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10-15-2010, 01:41 PM   #1
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Viewfinder Mirror issue

So, me being a beginner and all, noticed my mirror was all dirty and what not so i was using
a compressed air canister...HORRIBLE IDEA......the person who used it previously used it
upside down, so liquid air shot out of the canister, onto my mirror, and now there is residue.
I spent time trying to clean it off knowing that its just the mirror...and theres two
residue marks on the two sides of the mirror that i can't seem to get rid of at all....

I'm not sure if its like, in an unreachable place.....or......I really have no idea, I tried cleaning
the back and the front and its still there. Is the mirror damaged, or did the liquid diffuse
into a crevasse.. At this point i am panicking.

The camera model is a Pentax K100D

I was wondering if anyone had any words of wisdom to offer, aside from,
Never clean your mirror with compressed air, or never try to clean your mirror at all,
I learned those from meticulously researching what to do.


Last edited by AbsoluteZedo; 10-15-2010 at 01:57 PM.
10-15-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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Might be top of the mount. When you see mirror in mount but you look up to top of the mount. You can cleaned it. I was thought my senor and mirror dirty but not. Just viewfinder's top of the mount. Hope it helps.
10-15-2010, 02:13 PM   #3
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I don't have time to list all my mistakes but here's my 2pence worth.

Don't panic

What ever has happened has happened and it probably won't get worse so just take your time, have plenty of space and do a lot of googleing

Youtube might have some visual tips.

Try not to do anything until you're sure. Take some pics and see how they turn out. They should be OK and auto focus/white balance/exposure should all be OK too.

Not much help so far but more "I've done that too" so hope that helped

(as above could be the focus screen)

Last edited by View; 10-15-2010 at 02:14 PM. Reason: agree with post above
10-15-2010, 02:17 PM   #4
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The pictures are fine, the sensor doesn't appear to have been damaged at all and is still operating like it was before.
Its just the viewfinder looks like trash. Its sort of blurry and has particulates on it but it is manageable, there are two residue spots on the two
sides of the viewfinder though which i believe is coming from the mirror, and it is frustrating. I'm not sure if i need my camera to be professionally cleaned
, and even if it was, i'm not even sure it is cleanable.

There isn't much said about mirror cleaning in terms of resources available online.

I am really worried that i damaged the mirror.


Last edited by AbsoluteZedo; 10-15-2010 at 02:29 PM.
10-15-2010, 02:56 PM   #5
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I don't know why everyone gets their panties in a bunch about touch cleaning a mirror. They aren't as delicate as you would be led to believe. I've done it for years on medium format cameras without any harm whatsoever.

Wrap a lens tissue around a q-tip (some call them ear buds). Put some lens cleaner on the lens tissue and clean the mirror off. If you don't have a microfiber cloth, get one. Use that or a clean lens tissue to to polish (bad word but the best I can think of) any streaks left on the mirror.

Do not use any strong solvents however, this IS a front surfaced mirror, and Could be damaged.

FWIW, this is exactly why, it is not recommended to use canned air to clean a sensor. If it's your can and you know it's history.

10-15-2010, 04:04 PM   #6
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Mirror damage

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
I don't know why everyone gets their panties in a bunch about touch cleaning a mirror. They aren't as delicate as you would be led to believe. I've done it for years on medium format cameras without any harm whatsoever.

Wrap a lens tissue around a q-tip (some call them ear buds). Put some lens cleaner on the lens tissue and clean the mirror off. If you don't have a microfiber cloth, get one. Use that or a clean lens tissue to to polish (bad word but the best I can think of) any streaks left on the mirror.

Do not use any strong solvents however, this IS a front surfaced mirror, and Could be damaged.

FWIW, this is exactly why, it is not recommended to use canned air to clean a sensor. If it's your can and you know it's history.

Don't know if the mirrors are front silvered (silver on the front surface) or rear silvered, (glass on front silver on the rear surface). If they are rear silvered, no problem with cleaning them, however, if they are front silvered, be careful.

The difference between the two silvering techniques has an affect on how the image is projected onto the viewing screen. It used to be that many photo viewing mirrors were front silvered to eliminate projecting a out of registration image onto the viewing screen.

