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03-23-2015, 08:57 PM   #1
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Piece of dust on mirror, what to do?

Hi there,

When I look through the viewfinder of my K-3, I now see a small piece of dust or something just above the middle of the center. This doesn't appear in the LCD screen or in my pictures. Should I take it somewhere to have the mirror cleaned, send it back, or just ignore it as it doesn't seem to comprimise image quality? My concern is that if I leave it, and the dust moves to the sensor, then I have a more pressing problem.

Thanks! :-)

03-23-2015, 09:09 PM - 1 Like   #2
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probably on your focusing screen, not mirror. a blower such as Giottos Rocket blower may do the trick. Most of the viewfinder specks are harmless and sometimes best left alone, imo.
03-23-2015, 09:09 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by TrailRunner Quote
Hi there,

When I look through the viewfinder of my K-3, I now see a small piece of dust or something just above the middle of the center. This doesn't appear in the LCD screen or in my pictures. Should I take it somewhere to have the mirror cleaned, send it back, or just ignore it as it doesn't seem to comprimise image quality? My concern is that if I leave it, and the dust moves to the sensor, then I have a more pressing problem.

Thanks! :-)
Are you sure it's on the mirror, not on the glass focus screen? Either way if you hold the camera upside down and blow on the mirror with a rocket blower you'll probably get rid of it.
03-24-2015, 01:50 AM - 1 Like   #4
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My suggestion would be to try the rocket blaster but don't take out the focusing screen. It is very fragile and scratches quite easily. I lost one on my K-X and never did it again. You will always see a little spec here and there and through usage, it most likely will loosen up and move in time. It is not causing a problem to the picture so in time, you will ignore and disregard it. I know I have a few specs here and there but it does not affect my ability to view and focus.

03-24-2015, 06:51 AM   #5
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If you try to send a camera back based on the presence of a piece of dust on the mirror/focus screen/sensor, the merchant is going to do nothing more than laugh at you.

As many others have mentioned, a rocket blower is the first step. If it appears to be behind the screen, and you don't feel confident in removing it yourself, a camera shop should be able to do this job in under 5 minutes and for just a few dollars.
03-24-2015, 06:53 AM   #6
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Don't blow on it with your breath, as it contains spittle.
You can use certain types of cloth, but they need to be the type that leave no particles behind. And you need to be gentle.
The better solution is a rocket blower. Pentax also makes a cleaning tool that uses static to get dust stuck to it, it looks kinda like a lollipop, but it can be difficult to find in stores.
03-24-2015, 07:02 AM   #7
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Whilst using a blower has a high rate of success, but it gets airborne and where it lands is a complete guess. Eitherway, it remains inside the mirrorbox where it can always become airborne again and eventually land on the sensor. That's why I always use a vacuum cleaner so it gets sucked out.
03-24-2015, 07:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
Whilst using a blower has a high rate of success, but it gets airborne and where it lands is a complete guess. Eitherway, it remains inside the mirrorbox where it can always become airborne again and eventually land on the sensor. That's why I always use a vacuum cleaner so it gets sucked out.

Pretty sure vacuuming can cause static electricity which can do all sorts of other damage too, not to mention the amount of pressure vacuuming too close to a mirror box can provide.

03-24-2015, 08:22 AM   #9
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Oh, I see you have more concerns. There are numerous threads about dust.
Dust will always get into cameras, especially if you use it in dusty locations (cities, nature.. there are few places without dust and particles) and if you use lenses that move a lot (like big zoom lenses, they work like a pump). Dust can be on the mirror, focusing screen (hopefully not), sensor, viewfinder,... or even inside or on the back of the lens! Rocket blower is the easiest method to remove it. You can use wet methods as well, but those are more complicated. You should ignore some dust. If it bothers you or shows up in photos (especially as dark spots in the blue sky or on white backgrounds), then you need to identify where the dust is and remove it. Some service centres offer cleaning. The problem with this is that it might not be any more effective than you doing it at home, sometimes costs a lot and takes time.
Now, there is a danger of moving dust around with the rocket blower. Hopefully you get it out of the way of the optical path, though.

