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09-28-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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Late-appearing sensor stain

I bought my K-5 at the end of October, 2010, receiving it from B&H Photo in early November. The serial number on this one is 3836857. On reading about the sensor stain issue right after I got the camera, I checked mine, stopped down to f/11 and photographed the clear sky. To my immense relief, I saw no evidence of a sensor stain. I've been using my K-5 with no problems at all until last month my when my wife and I vacationed to Hawaii. In late August, while I was photographing the scenes at Pearl Harbor, I began to see a spot in pictures where there was plenty of sky. I double checked with the dust alert feature, and saw no indication of dust. On close examination, the spot appears to be typical of the dreaded sensor stain. It was 10 months after I got the camera before I noticed it. I don't know if others have had a similar experience with the delayed appearance of a sensor stain - perhaps with time and heat it can appear; I don't know. Living in the Phoenix area, I took the camera to the Pentax repair station in Chandler, along with a copy of my invoice from B&H to prove when I bought it. The guy there said that they will have to ship the camera back to Japan, and they will decide to either replace the camera or replace the sensor - they will check to be sure it's not dust, but I'm 99% certain it's not. Estimated turnaround time is 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, I'll have to use my older K200D - not a bad camera, but there's no way it can compare to the K-5. Here's a crop of the stain as it appeared in a cloudy sky over Pearl Harbor, taken August 28, with no magnification or PP enhancement. Anyone else experience this?



09-28-2011, 12:32 PM   #2
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IMHO, this does not look like the infamous "string of pearls" sensor stain problem, but more like regular dust.
09-28-2011, 12:34 PM   #3
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Well, it's not...

Well, it's not the string of pearls that is so often referred to as sensor stain. Did you try to blow it off with a rocket blower? Next bet would be the sensor swab kit.

It is my understanding that it may take time for the stains to show up. I think that it would be heat on the sensor itself, not ambient heat that would cause the staining. Live View / Movie Mode generates a lot of heat on the sensor. Supposedly that vaporizes an adhesive.
09-28-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lammie200 Quote
Well, it's not the string of pearls that is so often referred to as sensor stain. Did you try to blow it off with a rocket blower? Next bet would be the sensor swab kit.

It is my understanding that it may take time for the stains to show up. I think that it would be heat on the sensor itself, not ambient heat that would cause the staining. Live View / Movie Mode generates a lot of heat on the sensor. Supposedly that vaporizes an adhesive.
Yes, I used a rocket blower - no change. And yes, at Pearl Harbor I used the movie mode a lot; that probably generated heat. If you look at the spot carefully, you can see less contrasty peripheral spots as well - not the "string" of pearls, but a cluster. Enhanced a bit, with arrows pointing to the peripherals as well as the central spot. By the way, I was using the weather resistant 18-135mm lens the whole time and did not change lenses - no chance for dust getting in from outside.



John


Last edited by PALADIN85020; 09-28-2011 at 01:21 PM.
09-28-2011, 01:39 PM   #5
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I suppose that...

QuoteOriginally posted by PALADIN85020 Quote
Yes, I used a rocket blower - no change. And yes, at Pearl Harbor I used the movie mode a lot; that probably generated heat. If you look at the spot carefully, you can see less contrasty peripheral spots as well - not the "string" of pearls, but a cluster. Enhanced a bit, with arrows pointing to the peripherals as well as the central spot. By the way, I was using the weather resistant 18-135mm lens the whole time and did not change lenses - no chance for dust getting in from outside.



John
I suppose that it could be a sensor stain. To be honest, I don't know much about the issue other than what I have read here.

Even though you didn't remove the lens, there is no guarantee that you won't get some dust in the chamber. People here have said that even with WR lenses they have gotten water seapage under certain conditions. Also, a zoom lens can probably be prone to moving dust around / in and out of the chamber.

