dirt in viewfinder

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by wdavidprice, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. When I look through the viewfinder of my Pen F I see dirt. When I take the lens off the mirror looks nice and clean. And the seals look ok. Anybody know where the dirt is and how I would go about cleaning it?
  2. It's in the viewfinder. Unfortunately you may well have to open the top to blow out the dirt and dust thats build up over time. I'm not a fan of dirty viewfinders either but in some cases you have to live with it. I spent about 6 hours last month clearing out a Pentax SV the difference before and after is like night and day. I find the best SLR's that are easiest to clean are the ones where the screen pops out like the Canon T90, Olympus Om2n, Pentax SFXN. Incidently if the light seals/mirror shock absorbing strips are degrading be very careful not to get it onto the fresnel, the sticky goo is impossible to remove from some fresnel screens.
  3. A few questions.
    Do you have a Pen F or Pen FT?
    Does the dirt appear sharp and well defined or fuzzy?
    If you have an Pen F, then the top is easy to remove to clean the viewfinder optics.
    If however the debris appear sharp and well defined then it could be stuff between the screen and first prism and that could be hard to remove.
    Although it's a distraction the dirt of course does not affect the pictures unless it's so pervasive that it prevents you from accurately focusing the lens.
    My Pen F has quite a bit of dust in the viewfinder but I have just learned to see past it to the subject as I don't want to mess with the screen. I think the screen is cemented to the prism around the edges anyway and might be hard to get back to it's proper position to insure accurate focus.
    The Pen FT has the extra step of removing the self timer lever and a extra screw behind the advance lever before the top can be removed. Just a little more involved than the first model.
  4. I'm not as knowledgeable as the many camera lovers here but I have had much success cleaning the very dirty and one very hazy view and range finders with vigorous cleaning with lens cleaner, q-tips and a soft cloth. I have bought two cameras back to life this way that I was told were unusable because of it.
  5. Liana, no offense, but that is not very good advice to give out. There are a vast many cameras that can be damaged beyond repair with the very innocent application of q-tip and lens cleaner. In particular there are many rangefinder cameras that can be ruined by "cleaning" the wrong surface! SLR's and TLR's can have very sensitive mirrors that can be scratched easily, and even professional quality SLR's with plastic interchangeable screens can be damaged by the application of alcohol-based cleaners. Be careful!
  6. Hello John...I have an F, not an FT. The dirt seems fuzzy and does not seem to affect the pictures but is bad enough to interfere with composing and focusing . I can see one screw on the top plate. Are there any others, any left hand threads or any of those types of pit falls to look out for in removing the top plate? How would you recommend I clean the screen when I get in there? Thanks
  7. On the Pen F, with the back open remove the screw on the side by the advance lever, then remove the screw on the rewind spindle, careful, don't lose the little spring steel piece. Place a brace into the rewind fork and unscrew the rewind top, counter clockwise if I remember right. Then remove the two screws in the rewind well. WARNING! Do not close the back after you have removed the rewind spindle! Now you should be able, with a little wiggling, to push the top up and off being careful not to break the wire soldered to the PC socket on the rewind end of the camera. If you need to you can remove the PC nut with a pin spanner, then you won't have to worry about that wire coming loose.
    With the top off their should be a stiff paper cover glued on over the viewfinder optics. Remove this along the glue seam with a sharp craft knife, you will have to use some cement to reattach it later. With the optics now exposed you can use a blower and swabs to gently clean the lenses and eyepiece prism. There is a first surface mirror that should be handled *VERY* carefully as it is easy to damage with too vigorous cleaning. Just use the air blower bulb on the mirror if possible.
    Reassembly is the reverse of removal.
    Take your time, your not in a race. Reserve a whole afternoon for this and at each step think what you are doing and make notes if that will help. If it seems too big a job then don't start but send it to a reliable camera repair tech.
  8. Thanks John...for the well written directions and the good advice...David

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