Like I said, I don't know if the current crop of photo view screen mirrors are front silvered or rear silvered, just be aware that that can be a possibility.
10-15-2010, 04:38 PM   #7
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These cameras have shutters with a cycle life expectancy of something like 100K actuations. For each one, the mirror slaps around (more violent sounding than it actually is) in the mirror box to be lifted out of the way for the shutter. If the silvering isn't going to shake off in all that slapping about, A careful rub with some mild cleaning agent, the same stuff we use on our lenses once in a blue moon isn't going to hurt anything. Any camera mirror I've ever dealt with was front surfaced. Cleaning the mirror isn't something to get one's balls in a bunch about.

10-15-2010, 09:48 PM   #8
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+1 for what Jeff is saying. The mirror is front surfaced, and silver is a metal for Gawd's sake.

10-15-2010, 09:50 PM   #9
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Well, i attempted cleaning it as i said before and there is still residue that will NOT come off.
Not sure why, or how. The blotches are on the two sides of the mirror. THAT is why i am freaking out
. I figure the mirror isn't the most vital part of the camera but when i look into the view finder i see the
blotches and its incredibly irritating. They aren't very subtle. I am not sure where the blotches actually reside
cause they are clearly not on the top surface, unless they are somehow immune to being cleaned.
10-16-2010, 03:07 AM   #10
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Hi there, is the "smudge" on the mirror or the focus screen? Last time I used an air tin that's where my smudge was. Wipeing is probably not a good idea on the focus screen.

No harm in taking or finding out the cost of a clean -
10-16-2010, 03:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
+1 for what Jeff is saying. The mirror is front surfaced, and silver is a metal for Gawd's sake.
Just remember that it is a very thin deposited layer of Fine (99.99% pure) silver.
Yes, silver is a metal but pure silver is a soft metal somewhere around 2.5-3 on the mohs hardness scale .

Pure gold, silver, and platinum are all relatively soft, with Mohs ratings between 2.5-4.
I am a jeweller and can attest to the softness of pure silver.

For reference fingernails are 2.5 on that same scale.

To the o/p are you sure they are deposits and not the reverse ?
(areas where the coating has been 'blown off' )
Could also be some of the liquid has blown up into the viewfinder ?


Note that unprotected silver tarnishes readily in the presence of sulphur compounds ( the air just about anywhere with industrial manufacturing, coal fires,eggs etc etc.) so many so called 'front silvered mirrors' are actually vapour deposited Aluminium.
It is softer but does not tarnish and cheaper and lighter.

Last edited by bobD; 10-16-2010 at 04:17 AM.
10-16-2010, 10:55 AM   #12
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Is the focus screen the thing directly infront of the mirror, or the screen that is, Above the mirror in the compartment. The piece i am referring to is angled at like 45 degrees. Would the air canister's liquid form just damage the mirror with its sheer force?, and if so, is the mirror even replaceable? it looks like it would be costly.
10-16-2010, 11:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by AbsoluteZedo Quote
Is the focus screen the thing directly infront of the mirror, or the screen that is, Above the mirror in the compartment. The piece i am referring to is angled at like 45 degrees. Would the air canister's liquid form just damage the mirror with its sheer force?, and if so, is the mirror even replaceable? it looks like it would be costly.
Light passes through the lens, hits the mirror and is reflected up to the focus screen (in general terms). The angled part is the mirror and the focus screen lies flat under the prism viewfinder. It IS possible that you also got propellant on to the screen with your accident.

THAT part, you do NOT want to rub any solvents on. I Have cleaned them with a very mild detergent and rinsed them off. Though I'll admit I've never done it with a Pentax type screen. It isn't something one would or even could easily touch. To attempt anything other than a dry clean, it has to be removed from the camera. This is where the greatest danger lies because they are easily scratched.

10-16-2010, 11:56 AM   #14
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Looking into the lens mount, the blotches appear behind the mirror. The focus screen is seen reflected in the mirror. Propellant may have sprayed onto the bottom of the focus screen; the blotches. Search the threads here for how to "clean K100D focus screen".
10-16-2010, 01:38 PM   #15
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The problem with it being on the focus screen is, after slightly moving the mirror, ie. moving it towards the flip up motion, you can see the blotch, and the blotch does not move with the focus screen it moves with the actual mirror. The light isn't refracting with the focus lense, therefore either its an optical illusion and the blotches are on the focus lense or the blotches are somehow still on the mirror
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