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01-16-2016, 05:43 PM   #1
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Cleaned Camera, Lost Focusing Ability!

I'm a longtime Pentax *ist DL 6.1mp owner. This camera has always given me great, trouble-free, service...until now. Noticing evidence on some recent images of a few shadowy spots on my pictures I suspected dust particles on the detector surface. I removed the lens, performed the mirror lock-up step, turned the body facing down and using a brushless puffer bulb held just outside the body gave the puffer bulb a couple of sharp squeezes. Thereafter I released the mirror lock-up and replace the lens. Upon looking through the finder I noted the image to now be soft...no matter what amount of lens focusing was done! Several images taken showed the same affect.

Now the tip of the puffer bulb never directly entered the camera, nor touched any internal part, so I am at a total loss to understand what has happened. Can anyone offer an explanation and is there away to undo what I've somehow done?

CNJ774

01-16-2016, 06:21 PM   #2
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Did the focusing screen get moved by coincidence?
01-16-2016, 06:31 PM   #3
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Did you check the diopter?

Adjusting The Viewfinder Diopter - Pentax Ist Ist DL Operating Manual [Page 41]
01-16-2016, 06:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
He said even pictures he had taken were soft , mmm. I dont think it is the Diopter. Maybe some dust got on the focus sensor or the mirror

---------- Post added 01-16-16 at 09:07 PM ----------

did you try manually focus , also look to see if your focus screen is still in tact. if all of that is good does your camera even try to focus? O r turn one way and not the other?

01-16-2016, 07:19 PM   #5
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I just realized that if the problem is the pictures not the viewfinder, then it can't be the focusing screen. That isn't used for autofocus at all.
01-16-2016, 07:23 PM   #6
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It could be the focus sensor, or the electrical contacts for the lens need to be cleaned and or both. I am leaning towards the focus sensor, but first I would clean the mirror or inspect i at the very minimum
01-17-2016, 01:25 AM   #7
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Check if you bumped the focus switch.
01-17-2016, 06:35 AM   #8
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Hello folks and thanks to all who have replied to my initial post so far.

Let me say that I normally shoot in "manual" mode and this is what the camera was and is currently set on. I toggled the manual-auto focusing switch several times without any change in results. I also shot a couple of frames of distant trees this a.m. with the lens itself manually set at infinity and without going by what the viewfinder indicated was "best" focus (it was soft anyway) and I still got soft images of the branches. The view through the finder, which never comes sharp over the entire focusing range of the lens, reaches its seeming closest point to infinity focus at a point well short of the lens focusing collar reaching the infinity setting. Regardless, the view through the finder is never very sharp at any setting. I even went through the mirror lock-up for cleaning step several times that seemingly started this whole mess, but without any change occurring in the situation. I'm stumped at how anything could possibly change the camera's ability to focus, as well as constantly focus soft, BOTH at the viewfinder and the image detector short sort of some sort of major accident to the camera body...which absolutely never occurred. Any further thoughts?

CNJ774

01-17-2016, 06:46 AM   #9
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check your mirror, maybe it is off track so to speak. this would it turn mess up the view finder and the focus and interrupt the shot as it is being shot. open up the camera take the lens off and try to pick up the mirror gently to see if it is on track. do it at your own risk good luck
01-17-2016, 07:52 AM   #10
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Just one lens? Or is this happening to more than one?
01-17-2016, 08:30 AM   #11
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UncleVanya, it's the same with both my 28mm WA and 135mm, although the image softness is less dramatically obvious with these than with the camera's standard 18-55mm zoom. All these lenses and the camera produced tack-sharp images previously.

CNJ774
01-17-2016, 08:57 AM   #12
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Ok I have read you post clearly now, so first put on a lens any lens and adjust your dioptor . Secondly after you get a clear view though that focus and shoot and come back at us.
01-17-2016, 09:57 AM   #13
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OMG, niceshot, I cannot believe my stupidity! Somehow while inverting the camera body to clean the imaging surface with the puffer ball my fingers must have slid across the viewfinder dioptor slide and shifted it far O-O-F. Re-setting it allowed me to actually see when the lens was attaining sharp focus and the resulting images (viewfinder, too, of course) are now back to being nice and crisp. A foolish outside-the-camera source for the problem never crossed my mind, especially after seeing that I couldn't quite get sharp infinity focus (simply because I couldn't determine exactly where it was through the viewfinder). Ultimately, problem solved...if a bit to my chagrin!

To all who offered ideas and solutions, particularly "niceshot", my sincere thanks. I'll sleep a heck of lot easier tonight!

CNJ774
01-17-2016, 10:05 AM   #14
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This one was worrying me to death. Glad it was so simple to fix. After you indicated the focus was manual I wondered but the diopter question had been asked and so I moved on to lenses wondering if maybe an element had slipped out of place by coincidence during handling. So glad it was not that.
01-17-2016, 10:13 AM   #15
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Glad you got the problem sorted! Also good to hear your old DL is hanging in there - I have a couple original D's that still get quite a bit of use.
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