But! If you have a brand new camera and it comes with spots in there, especially spots that show up in photos, you should return it within warranty.
03-24-2015, 08:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by phoned Quote
Pretty sure vacuuming can cause static electricity which can do all sorts of other damage too, not to mention the amount of pressure vacuuming too close to a mirror box can provide.
The vacuum per say doesn't create static electricity... if the parts of the vacuum tube you are using is NOT touching the camera or internals of the camera, vacuum is quite safe... safer than blowing dust all over the place.
03-24-2015, 08:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Don't blow on it with your breath, as it contains spittle.
You can use certain types of cloth, but they need to be the type that leave no particles behind. And you need to be gentle.
The better solution is a rocket blower. Pentax also makes a cleaning tool that uses static to get dust stuck to it, it looks kinda like a lollipop, but it can be difficult to find in stores.
For the focus screen, I would suggest that "touch not" is the best rule of thumb, particularly with anything that might have embedded grit. The screen is very, very fragile and scratches easily. The best solution is a rocket-type blower. The Pentax lollipop is made for sensors and might work, though I would use extreme caution. Some users on this site have had good luck with static-charged sable brushes available as a kit on eBay. Those should be safe and affective.

For goop (spittle?) and stubborn dirt, out-of-camera wet cleaning may be done. KatzEye includes a how-to for cleaning/care in the support section of their Web site*:

cleaning - KatzEye Optics


Steve

* KatzEye recently quit business. This is sad news for those who depend on their excellent product for manual focus. With any luck the above link along with their detailed installation guides will continue to be available until a buyer for the business is found.
03-24-2015, 09:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
That's why I always use a vacuum cleaner so it gets sucked out.
And a vacuum cleaner sucks dust from the room into the mirror box

There truly is no really good solution short of never changing lenses. Multiple users on this site have tried to remove every last bit of dust from their screen as part of regular maintenance and have usually ended up removing one spec only to have it replaced by another. Even worse is going through the trouble of removing the screen for wet cleaning only to have dust deposited on the underside of the pentaprism.


Steve
03-24-2015, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
The vacuum per say doesn't create static electricity... if the parts of the vacuum tube you are using is NOT touching the camera or internals of the camera, vacuum is quite safe... safer than blowing dust all over the place.
My local shop uses a vacuum for some cleaning (mostly external and for things like bellows), but the amount of air movement is down-regulated to avoid damage to things adjacent to the area being vacuumed (e.g. shutter blades) and to avoid sucking dirty air into the camera's inner workings.


Steve
03-24-2015, 09:15 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
My local shop uses a vacuum for some cleaning (mostly external and for things like bellows), but the amount of air movement is down-regulated to avoid damage to things adjacent to the area being vacuumed (e.g. shutter blades) and to avoid sucking dirty air into the camera's inner workings.


Steve
Makes sense. A smart vacuum system also has filters and enclosed units.
03-25-2015, 02:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
And a vacuum cleaner sucks dust from the room into the mirror box
Yes... That's the best place to try to clean your camera, in a dusty room. Please hear the cynism in that one. I admit to being very vague about vacuming my mirrorbox:

You have to be sensible about using a vacuum cleaner, just like you have to be sensible about using blowing in the mirrorbox. You can't use a blowdryer on full power either. That's why they invented the rocket blower. For the same reason they invented those nice vacuum cleaner attachments. I use one with a very fine nozzle on low flow. And it's done best in a room that contains no dust. We all know the bathroom air is completely free of dust particles ~10 minutes after we take a shower, right?

Anyhow, if you can live with the dust, do it. I'm too autistic to be able to live with dust sitting in my VF. I can't look through it, only at it. Best thing I ever did was replacing my stock focussing screen with a Katzeye with no lines at all. And turn off all information on my other camera's EVF. Only then can I emerge myself fully in what I'm looking at.

Btw, those people that put a screen protector on their brand new smartphone with all kinds of dust and other &%&$ sealed in between...
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