How often do you clean your contacts?

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Mannesty

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 15:46
I got sooooo frustrated with my K20D + DA* 16-50mm lens last night. I nearly launched the thing and promised to go to the nearest Canon/Nikon dealer as soon as I could.

I was shooting the start of the 'Moors and Christians' fiesta in Murcia, Spain. Amidst other 'togs with a range of kit including a Fuji Finepix, Canons, and some Nikon big guns. One guy had a Canon 1DS MK? with a lens on it that looked like a 5 gallon oil drum, geez it was huge.

Anyway, I was using an AF540FGZ flash with Sto-Fen Omnibounce and on several occasions during the latter part of the evening the shutter absolutely refused to fire occasionally (an issue I have had before I hasten to add). When it did, the shutter speed was so slow that I got blurred images, but the exposure was OK thanks to P-TTL.

Now I'm not used to, and have no time for, kit that doesn't do what I want it to, when I want it to (all batteries were charged before leaving for the event).

Then it occured to me, I haven't cleaned anything except sensors for a while and I did change lenses a couple of times during the evening, and the problem only occured after the last lens change.

Today I applied a few drops of WD40 to a lint free cloth and began cleaning the camera and lens mounts. I was stunned, amazed, and horrified (all at the same time) at the amount of grey metallic crud that appeared on my cleaning cloth.

I then went on to clean all my lenses and both cameras and all of my flash hot shoe mounts. I even cleaned the two SDM power contacts inside the bodies and on all my SDM lenses. All produced some dirt in varying degrees.

I haven't really got to the bottom of why the shutter din't fire, but I'm guessing this dirt had something to do with it.

So, how often do you clean yours. My answer is, When I suspect a problem. In last nights case, it was too late and I missed a few good shots.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 11/09/2010 - 15:49

gartmore

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 15:57
I answered 'never'

Don

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 16:05
! don't wear contacts.
Possible you removed some grease that was supposed to be there?
I'd think the weather seals would've kept the contacts clean......
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

Mannesty

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 16:16
Don wrote:
Possible you removed some grease that was supposed to be there?

Do manufacturers apply grease to camera/lens mounts? I think it's unlikely. Why spend good money on gold plated contacts, then cover them in grease. Sorry Don, I don't buy that one.
Quote:
I'd think the weather seals would've kept the contacts clean......

I'd agree that the weather seals between lens and mount should prevent the ingress of atmospheric contaminants, but what about the small particles of chromium dust caused by metal to metal contact when lens changing?
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Mannesty

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 16:17
gartmore wrote:
I answered 'never'

What . . . never? As in . . . not at all . . . ever?
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Don

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 16:24
Mannesty wrote:
Don wrote:
Possible you removed some grease that was supposed to be there?

Do manufacturers apply grease to camera/lens mounts? I think it's unlikely. Why spend good money on gold plated contacts, then cover them in grease. Sorry Don, I don't buy that one.
Quote:
I'd think the weather seals would've kept the contacts clean......

I'd agree that the weather seals between lens and mount should prevent the ingress of atmospheric contaminants, but what about the small particles of chromium dust caused by metal to metal contact when lens changing?

I don't know about Pentax weather seals, too new on the market for any durability issues to be known, but with underwater housings, and carburated motorcycles, I have good knowledge that seals dry out and fail if they arent lubed, or are lubed with the wrong stuff...
usually involves some kind of grease......
it is not as far fetched as one might presume...

Mannesty

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 17:04
Good point about the lubrication of the seals. If they are lubed at all it would only affect the outer edge of the camera mount though, not the electrical contact area, but you could well be right.

Anybody here on good terms with somebody at Pentax ( Chris@SRS specifically ) to ask the question?
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Don

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 17:14
Mannesty wrote:
Good point about the lubrication of the seals. If they are lubed at all it would only affect the outer edge of the camera mount though, not the electrical contact area, but you could well be right.

Anybody here on good terms with somebody at Pentax ( Chris@SRS specifically ) to ask the question?

I only bring it up, because I have used wd-40 in the past to clean dirty contacts....
but...
if you want to have a laugh, try logging into a motorcycle forum and ask if it's ok to lube your o-ring chain with wd-40 and sit back and laugh at the ensuing mayhem... lol!

but when it comes to grease there are some types that react badly to certain types of o-rings....
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Last Edited by Don on 11/09/2010 - 17:19

davidtrout

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 18:53
Peter, I'm not clear whether, after your treatment of the contacts, if the DA* focussing improved.
I only ask because I've had similar frustrations with the shutter locking up just at the crucial moment when I'm trying to grab a shot.
The lens focussing mechanism makes a noise like a mouse squeaking when this happens.
It happened again just yesterday with my K10+DA*50-135mm combination as I was doing street shots in Newcastle to get something for the fortnightly competition.
This never happens when I use my almost 20-year-old FA 70-200mm zoom on the K10.
David
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 11/09/2010 - 19:17

bforbes

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 18:55
Only when you suspect a problem - For me. I think seals or not you will always have atmospheric on metal mounts. In turn this could be dragged onto contacts as you mount and dismount your lenses. I don't believe regular cleaning is a good idea though as a film of oxidisation acts as a barrier to prevent further corrosion
Barrie
Too Old To Die Young

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/barrieforbes
https://www.flickr.com/photos/189482630@N03/

Don

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 19:11
I wonder if the problem lie in the fact that a weather sealed lens has an o-ring that essentially applies some force to push the lens away from the body, where non weather sealed lenses don't do that... it may just be that the contacts are more susceptible to dirt because they don't seat as firmly?
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

cedricd

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 20:44
WD40 - sure it drives off water just as the name implies. But as it dries out it leaves a nice layer of grease. Not too good on rubber either can cause it to swell.
Enjoy life

Mannesty

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 21:04
davidtrout wrote:
Peter, I'm not clear whether, after your treatment of the contacts, if the DA* focussing improved.

Impossible to say yet David. My issue was with the 16-50mm, I don't recall the same thing happening with my 50-135mm and no unfamiliar noises occured wither.

At home in a test environment after cleaning, it works perfectly.

It's not until a real scenario presents itself that I'll know if it's fixed or not, albeit temporarily until it happens again.

I think in the light of this experience, I'll clean my lens & camera mounts beforehand rather than suffer a similar frustration again. At least I'll know that the contacts are clean and then if it happens again, something else must be the cause.

I should add that I didn't leave the mounts wet after cleaning, I wiped them with a dry cloth afterwards. I also doubt that the weather seals on modern equipment are made of rubber, more probably neoprene, which is resistant to the effects of sea water, acids, alkalis, & lubricants.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 11/09/2010 - 21:16

Oggy

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 21:06
I share your reservations about WD40. It attacks some plastics and rubbers.

Mannesty

Link Posted 11/09/2010 - 21:12
OK, next question. If you do clean your contacts, what do you use?

WD40, switch cleaner, solvent, acetone, IPA (not the beer kind), dry cloth, tissue?
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
Last Edited by Mannesty on 11/09/2010 - 21:14
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