Ricoh GXR: A16 24-85 Dust on Sensor

Introduction | Test Shots Before and After Cleaning | Final Words


On this page, I present an issue that I did not expect to happen with an Ricoh GXR camera unit: dust on the sensor.



In August 2016, I took my Leica X Vario on a trip to Sweden. However, when I looked at my photos afterwards, I detected a dark dust spot in uniform areas such as the sky (see here for more information). Since we wanted to go on another vacation, this time to France, fairly soon, there was no time left to send the camera to Leica for a sensor cleaning. So I dug out my trusty GXR body, the A16 24-85 camera unit, a half-case, and the EVF, although the latter did not function properly (but I was able to use it as a "straight" viewfinder). In the end, this set is very similar to a Leica X Vario - as far as I know they even use the same or a very similar sensor.

When I looked at my photos on my iPad, however, I soon found to my dismay, that the GXR A16 camera unit had also collected dust on the sensor - something that Ricoh once told would never happen with GXR canera units, since the sensor is not exposed. But this seems to happen to cameras with a fixed lens, as reported dust issues with the Ricoh GR or my Leica X Vario show. While the X Vario has a "classical" lens, where I would not expect dust to intrude the lens, the GR and the A16 camera unit have "telescopic lenses" that tend to suck in dust (see photos below). So, for these Ricoh cameras it might happen...


Photos: Body with A16 24-85 camera unit attached - "off" (left),"on" (wide; center), "on" (tele; right) - this lens construction might suck in dust (and it did...).

I had to wait until our return home, find out who repairs Ricoh cameras these days, took some test shots to prove the dust, and sent the A16 camera unit together with the body to Rüdiger Maerz GmbH in Hamburg, Germany. In parallel, I sent the X Vario to Leica in Wetzlar, Germany...


Test Shots Before and After Cleaning

The test shots exhibit the typical pattern that you can see the dust particles the better, the more you stop down:













Click the photos to open the original photo in a new window.

After Cleaning

For the test photos after cleaning, I used the sky and a uniform area (shown here) as targets. To my great relief, I was not able to find dust particles in the photos (maybe that there are some small, insignificant ones...):












Click the photos to open the original photo in a new window.


Final Words

I thought that I have never read about dust issues with Ricoh GXR camera units, although I read about such issues for the Ricoh GR, which has a telescopic lens. But when I looked into my records, I found that I had sent the P10 camera module to the Convar Service Center for sensor cleaning in October 2011. And in February 2012, I sent my M-Mount module there for sensor cleaning. How soon we forget...

Luckily, the cleaning of the A16 sensor was successful, and I can now stow away the GXR until it may be needed again one day...


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