Monday, May 2, 2016

Of all that I was losing

The photographs were taken on April 9th at lake Myllyjärvi, south of Luukki.

I'm having dust problems with the Panasonic LX100. The first dust spot appeared a couple of months ago, and I spent some time cleaning the lens and the UV filter until I realized that dust is inside the camera. The problem wasn't that big, as usually I was able to mask the dust spots away from photographs, and often they were not apparent at all.

However, later this spring the dust problem escalated, due to pollen and other dust that was floating in the air. When the lens extends, it acts in a way that sucks dust into the camera, and when it gets in there, at some point more dust appears in the photographs.

Below you see how the situation looks right now. The photograph was taken against a white wall, focusing to 3 meter distance, at f/16. When using a larger aperture or focusing closer the dust spots get more diffuse.

I have had some email correspondence with the shop that sold the camera. Their suggestion is to contact Panasonic Finland, even though the camera is no longer under warranty (I bought it September 2014). They said that their salespeople could perhaps do a bit of cleaning at the shop, but I doubt that, as the LX100 is far from easy to open for cleaning.

I'm not alone with the LX100 dust problem. There are several discussion threads on various sites about this, for example at Dpreview.

(Posting title is from the poem Snow on the Desert by Agha Shahid Ali.)


Markus said...

Your pictures are fine as always - especially as I am personally very fond of such scan, strict landscapes, preferably with grey sky.

But that dust problem is annoying, especially as the camera has no interchangeable lens - making it hard to clean but on the other hand theoretically much easier to searl against such dirt. I hope the company is generous - after all, you certainly should have been appointed a Panasonic ambassador!

Juha Haataja said...

With the Panasonic LX3 and LX5 there we no dust problems but apparently there is something rotten with the LX100. Perhaps a problem with dust shielding, perhaps the design is flawed. I haven't yet got a response from Panasonic.

I like the lens (and the sensor) of the LX100, and the controls, and especially the aperture and exposure controls have proved useful.

However, the rear control dial is no longer working properly, or sometimes it seems to activate by itself and do random setting changes. And then there is the dust.

I have been thinking about getting the Panasonic GX80, which should be available in May or June. With the 12-35 mm kit zoom this should be a rather pocketable camera. And with the Panasonic f/1.7 42.5 mm lens I could do portraits and closeups (even in the dark), and then there is the bokeh.

The GX80 doesn't have a dedicated control for exposure compensation, but I could probably cope with this. Also missing is a switch to change the aspect ratio, which I'm using a lot on the LX100. But the GX80 has a touch display that tilts, which would be a big improvement compared to the LX100.

Gertjan said...

Hello Juha,

I'm checking your blog for quite some time now.
always nice to read and great pictures.

Sad to read that you have dust issues with your LX100.
I'v also seen the discussions on DPreview about the issue.
since I'm also very interested in the LX100 I'm a bit unsure if i will buy it now more people report the same problem.
So it made me wonder if it has to do how people handle their camera's.
Since it is small enough a lot of people will probably carry it in their pocket. A wellknown place for collecting dust.
so my question for you is: do you carry the camera in a bag or in your pocket?

Juha Haataja said...

Thanks, Gertjan!

I'm not carrying the LX100 in a bag or in a pocket. My shooting style is such that I take a lot of photographs, often a couple of hundred during a couple of hours of walking. I carry the camera in my hand and when I see something interesting, I switch it on, take a couple of photographs (usually within a couple of seconds), and switch the camera off.

So far I have taken over 98,000 photographs with the LX100. At the service mode (see here) I get the following info: PWRCNT 15996, SHTRCNT 97357. The shutter count is less than the number of photographs taken because in have also used the electronic shutter which does not show in the count. So, for each power on I have taken on average about six photographs.

The dust is not the only problem with the LX100. The zoom switch on top of the camera no longer works reliably. Also the control ring in the back of the camera has problems. But your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

Hello Juha,

Thanks for your reply.
this makes me wonder.
If you had known back when you bought the camera that it would be having these issues, would you still have bought it?

Juha Haataja said...

I have taken now almost 100,000 photographs with the camera, so price per photograph is about one (euro) cent. Looking from this perspective the camera feels almost cheap. ;-)

On the other hand, I took over 200,000 photographs with the Panasonic LX3, and almost 200,000 photographs with the LX5, so in this sense the LX100 has been a bit of a disappointment, not as durable as the LX3 or the LX5. However, both of these cameras, especially the LX5, showed serious symptoms of wear and tear in the end.

I got a response from Panasonic, suggesting I get an estimate for the repairs needed from their camera repair service. I haven't yet managed to do send the camera for repairs, one reason being that I'm loath to be without a camera. Perhaps the LX200 becomes available soon? Or then I could buy the GX80 with the new 12-60 mm lens, which would probably be quite all right as a replacement.