The good side - you are getting it looked at and fixed or replaced.
09-28-2011, 02:42 PM   #6
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I had my K-5 professionaly cleaned this weekend.
It had a stain that I could not remove using blower and dry swipe.
The shop uses some kind of special suction device and they had a lot of problems with it.
My last resort would have been wet swiping, something I only do if all other means fail.

This does not look like a stain, it looks like dirt.
And dirt specs can be hard to get rid off.

Bert
09-28-2011, 05:47 PM   #7
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Did you blow the camara interior with humidIty?
09-28-2011, 07:12 PM   #8
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Tough call - I agree it doesn't look like the 'strings' and may well be dust (hopefully!)

You said something that sounds odd to me - by Chandler, AZ, you mean you brought this to CRIS, and their response was they need to send it to Japan?

If so, we may now know the reason for such slow turnaround by them - they do no repairs locally? ???

09-28-2011, 07:37 PM   #9
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Doesn't look like a stain to me, loks like dust or a thread.
09-30-2011, 12:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtpguy Quote
Tough call - I agree it doesn't look like the 'strings' and may well be dust (hopefully!)

You said something that sounds odd to me - by Chandler, AZ, you mean you brought this to CRIS, and their response was they need to send it to Japan?

If so, we may now know the reason for such slow turnaround by them - they do no repairs locally? ???
The guy at the desk says that Pentax decides - they may just send a new sensor to CRIS for installation, or ask that the camera be sent back to them for repair or replacement. He said he's seen it go either way. Already I'm missing my camera - my old K200D backup is SO outclassed by the K-5.

John
09-30-2011, 12:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pepe Guitarra Quote
Did you blow the camara interior with humidIty?
This is Phoenix, Arizona - the humidity is pretty low here. I used a rocket blower vigorously, and checked the dust alert screen - it's clean of any indication of dust.

John
09-30-2011, 12:51 PM   #12
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Hello Paladin85020,

What I see on your picture looks as some ordinary dirt to me - it is not the string of pearls typical of stains. Sooner or later you get it even if you are careful. If they are not centered, I would not care if I were you. Moreover, only one or two stains is (are) seldom difficult to get rid of during post-processing. Otherwise you have to clean the sensor with some method of several available, or to let some camera repair shop fix it for you. Some dust spots are very difficult to get rid of. It all depends on what kind of dirt that caused them.
09-30-2011, 12:57 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Staffan Quote
Hello Paladin85020,

What I see on your picture looks as some ordinary dirt to me - it is not the string of pearls typical of stains. Sooner or later you get it even if you are careful. If they are not centered, I would not care if I were you. Moreover, only one or two stains is (are) seldom difficult to get rid of during post-processing. Otherwise you have to clean the sensor with some method of several available, or to let some camera repair shop fix it for you. Some dust spots are very difficult to get rid of. It all depends on what kind of dirt that caused them.
Regardless of whether it's a sensor stain or dust mote, I can't adjust to it any more than I can adjust to bird poop on the windshield of a new car. It's either right or it's not, and I'm not willing to PP the aberration out of my shots forever. And yes, it's just to the left of center of the image. Well, we'll soon see. Thanks!

John
10-01-2011, 12:04 PM   #14
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Well it looks like a stain to me. The spots are noticeably clustered, and loosely arranged in a line. I've never seen dust like that! Good luck getting the issue sorted.
10-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #15
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Well, I got my K-5 back today from the C.R.I.S. Pentax repair center in Chandler, AZ. It took 15 days from the time I left it with them. The problem was definitely a stain on the sensor. Pentax sent them a new sensor and they installed it and cleaned the camera, no charge. I ran the standard test of photographing the sky at f/16; looks good now. A spot of dust was on the sensor, but I blew it off with a rocket blower.

The only downside was that all my custom settings were lost in the process, so I had to re-enter all the data. This took about an hour! I've found no focus problems or other issues on the returned camera, so things are looking good now. I got the camera in early November of 2010, so I got in under the 1-year warranty. The sensor stain did not appear until about 10 months of use. Those of you with older cameras might want to re-check for sensor stains before the year warranty expires.

John
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