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Thread: how do I remove dust from the viewfinder

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    how do I remove dust from the viewfinder

    I have noticed that the view finder of my camera has a lot of dust particles visible when I look through it. I have tried to be careful when I change lenses, but I keep finding visible dust. I am assuming that this is just in the view finder and not on the sensor.
    When I change my lenses I usually unsrew the cap but leave it still sitting on the lens ready for when I am about to change it. I then click the release button and quickly take off the lens and then put the other lens on. I try to hold the camera down so that the opening is not pointing up to collect whatever is floating about.

    Am I doing this completely wrong??? and how do I go about safely removing the dust from the view finder???

    I read the manual when I first bought the camera and it gives instructions for cleaning the sensor, but there ain't no way I am going anywhere near that lil baby!!!!

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    What camera?

    If it is a DSLR with a pentaprism, then in all probability the only way is significant disassembly, usually performed by the manufacturer or authorised service centre. I know a few people with the same problem on Nikon bodies, and they just ignore it due to the large cost to get it removed.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    LOL! I just finished posting to another post on sensor cleaning, and remembered my viewfinder cleaning thread somewhere in these forums too.

    As Wayne said, this is a very difficult job to do, and the matte focusing screen may need to be removed to do it properly.
    There is the chance that the dirt has only settled on the mirror, but again the mirror is a very fragile part that is easily damaged if absolute care is not taken.

    I'd recommend that you take it to a camera repair shop(they'll have the required tools) to do it properly.

    There are a few things you can easily do tho.
    Clean out the viewfinder objective. The part you look into. I use cotton buds, canned air or a very soft brush. Cotton buds seem to be the most effective.

    And because you are there cleaning stuff and can easily do this yourself, take off the lens and look closely at the mirror. You should be able to roughly see through to the other side of the viewfinder.
    if you look carefully, you should be able to determine if the gunk is sitting on the mirror or not.
    It doesn't hurt to look, and even give it a quick blow out if something is there .. but I seriously doubt that anything of significance will be there. Possibly a layer of fine dust, but this won't be easily visible through the viewfinder other than in strong light .. as a loss of contrast.
    Reason is that the mirror comes to rest on an angle and is constantly flipping up and down and this doesn't give goop a chance to settle.

    My guess is that it's sitting on the matte screen, which is hard to remove without damaging it(with a nice big scratch) and then you've made it worse.

    I can't reiterate enough how nerve racking it is to try to remove the retaining clip that holds the focusing screen in place.
    It's easy enough now that I've done it a few times, but it's very fragile(thin) but has a very firm grip. This means that it doesn't seem to budge, and then all of a sudden it releases itself too easily and you either slip, or the clip comes out of it's pivoting points and hence loose in the camera.

    See images of what it looks like here: Focusing screen.
    It's actually a bit weird in that the clip is quite strong yet so flimsy and unpredictable(for the first few times that I've done it).

    If you are good with jewellers tools and/or making fine jewellery then you may have the nerves of steel required to do it.
    I actually don't, but I muck about with stuff all the time and know how to use the tools I have, and how to brace my hands to not slip at the crucial moment.

    other than that I have no particular expertise, and as a matter of interest, I can't even thread a needle easily! But I believe that if I can do it, then anyone can, but they need to be confident with their tools to begin with.

    if that sounds like you, then you could do it well.
    just make sure you never touch the focusing screen(matte) and the mirror with your hands(fingers) the oils on your skin can contaminate the surfaces and they lose their efficiency .. or something like that. Never had this issue, and don't want to find out about what and why it's an issue.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree with the above. Using a blower just moves it around, not getting rid of it.

    It is damn annoying!

    The good thing is, it doesn't show up on your photos, unlike sensor dust. So take it and get it cleaned or live with it for a while. You seem to be doing the right thing, holding camera downward etc whilst changing lenses, but have you ever sat inside with the curtains closed and had a beam of sunlight shining into the room showing up all the floating particles 'dancing' in the air? No matter how you do it, dust will get in, our atmosphere is full of it.

    I know people who have a large zip lock plastic bag and change their lenses inside this bag, to minimise dust. But in the end they still need to clean their sensor and camera as well, it just delays the need.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser Hypop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussie girl View Post
    I have noticed that the view finder of my camera has a lot of dust particles visible when I look through it. I have tried to be careful when I change lenses, but I keep finding visible dust. I am assuming that this is just in the view finder and not on the sensor.
    When I change my lenses I usually unsrew the cap but leave it still sitting on the lens ready for when I am about to change it. I then click the release button and quickly take off the lens and then put the other lens on. I try to hold the camera down so that the opening is not pointing up to collect whatever is floating about.

    Am I doing this completely wrong??? and how do I go about safely removing the dust from the view finder???

    I read the manual when I first bought the camera and it gives instructions for cleaning the sensor, but there ain't no way I am going anywhere near that lil baby!!!!
    Use a cleaner like ours:
    http://www.hypop.com.au/5-in-1-camer...aning-kit.html

    After, everything is clean, purchase a good lcd screen protector. This should solve your problems in the future.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypop View Post
    ......

    After, everything is clean, purchase a good lcd screen protector. This should solve your problems in the future.

    The issue is with the viewfinder, not the LCD screen.

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    G'day all

    Can I just add a bit & maybe qualify something in Arthur's excellent post

    >> Any dust on the mirror of your SLR will -NOT- be visible thru the viewfinder and the mirror surface must -NEVER- be touched <<

    The lens & focusing system uses the mirror to bounce the image onto the focussing screen - the mirror is never "in focus" > so any dust that is seen must be on [or maybe under] the focussing screen

    Additionally, the mirror's reflective surface is only "millionth's of a millimetre thick" and unlike a household mirror is on the front of the glass and has no protecion from the elements. ANY attempts to clean the mirror surface will have a very strong chance of destroying the mirror's surface [I regrettably did this to my Pentax back in the 80s via the gentle use of a camel hair brush to wipe dust off it. After 'cleaning' it, it looked like sandpaper had been drawn across it, and the light 'sharpness' to the viewfinder was never the same till it was replaced]

    My suggestion to the OP + others would be to-

    > remove the lens
    > turn the camera upside down [so that you are not looking at the mirror as per changing lenses]
    > look down into the camera body at the viewfinder / focus screen
    > using a small torch, critically look at the focus screen for bits of dust .... a 'huge' bit in the viewfiner will only be 1-2mm in actual size
    > keeping well clear of the mirror surface, either gently blow the screen or wipe with cotton bud so that dust will fall down & out of the camera body


    Hope this helps ..
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
    google me at Travelling School of Photography
    images.: flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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    Thanks everyone for your help. I think I will just have to live with it. There doesnt seem to be any showing up in the photos, so I am thinking it must be in the view finder. I am not confident enough to fiddle about inside the camera, coz if I damage it, I certainly cant afford to buy a new one, and camera repairs I would imagine would not come cheap.
    It is good to know that I am not the only one who has encountered this problem.
    Yes Rick, I have certainly seen the streams of dust in the sunlight, especially in my house!!! coz I dont like cleaning so I am not in the least bit surprised that dust has found its way in. But if the more experienced photographers out there are also having the same problems, then I feel a whole lot better that it is not just me, or what I am doing that has caused the problem.
    Thanks everyone

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    I seem to have an exact the same problem. It doesn't show in my photos but damn annoying to see it in my viewfinder. It is D700. I tried the methods described above and I only succeeded introducing another particle on the viewfinder. Just wondering if there are good reliable camera servicing people in Sydney to clean it up for me?

    Many thanks

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