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11-13-2013, 07:28 AM   #1
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Unfocused images possibly due lens contamination?

Hi There,

So I'll start with telling you when I first observed this behavior. One day as I was taking pictures I noticed that the images appeared blurry no matter the of the focus adjustment made; AF and MF didn't seem to make a difference. I swapped out my lenses and the issue still appeared. I first noticed this behavior after about a week of the camera bag in my car during the fall season (beginning of october this year).

So the behavior I noticed left me thinking it was a camera issue (K-5) but I thought that, if that were the case, why then was the resulting photo and the view finder both blurry? If it was the camera it should be one or the other, unless both the CCA and the view finder were both shoddy. So I tested all of the lenses I had in my camera bag, two lenses have AF capabilities and the rest are manual. My 24mm lens appears to have the most apparent sharpness while my long lens had the worst condition (although now that i think about it, my test was probably too close for my long lens), so I think the issue here is within the lenses.

Below are some test photos from each of the lenses. What can this issue be? Moisture? Mold? Is there a way to fix the lenses? if so is the fix something that I can DIY or are they too delicate?

I appreciate any free advice you can give, and if the lenses can be repaired and there is a reputable person here that does it for a living I'd be happy to get a referral.

thanks.

Attached Images
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 
11-13-2013, 08:01 AM   #2
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Try turning off the image stabilization. My K10D did that and it turned out it was the IS. With IS off it was fine.
11-13-2013, 08:03 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by post_eos Quote
Try turning off the image stabilization. My K10D did that and it turned out it was the IS. With IS off it was fine.
how does image stabilization affect the view finder?
11-13-2013, 08:09 AM   #4
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I doubt is the lenses... maybe your focus screen is dirty/oily and needs some cleaning!? Have you checked the mirror for dirt as well!?
You could touch the focus screen or mirror by accident while changing lenses and oil from hands could affect your AF and create some problems trying to MF as well (since you won't be able to see properly).

11-13-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
I doubt is the lenses... maybe your focus screen is dirty/oily and needs some cleaning!? Have you checked the mirror for dirt as well!?
You could touch the focus screen or mirror by accident while changing lenses and oil from hands could affect your AF and create some problems trying to MF as well (since you won't be able to see properly).
I have not checked the mirror and that's an interesting theory; it seems to fit. When I looked at the entire days photos it seemed like there was a clear line from when the issue started to occur. I figured it was the lenses because the 24mm lens has the best sharpness in my tests and it was that lens I swapped out for something else when the blurriness started to appear.

I'll take a look at that when I am home this evening but, how exactly do I check this? what should I do to clean them? I have some high quality microfiber cloth but no solutions of any kind.
11-13-2013, 08:48 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Capslock118 Quote
I have not checked the mirror and that's an interesting theory; it seems to fit. When I looked at the entire days photos it seemed like there was a clear line from when the issue started to occur. I figured it was the lenses because the 24mm lens has the best sharpness in my tests and it was that lens I swapped out for something else when the blurriness started to appear.

I'll take a look at that when I am home this evening but, how exactly do I check this? what should I do to clean them? I have some high quality microfiber cloth but no solutions of any kind.
Well, the mirror is easy to clean... same way you clean the lenses just make sure there is no dust or any other abrasive stuff on your microfiber cloth or else you risk the chance to scratch the mirror.

The focus screen is a whole other story... they are VERY fragile and you cannot use a microfiber on it. It WILL damage it.
You need to remove it and clean it by pouring or putting it in a solution. A lot of people are using lighter fluid for it. You need to be very careful when doing this
But maybe someone else can chime in with other better solutions... if any.

Last edited by mrNewt; 11-13-2013 at 09:16 AM.
11-13-2013, 09:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Capslock118 Quote
how does image stabilization affect the view finder?
You're right, it doesn't. I missed that part. That's what I get for answering real quick as I'm trying to leave for work.
11-13-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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If it is a K-5, just put it in liveview -- you'll see what the sensor sees, no mirrors or viewfinders or focusing screens involved. If you can't get anything in focus, even manually, with any lens, then your sensor is seriously misaligned (like way forward or back) or has vaseline on it or something.

11-13-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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If the eye piece focal adjustment got bumped when you were putting your camera back in the bag, that would explain why your viewfinder was blurry, and manual focus lenses would be reliant on you being able to see through the viewfinder in order to set the focus correctly.

This does absolutely no good in explaining the focus problem in an autofocus lens. Do they give focus confirmation?
11-13-2013, 12:31 PM   #10
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I first clean all optical surfaces with a Giottos Rocket Blower - the bigger finned one stays at home and a smaller finless model is in my camera bag. You can remove and reverse store the nozzle to take up less space in your bag.

I have a double layer of coffee filter over the intake to stop most dust from being sucked into the bulb during use, and I always give the bulb a few good presses to clear it and make sure everything is working properly before using it on my gear. Naturally it makes little sense to try to remove dust from internal parts if you are in a windy or dusty environment. This no-touch, low-pressure method will remove most particulates that don't have a substantial electrostatic charge and is always worth a first try at removing contaminants.
11-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kylv Quote
If the eye piece focal adjustment got bumped when you were putting your camera back in the bag, that would explain why your viewfinder was blurry, and manual focus lenses would be reliant on you being able to see through the viewfinder in order to set the focus correctly.

This does absolutely no good in explaining the focus problem in an autofocus lens. Do they give focus confirmation?
It does, red light plus the beep to let me know it's "in focus". Eye piece focal adjustment is a good theory too. I'll check the eye piece first but it is strange that the only lens with an acceptable level of sharpness is the manual lense.

Edit: In fact, the only reason I even noticed this issue in the first place was because my wife was using one of our AF lenses (18-55) in broad daylight and all the photos were blurry. We thought maybe our eyes are starting to expect more from the cameras LCD screen what with retina displays and all, but importing the photos into my mac showed how imprecise the sharpness was.

Last edited by Capslock118; 11-13-2013 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Clarification
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