M240 sensor contamination - shutter lubricant?
Old 09-14-2015   #1
Ricoh
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M240 sensor contamination - shutter lubricant?

I've read on a Leica forum that the M9 shutters mechanisms had a tendency to throw some lubricant on the sensor during the first months of ownership. I'm considering a new M240 and I'd like to be forewarned if it's a problem with the M240. Anyone know or have experience? It would be extremely disappointing if I had to send the camera away (or back to the dealer) to have lubricant cleaned off the sensor of a new camera.

Dust is unavoidable in reality and I guess the M240 is no different to cleaning any other sensor, i.e. 'at your own risk', but lubricant is a different matter
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Old 09-14-2015   #2
Keith
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In the year I've had my 240 I've had to clean the sensor a couple of times. There was no lube only dust.
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Old 09-14-2015   #3
Fraser
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I've found this with a lot of cameras especially canons, you don't need to send it back to leica for the sensor to be cleaned just find a local reliable camera repairer/dealer.
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Old 09-14-2015   #4
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Just clean it as necessary - it is not a big deal. If you don't trust yourself your dealer can help you out, there are commercial sensor cleaners in many places, and in the end it is a five to ten minute operation to do so yourself.
Often a dealer will offer you a cup of coffee and a short wait whilst they wipe your sensor for you.

Protocol:
1.Blow away all loose dust using a blower bulb (not canned air - that can damage the sensor).
2. If anything is left use a Sensor Brush.
3. If this smears or dust still sticks use one of the many wet-clean systems. For instance Visible Dust. See their website for a tutorial.

Variations:
I like to use the Green Clean vacuum cleaner instead of the Bulb Blower, and I use a stamping tool by Eyelead instead of a sensor brush.

I doubt, btw, whether the alleged "lubricant" is just shutter splatters. Looking at a dirty sensor under a microscope I found that sticky dust comes in a number of varieties. Most of it is Pollen, then there is quite a bit of skin debris (presumably from bending over the open camera when cleaning it and from the back/changing of the lens) and indeed sometimes (not often) a few spots of grease-like substance, which might be splattered by the shutter, but might just as well come from the lens focusing mechanism or even -again- from the skin of the owner.
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Old 09-14-2015   #5
Keith
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I think people are a bit precious about sensors and their perceived fragility. A wet clean is no big deal!
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Old 09-14-2015   #6
btgc
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I think people are a bit precious about sensors and their perceived fragility. A wet clean is no big deal!
Are those same people who say "Lens cleaning? I grab bottom part of my T-shirt and wipe off all moving crud and leave what remains after three strokes" ?
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Old 09-14-2015   #7
rscheffler
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FYI, if you send it to Leica, turnaround will depend on where in the world you live.

I had one very stubborn, persistent spot that I could not remove with wet cleaning. I don't believe it was lubricant, rather, something else from the environment. Anyway, I happened to be in the NYC area and inquired with Leica NJ about same-day sensor cleaning. They did it, but also explained that when an M240 is sent to Leica, even for something simple like sensor cleaning, it is required to go through a specific inspection procedure and checklist that involves an expensive dedicated piece of hardware. My understanding is this includes checking sensor alignment, etc. Apparently not all Leica service facilities (at that time) have this hardware, which means forwarding the camera to a location that does... Obviously, this results in significant service delays.

I'm just mentioning this as a warning. If your local Leica service center isn't fully equipped, then for something simple like sensor cleaning, you're best to have it done by a competent service center/dealer/friend, etc. if you're unable or unwilling to do it yourself.

Having used the M9 for over three years before switching to the M240, which I've used now for nearly two years, I have not noticed any difference in quantity or type of sensor dirt/dust/oil. Every once in a while I will get what looks like a spot of something sticky, but typically this happens during the process of blowing out the sensor with a blower bulb. Difficult to know if it's from the camera itself, or something from the external environment that got stuck in in the lens mount area. Lately I blow out the lens mount and shutter area with the shutter closed before doing the actual sensor cleaning to remove as many loose particles as possible that could potentially blow onto the sensor while trying to clean it.

I find most of the time M240 sensor dust can be blown out. I remove most of the remaining persistent specks with a sensor pen. Very rarely do I resort to a wet cleaning.

Compared to other digital cameras I've used, the M9 & M240 seem to attract somewhat more dry dust, therefore requiring more frequent inspections and blower bulb cleanings. Oily/sticky spots are definitely in the minority.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btgc View Post
Are those same people who say "Lens cleaning? I grab bottom part of my T-shirt and wipe off all moving crud and leave what remains after three strokes" ?
If the t-shirt is of the breathable, moisture wicking synthetic variety, then it is very much the same as the microfiber material used for reusable lens cloths. The problem with a t-shirt is whether the section of material intended to clean the lens has made contact with the skin, or how well the laundry detergent was rinsed out during the last wash...
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Old 09-14-2015   #8
willie_901
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I have a technician at a local camera shop clean the sensors in all my digital cameras.

I expect I could do it myself, but the cost (less than $100) is minor compared the cost and inconvenience if I make a mistake.

No doubt many RFFers are just a competent at this job and the risk of damage during a self-cleaning is insignificant. I admire them, as I am not one of them.
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Old 09-14-2015   #9
Ricoh
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Referring to rscheffler's post above, I'm interested to learn that debris found on sensors of the M9 and M240 do not differ greatly, maybe lubricant maybe not.
This may indicate that new shutter mechanisms do shed lubricant during the running-in period of the camera. It's then up to each of us to consider our options.

If I proceed with the purchase of the M240, I'll probably have a one lens system (a 35mm lux) so if I find contamination its either been ingested through the lens onto the sensor, or lub splash as suggested in the post I read on another forum.
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Old 09-14-2015   #10
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As the shutter on the M is supplied by the same maker that builds the shutter for most if not all major brands (Copal) it is unlogical to suppose that there is a difference between camera makers in this respect.
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Old 09-14-2015   #11
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I notice this has been moved into "problems" Personally I have never seen this as a problem, just routine maintenance.
The present thread location moves sensor dust into a category where it does not belong, IMO.
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Old 09-15-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
As the shutter on the M is supplied by the same maker that builds the shutter for most if not all major brands (Copal) it is unlogical to suppose that there is a difference between camera makers in this respect.
What about the Nikon D600? Actually I had a D300 that threw shutter oil on the sensor on a psuedo-random basis. Admittedly I don't know if Nikon uses Copal shutters.

It's seems clear to me the oil splatter is extremely rare on M bodies. This doesn't mean the OP's shutter isn't defective. Low probability events happen .
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Old 09-15-2015   #13
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I wouldn't call a bit of grease splatter a defect. Inconvenient, yes, but that is about it.
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Old 09-21-2015   #14
Manuel Patino
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I've had to clean the sensor in my M240 due to extreme contamination. Normally, a bit of dust here and there is not even noticeable. However, in my case the extreme high pollen present in the air while I changed lenses, caused a lot of visible spots in my images.

BTW, cleaning the sensor turned out to be a rather difficult operation and I had to do several attempts before I succeeded in removing all the spots off the sensor. For what it's worth, I had to use several full sensor cleaning swabs before finally using isopropyl alcohol to remove the most stubborn spots.
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