Messy.

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But essential.

I replaced the seals on the Olympus 35RC Saturday afternoon. It was another hot Texas day, but I had the fan blowing on me while I sat at my work table in the garage.

Removing the old seals was pretty easy, but messy as hell.

I used any and every tool I could find in the studio to scrape off the old seals and adhesive. Q-Tips, tooth picks, and mineral spirits were helpful in coaxing off all that ages old gunk. As was a couple of different X-Acto knives, skewers, and craft sticks.

Getting the new seals on was a bit tricky – fortunately the kit came with two sets of seals. Very helpful!

The trick is brushing on a little Purell hand sanitizer (the kind without moisturizer) to the sticky-back of the new seals, leaving a bit sticky where the seal is first applied.

You’re given a little bit of time to position the new seal, let the purell evaporate, then press the seal into place.

About an hour and a half total. Not bad.

I loaded it up with a 24 exposure roll of Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be getting out next week with two local area film shooters. A short trip down to Austin is planned, with preliminary sights on walking the streets around the newish Austin Library. Maybe even go inside. We’ll see.

At ay rate, I have one of my Domke F6 bags filled with a handful of film shooters for the event. The 35RC, an Olympus Stylus Epic, Nikon One•Touch Zoom 90, Sprocket Rocket, the Fujifilm SQ6, and my Minolta XG-1 + 24mm ƒ/2.8.

Should be fun.

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Plot twist.

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I did not see that coming.

The LX100 saga is finally over.

I got an email form Panasonic letting me know that not only did my LX100 need a sensor cleaning, but that the lens was bad, too.

I called to authorize the work and give them my credit card info. I was told that, in all, it would cost roughly $375 US to repair and ship back to me. Bummer. A lot more than I’d anticipated.

Then I was told I had the option to purchase a refurbed LX100 for less than $200. Yay. Let’s do that. Happy boy.

About 10 minutes after I hung up I got a call from the agent that’d helped me apologizing because it turns that they’re fresh out of refurbished LX100s. Bummer.

At this point my only other option was to purchase a new one for a little more than $100 over the cost of repairs.

The get to keep my old LX100.

I ran all this by the CFO of Morris Enterprises, and she approved the expenditure. The new camera arrived today. So clean!

Here’s hoping I get at least 4 years use out of it!

 

 

When something’s broke.

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Fix it.

I did it. I finally sent my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 to The Panasonic Factory Service Center just down the road in McAllen, TX for a good sensor cleaning.

Over the past year or so I’d noticed a few little – and not so little – specs showing up in images that I’d made while using smaller apertures.

I didn’t mind too much, as they could be cloned out or I could do a content-aware fill to remove them. Shooting macros at ƒ/1.7 wasn’t an issue, either. I do a lot of that.

The dust doesn’t show when shooting wide open. But recently I was trying to get some good star flare in a sunset shot, at ƒ/16, and when I looked at the image in Photoshop there were so many specs that cloning or a fill just wasn’t feasible.

… a dusty sensor is kind of a thing with the LX100.

I started doing a little research online and found that a dusty sensor is kind of a thing with the LX100. Plenty of threads on the various forums had complaints. And a few whacky solutions.

One person came up with a device made from a plastic soda bottle that slipped over the lens barrel, with a vacuum hose attached to the other end, and after turning the camera on he’d zoom in-and-out while the vacuum did its thing. Some folks claimed success.

I was hoping the repair department of our local camera store, Austin’s Precision Camera, could do a proper cleaning. I called. It was worth a shot, but no, they suggested sending it to Panasonic.

A little research turned up examples of folks who’d sent their LX100 in to Panasonic. Some under warranty, some not. I couldn’t find what Panasonic charged for out-of-warranty sensor cleaning on any forum.

And finding the page on the Panasonic web site for actually initiating the cleaning was not easy. It’s Service and Repairs on the shop part of their site.

After a few back-and-forth emails, I learned that they’ll do a complete inspection of the camera for free. The sensor cleaning is $100 US. And coincidentally, that amount was kinda’ the threshold for me. Any other issues cost extra. It works fine, so I hope it just needs the sensor cleaned.

… my questions were answered by Agent 5 and Agent 4.

A funny side note… the folks who communicated with me via email didn’t use their given names. Instead, my questions were answered by Agent 5 and Agent 4. A bit quirky, and something I have not previously experienced with any customer help.

The forums all had stories about folks getting back their LX100 and, after use, the dust returning. And there were many questions about the latest version having the same issue.

All I know is the LX100 is probably the best digital camera I’ve owned and after 4 years of use, the $100 is worth making the camera usable again. Hope fully I’ll get another 4 years out of it.

Now, if Panasonic decides to add a flip-up rear display to the LX100III, whenever that might happen, I’d definitely upgrade.

I’ll do a follow-up post when my LX100 is back in my hands.