...

I sent my camera to my local service center (Vancouver, Canada), and after I show them my before and after dust photos to them. They finally agree to replace the whole lens assembly for me...

now my HX5V is good as new...

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OP Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

Somonica wrote:

I sent my camera to my local service center (Vancouver, Canada), and after I show them my before and after dust photos to them. They finally agree to replace the whole lens assembly for me...

now my HX5V is good as new...

Congratulations. But after how much pleading and presentation of proof? Will they do it again, when the dust reappears, in six or twelve months? Let's hope the need does not arise. But, if it does, perhaps 1 hour with a screwdriver and clean lens cloth might be an alternative solution.

It might be nice if the "better" P&S cameras either came with an internal sensor cleaner, perhaps like the DSLRs, or simple cleaning instructions for those past warranty or worried that Sony will reneg anyway. The intial Sony eservice reply to my inquiry was to suggest I had dust on the lens and referral to a 1-800 call center for further questions.

Meanwhile, I sort of suspect that a rugged model like the TX5 never gets dust, unless internally generated. Rough treatment might not ruin the device, but cause some wear anyway. Any TX5 owner ever notice any dark spots in zoom pictures taken against skies or even surfaces?

Somonica
Somonica Regular Member • Posts: 122
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

mmmm...

I brought my HX5V in May for my Alaska trip, because of the angle of the sun I did shoot a lot of pictures with it directly against the sun.. (w/ HDR of cause!) That's why I have quite a few pictures to show and convince them that was a real dust issue not lens flare...

I do believe this is a design issue, some models got dust inside way easier than the other, as my LX3 lens come out differently and got no dust at all...

Folded lens design like TX5 should not have dust problems, as the thing even waterproof... well since I just get my TX5 to swim with salmon yesterday...

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D Lynch Senior Member • Posts: 2,903
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

I've tried the vac on my Pany ZS3. No luck cleaning the sensor.

I hope that others have better luck.

Best,
DaveL

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D Lynch Senior Member • Posts: 2,903
Happy Follow Up

I called Panasonic Canada again; I got a completely different response.

  • camera is under warranty

  • gave me the address to their service agent, and phone number

Dropped the camera off. People were pleasant, knowledgable, and listened! A great experience.

Hope your experienceis as good or better.

DaveL

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Frank B Veteran Member • Posts: 5,410
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

My HX5 has white junk inside the lens and I have a blotch showing up in many of my photos. I am going to try to get it fixed under the warranty.

Frank
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Hubert Egger New Member • Posts: 1
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

After 6 month of use and a lot of nice shots, my sony hx5v has definitely dust inside the lensgroup or on the sensor !! You can clean the surface of the top-lense, but with a pocket lamp nearby you can see white dust INSIDE the lense-group.
Every picture now has a big black spot inside, especialliy with zoom...

I wonder, whether this is fault in production/design and try to get it cleaned within my warranty.
Will report in a month, what happend...

Seems to be a traditional SONY DUST IN LENSE GROUP defect !!??

Keith Senior Member • Posts: 1,875
Opening up HX5V ?

Cy Cheze wrote:

Better to learn to clean the sensor and do this periodically? A nice idea, perhaps, but no fun to try. Yesterday, for the first time, I took out the three bottom and two side screws that are visible. Unfortunately, the camera did not then become easy to open. I nudged and pried gently, but it did not want to come apart. I dared not tug or wedge harder, fearing I'd warp the encasement or suddenly tear the whole camera open and rupture some elements or fittings. There is no "users guide to gut and fillet your HX5V." So I put the screws back in place and grumbled.

I must either:

1) Try again, pull harder, and pray I succeed.

2) Get some advice from anyone who has dismantled their HX5V, for whatever reason.

Did you ever figure out how to dismantle your HX5V? I'm trying to dismantle mine to fix the zoom lever but no go so far. It seems I did go a bit further than you by removing the side cover (where it says GPS) and finding two extra screws, unfortunately I'm stuck there...

ASR45
ASR45 Forum Pro • Posts: 36,498
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

I had the WX7 for a day, had a big blob of dust on the sensor, that was it took it back for a S95.

Alan.

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Joe M Amadas Regular Member • Posts: 181
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

I had a dust spec too in my HX5. After whacking the bottom of the camera onto the palm of my hand a couple times the spec was removed from the sensor. I had a similar problem with a Ricoh R6

Stephen McDonald
Stephen McDonald Forum Pro • Posts: 13,403
Re: HX5V Sensor Dust?

Bits of dust or any other specks of material might be on any one of the several elements of glass in the lens, rather than on the sensor. With a D-SLR, since the lens is removed, you'd expect that dust would most likely be on the sensor or the back element of the lens. A fixed-lens camera is supposedly sealed where it mounts inside the camera, so it's not so likely that dust would get in at that point. You might be wasting your time and ruin the camera in the process by opening it. I'd advise working around the specks with your shooting, as they wouldn't be visible on all photos.
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